Tongue Patch Diet

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, along comes something new and bizarre.  This fad is called the tongue patch diet.  The only place you can get this procedure in the United States is in Beverly Hills, California.  Dr. Chugay, the innovator of this strange weight loss procedure, is the main surgeon.

A piece of marlex (prolene), a synthetic material used in hernia repair, is sutured to the tongue with six sutures.  The marlex is left in place for one month.  The rationale for the one month period is the tongue tissue will begin to grow into the marlex pores if the mesh is allowed to stay on the tongue any longer.

During this one month period, the patient survives by drinking 800 calories a day in the form of a liquid diet which supposedly has all the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that you need to survive.  The patient will not eat solid food since eating solid food is too painful.  Therefore, the patch works by causing pain every time that the patient attempts to eat solid food.  Typical weight loss with this diet is 15 to 30 pounds in one month.  The patch can be as small as a postage stamp or large enough to cover most of the tongue.

Dr. Nikolas Chugay charges $2000 for this ten minute procedure.  Dr. Chugay defends performing this unusual procedure, which he first started doing in 2009, although other physicians are more critical of the technique.  Dr. Chugay argues that his procedure is considerably less invasive than any weight loss surgery including the lap band.  He has not had any known complications with this procedure.

There is always the possibility of an infection due to the foreign material, but there have not been any reported cases.

The big question is what happens with the weight after the mesh is removed.  As far as I know, Dr. Chugay has not provided any long term data as to the permanence of the weight loss with this procedure.  I can only guess that the patient starts eating poorly again, and regains his or her weight and then some.  I suppose the patient could have the procedure done again.

The procedure seems to be gaining popularity.  At least one clinic in Venezuela has started offering this controversial procedure.

Of course, I would not recommend having this procedure.  It makes more sense to eat wisely and exercise than it does to suture a piece of mesh to your tongue.  Local anesthetic is used for this procedure, and there is always a danger of an adverse reaction to any medication.  Therefore, you don’t want to expose yourself needlessly to medication.

Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and maintenance.


Green Tea for Weight Loss

Green tea has been around for a long time.  This type of tea has been credited with various physical benefits.  Among these benefits, green tea has been shown to help with weight loss.  If you are thinking of losing 20 pounds by next week, the green tea is not going to work.  If, however, you are interested in losing weight steadily and for the long term, then green tea may be for you.

Green tea helps burn calories and fat.  This is why some over the counter diet pills have some green tea in them.  When you eat fat and sugars, the level of triglycerides in your body increases.  Excess triglycerides turn into fat.  By stimulating a specific enzyme in your body, the green tea will help dissolve the extra triglycerides thus avoiding conversion to fat.

In addition, green tea has plenty of antioxidants.  These antioxidants help to increase your metabolism helping with weight loss.  A person’s metabolism will increase by 4% from the green tea on the average.  This means that you will burn about 100 calories per cup of green tea.  100 calories is not a huge number, but you can see how this number adds up over time.

There are other teas which also help with weight loss and maintenance like oolong tea, but this discussion is centered around green tea.

Other benefits that green tea promotes are an increase in heart health and liver health.  There is even some speculation that the green tea will help ward off cancer, and could even stimulate healthy cells to fight the malignant cells.  I should point out that the issue of helping with cancer is speculative, and more research needs to be conducted in this area.

Green tea also helps with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

The tea helps with glucose control, and may be of some benefit to people with Type I diabetes mellitus.  Another perceived medical benefit is improvement with arthritis.

The immune system also seems to improve with green tea.

Remember that some of the above benefits of drinking green tea are theoretical and not proven at this time such as helping to prevent or fight cancer.  What is known, however, is that green tea will help to increase your metabolism, burn fat, and suppress your appetite so that weight loss and maintenance are real benefits.

Drinking green tea should become a habit as the above benefits are maximized only if you drink the tea on a regular basis.  Avoid tea which has additives like sugar.  Don’t add any other substances to  your tea unless it’s something like lemon.

