March 9, 2011

065 Obesity and Insulin [31 May 2010]

Last week I wrote about how carbohydrates - and particularly insulin levels - shorten our life. This week’s column will focus on how they expand our waistline.

Obesity is a serious health issue that affects nearly 30% of people in North America. The World Health Organization (WHO) website states: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight - at least 300 million of them clinically obese - and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.

We know what to do about the sedentary lifestyle – get off our backsides and exercise. I’ve previously written about the importance of exercise; today I want to focus on diet.

Dr. Tran Tien Chanh, a French medical doctor with degrees in nutrition, sports medicine and biology, has focused his research on nutrition and the treatment of obesity. He believes the underlying cause of most weight issues in a modern society is insulin dysfunction. A diet high in saturated fats, sugars and starches raises blood levels of insulin. Insulin also functions to transport triglycerides from the blood into fat cells. The presence of high insulin levels locks in the fat making it unavailable to be burned for energy. The high levels also cause a rebound effect where any lost weight is rapidly regained when we go off our diet.

So as long as our insulin levels remain high, trying to lose weight by exercise and dieting is frustrating to say the least. We are always hungry, craving forbidden foods, and yet still can’t lose that stubborn fat. Even if we are successful in losing weight, we are in danger of losing muscle mass along with the fat, something few of us can afford to do. No wonder to most people “diet” is a 4 letter word!

But there is good news. Based on his research in France, Dr. Tran Tien developed a weight loss program that deals with each of these problems. After the first few days the cravings disappear. Muscle and bone are preserved. Insulin levels are controlled making stored fat available for energy. Weight loss averages 3-4 pounds per week for women and 4-7 pounds for men. And best of all, the pancreas is reset so the pounds stay off. More on this program next week.

This program was developed in France 25 years ago and brought to Canada in 2002. I have been approached to make it available to the Rosetown area. What do you say? Anyone interested?

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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