One of the key elements of the traditional Hawaiian diet
was a strong reliance on whole, complex carbohy- drates
in the form of whole grains. This is also common to most
Most traditional diets were very low in fat. The
range for most traditional cultures is around 6 to 19 per-
cent fat. Consistent with these diets, the HawaiiDiet™
Pyramid produces a very low-fat diet because of its focus
on low-fat, whole-plant-based foods. Animal flesh and
added fats and oils are virtually or completely
eliminated, and fats come from the oils found naturally in
the foods. Some individuals may have the genetic
makeup to tolerate higher fat diets. However, for those
who have a problem with weight, a low-fat diet is ideal
based on our research.
Nearly all ancient traditional diets were semi-vegetarian
or vegetarian. From the perspective of cholesterol-
related disease, a no-cholesterol diet is ideal and, since
all dietary cholesterol comes from animal products
(including fish and fowl), the ideal diet is vegetarian
(provided it is done properly).
Today, a wealth of research indicates that this is an
optimal diet for human weight control and health.
All major traditional cultural diets were grain and plant-
based. This means that vegetables and fruit were eaten
in great abundance. The HawaiiDiet™ makes the best
use of these most delicious foods.
Food (also known as "EMI" for Eat More Index).
The SMI is a table that describes food based on
an "Index" number that helps you evaluate the
weight loss effect of foods.
Just make sure that you're eating only approved types of
foods. That should be no problem. You'll find plenty of
variety in the HawaiiDiet™ Pyramid, and you'll be able to
find the foods that help you lose weight by using the SMI.
This way of eating offers the best variety, the best flavors,
the best textures of any type of diet.
Let me give you an overview of the index I devised to
help you examine which foods satisfy you the most per
calorie. It is a totally new way of looking at food and is
one of the pillars of the diet. The SMI number gener- ally
represents the number of pounds of food it takes to
provide 2,500 calories, which is one day's worth of calo-
ries for an average active woman or average inactive
man. For example, the SMI value of corn is 6.5, which
means that it takes 6.5 pounds of corn to make your daily
Obviously, average individuals will have great difficulty
eating this much corn (30 ears!) and will likely eat less
than this amount and still be full. Thus, while
eating as much as they want, they will still lose weight.
By sharp contrast, foods that are low in SMI can easily
produce weight gain. The foods that are lowest in SMI
are oils and fats.
Oils and fats have an SMI value of 0.61 (100% fat) and
can easily be eaten in enough quantity to produce weight
gain. Butter and margarine are 0.76 (99% to 100%
fat), mayonnaise is 0.78 (98% fat). Such very low SMI
foods are what I consider "diet destroyers" and should be
avoided or minimized.
In other words, the higher the SMI number of a food (that
is, the more pounds of food it takes to provide your daily
calories), the more likely you are to be satisfied by eating
a selected food. Choosing foods in this way emphasizes
the positive aspect and encourages people to "eat more"
of these foods, which helps promote automatic weight
loss. In this way, the SMI allows you to select foods that
will help you lose weight while you eat until you're
satisfied. For a full description of the SMI, see my earlier
book, Dr. Shintani's Eat More, Weigh Less® Diet.