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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weight Loss: Why slow and steady is Best!

I find that the goal of most patients who come in to lose weight at the clinic is to do it quickly. We've seen shows like the 'Biggest Loser' where the participants shed pounds like crazy and want to get the same results. First off, unless you have the whole day to exercise and have all of your meals made for you, it's not necessarily realistic to be dropping 20 pounds in a week.

But there's another reason why slow and steady weight loss is important as well. As I've always conveyed to my patients, it's important to lose weight slowly because fat cells hold a lot of toxins and one does not want to disperse all of this too quickly into the blood stream. This is a concept that most people are not aware of, but a quick search of the medical literature shows that there is ample research to back up this line of thinking.

In the Sept 2010 issue of the International Journal of Obesity, researchers at the department of medicine at the Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea show that persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are released in high concentrations when one loses a lot of weight in a short period of time. POPs are known to increase the risk of various chronic diseases (ie. rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease have all been cited) and unfortunately, they along with other toxins such as mercury accumulate in our fat cells. The study showed that those who had lost weight had higher concentrations of the pollutants than at baseline, while those who had lost weight had a lower concentration of POPs.

Now we should not jump to the conclusion that weight loss is a bad thing. Reducing body fat is still a great goal and has many benefits, but ideally one should do it slowly. We can also use herbs or other nutritional supplements to help the body with the detoxification of POPs and other toxins.

The concept of detoxification if often frowned upon by some in the health care field, but again, there is ample scientific research to show that we can actually reduce the body burden of heavy metals, organochlorides, etc... We can touch upon this another day.

Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"