Weight Loss and Medically Assisted Fat Loss

There are many diet programs that are effective at weight loss.  Weight loss can generally be accomplished by restricting the amount of calories that are consumed to less than the number of calories that are burned throughout the day.  A restricted calorie diet coupled with an exercise program can usually tip the balance in favor of weight loss.

However, fat loss and weight loss are not the same.  Fat cells have many qualities; they are necessary to assist in many functions of the body, make up a large portion of the bulk of brain and nerve fibers and are important for hormonal functions and joint health.  However, we are growing fatter as a society and this growth is causing many deadly diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease to worsen.

When a person loses weight without knowing where the weight loss is coming from, many problems can arise.  If the diet program doesn’t target fat loss and targets only weight loss, then the dieter can run the risk of losing some very important and vital tissue; namely, protein. Protein is the substance that comprises the most important tissues of our body. Muscle, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, nerves and most importantly, organs all consist of protein.  If you want those tissues to last and to continue to function late into life, it is important to maintain these high-quality proteins.

Starvation diets, mail order-diets, and untested programs may enable a person to lose weight, but if the body composition is not being measured during the weight loss program, then the risk of losing protein and muscle mass is very high.

Our Tanita® body composition analyzer allows us to measure what our dieters are losing. We can see that as the 3-7 pounds come off week by week that the weight that is being lost consists of fat. The program allows us to accurately assess that fat loss is occurring and the nature of our protein-sparing medical weight loss program lets our dieters keep their vital organs and skeletal muscle intact.

So, don’t be fooled into thinking that all weight loss is good.  There is a difference and if you are basing weight loss only on what the scale reads, you may be putting yourself at greater risk for disease in the future. Don’t take chances, lose weight the safe way and know that weight you are losing is fat. We at Benchmark Medical Group perform body composition on our dieters weekly and can accurately assess what nutritional alterations may be needed to ensure that only fat loss is occurring.

If you have any questions about our amazing programs, of if you would like to attend a complimentary lecture or have a one-on-one consultation, please call today 970-686-9117!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

The truth about sugar

Sugar is the James Bond of food: It has code names, appears where you least expect it and leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Oh, and we kind of have a thing for it. “It tastes good, and the more that’s produced, the more we eat,” says George Bray, M.D., chief of the clinical obesity and metabolism division at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since 1970, the amount of sugar in processed foods has nearly doubled, largely because sugar is cheap and readily available. Today it’s pumped into pretty much everything to make food products more enticing—even ones that are already sweet, such as fruit juice. As a result, the average American gobbles up 43,800 more calories from added sugar (meaning sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup and honey, that are added to packaged foods) per year than we did in 1977.

Trouble is, our body isn’t equipped to handle this amount. If a woman’s intake of added sugars increases by more than 20 percent, her body-mass index rises 2 to 3 points, which is enough to shift from the normal weight to the overweight category or from overweight to obese, a 27-year study from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has found. Research has also linked increased sugar consumption to higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

But before you envision a sad existence devoid of chocolate, know that we at SELF would never suggest such a thing. (We love chocolate, too!) Besides, “cutting out sugar completely isn’t necessary or even possible,” says Suzanne Farrell, R.D., of Denver. What is: indulging wisely, by curbing cravings and eliminating hidden sources. On these pages, we make eating a lot less sugar a cakewalk.
Trouble is, our body isn’t equipped to handle this amount. If a woman’s intake of added sugars increases by more than 20 percent, her body-mass index rises 2 to 3 points, which is enough to shift from the normal weight to the overweight category or from overweight to obese, a 27-year study from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has found. Research has also linked increased sugar consumption to higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Thayer Allison Gowdy

Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

In the process of getting people to lose weight and fat dietary changes must be made.  The effectiveness of medical weight loss is unquestionable. 3-7bs of fat on average per week is consistent and measurable and has been demonstrated over and over again in our clinic, and in numerous facilities worldwide including 1500 facilities in Canada alone. The process requires a significant reduction in carbohydrates and because of this, the topic of ketosis invariably comes up. Furthermore, there are several misconceptions that must be cleared up about the differences between ketosis and ketoacidosis.