Substitute the tea for the soft drink or cocktail that you normally drink.  A tip that will  help you always have ready made tea to drink is preparing the tea ahead of time, and placing the brewed tea in the refrigerator so that it is ready to drink whenever you are ready.  Drink the tea three times a day.  Drink a cup in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one before bedtime.  You can substitute a decaffeinated tea for bedtime if caffeine keeps you awake.

As always, consult your physician before you embark on new regimen of exercise or diet.  Wishing you continued success in your weight loss and maintenance.

Short Exercise Routines

I have previously discussed performing aerobic exercises to improve cardiovascular health and to lose weight.  We are familiar with the more traditional forms of aerobic exercises which include running, walking and swimming to name a few.  The problem with these exercises is the time factor.  All of them take time, and often this is not a possibility as we all work, spend time with our families, and so forth.  There is a technique, however, that will allow you to perform aerobic exercises in the shortest amount of time and still lose weight and improve your cardiovascular condition.

One of these is the four minute cardiovascular workout.  This was originally pioneered by a Japanese trainer named Tabata.  He took college students and exercised them for a total of four minutes.  The students would perform a total of 7-8 sets of 20 second workouts until four minutes had elapsed.  To improve the results, the four minute workouts can be repeated one after the other as long as you rest no more than 10 seconds between four minute intervals.  You can pick any two exercises that appeal to you and alternate them every 20 seconds.  For example, you can pick stationary biking, and jumping jacks or situps and pushups or running and swimming.  As long as you are accelerating your heart rate for those 20 seconds, the routine will work for  you.

An alternative to the four minute workout is the Peak Fitness which is a seven minute workout.  In this situation, you perform eight sets of 30 second sprints with a 90 second recovery in between.  The elliptical machine and the recumbent bicycle have been used for this exercise, but you do not need to use any exercise equipment.  You can use your own body weight and the outdoors to achieve the same results.

Other types of exercise which meet the aerobic requirements for these short bursts are wall sits, step-ups (step on and off a chair or platform), squats, planks (front or side), and lunges.

There is also a variation on the seven minute exercise where you exercise for 30 seconds, but only rest for 10-15 seconds between sets.  Of course, this routine lasts for seven minutes.

The underlying theme of these exercises is accelerating the heart rate as much as possible, and fatiguing the body as quickly as possible so that the time spent exercising is minimal.

In addition to the usual benefits of exercise such as losing weight, improving diabetes and hypertension, and improving cardiovascular health, these exercise bursts have the added benefit of increasing human growth hormone (HGH).  HGH has been referred to as the youth hormone.

Remember that an appropriate diet is an essential part of your exercise routine.  You don’t have to deprive yourself of good food.  Just eat wisely.

Prior to engaging in any form of exercise, please get clearance from your physician.  Wishing you success in fitness and weight loss and maintenance.  Pablo

All Calories Are Not Created Equal

Like many diets, calorie counting diets have been popular off and on.  A calorie is a unit of measure that tells us what the energy content of a particular food or drink is.  The question then becomes, how many calories can I consume and still lose weight?  As a general rule, a woman must ingest about 2000 calories a day to maintain her weight.  If she wishes to lose about a pound a week, then she should consume about 1500 calories per day.  A man needs to take in 2500 calories a day to sustain his weight.  If he was interested in losing weight, then limiting his daily caloric intake to 2000 calories would allow him to lose about a pound a week.  This is a rough guideline, as the person’s starting weight and physical activity influence how fast weight will be lost by restricting the caloric intake.

A gram of fat has 9 calories, a gram of protein has 4 calories, a gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, and a gram of alcohol has 7 calories.  A quick glance at these values tells you that you can eat a gram of protein and a gram of a carbohydrate for a total of 8 calories or you can eat a gram of fat for 9 calories and drink a gram of alcohol for 7 calories giving you an intake of 16 calories.  This is an important principle.  I have said time and again that eating wisely is an important cornerstone of losing and maintaining weight.  You don’t have to starve yourself, but you are not likely to lose weight if you continue to eat poorly.

I won’t give you the high caloric food chart as you can easily find this information on the internet, but I think you understand what I am trying to tell you.

