❑ Dieting may conjure up visions of eating little but fruits and vegetables. But you can enjoy all foods as part of a healthy diet so long as you don’t overdo it on fat (especially saturated fat and meat), sugars, salt, and alcohol. Obesity Considerations. Portion sizes must be limited. Some foods high in calories—such as cookies, cakes, french fries, whole milk, whole milk cheese, cream, butter, ice cream, fatty fresh and processed meats, poultry skin and fat, lard, palm oil, coconut oil, miscellaneous fats, oils, and spreads—must be eliminated.
❑ The best way to lose weight—and virtually the only way to maintain weight loss—is to adopt a healthier. More active lifestyle. A lifestyle that includes a natural, healthy diet and regular exercise will keep you healthy; give you more energy; lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer; and still allow you to lose weight. Obesity Considerations. Those who choose fad diets over such a lifestyle can count on gaining back their lost weight and more. Almost 95 percent of all dieters regain their lost weight within a year and have to diet all over again.
❑ If you do one form of exercise, walking seems to be the best. In one study, those who walked just 15 minutes a day (not counting regular walking for normal activities) gained less weight compared to a group of non-walkers. Walking is easy, convenient, and only requires a good pair of shoes. It can be done outdoors, or if the climate is too cold, shopping malls offer the perfect venue. Increasing your time will afford greater benefits.
❑ Dieting may be dangerous for people older than sixty, as malnutrition may result. Exercise if you want to lose weight. But don’t stop eating essential foods that you need, such as proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Obesity Considerations. The best thing to do is eat nutrient-dense foods; that is, those that have a lot of nutrition in every bite. You can’t eat junk foods and expect to lose weight.
❑ Fad diets may produce some results. But the fact is that not only can these diets be unhealthy (particularly if you jump from one diet to the next), but once you go off the diet, the weight often returns—along with some added pounds. Much of the rapid weight loss you see with some of the diets and/or products available can be attributed to loss of water weight. However, using a reasonable fad diet for twelve weeks won’t do any harm and. If it helps you to lose weight, it may be a good incentive for further weight loss. Regardless of which diet you choose, allow yourself to lose no more than one to two pounds a week.
❑ To ensure good health, any type of diet you follow should be closely monitored by a health care professional and/or a nutritionist. Obesity Considerations.
❑ Repeated crash dieting is not healthy and can increase the risk of heart disease. Quick weight loss tends to come back rapidly. This rapid weight gain often results in elevated cholesterol levels and can also damage vital organs. In one study, a third of people who had gone on crash diets of 500 calories or less per day were found to have developed gallstones. The fourteen-year Framingham Heart Study showed that those whose weight changed a lot or changed often had higher death rates than other people. Obesity Considerations. They also ran a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The study showed that weight fluctuation seemed to pose as great a risk of heart disease and premature death as being overweight.
❑ A weight cycler is someone who has lost ten pounds more than three times and gained it back. Although there appears to be no increased risk of heart disease or death from weight cycling. Data from weight cyclers showed that it is fairly easy to lose weight but hard to keep it off. If you do lose weight, try to keep it off for one year. This will be harder than losing it in the first place. It requires a commitment to lifestyle change such as increasing the amount of exercise you do in addition to dietary modifications.
❑ Thermogenesis is a term used to describe the body’s natural process for burning calories. Scientists studying thermogenesis are focusing on understanding and improving the thermogenic process, which may aid in weight loss. Many new weight-loss products focus on thermogenesis.
❑ A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that one of every four teenagers carries enough excess weight to put him or her at high risk of heart attack, stroke, colon cancer, gout, and other health problems later in life—regardless of whether the individual slims down as an adult. The prevalence of obesity among children aged six to eleven years more than doubled in the past twenty years, going from 6.5 percent to 17 percent. The rate among adolescents aged twelve to nineteen years more than tripled, increasing from 5 percent to 17.6 percent. In a group of children aged five to seventeen years. 70 percent had at least one heart disease risk factor, such as high cholesterol levels.
❑ The thinking once was that people who regularly use artificial sweeteners tend to gain, not lose, weight. However, newer data suggests otherwise. If you are overweight, it may be better to choose the low-calorie food or beverage that contains artificial sweeteners than to choose the higher caloric options. If you would rather use a low-calorie sweetener from a natural source, try stevia, which is derived from a plant.
❑ A person whose body has a high ratio of muscle to fat will have a higher metabolic rate than a person of the same weight with a lower muscle-to-fat ratio, and therefore will require more calories. This is because it takes more calories to maintain muscle tissue than fat tissue. Conversely, obese persons tend to have lower than normal metabolic rates.
❑ Calories derived from fat are more easily converted into body fat than calories from other sources. Only 3 percent of fat calories are burned in the digestive process. By contrast, 25 percent of calories from complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) are burned in the course of digestion.
❑ An omega-6 fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has been shown to stimulate the body’s metabolic ability to burn fat. GLA, an active ingredient found in black currant seed oil, flaxseed. And evening primrose oil, helps to control the metabolism of fats. In particular, it mobilizes the metabolically active fat called brown adipose tissue (BAT).
❑ Many people feel the need to eat something sweet after meals, but this is an acquired habit and it can be broken. In many cultures, sweetened foods are reserved only for rare special occasions (and even then are less sweet tasting than many of the foods Americans eat every day).
