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Every year, millions of people go on diets to lose weight. Many people attempt the popular very low calorie diets, the very low carbohydrate/low fat diets, or even a no carb/high protein diet. Not only do most people find these diets do not work to sustain weight loss, there is a substantial body of research indicating that these diets may be harmful to your health. Most at risk with these diets are the kidneys, the heart, cardiovascular system, the metabolic system, and the neurological system.
One diet does not fit all. It depends on your personal genetic blueprint. Optimal health requires choosing the correct balance of fat, carbohydrate and protein for your personal genotype.
Every day in my office, I see people who want to lose weight. The reasons are many, and each is valid in its own way. What might be your reason for wanting to lose weight? Perhaps:
- You’re not feeling well?
- You have gained more weight that you are comfortable with?
- You recently lost weight on one of the popular diets, but gained the weight back?
- You have a health problem, and your medical provider has advised you to reduce your weight?
- You have a family history of heart disease, and your cholesterol or blood pressure is high?
- A medical provider has told you that you need to reduce your cholesterol level by changing your diet, or you will need to be on medication for the rest of your life?
- You are feeling fatigued, uncomfortable, perhaps in pain and want to do something to relieve this situation?
- You have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, and don’t want to take medication?
- You have decided you would look and feel better if you lost weight?
I frequently see people who have tried numerous diets, without success. Others come to me because they have been advised to lose weight, because of a serious health condition. Often, people come on the recommendation of a friend or family member who had been struggling with a serious weight or related health issue, and had gotten better with the APO E Gene Program. Others come because they have decided to take a look at their own genetic roadmap, to learn why their efforts to lose weight have not been successful. Others are healthy, and want to remain that way.
View weight loss not just on scale weight, but on your overall health.
In each of these situations, I recommend:
- Rather than looking solely at weight, consider your overall state of health in order to evaluate why your body is storing excess body fat.
- Resist quick weight loss plans, and poor quality supplements. Especially avoid programs that recommend protein shakes, an excessively low calorie intake (such as 400-500 calories a day), and/or dietary stimulants. You may reduce weight for several weeks or even months, only to have the weight return within 9 months to 1 year. Furthermore, these can have a harmful effect on heart, cardiovascular system, blood pressure, kidneys, metabolic system, glucose levels, brain function and blood pressure. As you will see below, these diets can be a causative factory in the development of cancer. People with an abnormal APO E gene, which is 40 % percentage of the US population, are especially vulnerable.
- Be aware that being over-weight means that your body’s fuel tank is too big, and at the same time it usually means your muscles — your body’s engine — have been weakened to a degree which results in weight gain and a high percentage of body fat. When muscles are weak, they can’t burn the fat stored in the body.
- A physical examination and lab tests may provide information that can “rule in” or “rule out” possible reasons as to why you have been struggling with weight gain. Some answers can be very simple, and some more complex.
- Access your mental and emotional health. These often factor into why a person is storing excess weight, and into their ability to lose and sustain a healthy weight loss.
- Make sure the person who is helping you is well trained in nutritional medicine. If exercise is part of your weight loss program, see a person trained in exercise sports medicine. I see many people who have been taken in by people who have very limited training or experience.
- The APO E gene is responsible for the transportation of fat in the body. Some genotypes have difficulty clearing fat. Knowing your APO E gene type, you may be able to remedy this situation and prevent a significant health challenge or disease.
- Developing new, healthy habits guided by the nutritional intake and exercise guidelines based on your personal APO E gene, is a safe and assured path to both losing weight, and sustaining optimal body weight.
CAUTION: I am deeply concerned at the number of people who continue to follow popular fad fast weight loss diets, unaware of the dangers, particularly for people with an abnormal APO E gene, which is approximately 40 % percentage of the US population.
Some of the saddest stories come from patients who come to me after doing the hottest most popular diet, the Keto Diet. The Ketogenic Diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. The case studies of patients below, are typical of those I see each week. I am sharing these, in hopes of impressing on you the dangers of these diets.
When this patient came to me, he had been following the KETO diet for 16 months. He was one of the sickest patients I have seen in my medical practice of almost 40 years. His primary care doctor, having conducted a physical exam and some lab work, wanted to do some additional screening for heart disease.
