Posts filed under ‘Weight Loss’

BMI – A Dangerous Standard

At this point, everyone knows that approximately 1/3rd of the U.S. population was declared obese practically overnight. But do you know why?

The answer is simple. The long standing and clinically proven actuarial tables correlating height, weight, bone structure and longevity were ditched in favor of an unproven theory called Body Mass Index (BMI) that was devised in the mid-1800s by a Belgian polymath during the development of something he called “social physics.” I don’t even know what that term means. The reason he produced the formula was to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. He specifically stated that is was not to be used to determine whether an individual was obese; he only intended it to be used for the study of large populations.

Here are some facts you should know about the BMI and what is wrong with it:

  1. The BMI calculation is very biased, specifically against taller people and people with lean muscle mass. The equation used to determine BMI is

BMI = 703 X mass (in pounds) / height2 (in inches)

Where 703 is the conversion factor from the metric to the American system. People with BMI values ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 are categorized as normal, from 25.0 to 29.9 as overweight, and 30 and above as obese. Here’s the issue: our bodies are 3-dimensional. So, as you get taller, the bottom value should be height3. However, the mathematician who devised the formula didn’t care for that outcome, so he fudged the formula. Kind of like the global warming scientists who “tweaked” the data to get the curve they wanted.

  1. Your mass in pounds is only a surrogate measure of body fat. It is only moderately correlated with body fat. One analysis concluded that BMI could only explain 44% to 58% of the variance in body fat, even after factoring in age.
  2. The BMI assumes that all people’s bodies are of equal composition. This is manifestly false. It doesn’t account for differences in body shape, relative bone mass and differences in density between muscle and fat. Physically fit individuals (who have a higher proportion of muscle tissue) will have a higher BMI and will be improperly categorized as “overweight” or “obese.”
  3. In the 1990s, the World Health Organization with absolutely no evidence reduced the upper limits of the BMI normal category from 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women to 24.9 for both sexes. Instantly, as many as 25 million Americans became overweight. Authorities never mention this change when they cite statistics claim that more Americans are obese than ever. Can you say “intellectual dishonesty?”
  4. Even worse, recent research that individuals classified as “overweight” (BMI from 25 – 29.9) have lower mortality overall. Yet, these findings are routinely ignored. As long ago as 2005, I was pointing out the problems with BMI, including the fact that the CDC is suppressing information about the BMI being too low for optimal health.

However, none of these facts now matter. In 2014, the government mandated that all electronic medical records must contain the patient’s BMI information. If the providers do not comply, they will have their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed. Of course, if you are classified as obese, your insurance rates will go up, and you may even be forced into taking toxic drugs to lower your BMI. Our obsession with body weight is the last acceptable prejudice.

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July 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Does Obesity Kill?

Do you believe that obesity “kills”? Or, that being overweight increases your health risks?  You certainly aren’t alone if you do – the current emphasis on controlling obesity, as a way to control “health care costs” is overwhelming.  However, I want to call to your attention a study you’ve probably never heard about.

On June 24, 2009, researchers at Statistics Canada, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and McGill University published a study in the online journal Obesity. The results were contradictory to what is considered common knowledge.  The finding?  “Underweight people and those who are extremely obese die earlier than people of normal weight, but those who are overweight actually live longer than people of normal weight.” (www.healthnewstrack.com/health-news-1606.html)

This study examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and death among 11,326 adults in Canada over a 12-year period.  The research found that underweight people had the highest risk of dying, and the extremely obese had the second highest risk. Overweight people had a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

This is not the first study to show this result.  An American study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed similar results. That study, however, indicated that the “ideal” BMI may, in fact, be too low.  I commented on that study when it first came out in an earlier blog post.

However, political correctness requires that the researchers decry their own results and warn people not to put on weight, since being overweight is horrendous.  So much for accepting the results of scientific studies!

