Dr. Dirk Busts 5 Common Diet Myths

5 Common Diet Myths

Nutrition and diet can be tricky subjects, especially with the amount of misinformation that can be found on the internet. Unfortunately, diet myths are widespread, and you’ve probably come across one or more of them in your efforts to lose weight.

In this post, Dr. Dirk will dispel some of those diet and nutrition myths to help you make smarter, healthier choices about food.

Myth No. 1: Fad diets can help me lose weight and keep it off.

If your goal is long-term weight loss and good health, avoid fad diets.

Fad diets tend to focus on fast weight loss by reducing your food intake or by avoiding certain foods altogether. Such diets can be nearly impossible to follow long-term, because it’s very difficult to keep certain foods out of your diet for good. Many people on fad diets give up after a while and end up putting the weight back on.

Dr. Dirk recommends…

The most reliable way to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way is to commit to a high-protein, low-carb diet eaten in small, regular meals, and to participate in daily physical activity.

Focus on getting lean proteins (skinless chicken breast, salmon, lean red meat), complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, beans), and a variety of colorful vegetables in your diet. This combo will deliver the best mix of calories and essential nutrients for your body.

Myth No. 2: Eliminating carbs from my diet can help me lose weight.

Complex carbs, such as whole grains, provide an essential source of nutrients, such as dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins and more. By totally eliminating carbs from your diet, you also lose out on the body’s main source of fuel.

Dr. Dirk recommends…

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet. If you’re trying to lose weight or keep it off, your goal should be to consume a high-protein, low-carb (not no-carb) diet, with an emphasis on complex carbs, such as whole grains (brown rice, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, etc.) instead of refined or simple carbs (white rice, white bread, candy, soda).

Myth No. 3: Some people can eat whatever they want and never gain weight.

There are a range of factors that can influence your weight, including genetics, age and lifestyle habits.

But gaining or losing weight is mainly a matter of calories. Simply put, if you burn more calories than you consume in a day, you’ll lose weight. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

Dr. Dirk recommends …

Since losing weight boils down to burning more calories than you consume, your goal should be to consume a healthy amount of calories per day, and to perform enough physical activity in order to burn those calories and more.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be high-intensity — it can be as simple as taking a walk or dancing. The most important thing is that you get up and move each day.

Myth No. 4: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

People who skip meals tend to overeat at their next meal. Instead of consuming two small meals of 300-400 calories each, they might eat one meal of 600-800 calories.

Studies show that when two groups of people eat similar calorie amounts — one in multiple smaller meals, the other in one large meal — the meal skippers exhibit elevated fasting glucose levels and delayed insulin response, which could contribute to diabetes over time.

If that isn’t persuasive enough, studies also show a link between skipping breakfast and obesity.

Dr. Dirk recommends…

A better way to approach weight loss is to consume smaller meals throughout the day, instead of hitting your body with a giant dose of calories after hours of hunger.

Myth No. 5: Low-fat or fat-free means fewer calories.

While a low-fat or fat-free version of a food can be lower in calories than a full-fat version, that’s not always the case.

Low-fat and fat-free foods often undergo processing to remove fat. In order to maintain the taste and texture of the food, manufacturers often add ingredients, such as flour, salt, starch or sugar. That means that some low-fat or fat-free food products can have more calories than a full-fat product.

Dr. Dirk recommends…

Always read the nutrition label to check the calories contained in a serving size.

There are a lot of lingering diet myths online. Always be sure to do your research and talk to a doctor to find out whether your nutrition choices are backed up by facts. You may be surprised at what you learn.


Dr. Dirk’s Favorite Protein-Packed Dinner Recipes

One of the keys to successful weight loss is a good diet. In fact, eating the right food in the right amounts is probably the most important step you can take if you’re serious about living a healthy lifestyle.

For people who are overweight or obese, Dr. Dirk recommends a high-protein, low-carb diet with plenty of lean protein, vegetables and whole grains. (Here’s why this diet is best for people who want to lose weight and keep it off.)

If you’re looking for some healthy spring dinner recipes, try one or all of these high-protein, low-carb meals this week.

