We Get Mail...Was Rheo Blair An Advocate of Low Carb Diets for Weight Loss?

Today we begin a new feature here at Rheo H. Blair: The Book.
You Ask, We Answer.

A reader writes wanting to know if Rheo Blair used the low carb diet approach for losing weight? The reader also heard that "Blair put his students on a program where they basically lived on Blair's Protein and consumed only three to five whole food meals per week...any weight loss pointers you could offer would be appreciated."

These are both excellent questions. Let's begin with the low-carb question. Rheo was THE ORIGINAL low carb diet guru. He was teaching his students the principles of low carb weight loss -- and getting remarkable results years before anyone ever wrote a book about it. And when I say book of course I am thinking of the renowned Dr. Robert Atkins. Here is a bit of interesting history for you. Rheo's primary nutrition mentor was Carlton Fredericks. Robert Atkins also studied with Carlton Fredericks and in turn Carlton Fredericks served as a nutritional consultant in Robert Atkins' medical office in New York.
I personally recall two occasions while I was living with Rheo in 1978 when Rheo had long telephone conversations with Robert Atkins, discussing the latest nutrition news and just basically talking shop. These were very friendly conversations both parties obviously enjoyed.

One of Rheo's before and afters was of a middle aged lady whom he completely transformed. I should say she transformed herself because she did all the work. Following the Blair Program was not easy. He told you what you needed to do to achieve the results you wanted. Thereafter it was your job to do it and believe me, it was a 24/7 affair. Well this lady came to him having lived on a diet of pasta and cake. She was a mess. You could see it in her body and even in her facial expression; very depressed and quite frankly -- she looked scary. Her transformation took ten months. When she went back home, her neighbors did not recognize her at all. They literally did not know who she was. How did she do it? She got off the white flour, starchy carbs, sugar etc. She ate a high quality high protein low carbohydrate diet and used generous amounts of supplements. This is how she described her experience: "It was a diet: not starvation. I had plenty to eat and used food supplements. My waist line faded from 40 to 25 inches. My weight dropped from 173 to 119 pounds. My hair grew stronger, thicker and glossier. My skin began to glow with a fine pink flush..." A most remarkable story; there is more on her for another time.

So yes, Rheo taught a low-carb lifestyle. But there is a very important caveat: biochemical individuality. He always ran his students through a battery of medical tests to determine their specific glandular types, their inherited weaknesses and strengths. This would inform him of what specific dietary regimen would work best for any given individual. And part of this formula is age. As a very general Blair rule, the younger the client, the more protein and fat he might have them consume. But as one gets older, digestion typically becomes more problematic and so older clients would be unlikely to be on the protein powder and heavy cream pudding regimen, for example. Still, depending on their test results, he might have them on one or two small sevings of his basic protein and whole raw milk each day in addition to a steak and salad regime to lose weight with some whole eggs and of course the supplements. For me, at 16, I usually had 5 daily servings of the most concentrated protein mixed with heavy cream and, as the writer mentions, consumed only three to five whole food meals per week. But these whole food meals were really only to break up the monotony of the protein puddings. So to sum up my answer for the reader, the approach Rheo used on any given client depended on their test results and their age. Heavy protein and cream for younger muscle builders, more whole foods for older weight losers, (and) a generous supplement regime individually prescribed for each.

Finally, a friendly disclaimer. I am not able to offer any nutritional advice on this site. My work here is purely educational in the context of discussing Rheo Blair and sharing news items and stories relevant to his philosophy. I can talk about what Rheo did but -- and this is important -- I cannot and will not tell anyone what they should do. Please see your licensed health professional to discuss your health issues.

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Copyright © 2008 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.