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Restricted Calorie Diets Don't Work

The Standard American Diet of process food high in sugar and carbohydrates has wreaked havoc with the health of Americans. These nutrient devoid foods are partly to blame of the state of chronic disease. Chronic disease is defined as a condition or disease that is persistent and long-lasting in its effects. Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, cancer, auto immune diseases and obesity are examples of chronic disease.

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner,I work with clients to prevent or reverse chronic disease and/or dysfunction in the body; how you eat, move, sleep and supplement have a profound impact on your health.

How many of you have been on a restricted calorie diet to lose weight or know someone who has? All hands should be up. Weight loss revolves around your daily appointment with the bathroom scale and cardio machine. Most people can lose weight for short periods of time during a calorie restrictive diet, but sadly it is all too often gained back with a few extra pounds to boot!

Fat loss is not a numbers game. It’s not about calories in calories out, fat grams, scales, exercising more and it’s definitely not about willpower. The addictive foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD) will beat you down and the cravings will eventually overpower you. So what is the answer?

Let’s get back to how you eat, move, think, sleep and supplement to answer that question.

A properly prepared, nutrient dense whole food diet is the foundation of nutritional therapy. A good starting point is the 40/30/30 diet for life. Carbohydrates should comprise approximately 40% of your diet, mostly in the form of raw or lightly cooked low glycemic vegetables and 1-3 pieces of fruit per day. Protein should make up approximately 30% of your diet. Properly sourced wild caught fish, free range chicken and eggs and grass fed beef are wonderful choices. Fat is the most misunderstood macronutrient in our diet. Fat does not make you fat and is necessary for numerous functions in the body: regulating the absorption of glucose in the blood stream, absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E,K, cell membrane integrity thereby allowing nutrients in and waist out and fat is needed to produce our stress and sex hormones.  In addition, fat makes food taste good and triggers our hormones of satiation and fullness! Quality fats are essential to optimal health: coconut oil, grass fed butter and ghee, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds and by all means leave the skin on your chicken and enjoy this nutritious and tasty fat.

Exercising vigorously with the goal of burning off extra calories from poor food choices is not exercising smart; exercising smart means a variety of movement, some low impact such as yoga and walking in addition to more vigorous cardio a few times per week; and try to make it something you enjoy.

Adequate sleep is a foundation of good health. It is needed to fight off infection, support the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes, and to preform well in school and at work. Sleep affects a number of endocrine, metabolic and neurological functions. Poor sleep can lead lead to an increased risk of: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

As a nutritional therapist I’m often asked to evaluate supplements. When selecting supplements, I first turn to the research and science behind it. I recommend both “healing” supplements such as digestive enzymes as well as prophylactic supplements that support systemic, optimal health.

The foundations of good health have a direct impact on hormones, which have a direct impact on your metabolism. There are two hormones I’d like to mention, insulin and leptin. Most everyone has heard of insulin and understands that it is a fat storage hormone used to bring down blood sugar when carbohydrates are consumed.

Few people have heard of the hormone leptin, yet it plays a profound role in your metabolism.  Leptin is given the crucial role of of keeping you from starving to death by monitoring how much fat you have stored. So when you go on a calorie-restrictive diet, leptin senses that a famine is on the way and down-regulates metabolism. People wonder why reducing calories over time is ineffective, leptin is the reason cannot outsmart leptin!

Consuming a properly prepared, nutrient dense whole food diet is the key to optimal health, balancing hormones, and permanent, systemic fat loss.

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Kristy Corah, NTP

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