Protein-Packed Dinner Recipes

Stir-Fry Sesame Chicken with Brown Rice

This recipe is a great way to get in some lean protein (in the form of skinless chicken breast) and a variety of delicious, nutritious vegetables. Add a side of brown rice, and you have a tasty dish that beats your favorite Chinese takeout. Serves six.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups stemmed and chopped fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, sliced diagonally, or chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. Coat chicken strips in half the teriyaki sauce. Add oil to a pan or wok over medium heat. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Add green beans and water or chicken stock to the pan. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender. Add sesame oil and peppers to the pan with the beans. Cook uncovered for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and some teriyaki sauce, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Return chicken to pan and add remaining teriyaki sauce. Cook for one minute, until warmed. Remove from heat and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Garnish with scallions or cilantro.
  5. Serve with brown rice.
Protein-Packed Dinner Recipes

Wild Salmon with Rainbow Salsa

Wild salmon is one of the best sources of protein you can get. Not only is it lean, but it’s also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind of fat). This recipe pairs zesty salmon with a colorful sweet and sour salsa. Serves two.

Ingredients:

Miso-lime marinade

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Salmon

  • 2 fillets (6 ounces each) wild salmon
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • Fresh parsley sprigs to garnish

Rainbow salsa

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the lime marinade and smear over the salmon fillets. Set aside for at least 30 minutes so the salmon absorbs the flavor of the marinade.
  2. While the fish is marinating, prepare the salsa.
  3. Char the outside skin of the peppers and jalapeño. You can do this by holding them with tongs over an open flame, turning them so the outside chars evenly. Put the peppers and chili in a paper bag so they sweat (this makes it easier to remove the skin). After about 5 minutes, remove the peppers and jalapeño from the bag, and the charred skin should slide off easily.
  4. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and chop finely. If you don’t want the salsa to be too hot, remove the seeds from the jalapeño before chopping.
  5. Place the peppers and jalapeño in a bowl with the tomato and garlic. Add the lime juice, sea salt, honey, and cilantro and mix well.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Lay enough lime slices on an oven tray so that the fish can sit comfortably on top. Place the fish on the lime slices and place the tray on the top shelf of the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. (The thicker the fillets, the longer they will take to cook through.)
  8. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, keeping the lime slices underneath. Serve immediately with the rainbow salsa.
Protein-Packed Dinner Recipes

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon Stew

Beef can be high in fat, so try to limit your intake of red meat and choose leaner cuts of beef, like strip steak and eye of round roast.

Of course, there are those days when nothing will satisfy like a hearty beef stew. For those days, use this low-carb, veggie-packed recipe. Serves eight.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large cubes
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 whole sprig rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, halved
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 10 pearl onions, halved or 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle beef cubes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge in flour to coat.
  2. Put 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add half the beef cubes and brown on all sides, for about 5 minutes. It is not necessary to cook the beef all the way through yet. Repeat with the second batch. Set the beef aside.
  3. In the same pan that the beef was browned in, add 1/4 cup of the wine and scrape the bottom, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Add herbs, mushrooms, pearl onions or diced onion, celery, carrots, and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Pour everything from the pan into the slow cooker. Add the rest of the wine, the stock, the rest of the salt, the bay leaf, the potatoes and the beef cubes. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 hours.

The Dangers of Weight-Loss Supplements

Weight-Loss Supplements

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably been tempted by weight-loss supplements. These products claim to help you shed pounds faster, but are they too good to be true?

In a word, yes. Weight-loss supplements are largely ineffective and can even be dangerous.

At best, weight-loss pills and supplements deliver very modest results only to some people.

The reality is that there is no get-thin-quick solution. If your goal is to lose weight, “miracle” weight-loss pills and supplements simply won’t deliver.

There are a variety of weight-loss pills and supplements, including prescription and nonprescription drugs, herbal medicines and other dietary supplements.

Studies of prescription medicines have shown that they produce, at best, very little weight loss in only some people. Plus, those limited benefits only come to those who have already made appropriate lifestyle changes.

Even if a pill or supplement is advertised as “clinically proven,” it doesn’t mean that the size, method and duration of the clinical trial was enough to show sufficient evidence of weight loss. For example, one “clinically proven” pill only led to a loss of 3 pounds over an eight-week period.

At worst, weight-loss pills and supplements can be very dangerous and even lethal.

The modest benefits that some people may enjoy from weight-loss supplements are nothing compared to the very real damage they can do to your health.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), weight-loss supplements can cause serious harm. The agency has identified hundreds of products advertised as “dietary supplements” that contain:

  • Hidden active ingredients contained in prescription drugs
  • Unsafe ingredients found in drugs that have been removed from the market
  • Compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans

For these reasons, weight-loss supplements have been known to cause serious health problems.

For example, a prescription weight-loss drug called Meridia was withdrawn from the market after it was found that it contained an ingredient called sibutramine that caused heart attacks and strokes.

