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The skinny on weight loss: Part IV

by Dr. Bruce J. Grandstaff
| December 29, 2010 8:00 PM

Why eating less, eating a balanced diet and exercise are impractical for serious weight loss and can be dangerous.

In my previous editorials on weight loss Part I and Part II I discussed the following:

1. Weight loss is unnatural; our physiology favors fat storage and not fat loss. The mere act of losing weight (dieting), skipping meals, decreasing our food intake and hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin) all either signal our bodies that we are in famine, or cause the enzyme regulation that controls fat burning or fat storage to favor fat storage.

2. Losing weight most often is really losing fat and lean tissues such as muscle, organ tissue and hormones, which slows our metabolism and sets us up for fat storage as well as is dangerous.This is why 95 percent of those who lose weight will gain it back.

3. We create nutritional deficiencies by cutting back on the quantity of macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates with an equal cutback on the micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Part III addressed how to obtain rapid weight loss safely and potentially long term, and not create nutritional deficiencies.

So why are the most common methods of losing weight (i.e. eating less, eating a healthy balanced diet, and exercise) impractical for serious weight loss and potentially dangerous or unhealthy?

Eating less: We've already learned that by eating less or skipping meals, we signal our bodies that we are in a famine and our physiology knows just what to do-store fat. Our metabolism shifts from burning sugars (carbohydrates) as fuel to storing them as fat. It also sets us up for nutritional deficiencies (unhealthy and dangerous). Since we've cut back on protein, what are we going to use to repair and rebuild all the cells in our bodies? In addition, we will be burning our "savings account" which is lean tissues as well as fat. All of this is unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet: I certainly would strongly encourage people to eat a more healthy and balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and complex carbohydrates. The fact is, "balanced" means neither gaining or losing. In fact, a study published in the journal Circulation in February 2008 where dietary intake related to risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome (central obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type II insulin resistant diabetes) showed that eating a "healthy/balanced diet neither increased nor decreased the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome" (or Syndrome X). This was an excellent study that followed 9,500 people, 45-64 years of age, for nine years. Surprisingly, the greatest risk factor was for those who drank just one diet soda per day (38 percent higher risk).

Exercise: A study done by The American College of Sports Medicine revealed that most people underestimate their caloric intake by 30 percent and overestimate their caloric burn (exercise) by 30 percent. Can you see the problem here? To get a reality check, we suggest that those who wish to lose weight by exercise wear a Calorie Tracker (CT-1) by Stayhealthy for a few weeks. This is a very accurate triaxial accelerometer that measures movement in three planes (forward/backward, side to side, and up and down). It computes your caloric burn based upon your movements and even metabolic expenditure while you sleep (You do burn calories even while sleeping). Once the dieter knows what his/her normal caloric burn is, we can program into the CT-1 their weight loss goal based on an extra 150 calories per day for every pound they wish to lose in a month. Once that goal is achieved, it beeps. So if your normal caloric burn is 3000 calories per day, increasing your caloric burn to 3,300 calories per day will yield a two pound weight loss over 30 days-providing you don't increase your caloric intake (you know-like celebrating hitting your goal with a hot fudge sundae.) One of our patients we tracked in November for a month hit her goal only seven times! She promptly went on our diet. I agree, if one is very disciplined, one can lose weight exercising, but it would require running a marathon to lose just one pound of fat (that is 26 miles, folks). For the average person that is just not going to happen. Not only that but then you still have to contend with what was actually lost-just fat, or fat and lean tissue? The only way to know accurately is a bioimpedence assessment that tells you exactly how many pounds of lean tissue you start with and how many pounds of lean tissue you finish with. Again, we use the BC-1 by Stayhealthy to give us the most accurate assessment. By taking regular periodic measurements, one could increase protein intake to prevent lean tissue loss. The other side of this is some people who are grossly obese have arthritis of the knees and find it hard to exercise.

The Ideal Protein diet/treatment allows safe, rapid weight loss even for those who cannot exercise (3-5 pounds per week for females, 5-7 pounds per week for males) without inducing nutritional deficiencies. Eating less, eating a healthy/balanced diet and exercise are all recommended means of maintaining your weight and staying healthy. But to address the dysfunctional pancreas and not gain the weight back, I can't recommend a better plan than the Ideal Protein diet/treatment.

For a free Stayhealthy assessment see us at our booth at the Fit Expo @ the CDA Resort Wednesday Jan.5, 2011. For a free consultation, or to attend Dr. Grandstaff's free class on weight loss please call (208) 772-6015.

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