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The Engine 2 Diet: Could This Firefighter’s Diet Be Right For You?

written by: TanyaM • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 6/18/2009

The Engine 2 diet, developed by firefighter Rip Esselstyn, is a new diet plan designed to help you lose weight and reduce your cholesterol. If it can help a group of firefighters lose weight, it may just work for you too.

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    Engine 2 Diet Overview

    /Users/tanya/Desktop/book Nearly 70 percent of Americans are struggling with their weight, and a new plant-based diet plan may offer a new solution for shedding those unwanted pounds.

    Rip Esselstyn is an Austin-based firefighter and the author of a new diet book, "The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds." His diet plan is unique in that it focuses on more than just achieving a slim physique; Esselstyn also wants readers to improve their overall health, lower their cholesterol and reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer.

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    What You Can Eat

    The Engine 2 Diet plan promotes a plant-based lifestyle, so you can say goodbye to milk, cheese, eggs and meat. Esselstyn believes that animal protein fuels the growth of cancer cells, and should be eliminated from the diet. However, he doesn’t consider the plan “all or nothing” and encourages participants to adopt even just a few of his recommendations. As long as you are increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, and reducing the unhealthy foods in your diet, you are on the right track.

    So what can you eat? The Engine 2 Diet recommends lots of whole grains—oats, quinoa, barley and millet—and tofu or veggie burgers for protein. The Fire Cadet plan is recommended for those who want to gradually wean themselves off animal products and processed foods, while the Firefighter option eliminates animal products completely. The diet lasts for 28 days to kick-start weight loss, but Esselstyn believes that there is no short-term fix and that best results come with lifestyle modifications.

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    Does It Work?

    On the Engine 2 Diet, Esselstyn claims that men can lose up to three pounds a week and women can shed up to two pounds if they stick to the plan. So, does it work? The other firefighters in Esselstyn’s firehouse followed the diet, and they all lost weight and reduced their total cholesterol, with some of the firefighters losing up to 20 pounds. The Engine 2 Diet website also lists testimonials from other dieters who have successfully lost weight on the diet. Esselstyn does not have a medical background, but his father is a retired doctor and surgeon who specialized in heart disease.

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    The Bottom Line on the Engine 2 Diet

    Many major health organizations encourage Americans to eat less meat and more vegetables and whole grains, so the Engine 2 Diet is spot on in encouraging these food groups. However, some people may find the diet too restrictive and may have problems giving up their favorite animal-based foods. If you take time to make the recipes and stock your pantry with healthy food choices, there’s a good possibility you will lose weight and improve your health. The two-track system is also helpful for those who want to make gradual changes to their diet, and Esselstyn’s focus on attitude as a major component of weight loss is something you don’t see in other diet books.