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Calories Don't Matter
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Published: 16 years ago

Calories Don't Matter

Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Daily Health News
Boardroom, Inc.
281 Tresser Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901

From BottomLine's Daily Health News:

Calories Don't Matter

I'm stating the obvious when I say that obesity plays a central role in the major causes of death and disability, including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Add on to that the double-digit inflation of health care costs and insurance premiums -- a huge impact on the economy and on our quality of life. Why am I telling you what you already know? Because obesity continues to be rampant in America and is only getting worse. The latest estimates are far worse than anyone had imagined...

Two hundred million Americans are overweight, and half of them are obese.
The rate of extreme obesity (BMI greater than 40) is increasing twice as fast as obesity in general.
Forty percent of the population suffers from metabolic syndrome, a complication of obesity and a precursor of type 2 diabetes. Having metabolic syndrome also triples the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Osteoarthritis, a complication of obesity, is the number one cause of chronic disability.
One out of three American children born in the year 2000 is predicted to develop diabetes during his/her lifetime, a devastating long-range effect of the obesity epidemic.
Despite excessive caloric consumption, over three-quarters of the population has a deficient intake of one or more essential nutrients. Greater levels of obesity are actually associated with lower nutritional status.
"A solution to the obesity crisis is the single most important thing that needs to happen in improving the health of Americans," Dr. Leo Galland told me. Dr. Galland has developed a novel and provocative theory on how to control weight, based upon recent scientific insights into the way that levels of body fat are normally controlled. The foundation of his approach, which he calls the Fat Resistance Diet, is nutrient density and control of inflammation.

"The whole premise of the Fat Resistance Diet is that we have inborn, natural regulatory systems that support a healthy weight, but our food choices and our lifestyle interfere with their functioning," he explained. Leptin, for example, is a compound that lets your brain and body know how much fat you are storing. When leptin level goes up, your appetite goes down. Leptin also speeds up your metabolism. "The problem is that overweight people have developed resistance to leptin," Dr. Galland explained. "Their leptin levels are high but it's not depressing their appetite and it's not stimulating their metabolism."


According to Dr. Galland, inflammation is a large part of the reason why leptin doesn't work as it should in very overweight people. "Inflammation disables the leptin signal," he told me. "It also contributes to insulin resistance, a central feature of obesity and diabetes." That's why, in Dr. Galland's program, the control of inflammation through natural anti-inflammatories found in herbs, spices and a multitude of fresh whole foods such as vegetables is so central to controlling fat. In the presence of inflammation, the fat control mechanisms simply don't work. "Inflammation is the critical link between obesity and chronic illness," Dr. Galland believes. More information on the Science linking obesity and inflammation can be found at


The other part of the equation has to do with what's called nutrient density. "What matters most about the calories in any food are the nutrients that accompany them," he said. No one in his right mind would recommend a "calorie controlled" diet consisting of 12 packs a day of 100-calorie Oreo snack packs. "Even though the calories are on target, you'd be completely screwed up by the lack of fiber, the lack of protein and other nutrients and the resulting blood Sugar roller coaster," said Dr. Galland. "That's why a weight reduction program that only looks at calories completely misses the boat."

According to Dr. Galland, the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry has failed miserably. "The whole weight loss industry has developed around the concept of calories," Dr. Galland said, "and the idea has been to find ways to decrease the number of calories that people are eating."

He's right. After all, the low-fat diets of the 1980s were based on the notion that fat has twice the amount of calories per gram as anything else, so if we cut back on fat we'll be cutting back on calories and wind up controlling weight gain. "The way that Americans have been taught to think about food is to try to find lower calorie equivalents of foods we like to eat," he told me. "That hasn't worked. Some of the artificial sweeteners in low-calorie foods actually make you hungrier."

Educating people in a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet can reverse the obesity epidemic, especially when people learn how delicious this dietary approach can be. According to Dr. Galland, what we need is nothing less than a new approach to the way people actually think about food. "I think the American palate has been corrupted," he said. "We've lost the ability to really savor herbs and spices and all the subtle flavors that are so wonderful in traditional cooking. Those herbs and spices have nutritional value -- they're rich in antioxidants, rich in minerals and especially rich in anti-inflammatories."


Some of the best anti-inflammatory spices and herbs include cloves, ginger, parsley, tumeric, cinnamon and basil. "We need to reeducate our palate to learn to appreciate the wonders of these foods," Dr. Galland told me. Dr. Galland has identified 12 core principles to eating for fat resistance. These include...

Choose foods that are loaded with nutrients such as colorful vegetables and fruits, and lean, minimally processed protein. As much as possible, avoid food that has been processed.
Avoid trans fats.
Consume foods with plenty of omega-3 content.
Eat fish three times a week or more.
Eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
Eat at least nine servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
Average one serving a day of alliums (onions, scallions, garlic) and crucifers (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower).
No more than 10% of total calories should be from saturated fat. This doesn't mean only 10% of total diet is from fats -- it means to be careful about eating saturated fats.
If you eat eggs, don't scramble the yolk.
Don't follow a "low-fat" diet.
Eat two healthy snacks a day -- such as berries, tomatoes, string cheese, organic turkey slices.
Eat fruit instead of sugary sweets.
For more information on these principles, go to

Dr. Galland's Fat Resistance Diet is a lifestyle based around healthful food rather than calorie restriction, through the use of artificial sweeteners, Sugar substitutes and fake fats. He says, "only through education and positive reinforcement for making healthy choices will the coming health-care crisis be averted."

Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Daily Health News
Boardroom, Inc.
281 Tresser Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901


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