Case Study: How a Fat Free Diet Can Make You Very Fat
Mary first came to see me because she wanted to lose weight. She weighed 160 pounds and wanted to get down to between 120 and 130 pounds, to be in a healthy weight range.
Mary was carrying most of her weight over her abdominal area, which made her an android body type. Her lower legs are very toned and muscular, as she is a dancer. Mary operates her own dancing school, and six days a week, for seven and a half hours per day she teaches. Mary was very frustrated, and couldn’t figure out why she was overweight, with all the exercise she does, combined with the low fat diet she had been following for five years.
Even more puzzling to Mary, was the fact that she had an elevated cholesterol level of 274mg/dL. Her triglycerides were also slightly high, at 168mg/dL. Mary also had some symptoms of excess male hormones, which included dark hair on her chin and scalp hair loss, in the male pattern.
A typical day’s menu for Mary was cereal with rice milk for breakfast, lunch would be a salad and ham sandwich on white bread, and for dinner she would have pasta with a tomato based sauce. Mary would drink glasses of fruit juice between meals, and snack on lollies. This is a very low fat diet, is low in protein and extremely high in carbohydrate, and this is where the problem lies.
Whenever we eat food that is high in carbohydrate, it causes a flood of glucose to enter our bloodstream. Some of the glucose will be used immediately for energy, and the rest will be stored. The hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas each time we eat carbohydrate, and it sends the glucose to where it is needed in the body. Some glucose is converted into glycogen, and stored in the muscles and liver for future use. However, our capacity to store glucose in this form is very limited. Therefore, insulin will act to convert the excess glucose into fat (triglyceride). The triglycerides can be stored on the body, and used to manufacture cholesterol.
Mary was found to have an elevated fasting insulin level of 15.2 mU/L, meaning her body was very efficient at converting the carbohydrate she ate into fat. A healthy insulin level would be below 10 mU/L. The irony is that insulin also suppresses the levels of the fat burning hormones in the body; glucagon and growth hormone. So all the exercise Mary did was not doing her much good. She remained overweight because her high insulin levels were keeping her in the fat storing, not the fat burning zone.
Firstly, I explained to Mary that she needed to change the way she ate. Each of her meals needed to contain first class protein, along with plenty of raw food such as salads. The raw vegetables would have a cleansing effect on her liver, and help it to burn fat more efficiently. Protein has a negligible effect on insulin secretion; hence her blood levels of insulin would start to come down.
I asked Mary to follow the 12 week eating plan in my syndrome X book. I gave Mary my liver tonic Livatone Plus, to improve the efficiency of her liver function. This was important, as the excess weight over her abdominal area had formed a “liver roll”.
Mary took a combination of herbs and nutrients in capsule form that help to improve the efficiency of insulin. These capsules are called Glicemic Balance. I also recommended a supplement specifically for her android body type. This formula contains herbs and nutrients to assist liver function, such as St Mary’s Thistle, Choline and inositol, as well as herbs with feminising properties, including red clover, hops and Dong Quai. These tablets helped her to lose weight from her upper body, and reduced the symptoms of excessive male hormones.
Mary was extremely pleased with her results. She found this way of eating satisfying, and it suited her busy lifestyle well. I had her cholesterol level re-checked three months later and it had come right down to 204ng/dL. Even more importantly, her triglycerides came down to 0.9 mmol/L and her blood insulin level was reduced to 79ng/dL. The fact that Mary is so physically active each day meant that her weight came off fairly quickly. She was able to reduce her weight to 121 pounds in approximately four months.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
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Kasim-Karakas S. E., Almario R. U., Mueller W. M. & Peterson J. (2000) Changes in plasma lipoproteins during low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets: effects of energy intake. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 71:1439-1447
Ginsberg, H., J.M. Olefsky, G. Kimmerling, P. Crapo, and G. M. Reaven. “Induction of hypertriglyceridemia by a low-fat diet”. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology (1976) 42: 729-735.