The Truth About The Starch Solution – John McDougall Book Review

I’ve read 500 books so far, yet the Starch Solution is one of the best books that I’ve read.

Not only because it’s author John McDougall is a proven expert in his field, but…

also because the book offers NEW insights into maximum weight loss, health and performance on an entirely vegan/ plant-based diet.

So if you’re a person looking to learn more about the Starch Solution, this post is the right post to read.

I’ve not only done a deep dive into the book of John McDougall, I’ve also read dozens of other books about health and fitness. So you can see whether or not your time is best spent reading ‘Starch Solution’.

So in this post you’ll get a full review of the book. You’ll learn:

  • The amazing magic of the starch solution (explaining all the wonderful starch solution before and after transformations)
  • The truth about saturated fat and processed foods (and why a vegan diet is not enough – hint: Watch your sugar intake and high fat plant foods!)
  • An in-depth overview into the starch solution diet
  • And a sneak-peek on the maximum weight loss program

Are you ready? Let’s just jump, right into it.

The Starch Solution Reviews – Why All The Hype?

One thing that captivates readers from the first page in Starch Solution is John McDougall’s obvious enthusiasm for his work.

Part of it might be due to his larger-than-life, type A personality. But another part is certainly because John McDougall has a remarkable story to tell.

John McDougall’s Story

At age 18, John nearly died. A blood vessel in his brain stopped working. Stopping the blood supply to his brain.

Young McDougall got rushed to the hospital. The diagnosis: Stroke.

It paralyzed his left side for weeks. John never fully recovered from this near death experience.

Even today, 55 years later, he’s disabled. John is forced to walk with a limp.

Anxious and shocked, teenage McDougall asked his doctors for help. But the doctors back then, were lost for words. Strokes only happen to old people, or so they thought.

Yet here McDougall, in his teenage years, suffered from a disease that could be fatal.

Frustrated by the doctors inability to help him, John McDougall left the hospital against medical advice and was determined to find his own answers.

He decided then and there, to pursue a career in medicine.

Years later, after finishing his studies and working with thousands of patients as a doctor in Hawaii, he stumbled upon a new and controversial finding.

His patients, often first generation immigrants that followed a more traditional diet, had less chronic illnesses than the patients that followed a Standard American Diet.

But could his stroke and the shortcomings of his patients truly be explained by diet?

As a doctor he only learned to prescribe pills for people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure. But those pills merely managed the symptoms and the well-being of these people never really improved.

Only after McDougall started experimenting with giving nutrition advice – and asking himself: ‘What is a healthy diet?’ – did his patients actually got better.

And the same thing John could see in himself. When he suffered the stroke at age 18, he was 50lbs overweight and subsisted on a standard American diet.

Now, 55 years later, he’s in great shape, wind surfing a lot and eating a starch based, John McDougall diet. This transformation alone might be enough to get him featured in our legendary plant-based doctors list here.

What helped John McDougall, might help you as well.

And that’s what Dr. McDougall is recommending in his book called The Starch Solution: A return to more traditional diets and eating more starch.

So, what is the starch diet? (food plant based diet)

Starches are the long-chained carbohydrates found in plants. Similar to fiber but not the same thing.

Here’s a Starch Solution food list – or a Starch Solution grocery list:

  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Rice (specifically Brown Rice)
  • Corn
  • Beans

Examples for non-starchy vegetables (which are still an important part of a healthy nutrition in the Starch Solution diet):

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

Other examples for plants high in starch are:

  • Rice pasta
  • Whole wheat pasta

However, these foods are semi-processed. So it’s better to stick to the basics starchy foods outlined above.

The Starch Solution food list clearly does not include:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Animal products of any kind (so yes, if you follow The Starch Solution you do not eat meat)
  • Processed junk

The foods John McDougall advocates for are the unprocessed foods that have been the main staple of traditional diets for most human civilizations for 5,000 to 10,000 years.

John McDougall’s promise, is that a focus on these foods in our diets, will help us stay slim and bring along many health benefits. What John McDougall recommends, to make a long story short, is a low fat vegan diet – focused on whole foods.

On top of that we reduce our ecological foot print and reduce animal suffering.

Overall McDougall’s enthusiasm, unapologetic directness and genius for explaining complex topics in a simple manner are one of the biggest strengths of this book.

But in my opinion, it can also be it’s biggest weaknesses if it’s taken at face value.

Here’s 3 things that you’d need to know on top if your goal is thriving on an optimal diet. Hint: It’s not just reducing fat intake and following a starch based diet…

Starch Solution For Weight Loss [With A Twist]

The quote of McDougall “The fat you eat is the fat you wear.” is only partially true.

1. Is the fat you eat the fat you wear?

While studies on prisoners show that making people fat is way easier on a diet focused on fat, it’s not impossible on a carbohydrate rich diet.

In the book ‘How Not To Diet’ by Dr. Michael Greger he explains for people to gain 30lbs it needs 140,000 calories if it comes from carbs. But only 40,000 calories if it comes from fat. (Read a full article about Dr. Michael Greger MD, published author and wildly famous nutrition researcher here:

Other experts in the field such as Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the China study, disagree with that statement because nuts are a good source of Vitamin E for example.

The reality is that healthy fats are important in your nutrition. And not all fat you eat is ultimately the fat you wear.

The belief that only reducing fat matters when it comes to weight loss, also explains Dr. McDougall’s belief about sugar and salt.

2. Is sugar and salt good?

He recommends eating salt and sugar, because they taste good. You can eat delicious foods – wonderful!

But wait…

John urges people to give up animal products, which most meat eaters would claim to be ‘tasty’, but not salt and sugar, because of taste, is logically inconsistent.

Especially because even researchers that got the money from sugar companies agree that ‘sugar reduction … should be part of any weight loss program.’

Also the science about the harms of salt are clear, claiming that “if we just reduced our salt intake by about a half teaspoon a day, we could potentially prevent between 86,000 and 165,000 strokes and heart attacks every year.”

3. Fiber and calories are underemphasized in the Starch Solution.

Fiber is a key component in satiety and healthy nutrition.

Some experts such as Michael Greger are claiming insufficient fiber is the #1 reason why people do overeat.

Yet in the entire book Starch Solution it’s only mentioned 19 times. To put this in comparison, in ‘Ho