Most people consume carbohydrates in quantities that enable the glucose in the carbs to be converted to glycogen that is then used as energy to fuel the brain and body.  This process is the most common pathway for energy.  When carbohydrates are restricted, the body exhausts the glycogen found in the liver and in muscle tissue and the conversion to a different form of energy is required.  If this situation occurs in starvation and in the presence of inadequate protein, the body will convert muscle and protein to energy and literally “eat itself!” This may lead to weight loss but it is, of course, not recommended because muscle is a protein and so are other vital tissues like the heart, kidneys, eyes etc. Starvation diets can be incredibly dangerous because they do not protect these organs and can lead to very significant organ diseases.

Our medical weight loss program is very different in that although carbohydrates are restricted, we provide sufficient protein to protect the loss of muscle and organ proteins. The body goes through the shift from getting energy from carbohydrates to a new source, fat! This fat is usually readily abundant in people that need to lose weight and statistics show that most Americans are overweight and carry too much fat, so having a new source of energy is not a problem.

When we as humans get our energy from fat, the process of metabolizing this fat produces ketones.  Ketones are the byproduct of fat metabolism. In patients with a normal functioning pancreas, liver, and kidneys, they are excreted and do not build up in the body.  They are harmless and have been shown to have substantial benefit including blunted hunger and muscle sparing, as well as anti-cancer and anti-epileptic benefits.

In a type 1 diabetic, ketones are constantly produced.  The type one diabetic can, unfortunately have a problem when the levels of ketones exceed normal amounts and the result is ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is dangerous because it can lead to an excessive amount of ketones on organ and brain tissue and if unchecked, can be fatal.

The problem is that some have erroneously claimed that any levels of ketones in a normal, non type 1 diabetic can lead to ketoacidosis.  This could not be further from the truth.  Ketones in normal patients are simply excreted and no risk of ketoacidosis is possible.

Again, ketoacidosis is a process that only occurs in type 1 diabetics and only under certain situations, none of which would occur in persons following the protocol. Normal patients who wish to lose 3-7 lbs of weight and fat can safely use carbohydrate restriction and ketosis as a powerful vehicle to achieve the results they are seeking.  If you are interested in learning more about how medical weight loss is different from all of the other diet programs that are out there and why it is “the last diet you’ll ever need,” please call 970-686-9117 to attend one of our complimentary nutritional lectures, or schedule a complimentary consultation.

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Over 300 Named Conditions!

Many people are aware that chiropractic is effective at treating such conditions as back pain, neck pain, and headaches and many patients are beginning to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy spine and posture in order to prevent future musculoskeletal problems. The effectiveness of chiropractic for the treatment of these painful joint conditions has been well documented and chiropractic in general is becoming much more accepted in mainstream healthcare.

The premise of chiropractic consists simply of the fact that the nervous system controls the function of all of the cells in the body.  All body organs and systems must have good information from the nervous system in order to work properly and to work in concert with other parts of the body.  Knowing then that the nervous system is housed in the cranium and the spinal column then makes it quite easy to understand that if there is damage to the protective spinal column, either on a individual segmental level or in the posture as a whole, information will be less efficient in travelling from the spinal column to the different muscles and organs of the body.

Since the beginnings of the profession, many doctors have been keeping records of the different conditions that have been helped under chiropractic care and in the proper maintenance of the spinal column and posture. Now, with the help of the International Chiropractic Association, the public and the profession have documentation showing improvement in over 300 named conditions from abdominal pain to vertigo.  The ICA Best Practices (www.icabestpractices.org) is a government document that enables practitioners to have the resources to help patients in ways that go well beyond back pain and headaches. With thousands of references, the public can now see that improving the spine and posture can have far-reaching effects on overall health and wellbeing.

