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 Weight Control 


Popular Diet Plans

Hawaii Diet TM

The HawaiiDiet, developed by Terry Shintani, MD, is more than a diet, it is a prescription for a better health through changes in lifestyle.

Dr. Shintani recognized that to achieve optimal health, one needs to look at not only the diet, but also the "holistic" aspects of one’s being: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. Optimum health requires that we achieve a harmony within us. This includes a life without high levels of internal stress. Saying a prayer, meditating and laughing daily, as well as performing acts of selflessness, and finding a love for life can all reduce our stress. Dr. Shintani, in his book HawaiiDiet, looks at the larger picture of health including reduction in cholesterol levels.

Many people are initially attracted to this diet because of the promise of the diet to "to eat as much as you want." This may, ultimately, turnout to be a mistake. When you go beyond the headlines, and into the diet itself, we find that it gives a clear road map to health, based on research and nutritional science. 

Proponents of the diet say that with the all-you-can-eat weight loss program, you can lose up to 30 pounds in three weeks. This might be an exaggeration. Clinical trials showed that people who follow the program can indeed lose an average of 4 pounds a week. There is reported case of a person losing 10 pounds a week. But it is not the norm.

It was reportedly used by governor of Hawaii Benjamin J. Cayetano of Hawaii. In the book, Dr. Shintani claims that in 21 days Gov. Cayetano realized the following benefits:

Reduced his cholesterol by 72 points
Lowered his triglycerides by 516 points
Took off 12 pounds
Reduced his need for blood pressure medication dramatically and
Boosted his energy.

According to Dr. Shintani,  the HawaiiDiet TM was conceived in part as a response to the high rates of death from chronic diet-and-lifestyle-related diseases among the Native Hawaiians. These diseases include heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, asthma, allergies, cancer, diabetes, stroke, gastritis, and many other chronic conditions that are reaching epidemic proportions.

Dr. Shintani's research showed that those cultures that were moving away from traditional diets were rapidly developing epidemics of diet-related disease. He also found that many of these diet-related diseases could be reversed by returning people to their traditional, culture-based diets. Most of our common diseases could be both prevented and reversed through a return to the traditional diet of our own ancestors.

Features of The Hawaii Diet TM

1. The HawaiiDiet TM Is a Whole-Person Program

It emphasizes the health of the whole person, including spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects, along with food and diet. The program includes exercise, stress reduction, and an understanding of universal principles embodied in traditional Hawaiian beliefs and a faith in God. When all of these aspects of life are in harmony, your health is maximized. When your health is maximized, your excess weight disappears automatically. Energy levels increase and you become more effective in every way.

Although originally, the program was modeled after Native Hawaiian population, Dr. Shianti found that the same principles are applicable to everyone. He has provided allowances for cultural and differences in heritages, by providing optional menu routes like Mediterranean diet.

2. The HawaiiDiet TM Is a No-Deprivation Eating Program

There is no calorie-counting or portion-size restriction. It is an "all you can eat" health program that emphasizes the type of food eaten rather than the quantity.

The liberal allowance of 2500 calories a day could mean that some of the obese people who enter the program may not lose weight as much as they want to. This is especially true if people do not pay attention to the exercises prescribed in the program.

3. The HawaiiDiet TM Integrates Modern Science with Ancient Wisdom

The HawaiiDiet TM employs the best of both worlds: It seeks to integrate ancient wisdom with modern science. There is considerable nutritional research that supports the benefits of eating whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.

4. The HawaiiDiet TM Is Based upon Traditional Eating Patterns

Dr. Shintani's research showed that the healthiest cultures ate a diet similar in macronutrient content to that of the ancient Hawaiians, and also practiced lifestyle principles similar to those of ancient Hawaii. Their diets consisted of large volumes of unrefined carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein (mostly from vegetable sources), and few fats.

In Hawaiian diet, participants are allowed to eat an average of seven ounces of protein per week, in the form of fish or poultry. This reflects the fact that traditional diets, such as those of ancient Asia, included roughly this amount of animal products. In the third week, the diet is strictly vegetarian. This reflects the fact that most pre-modern humans ate no flesh on most days.

