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April, 2012

Healthy Weight Loss Using the Paleo Diet and Chiropractic

By Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

As treating doctors, we need a strategy to deal with two of the major health problems of our time: obesity and diabetes. It will be critical for chiropractors to integrate their artistic dimension into the perspectives of food science, diet, nutrition, exercise, sustainability and philosophy. It has always been my personal philosophy as a chiropractor to help patients connect or reconnect to a more natural mind set. We live in a culture that extols processed foods. From sunrise to sunset, we move at a fast pace eating "fast foods." All we really need to do with any food plan is ask yourself, "How do you look, how do you feel, and how do you perform?" Our ancestors were lean and muscular and had to perform vigorous tasks to survive, therefore, I have turned to our ancestral eating style or Paleolithic diet (Paleo Diet) to help guide my patients out of being overweight, obese, pre-diabetic/Type 2 diabetic and to develop lean and muscular bodies.

Here is my weight loss program (you can call it an "anti-aging" program, "therapeutic lifestyle changes," or whatever fits you). I follow my patient's weight loss improvement using health and symptom questionnaires, biomarkers such as body composition analysis, measuring body fat percentage and lean muscle mass and baseline musculoskeletal function using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Some patients require blood tests that measure vitamin and mineral analysis. My current program recommendations are to encourage clients to participate in regular physical exercise (progressing the intensity), sun exposure (in order to maintain plasma 25-OH-D3 above 40 ng/ml), adequate sleep, and a diet similar to the one followed by early man (fish, shellfish, eggs from free range chickens, organic meat from free range, grass fed animals, fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers, nuts and seeds).

You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet, but Insulin resistance might be related to too little muscle, therefore muscle building exercise is important and we need to teach our clients what the best exercises are. Recall that two glucose can enter into muscle and only one glucose can enter into fat. Therefore, a person with high body fat content can have excess glucose in the blood. In my daily practice, I see the combination of a Paleo Diet and exercise leading to more optimal health.

We have a genetically inbred sense of what is right for each of us. We are wired for foods that make us comfortable, foods that taste right, foods that look and smell beautiful, and foods that we ignore or dismiss, etc. In this day and age, our food choices are skewed. "Comfort foods" might not make us feel comfortable, "right choice" foods might not be whole foods, and foods that look "beautiful" are often the most processed and full of refined sugars. The Paleo Diet does not include processed foods, refined sugars, grains, vegetable oils and dairy. It's interesting to note that in 1799 we were introduced to sucrose; in 1858 feedlot processed meat; in 1913 oreo cookies; in 1921 Wonder Bread; in 1970 high fructose corn syrup. In 1980, the modern obesity epidemic began. It is no wonder how we get where we are today! The average calorie intake between 1970 – 2009 is about 425 kcal/day more. This is a 20% increase. Why? First, because of highly palatable processed foods and buffet servings; and second, because of food reward – behaviors are reinforced in response to food consumption. There has been a decline in consumption of home cooked meals and a significant rise of processed food, especially sugar. Extra calories are coming from eating between meals, especially the highly processed, industrial foods. Processed foods are not allowed on a strict Paleo Diet program. The Western industrial food diet with abundant carbohydrates, causes fat gain whereas a low carbohydrate Paleo Diet is healthier and helps people lose weight.

Ten to eleven thousand years ago, the Agricultural Revolution took place. This changed our lifestyle because we developed the use of cereal grains as staple foods. Currently, eighty-five percent of all grains are consumed as refined grains. Grains are one of the major foods of our time. Grains are not on the Paleo Diet! The same revolution gave us the introduction of legumes and other plant foods. The domestication of animals gave us non-human milk in the human diet. Later on we were introduced to sucrose and distilled alcoholic beverages. Grains, dairy and legumes are Neolithic foods and lead to inflammation. The current antioxidant content of grains is zero, whereas our ancestral antioxidants content was about 50%, which came from fruits and vegetables. Seasonal fruits are on the Paleo Diet, but most people only eat cultivated non-organic fruits containing less antioxidants than what our ancestors were exposed too.

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