Chiropractic has evolved significantly since the beginning over 100 years ago.  Simply “popping” joints or undergoing spinal manipulation has been shown to decrease pain and increase range-of-motion in the involved segments, however only with the work done by Donald D. Harrison PhD, DC, MSE has chiropractic been able to move from just symptom relief to valid, repeatable, reliable methods of correcting the spine and posture.  The analysis used at Benchmark Medical Group and other clinics that practice CBP® worldwide differs from traditional chiropractic in that we have methods that remove the guesswork and provide a scientific foundation for treating numerous conditions.  There really is a difference between traditional chiropractors and CBP® doctors, and if you would like to experience that difference for yourself, please contact us today!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Hydration and Disc Health

The human intervertebral disc is a very important structure for the integrity of the spine.  In children under the age of about 4 years old, the inner disc material (nucleus) actively undergoes cell replication and “grows”.  After age 4 the disc material changes to cells that produce collagen.  This collagen cells are what make up the largest component of the discs and although they are not very strong, they can withstand tremendous amounts of pressure due to water content.

When the disc is well hydrated, it moves much more freely and is able to hold up to loads that are required by normal activities of daily living as well as stresses that may be generated under sudden events such as trauma.  A healthy disc can often withstand forces of several hundred Newtons.  However, if the disc becomes dehydrated, the fibers around the perimeter can become inflexible and weakened.  These weakened outer fibers (annulus) can then tear, creating fissures that enable blood and other foreign material to infiltrate the disc.  The disc then “sprouts” pain nerve ending and can be a major source of radiating, chronic pain.

Normal aging can reduce the quality and quantity of the protective cells in the disc.  This is largely a result of genetic and environmental factors and stopping the process is not necessarily up to the person. There is something that we can control, however, in the maintenance of good healthy discs, and thus better mobility and less pain. That factor is our hydration.  Not only is water a crucial element for weight control, skin health and proper digestive function, water consumption plays a major role in long-term disc health.

A good starting point is ½ of body weight in ounces per day.  For example, a 180 pound person should drink about 90 ounces per day! This may seem like a large amount to some; however, it will give tremendous benefit to overall health and can improve the function of many tissues, including the discs of the spine. The key is to start slowly, drink most of the water early in the day to prevent nighttime trips to the bathroom and remember that if you are outside in the sun, exercising, or in drier climates the needs for your body can increase to more than 100% of body weight in ounces per day.

The water you choose should be clean, clear (no additives) and should consist of the bulk of the fluids that you consume every day. Drinking coffee, tea or any other diuretics  will necessitate drinking even more to make up the difference. Happy Drinking!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Carbohydrates vs. Sugar Alcohols

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list the nutritional information of all products.  This breakdown will list protein, fat (saturated and unsaturated), calories, serving size, and carbohydrates among other things.  Many of our patients have been confused by the difference between sugar and sugar alcohols listed in the nutritional information.

Since our program is a low-carbohydrate program, we will want to restrict carb intake to accelerate the fat burning state. Many products on the market claim to be “low-carb” and yet, when we look on the nutritional information, sugar alcohols are listed.  These “low-carb” products are deceptive in that they still contain carbs! Sugar alcohols resemble sugar in their molecular structure and also have similarities to alcohol in chemical structure.  They do not contain any ethyl alcohol, which is found in alcoholic beverages.

Sugar alcohols are ingredients used to add bulk to foods and to sweeten them. Known as polyols, they are derived generally from natural ingredients such as berries and fruits, but they have been transformed molecularly. They are most often used as a sugar substitute and have fewer calories than sugar. They don’t have them same effect as pure sugar or glucose as they absorb slower and require less insulin than glucose, this is why they are often found in “diabetic friendly” foods. They are listed by their chemical names in the ingredients and you can find them under sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, hydrogenated starch hydrosalates, and malitol. They are rarely found in their base form and are usually a part of highly processed foods as well as toothpaste and chewing gum.  In small quantities, they are a relative safe alternative to sugar. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that they are safe!  Many diabetic and diet food manufacturers are using them in larger and larger quantities and the adverse effects are coming to light.

The biggest negative associated with these sugar alcohols are intestinal problems. Diarrhea, gas, bloating and nausea are all associated with consumption of sugar alcohols. They are also poorly digested by some individuals and can have a significant laxative effect.  Furthermore, they should be avoided by people trying to lose weight and we do not recommend them to our dieters as they have been shown to cause weight gain. Furthermore, type 1 insulin dependent diabetics should avoid all sugar alcohols as they can cause unsafe blood sugar elevation.

