Weight Loss Advice on the Impact of What You Eat

In: Food and Drink

11 Mar 2011

Weight loss advice from experts usually starts off with a simple concept: burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. But, as we know, losing weight isn’t that easy. Many of us fail one weightloss program after another, even though we’ve truly followed them in earnest. The point here is that there is a critical issue that may be derailing your diet – the possible side effects of the food or medicine you consume. These negative effects can, without you noticing it, negate the positive benefits of a weightloss program .

Be Careful of Medicine Side Effects

The FDA recently approved a totally new drug, the first in nearly a decade for use in weight-loss. It combines the properties from a drug used for opium addiction with another used as an antidepressant. It is supposed to reduce food cravings and increase metabolism ( how quickly you burn calories). The drug’s known side effects, however, include insomnia, dizziness, and a heightened risk for high blood pressure levels. In controlled studies, patients on the medication lost roughly 5% more weight than patients who didn’t use the drug. This was barely enough to cross the FDA threshold for approval. The negative effects from the drug shouldn’t be ignored and have to be weighed against the value of taking the drug. Unfortunately most of us would ordinarily take the medicine and fail to read the side effect literature that came with the medicine – bad idea!

Be Careful of Food Allergies

When we try to diet we are usually told to eat nuts, which are a well-respected source of protein and a good source of essential oils. But eating some “diet” foods, for example nuts and vegetables could have a side effect, which negates weight reduction: food allergies. Everyone is aware of severe allergies to food for example those experienced by those people who are allergic to peanuts. There are hundreds of food allergies, however, that people are blissfully unacquainted with because they don’t cause a sudden allergic response. Unfortunately these milder allergic reactions can cause problems.

We respond to food allergies a lot like we do with all the common allergic reactions to airborne dust, pollen, or other irritants – a well-known fact of life for scores of “allergy” affected individuals worldwide. Allergen particles irritate the mucosal lining of the nasal and sinus passages causing runny or itchy noses, stuffiness, and sneezing. With food allergies, however, this occurs in the intestines.

The lining on the walls of the intestinal tract is covered by villi which, under the microscope, look like little fingers. These villi increase the expanse of the surface area which aids in absorption of food. The villi are covered by a mucusal layer which protects these delicate fingers from harsh stomach acids essential for food breakdown into nutrients. But this mucosal layer can become thick in response to an allergic reaction thereby retarding the absorption of nutrients. So, the food allergy causes your food not to be absorbed like it should. That might seem to be OK, but is unfortunately detrimental to a weight loss regime. Most of these programs depend upon maintaining a consistent metabolic level throughout the day by forcing the dieter to have meals or snacks at regular intervals. If those meals or snacks cause an allergic response inside the intestine, food isn’t absorbed, glucose levels drop, and metabolism levels are disrupted compromising the effectiveness of the program.

Fortunately, it is currently possible to test in excess of 200 foods using a simple blood test. The test gives you a list of foods that you are allergic to which might hamper weight loss as well as cause symptoms such as headache, stiffness of the joints, flatulence, abdominal pain, and numerous other physical manifestations from this allergic reaction.

So, a little weight loss advice before you launch into your next diet: Consider taking the blood test to find any food allergies you have. As always, read the small print on drugs you may be taking. Your next weight loss regime might then be well worth the effort you expect to put into it.

Dr. Smith has been in private practice for 30 years. He received his B.S. from the University of Illinois and his medical degree from the National University of Health Sciences. He holds postgraduate degrees in sports medicine, peer review, and manipulation under anesthesia. He has received numerous state and local awards and recognition, is a sought-after speaker and lecturer, and authored the book, “Choosing to Live a Stress Free Life”.

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