Serendipitously, as I was writing this newsletter (on June 25, 2012), it was announced that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – part of the tangled bureaucracy created by Obama’s national health care act – has issued new recommendations that all patients be screened for obesity.  Furthermore, if a person is found to be overweight, they should be referred to “intensive counseling” for weight loss. The recommendations include:  more exercise, and low fat diets.  Furthermore, we now know, thanks to the Supreme Court decision on June 28, 2012, that we can also be taxed if we don’t comply with the government’s recommendations.  It’s pretty scary when you realize that the BMI is fatally flawed, and bureaucrats are imposing regulations based upon junk science and prejudice.  I can only hope that this bureaucratic monstrosity gets repealed, because this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Watch for upcoming newsletters wherein I will share more information about the negative impact of this law.

Even more alarmingly, the diet recommendation they endorse is faulty.  The latest review article on WebMD reports findings published in JAMA regarding low-fat, very-low-carb and low-glycemic-index diets.  Participants followed each plan for one month, consuming the same number of calories (1,600 daily).

  1. The low-fat diet included mostly whole grains, fruits and vegetables, where 60% of the calories came from carbohydrates, 20% from fats and 20% from protein.
  1. The low-glycemic-index diet included minimally processed grains, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats, where 40% of calories came from carbohydrates, 40% from fat and 20% from protein.
  1. The very-low-carb diet, modeled after the Atkins plan, was relatively high fat, where 10% of calories came from carbohydrates, 60% from fats and 30% from protein.

Those people following option 3, burned about 300 calories more a day than those eating a low-fat diet.  Furthermore, people using option 2, burned 150 calories more than those on the low-fat diet. Apparently, a low-fat diet slows the metabolism so that you don’t burn calories as effectively.

Other benefits of options 2 and 3 include better insulin sensitivity and improved cholesterol levels.  If you have been following my blog, you know that cholesterol is actually manufactured from excess carbohydrate in the diet.

Dr. David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston, points out that, while people often lose weight very quickly on either option 1 or option 3, they also tend to gain the weight back very quickly.  So, balance is the key and including adequate amounts of fat in your diet is crucial.  I have been recommending option 2 for many years.

Eating adequate amounts of high-quality fat is becoming increasingly difficult with the proliferation of “low fat” and “no fat” foods. You may notice that as Americans are eating less and less fat, the nation is getting heavier and heavier. If you are a label reader, as am I, you will note that low-fat or no-fat foods are loaded with carbohydrates to improve flavor and “mouth feel” – a totally arbitrary measurement established by the food science industry to make food more appealing to the consumer.

So, what is a person to do?  I have long recommended the Paleolithic (or “Cave Man”) diet which consists of unrefined carbohydrates, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, protein and adequate amounts of fat – particularly olive oil, avocados and butter.  Yes, butter.  There is an important component to fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are extremely valuable in controlling your blood fats (including cholesterol and excess triglycerides).  The highest sources of MCTs are coconut oil, olive oil and butter.  Forget margarine – a toxic, non-food that has only been consumed widely in the U.S. since World War I.  (By the way, the substance originated in France where Emperor Louis Napoleon II offered a prize to anyone who could make a satisfactory substitute for butter, suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes.)  Even the margarines that are “trans-fat free,” a relatively recent development, contain almost exclusively omega-6 fatty acids that are extremely inflammatory.  The American diet is loaded with omega-6 oils (corn oil, canola oil, soy oil), particularly since feed lots and farm-raised fish are fed corn meal.

If you would like a copy of the Cave Man Diet, please send a request, together with a large, stamped, self-addressed envelope (2 stamps, please), and we will be happy to send it to you. [clinic address]

July 14, 2012 at 3:34 am Leave a comment

Weight Loss — And More!

Now that the holidays are over and spring is on the way, you may be concerned about fitting into your shorts and swimsuit.  I am pleased to announce that we have just the thing to take off those unwanted pounds and, better yet, change your body shape and metabolism.

I first heard about the product last fall and wondered if it was too good to be true.  I purchased a “starter kit” to test it out and began taking it shortly before Thanksgiving. The results have been really stunning and we purchased a supply so that you, too, could benefit from this amazing formula.

