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A Peek at the Pump
A Peek at the Pump


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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Nutrition Library: What Diets Can I Use to Lose Weight?

5 of Today's Most Popular Diets



Dieting: To do or not to do
We live in a world where new fad diets seem to appear each day. Each one promises to be that 'quick' fix. Unfortunately, no such thing exists as of yet.

Five of today's most popular diets are the Atkins Diet, the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, The Zone Diet, the Sugar Busters Diet and Weight Watchers.

The Atkins Diet: Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution

The trademark of the Atkins Diet is its unbalanced nature. Dr. Atkins encourages unlimited amounts of fat and protein. He claims that sugar and refined carbohydrates are detrimental to physical and mental health, energy, digestion, and several daily living activities.

The Atkins' diet begins with a two-week 'induction.' During this period, carbohydrate consumption is less than 20 grams per day. After two weeks, you can determine your own 'Critical Carboydrate Level' using metabolic information provided in Dr. Atkins' books Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Diet Revolution. You will also determine your maintenance carbohydrate level for once you've met your goal weight.

The principle of the reduced carbohydrate diet is that the body responds by burning stored fat for energy. Unfortunately, this phenomenon may backfire. When the body has no carbohydrates from which to draw energy, it goes into starvation mode. Metabolism slows and the body burns muscle. Once a person goes off the Atkins Diet, weight gain is almost certain. By this point, the body has become accustomed to starvation mode. Now it will store more fat, not knowing when it will 'starve' again.

For more information, see Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Diet Revolution by Robert. C. Atkins, M.D.

The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet

The premise of the Carbohydrate Addict's diet is twofold. First, you eat two meals during the day that are high fiber, low fat and low carbohydrate. Your third meal serves as a 'reward'. You can eat anything you want, and as much as you want. The only catch is that you have sixty minutes to do it.

Meal times are strict, and snacks are not allowed in between meals. Black coffee, tea and diet sodas are 'freebies,' allowed in unlimited amounts.

Doctors Richard and Rachael Heller, the founders of this diet, assert that people are overweight primarily because they are addicted to carbohydrates. The low carbohydrate meals are intended to decrease both cravings and hunger. Both of these will maximize weight loss.

The physiological basis for carbohydrate addiction is based on insulin production. Heller and Heller pose that carbohydrate addicts produce excess insulin after eating carbohydrates, which leaves the person feeling hungry. Thus, they eat again, and the cycle repeats itself.

There are a few special concerns with this diet:

  • Dieters have complained of both constipation and crankiness. Constipation is most likely due to the reduced fiber and liquid diet. Crankiness is probably related to the decreased carbohydrate intake, which causes dips in serotonin levels.

  • This diet is not appropriate for diabetics, as carbohydrates are necessary to prevent hypoglycemia.

  • People who exercise regularly may become fatigued due to inadequate carbohydrate intake.

  • Teens, women and the elderly may be particularly at risk for low calcium intake.

For more information, see The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, and The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program by Rachael Heller, Ph.D.; and Richard Heller, Ph.D.

The Zone Diet

Barry Sears encourages dieters to get into The Zone by eating a formulated combination of carbohydrate, fat and protein to solve insulin imbalance and lose weight.

The Zone Diet is known for it's 40-30-30 calorie distribution. 40% of calories come from carbohydrates, 30% from fat, and 30% from protein. Water and exercise are encouraged daily.

Barry Sears recommends that the average person eat only 800-1600 calories per day. This poses complications for athletes and others with increased caloric demands. Not only that, but anybody is likely to lose weight eating less than 1700 calories, particularly if they are accustomed to eating more. It is quite likely that the number of calories, rather than the distribution, are responsible for weight loss.

The book walks you through calculations for your protein needs.

For more information, see Enter the Zone, Mastering the Zone, and The Anti-Aging Zone

by Barry Sears, Ph.D.

Sugar Busters Diet

The Sugar Busters Diet is just that. Sugar is eliminated from the diet because it is considered 'toxic' to the body. The premise of this diet is that weight loss is induced when we avoid foods that cause a surge of insulin.

There are no guidelines for fat consumption, but high glycemic carbohydrates are eliminated. The proponents of this diet claim that high glycemic foods cause insulin resistance and fat storage. In fact, a person must be predisposed to insulin resistance. Food intake cannot induce insulin resistance.

The diet is low in fruits and vegetables, and exercise is not stressed.

The truth of the matter is that you will lose weight if you adhere to the 'sugar busters' regimen. The reason: anybody eating only 1200 calories per day is likely to drop a few pounds.

For more information, see Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat by H. Leighton Steward, Morrison C. Berthea, Sam S. Andrews and Luis A. Balart

Weight Watchers 1-2-3 Success Program

Weight Watchers targets men and women who want to lose weight permanently. The

1-2-3 Success program is based on a unique point system used to track daily calorie, fat and fiber intake, as well as activity levels. This eliminates the need to count calories or measure food.

The program stresses variety in foods. Low fat, moderate protein, and high complex carbohydrate foods are the focus. No foods are forbidden. The program also emphasizes limiting sugar and alcohol, as well as drinking at least 6 cups of water every day.

Weight Watchers' 10% Difference program is the first milestone in weight loss. Success is defined as losing 10% of total body weight. This is the initial goal. After losing 10% of the total body weight, dieters focus on reaching an ideal goal weight.

Weight Watchers targets the person as a whole. 'Inside' and 'Outside' issues are addressed. Fad dieting is not the goal. Rather, this program focuses on eating healthfully, exercising, utilizing a support network and weight loss maintenance. Member support meetings are the trademark of this weight loss program. Additionally, members are welcome to attend group support meetings after they reach their goal weight.

For more information, contact Weight Watchers





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