Screening showed evidence of high cholesterol and suspected heart disease, and the lab work showed he was in a prediabetes state with high glucose levels. The heart scan facility suggested a full body scan. This scan showed some mild heart disease, but all else appeared fine. He was, however, very concerned about the mild heart disease and his pre-diabetic state, and went searching for a diet program that could lower the high blood sugar levels that exacerbate the pre-diabetic condition. He decided to do a Keto Diet. He followed the program perfectly for 16 months. His meals went like this:
- Breakfast: bacon and eggs, black coffee with MCT oil and butter, and coconut cream
- Morning Snack: cheese, and more coffee with butter and MCT oil and coconut cream
- Lunch: beef burger with cheese, spinach and avocado
- Afternoon Snack: nuts
- Dinner: meat, broccoli, and salad with olive oil
This was a very low carbohydrate and very high fat diet, and the fats consumed were primarily inflammatory fats. At around 16 months, a sudden severe abdominal pain drove him back to his primary care doctor. The doctor immediately ordered a CT scan of his abdomen, and found liver cancer and advanced pancreatic cancer. His daughter in law happened to be a patient of mine, who had successfully recovered from breast cancer through following the APO E Gene Diet. She told him to see me, to find why he had developed these cancers in such a short period of time. We almost immediately found the answer by determining gene expression. Gene testing showed he was an APO E 4/4 with an abnormal MTHFR. His abnormal MTHFR results told us that he could not tolerate certain types of high protein foods — which were most of the foods he was consuming on the Keto diet. Also, this was one of the worst diets he could have chosen for his APO E genotype. APO E 4/4s simply cannot tolerate a high fat diet. His body could not even begin to clear or handle the high amounts of fat and protein foods he was consuming. His cancer condition started with brief inflammation, and then with this diet moved quite rapidly moved to chronic inflammation. The cells became aplastic, failing to function normally. He moved to a precancerous state, and then to cancer. This man’s cancer was so advanced, he died about 12 weeks after coming to see me. His death could have been prevented if he had known his genetic road map – his APO E and other guiding markers.
Having following the Keto Diet for 9 months, this patient was diagnosed with leukemia. In addition, her gall bladder had become diseased and had to be removed. Her doctor told her that chemotherapy was the only thing that would treat the leukemia. She did not want to do chemotherapy, and had heard elsewhere that the APO E Gene Diet could help. We found that she carried some abnormal genetic markers, such that the Keto diet was not suited to her gene type — in fact, it was harmful to her health. I suspected the diet was a causative factor in both the cancer and gall bladder disease. Her inability to tolerate the very high fat diet was likely a primary contributing factor to the gall bladder disease, and the very high inflammatory fat and protein foods she was consuming contributed to the development of leukemia. This patient readily agreed to make the recommended changes to her diet based on her genetic road map, and within a year her labs were completely normal. No cancer. She was thrilled. Unfortunately, it was too late to save her gall bladder. This was a difficult lesson that she said she never wants to learn again.
This patient had seen me several years earlier. Testing had shown an abnormal APO E gene type that required she avoid certain foods, and be careful to consume the correct balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein for her type. Several months before seeing me this second time, she had decided to lose weight quickly for an upcoming fashion event she was hosting. Her doctor suggested the Keto Diet. She had thought that to do this for a short time would be ok — even though it would mean consuming the very foods I had advised she avoid. Within a week or two of following the Keto Diet, she felt terrible and had developed a breast pain. She asked her doctor if this could be anything to do with the diet. The doctor told her it was not unusual to feel bad in the beginning phase of the Keto Diet, but it would pass. It got worse. She went back to the doctor, who again told her it was nothing to worry about, continue with the Diet. Five months later, a family member urged her to get a second opinion, and she came to see me requesting a checkup. She didn't tell me about the Diet, or the pain in her breast, though she did seem a little anxious as I asked her questions about her health. We scheduled her for some lab work — as I typically do with each patient on a checkup — and she left. She called back later in the day, and asked to see me again the next day. She asked me a few more questions, nothing it seemed of real importance, and still seemed anxious but said no more. We ended the consultation, then as I walked down the hall she caught up to me and asked me to look at her right breast. I immediately did a breast exam and found a large mass on the outer area of the breast. It was then that she told me the whole story of doing the Keto Diet, the breast pain, the local doctor who said it was nothing. Within the hour, I had her do a mammogram ultrasound and breast biopsy. A highly suspicious breast mass was discovered, and within 48 hours she was diagnosed with cancer in the right breast. Again, this patient has an abnormal APO E gene. Many doctors — like hers — are not familiar with the APO gene, or don’t recognize its role in disease, and do not know the science of nutritional medicine in preventing disease. Perhaps her doctor was right in saying that in the early phase of following the Keto Diet many people don’t feel well, but it concerned me deeply that she had told her doctor of her concerns and been told it was normal. This Diet may be tolerable for some people, but others with abnormal genetics simply cannot tolerate a highly inflammatory diet and may very well develop a serious health condition.
I could share with you many, many more examples of patients who have followed the Keto Diet and ended up in my office with a very serious illness.
While the Keto Diet is exceptionally dangerous, any of the fad high fat, no fat, high protein, no carb etcetera diets can be dangerous, particularly to people with an abnormal APO E gene, which is 40 % percentage of the US population.
If you are considering a quick fat weight loss program, please first consider reading the Perfect Gene Diet, or scheduling a consultation to learn what your risk factors could be, or are. See ApoEgeneProgram.com or call 925 736-8510 for more information.
Pam McDonald FNP
Integrative Medicine Family Nurse Practitioner