A doctor friend and I shared the first purchase, since we both wanted to try it.  In just two weeks, she lost 8 lbs, taking 4 tablets per day.  I only took 2 per day, and I lost 4 lbs.  Since then, although I haven’t lost a lot of pounds, I have lost an additional 2 or 3 inches off my waist and hips, actually going down a whole pant size over about 4 months.  In addition, I am losing much of the abdominal fat that has dogged me for years. All of this without dieting, without working out, and without making what I was eating the focus of my life.  Like me, you, too, probably are too busy to integrate another time-consuming regimen into your life.

I have not yet had the opportunity to check out the other claims for this product, but they include:

1.         Lose an average of 28 pounds and 6” off their belly in just 10 weeks, with no change in diet or exercise habits.  This information was from a study in Lipids in Health and Disease, published in 2009.  (Since this is an average number, your results may vary.

2.         Experience improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

3.         Have more energy; more stamina and improved mood.

All of these changes are attributable to a new herb (Irvingia gabonesis) discovered in the forests of West Africa.  This herb resets your metabolism, allowing you to naturally resist the production of new fat cells.  There are 3 metabolic signals that Irvingia resets:  a)  it re-sensitizes your body to leptin (the hormone that shuts down hunger and signals our fat cells to burn as energy); b) it improves your sensitivity to insulin by up-regulating adiponectin); c) and it reduces the enzyme that turns blood sugar into fat (glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase).

I find it interesting that the mechanism for re-sensitizing the body to leptin involves reducing c-reactive protein (CPR) levels, a critical inflammatory marker that is also used as an indicator of cardiovascular risk.  The study hasn’t been done yet, but it may actually reduce CPR and thus reduce cardiovascular risk, as well.

The product is called Primal Lean and the dose is 2 per day (1 before breakfast and 1 before lunch or dinner, depending upon which is your largest meal).  A one-month supply costs only $56.50.

If you want to get started on a simple, straightforward way to improve many aspects of your health and wellbeing, call the office today and order a supply.

March 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm 2 comments

Healthy Permanent Weight Loss – Is It Even Possible?

UltraMeal™ is a medical food, suitable as a meal replacement or for weight-loss/maintenance programs. UltraMeal™ has been studied in comparison to over-the-counter products, specifically, Ultra SlimFast™, and the results are very interesting. The UltraMeal™ program, which was supervised by a doctor, lasted 10 weeks and consisted of 2 meal replacements per day, with one low-calorie meal of lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks of fresh fruit or vegetables. The Ultra SlimFast™ program was also 10 weeks, but was unsupervised, with no direction as to behavior and diet modification or exercise.

The results are enlightening: 64% of the UltraMeal™ group completed the full 10 weeks; whereas, only 42% of the other group saw the program through to the end. In those who completed the program, differences in endpoint data were analyzed. Both groups lost weight; however, the most striking difference between them was that the UltraMeal™ group lost a significant loss of weight as body fat, while the Ultra SlimFast™ group lost the majority of their weight from muscle protein, not body fat. The Ultra SlimFast™ group actually wound up with a higher ratio of body fat to lean muscle mass than before starting on the program.

The other notable difference between the two groups was that the Ultra SlimFast™ group showed a significant increase in thyroid stimulating hormone levels through the course of the program and indicating suppression of thyroid function while on the meal replacement. The UltraMeal™ group thyroid stimulating hormone levels remained normal. It is generally recognized that the inclusion of high quality, bio-available protein in a weight loss program minimizes the risk of neuroendocrine disturbances. A number of studies have confirmed that extremely low calorie diets induced a decrease in thyroid function. It is the body’s adaptation to a starvation state and conservation of what calories are available.

My take on this research is that UltraMeal™ is superior to any over-the-counter product because it allows for weight loss without loss of muscle mass. It also does not alter thyroid function, making it easier initially to lose excess body fat and then to keep it off.  Since you will have decreased your total percentage of body fat, you will also have an easier time maintaining your weight reduction.