5. The HawaiiDiet TM Is Flexible and takes advantage of Individual Differences

The HawaiiDiet TM recognizes that individuals may be genetically adapted to various dietary patterns. For example, a higher-fat Mediterranean-style diet may be acceptable for individuals who are adapted to such a diet. The HawaiiDiet TM allows for the tailoring of the diet to fit individual needs and genetic makeup.

6. The HawaiiDiet TM Uses a Wide Variety of Foods

The choices of foods available in HawaiiDiet are virtually endless. They are readily available, and simple to prepare. On the other hand, if your fancy eating exotic foods and gourmet diet, it can be accommodated within this diet.

7. The HawaiiDiet TM Uses Foods That Are Filling

Dr. Shintani developed a measurement of food called Shintani Mass Index (SMI) to evaluate the foods. (See table below.) It represents roughly the number of pounds of food required to provide the number of calories required to maintain weight. (It can be described as energy density of food. See Origin Diet for a description of the energy density of foods.) This is a way of describing how much of the food will fill your stomach and make you feel satisfied in relation to the number of calories it provides.

For example, tomato has an SMI value of 27.3. In other words, it takes 27.3 pounds of tomatoes to provide one day's worth of calories. By contrast, ham has an SMI value of 2.1 (which means it takes 2.1 pounds of ham to provide one day's worth of calories). By comparing these numbers, we can deduce that tomato is more filling and satisfying than ham, because for the same number of calories, your stomach will be much fuller from the calories in tomatoes. (In fact you would not be able to stuff 27 pounds of tomato in your stomach in a day! So, you will eat less, which means less caloric intake, and hence the weight loss, the argument goes.)

Satisfaction of hunger occurs when your stomach is full enough to signal the brain to stop eating. Research indicates that people eat about 2.6 to 4.1 pounds of food before they feel satisfied. Thus, the higher the SMI number, the more likely the food is to help you lose weight. The lower the number, the more likely the food is to help you gain weight.

See Also:

Food SMI Values

 Foods To Avoid or 
Use Sparingly
Good Foods
Bacon 0.8
Butter 0.8
Almonds 0.9
Cashews 1.0
Beef, sirloin 1.2
Donuts 1.3
Beef, chuck 1.4
Danish Pastry 1.5
Sugar 1.5
Ham sandwich 1.6
French Fries 1.7
Corn 6.5
Tofu 7.6
Potatoes 9.6 
Collard Greens 12.1
Beets 12.7
Oranges 15.6
Bean Sprouts 15.6
Peaches 16.5
Broccoli 17.1
Cauliflower 20.2
Asparagus 21.0
Green beans 21.9
Cabbages 22.8
Artichokes 26.0
Tomatoes 27.3
Radishes 32.1 
Cucumbers 32.8
Lettuce 39.0
Chinese Cabbage 39.0


The reason why popular diets fail is that they neglect the concept of wholeness by focusing on one nutrient or concept at a time. For example, diets focusing on calorie restriction fail because they ignore the hunger drive; diets focusing on fats allow too much white flour and sugar; diets focusing on sugar allow too much animal protein; diets focusing on protein allow too much fat, and diets claiming to create a balance focus only on calorie restriction. The HawaiiDiet avoids these problems by enabling the dieter, with the help of the SMI index and the HawaiiDiet pyramid, to choose whole foods that are filling and nutritious.

Terry Shintani, MD - HawaiiDiet TM

Comparison of USDA Food Pyramid vs. Hawaii Food Pyramid

Food Groups Servings in USDA Food Guide Pyramid Servings in HawaiiDiet TM Pyramid
Grains and other main staples (Potatoes, corn, taro, oats, 
millet, buckwheat, brown rice) 
6-11 8-13
Vegetables (Squash, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, mushrooms)  3-5 3-5
Fruit (Apples, oranges, bananas, papaya 2-4 2-4
Non-dairy calcium foods (Watercress, mustard greens, seaweed, cabbage, broccoli, turnip tops, kale)    2-3
No-cholesterol protein/iron foods (Beans of all kinds, especially soybeans, tofu, other soy products, legumes)   2-3
Dairy (Skim milk or other nonfat or low-fat dairy products)  2-3 never or rarely
Meat/Fish/Poultry (Cod, perch, scrod, snapper, halibut, fresh tuna, skinless chicken breasts) 2-3 never or rarely
Fats/Oils/Sweets (Canola, olive, and macadamia nut oils; maple syrup, molasses, 
brown rice syrup, barley malt, blackstrap molasses)
sparingly never or rarely

See Also: What Is a Serving Size?