Even though Meridia was withdrawn, sibutramine was identified in another weight-loss pill, Slimming Beauty Bitter Orange Slimming Capsules, which was marketed as “100 percent herbal” and safe for use by children as young as 2.

Not only are there tainted pills and supplements, but there are also products that avoid FDA regulation altogether because dietary supplement producers do not need FDA approval prior to marketing their products.

Given the uncertainty and high risk surrounding weight-loss supplements, in addition to the fact that they produce only small benefits in some users, Dr. Dirk strongly recommends avoiding them.

The only safe, effective regimen for weight loss  

Losing weight and getting healthy is a long road that requires discipline, determination and patience. If you want to be successful in your weight loss journey, avoid fads and put in the hard work it takes to lose weight and get healthy.

According to Dr. Dirk, the most reliable and safe way to lose weight is to commit to a good diet and regular exercise. That means consuming a low-carb, high-protein diet made up of small meals and committing to at least one hour of aerobic activity per day.

It’s natural to want a quick solution to weight loss. Unfortunately, no safe or effective “quick” solution exists. The surest and healthiest way to lose weight is to commit to a new lifestyle that emphasizes a sensible diet and regular exercise.


Patient Testimonial: Callie Cunningham

patient testimonial

Being overweight can have real consequences not only for your physical health, but also for your quality of life. Just ask Callie Cunningham.

Before meeting Dr. Dirk and undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure in May 2016, Callie, a phlebotomist, had long struggled with weight problems. She was constantly depressed or angry, and she had little desire to go anywhere or do anything. Back then, Callie weighed 333 pounds.

After her mother and her children gave her the motivation to change her life, Callie decided to undergo a weight loss procedure with the help of Dr. Dirk.

Thanks to the gastric sleeve and Callie’s commitment to changing her lifestyle, she was able to lose 81 pounds and counting. She realized how big an accomplishment her weight loss was when she discovered she could wear her teenage daughter’s clothes.

patient testimonial

Now, Callie eats smaller portions and lives a more active lifestyle, including walking and spending more time with her children. “I feel better about myself and my appearance,” Callie says.

She’s also enjoying the responses she gets about her weight loss. “I wasn’t used to receiving compliments!”

Callie says that Dr. Dirk’s guidance and advice was crucial to her weight loss journey. “He was amazing, but also blunt,” Callie says. “He told it like it is, with no sugar-coating.”

Above all, Callie’s experience has taught her that the key to weight loss is being motivated to change yourself and your life. “I tell my friends that the sleeve is a tool to help you, but the real tool is yourself. You have to want to change and to be healthy.”

Find more inspiring success stories from Dr. Dirk’s patients here.


The FDA’s New Gastric Balloon Warning: What Does It Mean?

Gastric Balloon Warning

While there are many different procedures and treatments for obesity, some can less safe and effective than others. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about fluid-filled gastric balloon treatments.

What are intragastric balloons?

Intragastric balloons are a relatively new weight loss procedure. A balloon or balloons are placed in an overweight or obese patient’s stomach in order to take up stomach space. The balloon limits how much a patient can eat and helps them feel fuller faster.

There are two types of intragastric balloons: fluid-filled balloons and air-filled balloons.

What does the FDA warning say?

In February 2017, the FDA issued a warning about the Orbera and ReShape fluid-filled intragastric balloon systems. Based on multiple incidents, the FDA reported two problems associated with fluid-filled intragastric balloons.

The first problem involves intragastric balloons over-inflating with air or with more fluid while in a patient’s stomach, requiring early removal of the balloon system.

The second problem is the development of acute pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. This problem also requires premature removal of the device.

What are Dr. Dirk’s thoughts?

According to Dr. Dirk, The FDA approves a medical device after a sample group of patients are observed for a period of time only to determine whether the device is safe.

FDA approval is based largely on the statistical probability of safety, not an absolute certainty. In other words, the FDA essentially makes an educated guess about safety of a treatment.

But despite the best efforts of regulators like the FDA, medical science takes time and many cases in order to discover what problems can crop up.

“The takeaway message here is is that the balloon is not a cure-all,” Dr. Dirk says. “Like any other medical device placed in the human body, it must be watched not only by the patient, but also by the doctors who placed the device in the patient.”

For more information about the intragastric balloon or other weight loss procedures offered by Dr. Dirk, schedule a consultation or call us to learn more 214-DRDIRK-1.


What To Eat After Your Weight Loss Procedure

bariatric eating

Weight loss surgery is just the beginning of your health journey, not the end of it. After you have weight loss surgery, it’s important for you to commit to living a healthy lifestyle in order to keep the weight off.

