2014 Cheers to a Healthier You; Dr. Samadi’s Prescription for Health

   March 25, 2014   

Author: Jeff Martinez

Obesity is a growing global epidemic, representing a serious public health problem. In the United States over one third of people are obese and therefore at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, just to name a few. Not only negatively impacting ones personal health, obesity represents a major economic burden, with estimates of obesity related costs exceeding 110 billion dollars annually.

With the New Year around the corner, it is the time of year to make resolution for the next. In the US, the majority of resolutions every year revolve around health improvement: be it exercising more, eating less or finally smoking that last cigarette. Unfortunately, these are also the most often broken resolutions. To increase your odds this year we looked at the medical literature for proven ways to boost your metabolism.

First, studies show it is best to avoid diets. Fad diet which require dramatic changes in behavior often fail to providelong term solutions. Experts suggest, instead of eating less, eat more nutritionally-dense food to keep you full longer. Restricting food will actually make you feel hungrier thereby causing your metabolic rate to decrease. Additionally, avoid processed refined carbohydrates and increase your fiber intake; this will allow you to feel fuller longer, while providing valuable health benefits. Fiber can also increase your ability to burn fat by as much as 30%. Studies show that those who eat the most fiber gain the least weight over time. Ideally, you should aim for about 25 grams/day, which is about 3 servings of both fruits and vegetables.

Exchanging carbohydrates for protein is another key to weight loss. Protein is needed to maintain lean muscle, which in turn increases your metabolic rate. It is recommended that you eat approximately 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of your body weight. Make sure to choose healthy lean proteins like fish, chicken, or turkey. Also avoid adding extra fat when you cook. For example, frying a 3.5 ounce portion of chicken verses grilling it adds an extra 120 calories to the meal. Over the course of a year, making this change with dinner every night could result in over 12 pounds of weight loss.

Countless studies have also touted the importance of eating breakfast, advertising the meals ability to jump start your metabolism and increase your energy levels all day. One study found that breakfast-skippers are 4.5 times more likely to be obese. Another study found that people who consume hearty breakfasts (22-55% of total daily calories) only gained 1.7 pounds over 4 years versus those who consumed only 0-11% of total daily calories who gained 3 pounds.

What you drink is also important in determining your metabolic rate. Increasing your water consumption to 6 cups a day can raise your resting metabolism by approximately 50 calories a day. Also drinking 2 caffeinated beverages a day can raise your metabolism 5-8% a day. Choose low calorie beverages such as coffee or tea and avoid sodas, which are high in sugar and calories.

Overall it is important to not go at it alone. A study, recently published in New England Journal of Medicine, found that people who were held accountable to a weight loss plan, either by coaches or web based support, did better than those who tried to lose weight alone. So I leave you with this, find someone to partner with; with the support of a member or friend, patients tend to be more successful at achieving their weight loss goals.

2014 Cheers to a Healthier You; Dr. Samadi’s Prescription for Health
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