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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Last Item on the Menu

You’ll forgive me my sisters if I spend one more glorious week on the subject of weight loss. As my sisters know I’ve spent the month as a health pusher – speaking to the masses about my new pet project and I have one more blog in me, so to speak about the subject.

It has been a journey of sorts and I have learned a lot…. From what outfit looks best on camera to the variety of attitude out there towards the whole weight loss field.

I have learned that this can be a very polarizing subject. People are very territorial when it comes to the nature of their diets. I am asked time and time again about what is the best way to lose weight….

What has struck me most after over a decade in the field and a lifetime as a patient is that I do indeed believe we all lose weight differently. I think what works for some may not for another but that the key to any long term success be it in the pursuit of health or the pursuit of a perfect black dress- is TENACITY. You have to stick with something fashion or otherwise for it to indeed make a difference.

The New England Journal of Medicine published and article in July 2008 about a study looking at weight loss based on three different diets. In a 2-year trial 322 moderately obese patients were randomized to one of three diets: A Mediterranean based diet, a low fat diet and a low carbohydrate diet. At the end of 2 years, they counted the pounds….

The rate of adherence during the diet study was 95.4% at 1 year and 84.6% at 2 years. The Mediterranean-diet group consumed the largest amounts of dietary fiber up 10 14 grams per day and had the highest ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat  (good fats/bad fats) compared to the two other groups. Of course the low-carbohydrate group consumed the smallest amount of carbohydrates and the largest amounts of fat, protein, and cholesterol.

Over the two-year period, the low fat group lost on average 2.9kg. The Mediterranean diet group lost 4.4kg and the low carbohydrate group lost 4.7 kg.  Of the 272 participants who completed the trial the mean weight losses were 3.3 kg (low fat), 4.6 kg Mediterranean), and 5.5 kg (low carb), respectively. This was a difference of about 1kg between each diet.

I know… I sound like a buzz kill. That could not be farther than my point. I have never been a fan of “what’s the point” medicine. The point here is that NO diet reigns supreme.

Obesity is far more complex a disease than just picking a way of eating and sticking to it. If that were the case than most of these dietary studies would show much more significant weight losses. And understand that the New England Journal is one OF MANY!!

They key here is that there is no perfect diet….

We need to find a lifestyle that allows us to focus on content of food and healthy parameters when it comes to portion sizes. I know I am being vague but let’s take the Mediterranean diet for example. In this NEJM study- participant on the Mediterranean diet consumed about 15 grams of fibre per day.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2006, Participants who consumed 10 grams of fibre per day had a relative reduction of cardiac death of 14%. To me, that’s worth a bit of extra Spinach in my day…

I think the key, my girlfriends is for us to look at our diets and see where we can “tweak” things to make the outcomes better. If there’s anything the 80’s taught us- it’s that we can all learn from our mistakes.

Fad diets, like hemlines will come and go and I suspect we will never agree on a supreme program for anyone for weight loss….

That being said, my girlfriends, an accessory can make an outfit  just like a nutritious experience can do a body good.

We talk a lot in our environment about “alternative energy”… But I must admit, my girlfriends I am a fan of the vintage approach in fashion and in fitness. I say return to the old school of things when fruits and vegetables were our biggest form of fibre and fewer things came in a package. The science supports a benefit and hell; it might even be cool someday. 

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