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Weight-loss or more accurately fat-loss is now a critical medical and health problem as much as a vanity problem. Anyone who is overweight or obese is at substantially greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes and numerous other chronic disorders. Everyone should be aware that the lifestyle choices we make are a far greater indication of the likelihood of developing almost all chronic disorders than chronological aging. Three or more of the following health problems could be signs of metabolic syndrome and are more than adequate reasons for seeing your doctor: 1. Waist size greater than 35” for women or 40” for men (31.5” or 36” for those of Asian descent). 2. Triglyceride levels of 150 or higher. 3. HDL Cholesterol of less than 50 in women and 40 in men. 4. Blood Pressure of 130/85 or higher (some doctors warn that BP above 120/80 consistently should be watched). Most of the evidenced-based medicine for the treatment, care and prevention of both metabolic syndrome and weight loss are the same and some of the simplest, easiest and quickest fixes for these problems are as follows: Don’t skip meals – Especially…Breakfast! While obesity is the leading cause of metabolic syndrome, even slightly overweight can lead to metabolic syndrome. Research suggests that breakfast helped women lose 40 pounds in 8 months. Exercise for a minimum 30mins daily! The ACSM recommendation for 30mins daily is adequate to prevent disease, but the IOM recommendation of 60mins daily is far superior to reverse disease and lose weight. Both aerobic and weight training is effective, though the combination of both is best. Cut Out Soda! Soda is wasted calories, 150 calories in a typical 12oz soda, 300 calories in the now popular 24oz bottles. One of these per day could mean a fat gain of nearly 1 pound/week. Even the no-calorie diet sodas still leech calcium from bones leading to osteoporosis. Snack on Sunflower seeds or other magnesium rich foods such as spinach, brown rice, wheat germ, black-eyed peas, lima beans and kidney beans. Diets high in magnesium can cut your risk of metabolic syndrome 31% by reducing triglycerides and blood sugar problems. 200 mcg. chromium and 400 mg of folic acid decrease risk up to 35% for similar reasons. Snack on Hummus! Hummus is made of Chickpeas that are full of cholesterol lowering fiber and has been shown to lower LDL as well as total cholesterol, Tahini: made from sesame seeds which is the richest food source of unique nutrients called phytosterols, known to reduce cholesterol,Cumin: an outstanding seasoning that delivers iron, the essential mineral necessary to transport oxygen to the cells, all cells, including heart cells (Oxygen is essential so the body can live, as well as burn fat as energy in the body. Lack of iron leads to anemia which presents as low energy levels),Garlic: a powerful anti-oxidant highly effective at preventing free radical damage leading to many chronic disorders) and Lemon Juice. Use fresh vegetables such as celery or carrot sticks or whole grain Pita bread to complete this highly nutritious snack. According to recent research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the key to healthy weight loss is pairing carbs with foods that prevent the release of insulin that will cause fat storage. This enables many of your clients to still eat some of their favorite foods. Examples: 1. 2 links of bacon or sausage combined with 2 waffles. 2. 4oz of sliced turkey, 2 slices of bread, a sandwich-sized slice of tomato, lettuce and onion. 3. 3oz of steak and 3 cups of mixed veggie stir-fry. Fat formation always results from either: 1. Avoiding carbs completely (leading to Ketosis) and usually occurs when you skip breakfast or other meals. This causes blood sugar to dip too low or 2. Consuming too many simple carbs at one sitting causing the release of insulin and rapid fat storage. Binge eating sends blood sugar too high! The goal should be to keep blood sugar within a narrow range called the Fat-Burning Mode. This is easily achieved by planning on eating smaller meals and snacks every 2-3 hours, limiting the intake of simple carbs, combining a protein source with carbs at every meal and increasing fiber in foods by consuming veggies, beans and whole grains. An example of meal timing could look like:
The best news for your clients is that the snacks can be anything they like such as simple carbs: chips, cookies or cakes as long as the snacks are kept between 100-200 calories. This ensures that you will not set off an insulin response that is sufficient to trigger fat storage. You would be correct that a healthy snack is preferable from a nutrition point of view, but simple carbs work better at keeping in the Fat-Burning Mode. Psychologically, your clients are more likely to adhere to this diet plan since they will not feel “the deprivation” felt in other diets that eliminate favorite foods. Even a glass of wine is allowed as a simple carb! Best regards, Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA