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Friday, July 15, 2016

Weight Loss -- What Doesn't Work

Obesity leads to increased risk of heart disease, decreased mobility, and shortens life.  Many of my patients are overweight or obese.  Most want to lose weight, and as a doctor, I want to help.

I've seen patients who are successful at losing.  Unfortunately, I see more lack of success.

Here are some well-meaning ideas that may sound like they would work for losing weight, but unfortunately don't.

Juicing
Joe Cross of "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" fame went on a 60-day juice fast, making his own juices from fresh fruits and vegetables.  He lost 100 pounds and was able to come off all his medications.  Unfortunately, in practice, none of my patients who have started juicing have lost weight -- in fact, most have gained weight.

How do you gain weight while drinking juice?  There are a few reasons that might be the case.  Juice as a liquid may not be very filling, without the fiber that comes with the fruits and vegetables.  Also, one might use the excuse of "juicing" to justify dietary splurges..

Garcinia Cambogia
Dr. Oz featured it on his show.  Lots of people bought it.  Many of my patients took it.  None of them lost weight.  Then Dr. Oz got sued.

Big Goals and No Plan
One patient, who weighed in over 300 pounds, told me he had a plan to lose 100 pounds before his next visit in six months.  I asked him how, and he told me that he was determined and he would just do it.  At his return visit, he was 20 pounds heavier.

10,000 Steps
These days, everyone has a fitness tracker, which makes it easier to set an activity goal for the day.  However, those counted steps can inappropriately justify bad food choices, and may not be done at an intensity to build fitness and improve metabolism.

The Subway Diet
Jared Fogle became a celebrity back in 2000 after he lost 225 pounds by eating almost exclusively from the Subway restaurant near his home.  Somehow, eating at Subway is still believed by some to lead to magical weight loss.  Jared lost his weight by eating a six-inch sub for lunch with a bag of chips, and a footlong sub, no snacks, no cheat meals.  There's nothing mystical about Subway's food -- Jared just ate less.

So, what works?  The old tried and true standard -- a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and regular exercise.

3 comments:

Dr. Allan Kalmus said...

Very well said. Allow me to elaborate:
http://www.pbnsg.org/weight-management/2015/9/28/mbrl0tij8ab9p7ssm0by6ecizahq6o

Patrick OBrien said...

Great blog. You seem like you are largely science-based in your approach to healthcare. I'd love to get an appointment with you, but it seems you have pretty limited hours for new patients. Any chance you'd be willing to bend the rules and schedule a new patient late in the afternoon (or early in the morning)? I'd be happy to schedule it months out if necessary for your schedule.

VeganHeartDoc said...

Patrick, I would be eager to see you as a new patient in my office. My schedule is booking out a few weeks because I follow many patients. Unfortunately I can't bend rules and see patients later or earlier, as I have hospital procedures and patients to round on when I am not in my office. Please call 818-848-0023, and I think my staff can work to find a date and time when we can meet up for a consultation.