Sunday, October 31, 2010

FDA 3 Diet Drugs 0 or Three Strikes and You Are Out!

The FDA has been busy the last three weeks.  It has recalled one diet pill and turned down approval requests for two others.  All three had scary side effects that made the benefits of taking them questionable. 

 FDA Rejects Arena’s Weight Loss Pill, Citing Tumors in Rats

Abbott Labs Recalls Meridia from Market on Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

FDA Rejects Qnexa

Hmmm, would I trade cancer for weight loss?  Well, once I am on chemotherapy for the tumors I got from a diet pill, I guess I would lose weight!

I had a client a couple years ago whose doctor put her on Meridia.  She complained almost immediately of racing heart symptoms.  No wonder that one got pulled for risk of heart attacks.

Decades ago, my mother went to the doctor for some diet pills.  Those were the days of amphetamines.  She lost a little weight, mostly because she was vacuuming the house at 500 miles per hour.  In the end, she didn't like that feeling of racing through her errands and chores.  No wonder it was called speed.

These recalls and denials are a reminder that there is no easy answer to weight loss.  There is no magic pill.  Even Alli has some creepy side effects.  The best, healthiest and safest way to lose weight is to lower your calorie consumption and raise your exercise level.  Eating healthier foods--less processed food--helps a lot, also.

The last article I found this week compares the cost per pound of different diet methods, from Jenny Craig to Lap bands to the plain old fashioned diet.  Turns out the plain vanilla diet SAVES you month per pound!  Check out that story here.

Cost Per Pound Comparisons of Alternative Weight Loss Methods

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Rutgers Study Shows High Protein Diet Helps Limit Bone Loss

I know it seems like every week there is a new study that tells you what you thought was good for you to eat was actually bad for you and vice versa.  A new study offered at the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research indicates that a higher protein diet for women, when calcium and and vitamin D were held constant, resulted in less bone density decline.

What I liked about this study was its size and length.  Forty-seven women participated for a year.  The size is statistically significant and the duration was long enough to measure real effects.  Many studies that get into the news have fewer than 25 subjects and last as little as 12 weeks.  I think this offers credible evidence that particularly as women approach menopause and begin to experience hormonal changes that can affect nutrient absorption and bone density, increasing the level of protein as a percentage of total calories is important.

This isn't a permission slip to eat at Texas Roadhouse three times a week, but yet another observation, that the typical American diet, which is laden with more carbohydrates and fat than protein, needs to be tweaked to include more protein in the mix to stay healthy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Could the Amount of Sleep You're Getting Affect Your Weight Loss?

Reuters published a news release yesterday about a small sleep study with overweight people in the UK. The study indicated that amount of sleep may be a factor in weight loss. All the participants lost about seven pounds over the course of the short study. However, those who slept 8 and a half hours burned more fat and those who slept 5 and half hours burned muscle. Though the amount of sleep a person needs varies by the individual, it makes sense to me that when embarking on a lifestyle shift that includes diet and exercise, sleep should be a consideration, also, toward improved well being over all.

Sleep Loss May Thwart Dieters’ Fat Loss

Monday, October 4, 2010

When Your Diet Isn’t Working and News from Sheraton

There are times when your diet stops working, which is called a plateau, when you have to shake something up to continue your weight loss. Frequently changing the type of exercise you are doing or changing when and what you are eating can break a plateau.  But what do you do if you are genuinely reducing calories and exercising and you are seeing no results when you are just starting your diet?  This article reviews these situations, which could be driven by prescription medication, or a low performing thyroid, among other issues.  I think it offers interesting information about what could be going on for you when your diet’s not working.

Sheraton Hotels, recognizing that road warriors don’t eat, sleep, exercise or relax the way they do at home, has designed a new health and fitness program to be offered in all of its hotels worldwide.  Here is the story on the new program:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Health and Vitality Through Energy Medicine

Article first published as Health and Vitality Through Energy Medicine on Technorati.

Is it possible for the average person to improve his or her health through personal manipulation of acupuncture points?  According to Donna Eden, author of Energy Medicine, the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!”  Presenting as a keynote speaker, along with her partner, David Feinstein, at the Teton Wellness Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Eden described their mission to bring energy medicine to the public, offering tools to help any individual.

For nearly 5000 years the Chinese have been practicing medicine based upon the principles of energy channels, or meridians, and that physical or emotional distress may be treated by opening blockages or disruptions of energy along these meridians within the body.

Eden speaks from experience.  She has multiple sclerosis and at one point in her life, barely walked for two years.  She says that when her doctors told her that she would die of her condition, she gave up on Western medicine and searched for an alternative. Through Touch for Health Kinesiology she recovered fully and now teaches these techniques, and others. 

In a lively, nearly three-hour presentation to over 200 attendees, Eden and Feinstein used members of the audience to demonstrate the physiological impacts of stress, anxiety and overwork in the strength of our bodies, and then taught pressure point practices to relieve these energetic impacts to improve alertness, vitality and strength.
Although Western medicine is critical of Traditional Chinese medicine because clinical assessments of its effectiveness remain elusive and it has been described as pre-scientific.  However, Western medicine has its own limitations in the diagnosis and treatment of many autoimmune diseases and cancer.  Quantum physicists assert that the smallest particles of creation, sub-atomic particles, have both wave-like behaviors of energy and particle attributes of matter.  In that context, to use and adjust the body’s energy to the benefit health and wellbeing and avoid disease would be a remarkable skill.