I have an article from the Journal of Nutritional Medicine in my office containing all the data and references. If you would like all the details, send a SASE with the request for the “weight loss article” to the office, and we’ll send you a copy.

So, if you’re looking for a safe, proven weight loss program or simply need a quick, easy nutrition rich meal for breakfast or lunch, give us a call and order UltraMeal™.  A 14 serving container currently costs $31.00.

NB:  This is an update of an article first written in 2001.

January 24, 2008 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

Alli™ — Weight Loss Boon or Health Fraud?

I want to comment on the hype around Alli™, the newest, over-the-counter weight loss product.  I couldn’t believe it when it sold out all over the country on the first day of its release.  I would like to inject some sanity into the conversation.

Alli™ is a weaker version of Xenical™, a prescription medication that was introduced about 10 years ago.  I clearly remember the advertisements at that time:  A voice telling you “you won’t look like a supermodel,” while a picture of a model is clearly displayed on the screen.  Then, a picture of a pizza while the voice states, “of course, you can’t eat anything you want.”  And finally, in a very fast, tiny voice, the side effects, including fecal incontinence!  This was a masterful use of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP).  NLP is the study of how people’s brains process information.  The two important rules to apply to the foregoing ad are these:  i) Your brain doesn’t hear negatives; it literally edits them out. And ii) your visual cortex overrides your hearing.  So, the message being communicated is exactly the opposite of the words!!  Talk about misleading!

Now that the product has been around for a while, people are beginning to catch on the side effects, which include:  increased gas and flatulence, oily stools and greasy excretions from the anus.  The package instructions include:  you may want to wear dark pants until you know how this medication will affect you, and you may want to take an extra set of clothes to work!! Excuse me?  Why would anyone subject herself to this indignity?  I suspect because Alli™ is being presented as an “easy solve” to what is really a complex problem.

More seriously, as far as I am concerned, Alli™ blocks the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, E and D.  Given the recent research on vitamin D and the increased risk of cancer because of a deficiency state (see my article on this topic.  Click on “Cancer” under “Categories” on the right.), the drug companies are creating a market for their expensive chemotherapy drugs!  Sorry for the cynicism, but it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

The data on vitamin D is inescapable.  There is a direct relationship between serum vitamin D and the incidence of cancer of the breast, colon and prostate.  In fact, an animal study in 2006, linked the active ingredient in Alli™ to colon lesions believed to be the precursors to colon cancer. (Garcia S, da Costa Barros L, Turatti A, Martinello F, Modiano P, Ribeiro-Silva A, de Oliveira Vespúcio M, Uyemura S (2006). “The anti-obesity agent Orlistat is associated to increase in colonic preneoplastic markers in rats treated with a chemical carcinogen.”. Cancer Lett 240 (2): 221–4. Takayama T, Katsuki S, Takahashi Y, Ohi M, Nojiri S, Sakamaki S, Kato J, Kogawa K, Miyake H, Niitsu Y (1998). “Aberrant crypt foci of the colon as precursors of adenoma and cancer”. N Engl J Med 339 (18): 1277–84)  And, they want you to take this for life?!?

Last, but not least, the weight loss is nominal – only 5% of body weight.  So, if you weigh 250 lbs, you’ll lose 12½ lbs.  Great isn’t it?

A far better option is Coleus forskoli, which is in our herbal product Coleus Forte™.  The dose is two to three per day, based upon your response to the product.  A few people experience diarrhea, which can be handled by reducing the dose.  The side of effects of Coleus include:  lowering your blood pressure, improving your blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion, replacing body fat with muscle mass, inhibiting platelet activation (less clots), increasing the strength of contraction of your heart, while relaxing smooth muscle, and improving thyroid function.  The reason for these wide ranging effects is that Coleus acts directly to increase cyclic AMP, a major regulator of cellular metabolism.

Of course, you will have to watch your portion size and eliminate sugar and white flour (i.e., decrease refined carbohydrates in general).  But, that’s just a healthy approach to eating.  The only people who can’t take Coleus Forte™ are those whose blood pressure is too low to start with (people with severe adrenal problems) and those few people who find their gut becomes too irritable.  In my office, that’s less than 1% of the people who have tried it so far.