In conclusion, don’t be fooled by diet foods that say “low carb” do your homework and read the labels, if a product is sweetened with sugar alcohols, think twice before consuming it as it may have many unwanted side effects.  For more information on how our program differs from other diet programs, contact us at 970-686-9117 to schedule a complimentary consultation or attend a complimentary lecture.

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Gluconeogenesis and Adequate Protein Intake

While on our weight loss program, it is vital that we consume adequate amounts of protein.  Protein is the building block of all of our tissues and enough protein intake is required to ensure that we do not begin to digest our own vital organs!  While you are losing fat and restricting carbs, you will be getting your energy from fat instead of sugar(glucose).  If we do not consume adequate amounts of protein, our body undergoes a process called gluconeogenesis, literally the creation of glucose from protein.  This means that our body will use protein-rich tissues such as skeletal muscle and organs to convert the protein to glucose to use as energy.

On the program, it is imperative that we do not lose muscle mass or organ mass.  We are targeting fat only and therefore it is crucial that we consume at least ½ our bodyweight in grams of protein to ensure that we preserve the protein (think organs!) we need and just burn off fat.  If this program is followed correctly, we will be able to measure no change in the “fat-free mass” of our dieters while the body fat and visceral fat diminish and typical weight loss is seen at levels of 3-5 lbs per week.

For example if a person weighs 200 pounds, we would want to get at least 100 grams of protein per day.  This would be a combination of the protein in the meat consumed (1 meal in Phase 1 and 2 meals in Phase 2) and the protein found in the program’s products. This amount would increase minimally if the person is sedentary and substantially if the person is active or athletic.  Some athletes who are using the program to lose fat and maintain or grow muscle mass may need to consume 100% of their bodyweight in grams of protein per day to ensure that no muscle mass is lost. Here is a chart of the protein that is absorbed from diet, this will need to be accounted for in those that wish to target fat and preserve muscle mass and organ protein.

Protein Source                                                                                  % Absorbed

Eggs 88%
Fish 78%
Dairy products 76%
Meat 68%

Whatever your goal may be, whether it’s simply fat loss, medication reduction, cellulite reduction, or adding lean muscle mass for a sport or activity, our program can be tailored to fit your needs.  If you have questions about how this program can work for you, please call 970-686-9117 today!

Cellulite Busters!

Cellulite is the unsightly “orange peel” appearance that occurs when fat is deposited and accumulated under the superficial layers of skin. Cellulite can occur in both men and women and there are several causative factors that play a role in its appearance.  Hormone imbalances that occur with weight loss and weight gain can play a role, these imbalances can be improved by detoxification of the body through a process of overall fat-loss and eating foods that do not re-deposit the fat.  Removing the substances that can cause cellulite to build-up by cleaning up the dietary intake can begin the process of reducing cellulite.

Genetics can also play a factor, but like other genetic problems, simply having the genes for the development of cellulite does not mean that those genes will express themselves. Metabolism related to genes can be improved through diet and exercise and circulatory problems that inhibit the fat from disappearing from under the skin can be improved with certain nutrients such as niacin and a thermogenic (heat-producing) fitness regimen.  The battle against genes expressing should begin early, so if you are young and are seeing cellulite form, get busy!  Taking the proper steps now can lessen the appearance of the cellulite over time.

Dietary factors may be the largest contributor to developing cellulite. Eating too many carbohydrates, especially when combing those with fat and throwing in too much sodium all make for a combination destined to deposit fat. Learning the safe way to reduce carbohydrates and understanding proper food combining is what our Tuesday night weight loss nutrition classes are designed for.  Once the understanding of how to properly combine foods and how to choose the right time to eat certain foods is foundational, a nutritional detox can occur that can help rid your body of the unsightly cellulite.

Powerplate™ vibration training, however, may be the fastest way to reduce the cellulite deposits.  The research into the Powerplate™ has shown that as little as 2 times per week for 12-20 minutes of Powerplate training can reduce the appearance of cellulite by as much as 25%! The unique vibration frequencies help mobilize the fat and tighten and tone the skin, to give a much smoother appearance.

If you are ashamed of showing your legs and thighs because of cellulite, you do not need to suffer anymore!  We have ways to reduce or eliminate your cellulite so you can regain the confidence you once had!