Fats can be divided into saturated and trans fats.  Saturated fats occur naturally in our bodies and are found in foods like avocados, eggs, and red meat.  Trans fats do not occur naturally in our bodies, and are found in foods like crackers, cookies and most snack foods.  Saturated fats increase your good cholesterol (HDL) while the trans fats increase your bad cholesterol, and lower your good cholesterol.  The trans fats can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease by narrowing your coronary arteries.  Trans fats can also lower your insulin production and increase your C reactive protein (a measure of the amount of inflammation in your body).

Therefore, the trans fats not only have more calories than protein and carbohydrates, but they can be deleterious to your health as well.  Ideally,  you should limit your intake of both the saturated and trans fats if you are trying to lose weight.

I am not advocating counting calories to achieve weight loss.  Like I have said previously, the best diet is the diet that you can sustain, preferably, for the rest of your life.  This includes making wise choices and eating the right foods.  Avoid fats, sugary drinks, foods with a high glycemic index, and processed foods.

There are several techniques that you can use to decrease your food intake without feeling like you are depriving yourself.  One way is to eat plenty of vegetables.  This will increase your fiber intake, and make you feel full.  The total calories are minimal so you don’t have to watch how many vegetables you eat.

Drinking plenty of water is another great trick.  This will help you feel full, and water doesn’t have any calories.

Use a smaller plate for your meals than you usually do.  Our mind is programmed to eat all the food on the plate.  If the plate is smaller, the portion size is smaller.

Eat at a dinner table with others instead of in front of the television by yourself.  If you are conversing, you will most likely eat less food than if you are “vegging” in front of the television screen.

Many of us enjoy alcoholic drinks.  Try to limit yourself to no more than two drinks a day, and even less if you can.

As with all diets, make sure that you receive medical clearance from your physician prior to starting a diet or exercise plan.  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if this post helped you with your weight management and maintenance.


South Beach Diet Side Effects

The South Beach Diet was developed by a cardiologist and proposes low carbohydrate and low fat consumption.  Like all diets, weight loss will occur initially.  Most people lose 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks.  Unfortunately, the weight will return if the diet is halted.  As I have said, many times, the best diet is the diet that you will be able to maintain for the long run.  The South Beach diet has many rules and is quite restrictive in its food list making long term adherence to the diet unlikely.

The diet is divided into phases.  Phase I lasts for fourteen days.  You are asked to avoid certain foods like bread, fruit, flavored yogurts and pasta in this phase.  You are also asked to avoid processed foods which is something that I agree with completely.  Vegetable consumption consisting mostly of onions, and tomatoes is recommended.  For the record, I have consistently advised increasing vegetable consumption on many occasions in order to have a healthy diet.  This is by no means a complete list of the foods for Phase I.

There is also a Phase 2 and a Phase 3 which each have their own specific food requirements as well.  According to federal government dietary guidelines, this diet is deficient in potassium in all phases which is a concern for some experts.

Dr. Agatston, the originator of the South Beach Diet, admits that people starting his diet are prone to fatigue and muscle aches (possibly due to the low potassium) initially.  He recommends drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding high glycemic carbohydrates.  The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate food will convert to sugar and then fat.  The higher the glycemic index number, the better the chance that the carbohydrate will convert to fat.  As a helpful hint, you can find out the glycemic index of any food on the internet.  Some foods have the glycemic index listed on the container or wrapper.

Constipation is also an extremely common side effect.  For this, Dr. Agatston recommends using Metamucil.

Some patients will experience, what has been termed, the South Beach Diet flu.  According to the South Beach Diet gurus, this “flu” is due to the body withdrawing from sugar.  The symptoms for this flu include strange behavior (feeling grouchy), fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.  For most people on this diet, the flu symptoms resolve after a few days.  For a smaller number of people, the symptoms may last for weeks.  In some rare cases, the diet has to be discontinued because of the symptoms.

Exercise is not necessary if you are on this diet.  I don’t agree with this recommendation as exercise will improve your health and improve your feeling of well being.

There do not appear to be any serious side effects from this diet.  The issue of heart health has concerned some dietary experts due to the food recommendations of the diet along with the lack of exercise.  The real question for the prospective dieter will be whether the diet can be maintained long term.

