Friday, February 24, 2012

Weight Loss and Good Health; They Can Go Together!

We are a culture obsessed with esthetics. Everyone wants to lose weight and be thin to look like the models in magazines and stars on TV and in movies. The problem is, we as Americans are more concerned with the way we lookthen how healthy we are. If you treat your nutrition properly however, you can have both.

The amount of “diets” out there today to lose weight are growing on a daily basis. Some are nutritionally sound and some are seriously flawed. Most of them are short-term fixes for rapid weight loss with no concern for overall nutrition. Some purport to be healthy nutritional diets allowing weight loss while increasing nutritional competence. Most of them fail miserably at this.

Nutrition has gone through faddish times. During the early to mid 60s, which we’ll call the Atkins protein era, the emphasis was on a very high protein diet (usually to the expense of fresh whole vegetables, fruits and grains). There were many fortified foods that supplied the diet with increased amounts of protein. Not much attention was given to the source of the protein or the completeness of it either.

During the early to mid 70s the shift was made to carbohydrate-based diets. By the end of the 1970s, the focus of diets were extremely high carbohydrates, most of them complex, more fresh fruits and vegetables. This was a healthier alternative to the high protein situation. However, still not the most healthful diet.

By the mid 1980s the attention had shifted away from very high carbohydrates, to more moderate carbohydrate levels, complex carbohydrates, and more fresh fruits and vegetables. The USDA for the first time in 30 years changed their attitude of what constituted good nutrition by replacing the “four food groups,” (one of the groups being the dairy group, an absolute absurdity) with the “food pyramid.” Although the food pyramid falls short of absolute good nutrition, itcomes a lot closer to what the ideal should be

. A healthy diet must follow a healthy lifestyle and there are many, many opinions as to what constitutes good nutrition. As a participant in the University of Pittsburgh Medical School Weight Loss Study and having lost and kept off over 50 pounds for 20 years now, I feel that I’m an excellent spokesperson for the healthy diet.

Diets of whole foods are always preferred over diets that are composedof things that are not whole, or are processed or synthetic. A diet should be based mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables with the most complex carbohydrate coming from vegetable source. The protein component of the diet should be mostly from vegetable source with a minimum of animal protein and that animal protein being from good protein sources such as fin fish, shellfish and certain types of poultry. Occasional red meats can be eaten but they should be limited and small portions should be served.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the weight loss study through the thousands of people who have participated, it’s that eating less calories than your body actually requires to sustain its weight is the only way you can lose weight. Even when exercising sufficiently and burning many calories through exercise, unless you eat less calories than your body is going to expend on a daily basis you will never, ever lose fat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chiropractic Care Beats Medication for Neck Pain, Makes Headlines

New research published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and exercise more effective at relieving neck pain than pain medication.

The study divided participants into three groups that received either SMT from a doctor of chiropractic, pain medication (over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants) or exercise recommendations. After 12 weeks, about 57 percent of those who met with DCs and
48 percent who exercised reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group. After one year, approximately 53 percent of the drug-free groups still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain; compared to just 38 percent pain reduction among those who took medication.

The study, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and co-authored by ACA's 2011 Researcher of the Year Dr. Roni Evans, is making headlines across the country. The results of the study have appeared in AARP Blog, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, WebMD and "World News with Diane Sawyer" among other media outlets.