Postural Habits and Wellness

Posture is one of the most neglected aspects of our daily lives.  Poor chair sizes, computers, airplane seats, phones held in the crook of the neck and others lead to postural abnormalities. Posture can be altered through poor workstation ergonomics, poor work positions (plumbing, carpentry), and is often made worse by trauma.

When posture is altered enough, stresses and strains develop on the delicate tissues of the spinal column, these stresses and strains increase the likelihood of pain and worsen muscular imbalances and can lead to significant disability. Poor posture can be the beginning of very significant health conditions; as the posture weakens, it causes the nerves that feed strength, energy, and information to weaken.  These weakened nerves feed our organs and, left long enough, these weakened nerves can lead to organ dysfunction and disease. Poor posture can also complicate mental and psychological disorders such as depression.

Good posture is vital for balance, coordination, and pain reduction.  The problem is, what is good posture and how is bad posture corrected?  Therapists and doctors can tell their patients to “Sit up straight!” or “Stand Tall”, but the brain can easily become distracted and the conscious effort to improve posture is fleeting.  As soon as you think of something else, you go back to your old poor postural habits. This is where we come in at Benchmark Medical Group. Unlike other therapies intended to improve posture, we have documented repeatable, reliable, and effective ways to improve your posture and nerve/spinal health.  We have traction therapy that can alleviate the abnormal shapes in the spine and make good posture easier to maintain. We have amazing physical therapy tools that can strengthen the muscles necessary to improve posture and can show you techniques that can keep you upright and in a good postural position for life! Plus, the better your posture and symmetry, the more attractive you appear!

Postural correction is not easy and not all therapists and doctors are qualified to address your abnormal postures.  If you want to find out more about how our therapies can get you looking and feeling better, as well as the long-term benefits of postural correction, call us today!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Hormesis and the Fukushima Radiation

Many people around the world have a tremendous fear right now of the radiation that is leaking from the Fukushima Nuclear reactor in Japan.  This Fukushima radiation fear is being propagated by the media and by a general misunderstanding of radiation and its effect on humans.  The majority of this fear is spawned by the LNT Model of radiation exposure.  This Linear No-Threshold model is a predictive model used by regulatory agencies that measure the risks from radiation exposure.  Essentially, the model predicts death and cancer rates in a linear fashion from exposure to atomic bomb fallout.  The LNT assumes that any radiation exposure increases the risk of sickness, cancer and death.

Whilst no one would want to be within a few miles of the reactor if it were to undergo a complete meltdown, the effects of the radiation diminish significantly with distance away from the site.  With distance away from the site, the risks of adverse health effects drop significantly.  The Hormesis model, an alternative to the LNT model, gives data to demonstrate that although high doses of radiation have an adverse effect, low doses actually have no effect or a beneficial effect. The literature supporting the Hormesis model of is significant and I would encourage you to see the chiropractic perspective at www.pccrp.org.  The hormesis model indicates that low doses of radiation not only have little to no adverse risk, but may even have a possible benefit. This gives a totally different perspective on the radiation releases from the Fukushima reactors.

Data has shown that wind currents moving radiation from Japan to the west coast of the US will arrive approximately 36 hours after release. It was reported this morning that a measurable increase in background radiation has been detected in Alaska.  This would be daunting if the radiation levels remained as high as they are at the reactor site, but, because the radiation is dispersed, little if any effect would be demonstrated on the West coast. Furthermore, the increased levels of radiation would possibly be in the ranges of beneficial effect.

The levels measured are not expected to go beyond the low dose range and are not even expected to go beyond what one would be exposed to during a flight from LA to New York.  The fear expressed by some and the run on potassium iodide would then appear to be completely unfounded.  It does not appear that the fukushima radiation will exceed doeses that would be considered pathologic.

What does this have to do with our facility? Well, not much really; but it should put into perspective any fears that people may have regarding exposure to radiation such as during x-rays of the spine. The doses from a routine spinal x-ray examination would be in the ranges of very low dose and would therefore fit the hormesis model of no adverse effect and possibly a beneficial one, plus, the information we get from the films can be the first step in improving overall health and wellbeing!

Dr. Jason W. Haas