❑ Eating a low-fat diet that is high in complex carbohydrates does not mean eating tasteless, bland foods. There are many delicious and healthy foods available that can be eaten. The goal is to reduce the total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in the diet and to increase the amount of complex carbohydrates. Potatoes, pasta, bread, corn, rice, and other complex-carbohydrate-rich foods are not the cause of obesity, as some people think. They are the cure. The exception to this rule involves people who are addicted to carbohydrates.
❑ A study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that the trace mineral boron may speed the burning of calories. Raisins and onions are good food sources of boron.
❑ In human studies, the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has led to a loss of body fat by blocking an enzyme that is known to produce fat tissue.
❑ Researchers have found that weight reduction can be improved with the use of a combination of the amino acids L-ornithine and L-arginine, enhanced by L-lysine. L-ornithine helps to release growth hormone, normally lacking in adults, which burns fat and builds muscle. This combination works best while the body is at rest.
Note: Never take an amino acid that contains L-arginine but not L-lysine. Too much L-arginine without L-lysine can cause an imbalance of amino acids, possibly causing an outbreak of cold sores or previously dormant herpes.
❑ Gastric bypass surgery may be recommended for extreme obesity. You are a candidate for this surgery if you are twice your ideal body weight. Your doctor may recommend this surgery even if you don’t meet the weight criteria but you have one or more comorbidities that may improve by losing weight. Such as diabetes or heart disease. The surgery is done by restricting the amount of food consumed by creating a small pouch using part of the stomach. This small pouch is then hooked up to the lower part of the intestine. This reduces the amount of food absorbed into the body.
Obviously, this is a drastic measure. However, the complication rate for gastric bypass surgery is small. Death rates were 0.1 percent to 2.0 percent and complications (such as an inability to digest food) after surgery were 13 percent. Other devices, such as a gastric-band (LAP-BAND), which makes you feel sated, are available, and pose less surgical risk, but still pose some risk. Given the many health risks that come with remaining obese, some people decide it makes sense to have a surgical procedure. This, of course, is something to discuss with a skilled health care professional.
❑ If you do decide on surgery, be sure to choose a surgeon who has performed many of these procedures and that the hospital has an experienced support team of nurses and dietitians to help you recover and go back to eating sensibly.
❑ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a synthetic fat called olestra in certain foods. A synthetic compound of fatty acids and sugar. Olestra is neither absorbed nor digested by the body and therefore contributes no calories. For the same reason, however, it can cause indigestion, gas, and diarrhea, and possible anal leakage or loose stools. Scientists have also raised concerns because it may inhibit the absorption of necessary fat-soluble vitamins. Obesity Considerations. A warning label had been added to olestra-containing foods that stated “Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E and K have been added.”
❑ If you are trying to adjust your intake of vitamins in accordance with a therapeutic plan, you should probably steer well clear of olestra-containing foods.
❑ The FDA dropped its requirement for the label in August 2003. The product, however, has not changed. All of the products that contain olestra seem to be snack-type foods. In any case—foods that should be avoided on any sensible diet plan. However, if you are overweight, it may still be better to use these products than to eat the full-fat version of other foods. Obesity Considerations.
❑ There are many drugs, such as sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat (Xenical). On the market today that doctors may prescribe to fight obesity. All of these drugs have potential side effects. If you are considering prescription weight-loss medication, do as much research as possible on the drugs available, and discuss with your doctor how these medications could affect your health. Scientists also are studying hormones and other compounds in the blood that regulate food intake. Such as ghrelin, leptin, and adiponectin, in hopes of coming up with a new generation of drugs to treat obesity. In addition to new drugs, scientists are exploring different diets and how they can be used to change hormone levels and promote weight loss. For example, a high-protein diet (30 percent protein) increases energy expenditure (how many calories the body burns during sleep and wake), satiety, fat burning, and ghrelin levels.
❑ There are many nutritional products available today that may aid in weight reduction, including the following:
• CelluRid from BioTech Corporation is an herbal product intended to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Ingredients include kelp, uva ursi, juniper berries, lecithin, milk thistle, and cayenne.
• Cravex from Natrol contains the herb Gymnema sylvestre, chromium picolinate, L-glutamine, and other nutrients intended to reduce food cravings, especially cravings for sweets. Obesity Considerations.
• Ripped Fuel from Twinlab contains a blend of bitter orange and St. John’s wort and has been shown to reduce body weight when used with a sensible diet.
Caution: St. John’s wort may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. It may also produce anxiety, gastrointestinal symptoms, and headaches. It can interact with some drugs including antidepressants, birth control pills, and anticoagulants.
• Ripped Fuel Extreme from Twinlab contains a blend of Acacia catechu and Scutellaria baicalensis with green tea extract. It has been shown to reduce body weight.
Caution: Green tea contains vitamin K, which can make anticoagulant medications less effective. Consult your health care professional if you are using them. The caffeine in green tea could cause insomnia, anxiety, upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.
• Everslender from Twinlab contains conjugated linoleic acid, shown to reduce body fat.
• Carb Intercept from Natrol has white bean extract, shown to promote weight loss. Obesity Considerations. It is thought to work by blocking the absorption of carbohydrates.
• Chromium picolinate such as the one from Nature’s Way has been shown to reduce body fat. Obesity Considerations.