YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER THE SECTION OF THIS WEB SITE WHICH GIVES SOME EXAMPLES OF DIET PLANS. THOUGH THESE ARE BASED ON SOUND NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE, THEY ARE PROVIDED FOR INFORMATION ONLY AND WEIGHT EXCHANGE, INC., ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY USE THEREOF. INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES VARY WIDELY. UNLIKE LABORATORY-BRED WHITE RATS, HUMANS ARE ALL VERY DIFFERENT AND DISTINCT IN THEIR PHYSIOLOGICAL AND METABOLIC RESPONSES. THEREFORE ANY SEVERE DIETARY PROGRAMME NEEDS TO BE ADJUSTED TO THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL, AND THIS CAN BEST BE DONE UNDER THE CARE OF A COUNSELLOR OR HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER WITH SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING. BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE EXAMPLES, YOU MUST READ THE FOLLOWING.
 

The dietary treatment of weight problems and obesity.

As with any type of treatment which is designed to have an impact on your health, it is essential that you have a full understanding of the benefits and risks which may be associated with the treatment, and that you consent to undergo the treatment with full knowledge of all the positive and negative aspects.

The purpose of this section is to outline these benefits and risks in terms which you understand fully. If there is anything unclear to you after you have read it, then you should contact a health care professional to have it explained to you until you understand it. Or, you or your chosen health care professional may e-mail us for clarification of any points that appear obscure, but understand that we cannot supervise your dietary treatment from a distance! Once you understand all about the benefits and risks, then you should reveal all pertinent facts about yourself which could affect the results of a dietary weight loss programme to the supervisor or Counsellor of your proposed diet programme. If this is not your doctor, then you may have to demonstrate to the supervisor that you have obtained the approval of your doctor, and confirm that you accept any benefit or risk of the programme as your own responsibility.

The fact you must know before you even start is that simply reducing your intake of normal food, or starving yourself, is not a diet. It is no biological coincidence that consuming about 1800 - 2200 kilocalories of sensibly-chosen conventional foods provides about the right amounts of both macro- and micro-nutrients to ensure good health (thus protein, carbohydrate, fat including essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals). Simply reducing food intake without making allowance for the reduced intake of essential nutrients may expose you to deficiencies, some of which may be rather horrible (see other sections of this web site for some examples), and is quite likely to cause a loss of lean body mass, which you will never recover. Going further, and just starving yourself, is worse, and could kill you!

The next thing you must understand is that being overweight, even by only a few pounds, will reduce your life expectancy; for every 10% over your ideal weight, statistics show a reduction in life expectancy by at least one to three years! The reason for this is that overweight or obesity intensify, or predispose to, many medical complaints, some of which are serious and can be life-threatening:


Risks of Overweight and Obesity

Cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, strokes (associated with hypertension), varicose veins, heart failure.

Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus (adult onset type), hyperuricaemia and gout, disorders of lipid metabolism (including high blood cholesterol levels), gall bladder disease.

Hormonal disorders, such as disturbances of the menstrual cycle, hirsutism, and a possible relation to endometrial and breast cancer. Reduced libido may also occur.

Mechanical disorders, such as the aggravation of arthritis, hiatus hernia, constipation, skin irritation (particularly at folds, sometimes with infections).

Some types of renal disease (sometimes due to the effects on the circulation).

Respiratory disorders.

In addition to the above, weight problems increase the risk of surgical procedures (obesity increases the technical difficulty for the surgeon, increases the incidence of side-effects from the anaesthesia, and predisposes to post-operative complications). Furthermore. overweight and obesity result in social problems, and also result in an increased accident risk.


Benefits of successful weight reduction

The benefits of successful weight reduction are that any weight-related disorder will improve, and some may disappear completely. Statistics show, for example, that after successful weight reduction, life expectancy is restored to normal values, provided you do not "yo-yo". There is some evidence that the benefits of weight reduction diminish with each cycle of those that "yo-yo" (meaning those who lose weight, then regain it, then lose it again, and continue doing so in cycles). The reason for this is explained elsewhere in this web site.

You should be aware that there are several methods of weight reduction. You can take various drugs (Prescription or Over-The-Counter) to suppress appetite or hunger, but these do not work well and often have side-effects; you can use Dietary Supplements that have been shown to be effective in weight loss by increasing thermogenesis; you can submit to surgery (gastric bypass appears quite successful, but the older procedures of gastric stapling or shortening of the intestine often do not work); you can have your teeth stapled (socially unacceptable); you can have a balloon inflated in your stomach (which will not change your behaviour, and may cause an obstruction when it bursts); or, you can follow a good diet plan. In some cases, the combination of a diet plan with a thermogenic Dietary Supplement can be particularly effective, but label instructions and cautions for the Dietary Supplement must be carefully followed.

