Any hypo-caloric diet will result in medical weight loss and most popular programs base their protocols on a “balanced diet”. If we take the standard USDA recommendations of approximately:

  • 60% of calories derived from “good carbohydrates”
  • 25% from protein
  • 15% from “healthy fats”

And, cut the amounts in half (keeping the ratio of macronutrients the same), we will have a “balanced diet” with one-half the calories…..and people will lose weight. But there are a few problems with this seemingly logical approach.

First, if we continue to replenish some of the glycogen stores every day (60% of calories coming from carbohydrates, most of which will be converted to glucose in vivo) our fat burning will stop until that has been depleted. This will lead to an erratic medical weight loss.

Second, and more importantly, decreasing the minimal daily requirements of protein will lead to muscle loss.

As blood glucose drops (from the hypo-caloric intake) the body will burn fat but will also break down muscle via gluconeogenesis as a way to maintain proper glucose homeostasis. As we lose muscle our metabolism slows, also the heart is a muscle and losing some of its mass is not a good thing (remember the Phen-Fen diet?). Now when these folks have achieved their goal weight, what is the predictable result? They go back to eating “normal size” meals but their metabolism is slower and they regain the weight, often times ending up heavier than when they started the diet. Our protocol takes a different approach – for a relatively short time we will use an “unbalanced diet”. We keep the minimum daily protein requirement the same (roughly 1/2 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight) and build the diet around this. Understand, this is not a “HIGH PROTEIN DIET”. We provide only the minimum and we do this to spare the muscle. Loss of muscle is unacceptable to us during a diet. Next, if we want to lose fat it is logical that we would eliminate most fats from the diet (but giving ample amounts of essential fatty acids).

Now we are left with carbohydrates. Because we do not want to replace glycogen stores, we keep these at a bare minimum, approximately 20 grams per day. This forces the body to stay in the “fat-burning mode” 24 hours a day and is therefore called a “ketogenic diet”. Our dieters will consume four cups of non-starchy vegetables and 2 green salads daily. This will provide fiber to prevent constipation and they will be given a multi-vitamin, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sea salt to ensure proper electrolyte balance. We only provide what they would normally be getting from food groups that we are temporarily taking away (i.e. dairy, fruits and grains).

Type I diabetics – we have also developed an “Alternative Protocol” which is suitable for Type I diabetics. This program is similar to the ketogenic diet except that we give a dairy, fruit and grain serving every day to prevent the patient from going into a state of ketosis. Because Type I Diabetics do not produce insulin, a risk of ketoacidosis exists and these patients should never be placed on a ketogenic diet. They will still experience just about the same rate of weight loss while sparing the muscle as the ketogenic dieters and will usually find they can substantially decrease their insulin requirements.

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