A Healthy Diet for Weight Loss

Published on July 3, 2013 by

Whether you live in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere else in the United States, understanding the processes that lead to undesirable weight gain and diet resistant parts of the body is basic to understanding wellness and longevity. The “fat cell” (adipocyte) is the storage site for our body fat. We are all born with a given number of fat cells and they increase in number through normal growth and development. Heredity plays a role in the number of fats cells we start out with, however, events occur that have a very strong and adverse effect on that number. Diets, including the comfort foods Dallas residents were raised on, and hormones are two of the strongest and most common adverse events that we all deal with.

Studies show that diet, exercise, and hormones play a key role in controlling undesirable fat metabolism. They not only contribute to improved surgical outcome with liposuction, but also are the pillars for wellness and longevity. Having an elevated fasting insulin is something that virtually all of our patients seeking liposuction share. It doesn’t matter if the patient is from Dallas, Oklahoma City or New York City. There is great significance to an elevated insulin level in regard to fat metabolism. The effects of hyperinsulinemia can be summarized as follows:

  • excess calorie consumption
  • weight gain
  • increased stored fat
  • increased cortisol secretion
  • increase in free radicals
  • increase in “bad” eicosinoids
  • increase “binding” / decrease production of testosterone (male and female)
  • increase “binding” / decrease production of growth hormone

Obviously, these negative metabolic effects not only promote weight gain and undesirable body contours, they are also major obstacles to wellness and longevity. Fortunately, the most powerful influence on insulin level and the best method of controlling these undesirable metabolic effects is simple; diet. But, which diet is the best?

For approximately 20 – 25% of the American population, it really doesn’t seem to matter what they eat. Weight, lean body mass, insulin levels, hormone levels, and body contour seem to remain in balance and unaffected. However, for the rest of us less fortunate, there is a very direct correlation between our diet and loss of wellness and weight gain. So, what diet should the rest of us follow?

The undesirable effects of hyperinsulinemia can be reversed with a diet consisting of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat administered over five meals (three meals and two between meal snacks). A reduction in total daily caloric intake (2500 cal to 1500 cal males, 2000 cal to 1200 cal females) is achieved without hunger if meals and snacks are evenly dispersed over four hour intervals with each meal and snack containing the recommended 40:30:30 ratio.

This dietary strategy is known as “The Zone Diet” and has been widely written about by Dr. Barry Sears. I became convinced that it was more than the latest “fad” diet when I saw studies (one in competitive swimmers and one in diabetics) each showing impressive outcomes with two completely different patient mixes. I immediately wondered if the varied results in liposuction / body contour patients might not be under the same influence of these metabolic processes. A conversation with Dr. Sears confirmed his opinion that at least 75% (if not all) of liposuction patients were hyperinsulinemic.

The greatest problem we have encountered with “The Zone Diet” is patient compliance. That can likely be said of all diets, but finding time during a busy workday to locate and eat the correct foods is challenging.

A well-accepted diet for female patients with higher compliance has been the “South Beach Diet”. Food preparation and choices are well described by the authors. Men continue to do well with “The Atkins’ Diet”. However, this no carbohydrate unlimited calorie diet is unforgiving for anyone willing to “sneak” a few “carbs”. For patients wishing to pursue this diet, we recommend using the standard Atkins diet for 3 – 4 wks and then switching to a “modified Atkins” which reduces calories and introduces some complex carbohydrates. In all of these low carbohydrate diets, the “whites” (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, sugar) are virtually eliminated.

I no longer believe that the existing standard in body contouring procedures rests solely in the surgeons familiarity with techniques such as ultrasonic liposuction, tumescent liposuction, liposculpture, or syringe liposculpture but rather in his ability and willingness to direct his patients toward life-style changes that will improve their fat metabolism and contribute to their overall wellness. If your surgeon is not advising you of these life-style changes, it is MY opinion that YOU should seek a second opinion.

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    Dr. Steve Byrd

    Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

    To visit our office use address:
    9101 N Central Expy #560
    Dallas, TX 75231

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    9101 N Central Expy #600
    Dallas, TX 75231
    Tel (214) 821-9662
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    The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic SurgeryAmerican Society of Plastic Surgeons