The safest way to diet is to follow a programme supervised by experts, who can ensure that your intake of necessary nutrients is adequate, and can adjust the diet to meet your specific needs. In such cases, dietary treatment of weight problems is safe, and risk of adverse effects is kept to a minimum.

There are, however, still risks, most of which apply to weight loss by any means, not just weight loss associated with use of a reduced-energy diet. In other words, the risks are inherent to weight loss in itself, and have to do with the way the body adapts to the loss of mass. These can broadly be classified into five types:

A] You may have a food allergy, or be intolerant of some food constituent, which may cause you to react unfavourably to the Protein Supplements used in the diet; if you are aware that you have such an allergy or intolerance, you must declare it to your Counsellor, who will adjust your diet accordingly. The Protein Supplements are made from highly purified plant and animal proteins, and are unlikely to cause any reaction, but you should never-the-less make sure that you do report any history of such reactions to food.

B] You may be taking medication for a disorder which will improve as you lose weight; if no allowance is made for this, you may suffer adverse effects from the medication. It is therefore essential that you tell your Counsellor about all medication you are taking, and if necessary, talk to your doctor. In most cases, this will not prevent you following the programme, but you will require extra attention, and your doctor will need to monitor the dosage of your medication and lower it if needed.

C] You may be suffering from a disorder in which strict dieting is inadvisable; any medical complaints which fall into this category must be declared. If you still need to diet, then you will probably have to do it in hospital, where you can be constantly supervised.

D] Very rarely, mild side effects may occur while you are on the diet. Many of these are transient, occurring only during the first few days, while the body adapts, while others may relate to minor deficiencies that can readily be rectified by supplementation.

E] Depending on your previous dietary habits, you may have stored excessive amounts of arachidonic acid (from eating lean meat) or trans fatty acids (from using partially hydrogenated domestic oils) in your fat depots. When you start your diet, these substances may be released into your circulation in excessive amounts and though the risk is slight, they could theoretically cause metabolic problems, increase your risk of thrombosis, or increase the risk of gall stone problems. If you know that you have recently consumed foods containing these substances in excessive amounts, you may need to follow a normocaloric vegetarian and fish diet rich in a vegetable oil such as soya oil or canola for 14 - 21 days before commencing on your weight loss diet and will require supplementation with essential fatty acid products both during this period and during the actual period of use of the weight loss diet.

Information on medications and disorders which may prevent you following a dietary programme is given on the following pages.

YOU MUST NOTE THAT YOUR WEIGHT PROBLEM IN ITSELF HAS SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASED YOUR RISK OF A VARIETY OF MEDICAL DISORDERS, SUCH AS GALL BLADDER DISEASE, AND ONE OR OTHER OF THESE DISORDERS COULD MANIFEST AT ANY TIME! IN MOST CASES, THIS RISK WILL ONLY DIMINISH GRADUALLY, AND EVEN AFTER YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE DIETARY PROGRAMME AND ACHIEVED YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT, YOU WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT INCREASED RISK FOR MONTHS, OR EVEN YEARS. THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE OF GALL STONES; THOUGH YOUR DIET CREATES CONDITIONS IN WHICH GALL STONES ARE NO LONGER FORMED, THOSE WHICH YOU ALREADY HAVE MAY TAKE UP TO TWO YEARS OR MORE TO REDISSOLVE, AND THEY COULD GIVE YOU SYMPTOMS AT ANY TIME DURING THIS PERIOD!


MEDICAL PRECAUTIONS

ANY FORM OF SEVERE DIETING IS CONTRAINDICATED FOR:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Recent myocardial infarction
  • Recent stroke or major heart attacK
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • Children below the age of twelve

If you fall into any of the above categories, you must have your doctor's permission, and his agreement to supervise you, before starting any diet! You may need a modified and milder plan, since the loss of weight may be desirable.

DIETING IS COMPATIBLE WITH SOME MEDICAL CONDITIONS, IF MEDICALLY SUPERVISED OR APPROVED.

Medical supervision is particularly important when losing weight for the very elderly, growing children and adolescents, or if you have heart and cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, gout, kidney disease, stroke, chronic infections, hypoglycaemia, or are under medical care for any other condition. Your doctor will be able to advise you whether or not you should follow this diet programme, and may want to adjust any medication you are taking. Any carbohydrate-restricted diet may induce water loss, therefore diuretics or any medication which produce water loss should not be taken while on the diet, except with the approval of your doctor.

The following tables give further information on medications and conditions which all require that you have medical permission, and if necessary, supervision, while on the diet programme!

INTERACTIONS OF DIETS WITH MEDICATION:
(Supervision of your doctor required!)

