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Montignac at a Glance

February 11, 1993|CHRIS RUBIN

Michel Montignac, author of "Dine Out & Lose Weight," believes that most of us suffer from a pancreas that is slightly out of tune, resulting in the secretion of excess insulin and the unnecessary conversion of foods to fat. The Montignac method of weight loss attempts to return the pancreas to its normal state and relies on the elimination of certain foods and the careful combining of other foods for proper digestion, good health and weight loss. Foods are rated on a glycemic index that relates to how they are metabolized and processed by the body.

For initial weight loss and life-long maintenance, Montignac has several basic rules: * Eliminate sugar from the diet. * Eliminate processed foods. * Eliminate breads (especially those made from enriched flour). * Eliminate beer and spirits (though red wine is beneficial). * Eliminate sodas and diet sodas. * Eliminate between-meal snacks. * Eliminate potatoes, corn and carrots. * Don't eat fruit with other foods.

In the maintenance phase, certain gourmet foods are allowed, even encouraged: * Foie gras . * Chocolate (made from at least 60% cocoa). * Red wine (and white wine and Champagne, to a lesser extent). * Raw mild cheeses.

Fruits and starches should not be combined in the same meal because the enzymes needed to digest starches are adversely affected by the acidity of the fruit. Similarly, starch and protein combinations are bad because, according to Montignac, the pepsin and ptyalin, enzymes required to break down the starch and protein, respectively, interfere with each other.

If you're curious about the diet, you may want to consider a meal at one of the restaurants that offer a Montignac Menu.

At La Brasserie in West Hollywood's Le Bel Age Hotel, you'll find that appetizers include salmon tartare and a terrine of foie gras . There are imported pastas made from organic whole wheat and topped with various sauces. Seafood dominates the entrees, but there is also a filet mignon and a vegetarian selection (eggplant stuffed with mozzarella and tomatoes).

For dessert, there's chocolate cake, creme brulee , and a cheese plate featuring imported raw milk cheeses. (Montignac believes the active cultures that are destroyed by processing milk are essential to proper digestion and processing of food by the stomach.)

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