So, if you’re interested in a healthy approach to improving your body mass, call and ask for Coleus Forte™.  If you feel you need a more personalized program, you can schedule a consultation and I will be happy to create a personalized plan for you.

October 26, 2007 at 8:55 am 3 comments

Body Mass Index Invalid

Finally! The studies have been done, and it has been proven that the new American standards for obesity are unscientific and — in fact — wrong! The title says it all: “CDC Links Extra Pounds, Lower Death Risk.” (The link to the original article is: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/print?id=686831) I have been upset about this for the last three years, precisely because there was no scientific basis for the change. However, these findings have stirred up a lot of “politically correct” controversy. First, a bit of history: About 3 years ago, overnight, the government declared 1/3rd of the American public obese. This happened because a new standard was adopted by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) – the BMI, or Body Mass Index. I have tried to find the source data that triggered this change, but haven’t been able to locate any data. I believe the change was instituted because it created a new, government sanctioned, category of treatable disease — obesity related illness. The immediate effect was to make weight loss treatments (such as, gastric bypass surgery, for example) reimbursable procedures under many health insurance plans. Prior to the adoption of the BMI, target weights were based on actuarial tables from the life insurance companies, which correlated life expectancy with body weight and height. That standard also made allowances for bone structure. Large boned individuals’ ideal weight was higher than the average; petite-boned people were to weigh correspondingly less. No comparable studies on weight and its effect on life expectancy were ever done for the BMI standard. Well, now, such a study has been done. And guess what? The BMI standard does not correlate well with life expectancy. This means that the BMI is completely arbitrary, has no scientific basis and using it as a standard for your personal body weight will not improve your health or long-term life expectancy. In fact, doing so might actually be harmful, since the study found that people who were slightly heavier than their recommended BMI actually lived longer! The study was printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and reported by the Associated Press on April 20, 2005. The effect on the statistics for obesity is startling. In January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was estimating that 365,000 deaths per year were caused by obesity, making it the 2nd highest cause of preventable death in the U.S. That number was down from 400,000 last fall. The number was reduced after scientists inside and outside the agency questioned the figure, and the CDC admitted making a calculation error! However, the media and the government continued to hype the fact that 2 out of 3 American adults are overweight or obese and are at higher risk for heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The government, in particular, has spent millions of dollars promoting this message, because it represented a huge policy change. The new data indicate that obesity accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the U.S. This is a 14-fold decrease, making obesity the seventh, instead of the second preventable cause of death in the U.S. The causes of preventable death in the U.S. are now as follows: tobacco, alcohol, germs, toxins and pollutants, car crashes, guns, obesity, risky sexual behavior and illicit drugs. However, and this is the kicker, the CDC is not willing to make this information official, because of the controversy in the agency. And this, despite the fact that the study (and several recent smaller studies, as well) clearly demonstrates that people who are modestly “overweight” (according to the BMI) have a lower risk of death than those of “normal weight.” In my view, political correctness is the reason for the reluctance of the CDC to publicize their much vaunted “scientific” results. Let’s face it: Our culture is obsessed with thinness — to an unhealthy degree. Any data which contradicts the thought that “thin” equals “healthy” is simply too uncomfortable for many people to confront. No wonder we have so many eating disorders! In alternative medicine, we are constantly told that our therapies are useless, because we don’t have the scientific studies we need to validate our results. Now, the medical profession has such a study and is simply suppressing it because it doesn’t fit the preconceived culturally induced bias. This double standard makes me crazy! To me, it appears that your health is not important to the powers that be; being “politically correct” is the most important consideration. As we age, it is normal that we pick up some weight — it actually extends our life. So, don’t fret. Enjoy balanced meals, and try not to become absorbed by the notion that you must be rail thin in order to enjoy a happy and healthy life.

April 27, 2005 at 2:53 pm 3 comments


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