Suggested steps for starting the Hawaii Diet

1. Eat foods in harmony with the seasons, your locality, and your climate. If possible, eat foods grown organically.

2. Eat in a relaxed manner, preferably with others. Take time to chew and enjoy your food-do so with gratitude.

3. Exercise at least thirty or forty minutes daily, or at least every other day.

4. Optimal health involves all aspects of your being, including spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects. It involves your thoughts and actions, and your relationship with the land through the food you eat. It involves your relationship with others and your relationship with the Almighty. When all this is in harmony, stress is reduced and health is maximized.

.Say a prayer daily 
.Meditate daily 
.Laugh daily 
.Do something for someone else, with no expectation of a reward 
.Be grateful for the simplest things in life

5. Always remember the source of all healing-the Great Physician, the Almighty. Therefore, say grace before each meal. Start each meal by asking the Lord to bless the food, and by being grateful for the life-giving qualities He has put into the food you eat.

When you follow these principles and practices, you will increase the effectiveness of the HawaiiDiet TM and enhance your mental and spiritual well-being at the same time.

Daily Recommended Servings

Whole Grains and Other Staples 
Use only unrefined (non-ground) grains and vegetables should be used. 
Eat 8-13 servings a day. 

Brown rice 
Sweet potatoes 
Eat cooked or raw; do not use oil for dressings or for sauteeing. Use vegetable broth instead. 

Eat 3-5 servings a day. 

Green beans 

Choose two to four pieces of whole fruit per day. 
Use fresh fruit instead of juices or preserves. 
Eat 2-4 servings a day. 

Non-Dairy Calcium Foods

Eat 2-3 servings a day. 
Collard greens 
Turnip tops 
Mustard greens 
Chinese cabbage 

No-Cholesterol Protein Foods

Eat 2-3 servings a day. 
Lima beans 
Green peas 
Kidney beans 
Black beans 
Fava beans 


See Also: What Is a Serving Size?

Sample Hawaii Diet Menu


Sliced bananas


Baked potato with steak sauce
Green salad with no-oil dressing
Cooked vegetable


Brown rice
Vegetable or tofu stir-fry
Corn on the cob
Two-bean chili
Cooked greens


Proponents of the diet plan says that the program is effective because:

.No calorie counting or portion restriction 
.Foods that actually promote weight loss 
.Up to a 30-pound reduction in 21 days 
.Lowered cholesterol and triglycerides 
.Lowered blood pressure 
.A boosted energy level (you'11 want to take on the world!) 
.A fresh perspective that will help you stay healthy for a lifetime 
.Dozens of exceptionally delicious recipes that will make mealtime an unprecedented delight

You can eat what you want, but only to a certain extent.

In general, this is one of the healthiest diets around. Every principle it encourages is good common sense eating.

Can help you develop better eating habits.

A practical, realistic approach


The critics complain that there is no support group for this. There was no weekly or monthly meeting, no moral support, just a book and chart and your on your own. Unless you have a huge amount of motivation, that's not always feasible.

You need to come up with an exercise routine to help reduce weight. There is not much help in this regard from the diet sponsors.

This diet may not work for severely overweight persons. 2500 calories/day may be too much for effective weight loss.

HawaiiDiet is primarily a vegan diet due to its restrictions on animal based foods. Vegetarian diet are deficient in iron, vitamin B-12 and calcium. Iron is of important concern for vegans because fruits and vegetables lack iron that is available in meat. So, additional supplementations should be recommended.

See Also:

Ornish Diet

Pritikin™ Program

The South Beach Diet

The Origin Diet

The Blood Type Diet

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