You may have seen him on public television or on the talk-show circuit. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., isn’t hawking some faddish fat-loss diet, though. His is an eating plan with solid science behind it, one that addresses current findings on inflammation, muscle mass, toxins and antioxidants. The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet shows how they all relate to a long, healthy life and minimal bodyfat accrual.
While the book is geared toward average folks, bodybuilders will love much of what Perricone has to say. He himself appears to be a fit guy with plenty of muscle, and he mentions weight training a lot—even alludes to hardcore bodybuilding: “What steroid users don’t know is that omega-3 essential fatty acids can deliver the effects they want—significantly improve athletic performance, helping to make muscle cells stronger and more efficient; actually build muscle and lose bodyfat—without the dangerous side effects. There are even steroidlike substances in the body, like PPARs mentioned earlier, that can help achieve these goals when activated by omega-3.”
As you’d expect, he strongly recommends fish oil and the essential fatty acids for fat loss, muscle growth and reduced inflammation. He’s absolutely convinced, as are more and more scientists, that inflammation causes many of our most serious health problems. He says that what is “particularly alarming is the fact that we cannot feel this microinflammation, nor can we see it with the naked eye. Yet it goes on, day after day, in all of our organ systems, heart, brain and skin. The damage is cumulative, eventually leading to a host of diseases and chronic degenerative conditions.” (Is inflammation hampering postworkout muscle recovery? Most definitely!)
Perricone also makes some interesting observations about depression. For example, he says that the rise in the use of antidepressants, such as Prozac, occurred during the nonfat-food craze of the 1980s; then he goes on to explain that our brains are composed mainly of fat and that if we starve our brains of those nutrients, depression sets in. It’s a reason taking essential fatty acids relieves depression in a lot of people. EFAs are precursors of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Taking omega-3s isn’t Perricone’s only supplement recommendation. He discusses others that are familiar to bodybuilders, such coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, conjugated linoleic acid, chromium, gamma linolenic acid and glutamine.
As for food, he has a number of supergroups, such as legumes, seeds and nuts, peppers, spices, fatty fruits (avocados, for instance) and fatty fish. There’s also an extensive discussion of exercise and how it relates to inflammation and the link to catabolism (must reading for bodybuilders).
The book is chock-full of recipes, with breakdowns of calories, fat, protein, carbs and fiber (the sesame seed-encrusted salmon sounds delicious!). And some of his meals in the 14-Day Perricone Weight-Loss Program diet sound very bodybuilder-like, with plenty of poached eggs, turkey, salmon, asparagus and yogurt chased with supplements, like glutamine and fish-oil caps.
The more I read, the more I thought Dr. Perricone must be a serious musclehead—another reason this book is essential for every bodybuilder interested in building health along with muscle mass.