Weight loss and maintenance ultimately revolves around a change in lifestyle.  Eating wisely and exercising are the real keys to long term results.

Atkins Diet Side Effects

The Atkins diet was developed by a cardiologist, and embraces the idea of following a low carbohydrate intake.  The theory is that lowering carbohydrate intake will lower insulin levels which will cause the body to burn stored fat which, in turn, will cause weight loss.  The Atkins diet sounds like a good diet, but as I have said previously, a good diet is the diet that you are able to sustain indefinitely.  Unfortunately, for many of us, we start a diet which we follow for a short time, but are unable to sustain for any length of time.  We lose weight initially, but we gain the weight back again after we stop the diet.

I consider the Atkins diet to be a fad diet which means that it is precisely the type of diet which you will not maintain indefinitely.  Therefore, it may be better not to start the diet at all.  I understand that millions of people have initially lost weight on the Atkins diet, but besides being a fad, the diet may not be good for you medically speaking either.

Besides this diet, there are several techniques that you can use to help you eat less, and lose weight without having to engage in low carbohydrate intake.  One idea is to eat plenty of vegetables.  This is very important, and I have mentioned this in previous posts.  The vegetables will help fill you up and decrease your desire to overeat.  Drinking plenty of water is also a mainstay of successful diet modification.  Skipping meals is discouraged as this will just make you hungrier when you finally decide to eat.  Minimizing the number of foods with a high glycemic index, which will cause an insulin spike, is also beneficial.  I have covered high glycemic foods elsewhere, but some examples of these foods are bananas, and watermelon.  You can research the glycemic index of any food on the internet for further clarification on any food that you are thinking of eating.

With the Atkins diet, you are encouraged to eat protein foods like eggs and meat.  These foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Therefore, your LDL cholesterol is raised theoretically increasing your chances of heart disease.  Interestingly, some studies show that people on a low carbohydrate/high protein diet actually have decreased cholesterol levels initially after following the Atkins diet.  I don’t, however, know of any long term studies that have addressed this issue.

Eating large amounts of protein can worsen kidney function.  If you already have compromised kidneys, I would advise you not to follow a low carbohydrate/high protein diet.

Eating a high protein diet can cause you to urinate increased amounts of calcium.  This extra calcium in your urine can lead to urinary tract stones plus the continued calcium loss can lead to osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).

Other potential side effects include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, bad breath and skin rashes.

Avoiding carbohydrates altogether may not be the best way to go.  You can eat carbohydrates and still lose weight.  Carbohydrates are divided into two types.  One type is the simple carbohydrates which are quickly metabolized into sugar after ingestion.  You want to eat less of the simple carbohydrates if you are interested in weight loss.  The other type is complex carbohydrates.  This is the type of carbohydrate which is better to eat.  There are exceptions to the rule.

Bread, for example, has complex carbohydrates, but some breads are better for you than others.  Bread made with whole grains like oats, whole wheat, rye and barley are preferable.  Try to avoid white bread.

Fruits have simple carbohydrates, but are still good for you.  Fruit has fiber in it so the sugar breakdown is slowed.  Fruits where you can eat the skin are especially high in fiber like apples.  Again, be wary of the high glycemic foods like watermelon and bananas.

Sweeteners are a source of simple carbohydrates.  Examples of these are brown sugar, agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, and molasses.  I won’t even go into the white sugar because you already know that white sugar is bad.

Vegetables like sweet potatoes,squash, pumpkin, and peas are good sources of complex carbohydrates.

Popcorn (without butter or salt), quinoa, and brown rice round out the list of foods with healthy carbohydrates.

Remember that eating a low carbohydrate meal, whether it has simple or complex carbohydrates, can be bad for you if it comes in the form of packaged, already prepared food as these foods are full of preservatives, and processed ingredients.

You don’t have to avoid carbohydrates to lose weight.  Eat the right type of carbohydrates along with your protein, and you should lose weight.  Lifestyle modification, instead of stringent diets, is the ultimate answer.