Medication
Effect of the diet
Action
Diuretics May potentiate treatment and give rise to excessive potassium loss. Potassium levels in blood should be monitored and the diuretic medication adjusted or stopped depending on results.
Anti-hypertensive May potentiate treatment Blood pressure should be monitored and medication adjusted or stopped as necessary.
Insulin
(Type 1 Diabetes
mellitus)
In type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes the diet is nearly always contraindicated because of the problems of regulating blood sugar levels and few insulin-dependent diabetics are overweight. Weight reduction with the diet should only be carried out under careful and strict hospital control, and should normally be started in hospital.

Oral hypoglycaemics
(antidiabetic tablets)

Potentiates treatment. Blood sugar levels should be monitored and medication reduced or stopped as necessary.
Steroids Sodium retention The diet is normally contraindicated.

USE OF A DIET IS COMPATIBLE WITH CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS:
(Permission and possibly supervision of your doctor required!)

Disorder
Effect of the diet
Action
Cardiovascular disease Weight loss will be beneficial for overweight patients, cholesterol and coagulation factors may diminish. Normally suitable if patient instable condition.
Angina Weight loss will be beneficial for overweight patients.

If condition is stable the diet may be used.

Gout May precipitate an attack in a few cases, since the serum uric acid levels can rise during the initial use. Medication should be continued.
Kidney disease Depends on condition; a high protein diet is not suitable for patients requiring restriction of protein intake. Consult your doctor. Take dietary content into account; the diet may be a useful adjunct to a total treatment plan in some types of renal disorder, but should not be used where renal function is known to be impaired.

Heart attack
more than a year ago.

Not contraindicated Diet to be taken under medical supervision.
Intermittent cardiacarrhythmias Not contraindicated
(depends on type)
Diet to be used only under strict hospital control with possible cardiac monitoring.
Rebound hypoglycaemia Not contraindicated Requires smaller and more
frequent meals.
Depression Not contraindicated. Weight loss could have beneficial psychological effects for overweight patients.  
Lactating women A diet is generally inadvisable as sole source of nutrition, but may be taken under supervision. Requires the attention of a
Nutritionist or competent
Dietician.
Over 65's Not contraindicated for those in good health. Doctor to advise.
Adolescents Not contraindicated. No evidence that it leads to anorexia nervosa. Doctor to advise.
Ensure patient is not anorexic
before commencing.


POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

A small proportion of patients on any diet may experience side effects, some of which are transient and most of which are mild, such as headaches, mild dizziness, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, irritability and dryness of the skin. For most people the advantage of losing weight overrides any short-term discomfort which may be experienced. These effects can generally be eliminated with appropriate supplementation. Some possible causes and short-term remedies are:

HEADACHES may occur as a result of carbohydrate or caffeine withdrawal. Simple headache remedies taken for a day or two should alleviate the problem.

CONSTIPATION - though bowel movements may be less frequent because the diet contains less bulk, it is generally considered that constipation is partly a consequence of essential fatty acid deficiency, and it usually disappears with supplementation. If constipation remains a problem fibre-based laxatives or herbal laxative teas are useful, or more vegetables can be eaten.

NAUSEA and DIARRHOEA are sometimes signs of essential fatty acid deficiency, but may also occur as a result of not drinking enough water. Drinking plenty of liquid is necessary, to allow the body to regulate its own water and electrolyte balance; if you try to interfere by restricitng your fluid intake, thinking you will thus lose more weight, you may aggravate adverse effects of this nature! Intolerance to a constituent of the diet is a possible but unlikely cause of these symptoms.

DRYNESS OF THE SKIN and SLIGHT HAIR LOSS, occurring later during the use of a diet, almost always indicate a mild essential fatty acid deficiency. This problem can be eradicated by adjustment of the diet, or use of an essential fatty acid supplement.

YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO HAVE ANY ADVERSE EFFECTS WHATSOEVER, AND WILL BENEFIT MOST FROM A DIETARY PROGRAMME, IF:

A] YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOUR COUNSELLOR IS FULLY AWARE OF ANY MEDICAL CONDITION YOU HAVE, AND MEDICATION YOU ARE TAKING;

B] YOU CONSULT YOUR OWN DOCTOR, IF HE OR SHE IS NOT YOUR COUNSELLOR, IF IN ANY DOUBT;

C] YOU FOLLOW EXACTLY THE INSTRUCTIONS OF YOUR COUNSELLOR.

The last is most important; you must follow any prescribed diet strictly, since it is designed to keep you in perfect health while you lose weight!

Having read the foregoing, and hopefully having understood it completely, or having obtained clarification of any points you did not understand, you will be aware that weight problems are serious health hazards, and that well-constructed dietary programmes are designed to reduce this health hazard in the safest possible fashion. You will also be aware that weight problems of themselves may have resulted in some hidden medical conditions, which could become manifest at any time during use of a diet. You will also understand that if such events occur, they are not caused by the diet, but are a consequence of the weight problem, and that those who diet may remain at some small degree of risk for a while after reaching ideal weight.

Check here if you have read and understood the information

 

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