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Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new weight-loss procedure in which a thin tube, implanted in the stomach, ejects food from the body before all the calories can be absorbed.
Some have called it “medically sanctioned bulimia,” and it is the latest in a desperate search for new ways to stem the rising tides of obesityand Type 2 diabetes. Roughly one-third of adult Americans are now obese; two-thirds are overweight; and diabetes afflicts some 29 million. Another 86 million Americans have a condition called pre-diabetes. None of the proposed solutions have made a dent in these epidemics.
Recently, 45 international medical and scientific societies, including the American Diabetes Association, called for bariatric surgery to become a standard option for diabetes treatment. The procedure, until now seen as a last resort, involves stapling, binding or removing part of the stomach to help people shed weight. It costs $11,500 to $26,000, which many insurance plans won’t pay and which doesn’t include the costs of office visits for maintenance or postoperative complications. And up to 17 percent of patients will have complications, which can include nutrient deficiencies, infections and intestinal blockages.
It is nonsensical that we’re expected to prescribe these techniques to our patients while the medical guidelines don’t include another better, safer and far cheaper method: a diet low in carbohydrates.
Once a fad diet, the safety and efficacy of the low-carb diet have now been verified in more than 40 clinical trials on thousands of subjects. Given that the government projects that one in three Americans (and one in two of those of Hispanic origin) will be given a diagnosis of diabetes by 2050, it’s time to give this diet a closer look.
When someone has diabetes, he can no longer produce sufficient insulin to process glucose (sugar) in the blood. To lower glucose levels, diabetics need to increase insulin, either by taking medication that increases their own endogenous production or by injecting insulin directly. A patient with diabetes can be on four or five different medications to control blood glucose, with an annual price tag of thousands of dollars.
Yet there’s another, more effective way to lower glucose levels: Eat less of it.
Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates, which are found principally in wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, fruit and sugars. Restricting these foods keeps blood glucose low. Moreover, replacing those carbohydrates with healthy protein and fats, the most naturally satiating of foods, often eliminates hunger. People can lose weight without starving themselves, or even counting calories.