Better Body Clinical Nutrition


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WEIGHT – Part 1

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 12:47 PM

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Weight is a subject that is talked about everywhere and many of us follow different programs in an attempt to lose some pounds. While there are many factors that can interfere with the body’s ability to shed pounds, I will attempt to give some information that may help understand this possible issue better. 

The percentage of overweight children and adolescents in the US has nearly tripled since the early 1970’s.  More than one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 are now considered overweight.  About 17% of them are obese and about 1/3 of US adults.   During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and poor performance. When you look at solutions that are proposed by different programs the emphasis is mostly on children and preventing obesity, there’s not a lot of solutions for adults. In the Washington Times, they mentioned that in South LA there were about 400 Fast Food restaurants and only a few grocery stores.  Studies showed that access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables was limited to nonexistent in some areas of the country. They propose some simple initial steps to take at home which are to turn off the TV, prepare nutritious meals and engage in simple exercise but that’s often easier said than done and it does not give you a lot of explanation for how you would do that. That’s why I do what I do.  I can help and much can be done through nutritional education.

There are many different kinds of diets being promoted out there with limited workability and very few have long-term results. Let’s talk about the Low Carb diets; First of all there are Complex Carbohydrates (Carbs) and there are Simple Carbs. So, you want to know which is which. A carbohydrate contains carbon (carbo) and water (hydrate). A simple carbohydrate is a manmade concoction meaning it was processed or changed by man thru different processes. An example is white flour, it is stripped of the germ to make it lighter and to preserve it longer, it is put thru heavy grinding to make it very fine which again makes lighter for breads or pastries, and it is bleached to make it white.  And when we talk about Enriched Flour, there’s hundreds of chemicals that qualify that could be and are added to flour which they call enriched. These ingredients are added to improve the rising and fluffiness of the bread or pastry you’ll make with it and increase its shelf life. Traditionally the homemade breads of our grandmothers were very heavy and filling, nothing like our fluffy breads of today. And they did not last a few weeks, but a few days, nor did the flour. These simple carbs are hostile to life because they are stripped of their bodybuilding nutrients, they no longer contain the part of the food that would build, feed and/or repair the body. Eating simple carbs or empty carbs (also called empty calories) actually depletes the body’s own reserves of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. That’s because a complex carbohydrate as it exists in nature untouched is linked together with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein, fat and fiber.   All these build the body and help digestion and are needed together. A simple carb becomes a simple carb by being stripped of these other elements and so the body, in order to digest it and use it has to put back the vitamins, minerals, etc. and takes it from our body’s reserve. Now over time when our body’s reserves get depleted, we start to have health issues. Examples of simple carbs are – Starch (corn or potato) white sugars and corn syrup, fruit juice (freshly squeezed is ideal and you should drink it diluted), white four in breads, bagels, croissants etc.  White rice, pasta, chips (because it is highly processed, and potato is a very starchy vegetable and so is corn). 

Complex carbs are Vegetables (raw is recommended or if it is preferred cooked should be very lightly steamed or fried at low temperatures) legumes, whole grain (properly prepared), brown rice, beans. About 40% of your daily calorie intake should be unrefined complex carbohydrates. That means a lot of vegetables and more vegetables.   Even though whole grains and rice are complex carbs, in our modern society we have a new situation where these foods have been modified, meaning they’ve played with the genes to change it at the seed level and the grains we have today are not the grains we had in the traditional old days and many people are developing sensitivities or allergies to these grains, so we have to be aware of this and not over consume these. In the clinic when we test our clients, if they have sensitivities to a grain it shows up and they have to stop eating it or sometimes all of them for at least 90 days, then we retest.   Also, I mentioned earlier that they have to be properly prepared, and this is a separate subject entirely but basically a grain has to be soaked or sprouted in order to aid digestion. 

Today’s population eats way too many simple carbs, do you think it may explain the increase in the percentage of overweight and obese people in our country.  So, to wrap up the Low Carb diet, when you look at the Atkins diet, it’s all fine as long as you stay away from the Atkins bars which have sugar in them. It is very hard today to find prepared food that does not contain some form of sugar or preservative. Any word you see in the ingredients that ends with –OSE is a form of sugar. So, eating meat (in small quantities) and your vegetables is still the simplest and best thing to eat. We have a lot of fancy foods being made and sold today but the best is still what our grandparents ate (meat and veggies). So, you want to stay away from simple carbs.

To be continued in next post.

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