The two components of a healthy lifestyle are a good diet and plenty of aerobic physical activity. In other words, you’ll need to consume small, healthy meals and burn calories through daily exercise.

In this post, we’ll focus on what a good post-weight loss surgery diet looks like. Here are the foods you should add to your grocery list:

Proteins

After a weight loss procedure, Dr. Dirk recommends that his patients consume a high-protein, low-carb diet.

Proteins leave you feeling more satisfied than carbs and fats because they take longer for your stomach to digest. Therefore, foods with protein remain in your stomach longer, reducing your hunger.

Down the line, a high-protein diet can result in higher cholesterol levels. That is why it is important to select lean proteins, such as wild salmon, instead of fattier proteins, such as red meat.

Here are some good proteins to add to your grocery list:

  • Fish, especially salmon, tuna and cod
  • White-meat poultry
  • Dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Tofu

Carbs

While Dr. Dirk recommends reducing your carbohydrate intake following weight loss surgery, the right carbs are an essential part of your diet. Carbs are your body’s primary energy source and are a part of a healthy diet.

What are the “right carbs”? Always choose complex carbs, such as whole grains, instead of simple, refined or processed carbs, such as white breads.

Complex carbs are better for you because they take longer for your body to break down. They keep you full longer and contain a good mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Consider these complex carbs when shopping for groceries:

  • Steel-cut oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils

Vitamins

Finally, consuming vitamins is a vital part of your diet after weight loss surgery. Vitamins keep your body systems functioning well.

While vitamin supplements are an option, Dr. Dirk recommends getting your vitamins through a variety of natural, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables.

Here are some fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your diet:

  • Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, watercress and collard greens
  • Green vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • A range of colorful vegetables, such as bell peppers, carrots and tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits
  • Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes

Diet is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle, especially after weight loss surgery. That’s why Dr. Dirk provides his patients with detailed nutrition information following weight loss surgery.

To learn more about Dr. Dirk’s nutrition recommendations, set up a consultation today.


Patient Testimonial: Gabrielle Oliveira

 

patient testimonial

When 16-year-old high school student Gabrielle Oliveira first heard about Dr. Dirk, she had already struggled with the negative effects of obesity for years.

From the age of 12, Gabrielle had high blood sugar and cholesterol levels as a result of being overweight. Her obesity also affected her confidence, causing her to feel depressed and avoid social events.

Following her vertical gastric sleeve procedure in August 2016, Gabrielle is a new person.

She lost 71 pounds, bringing her blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control. She now has the energy for regular exercise — especially hiking, her new favorite activity — as well as the motivation to eat a healthy diet.

Most importantly, Gabrielle enjoys a newfound confidence and security in her body. She has become outgoing and open, and at a trim 139 pounds, she wins compliments from strangers and friends alike.

We talked to Gabrielle about her weight loss journey and her experience with Dr. Dirk.

How was your life before the procedure?

Before the surgery, I struggled a lot with my confidence and health. Eating was a way to comfort myself and relieve stress, but it left me wincing at the sight of my body in mirrors and pictures.

I also struggled with health problems. Every doctor warned me that if I didn’t make changes to my lifestyle, I would become diabetic and have heart problems.

What motivated you to have surgery?

I was on the road to permanently destroying my health at only 16 years old. I also hated my body and was not comfortable going out and meeting people. This put a hold of my social life and led to depression.

After a lot of research and many failed diets, my mom and I came across Dr. Dirk. At my first visit to Dr. Dirk’s office, I learned about the surgery options. Dr. Dirk assured me that the procedure would change my life for the absolute best.

The more I learned about the surgery, the more confident I became that this was what I wanted.

How has your life changed since your procedure?

I feel like a completely different person. As far as my health is concerned, I feel great. I lost 71 pounds, my blood sugar levels are normal and my cholesterol has dropped significantly.

Because of my surgery, I am able to do more now. My confidence soars over my former depression and social anxiety, and I’m able to go out and feel confident and happy about the way I’m living and the way my body looks.

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

Before my surgery, eating healthy felt like a chore. It had no effect of my weight, and I would become discouraged. Now eating healthy feels good. It’s something I want to do.

In terms of exercise, I can take my body to the next level. Before the surgery, I didn’t exercise because I just felt sluggish and had no energy. But now I do a lot of aerobic exercise and weight lifting. I feel like my body can handle it.

What kind of response have you gotten from friends and family?

My family and friends have been very supportive. I even get noticed by strangers who compliment me without even knowing about my journey!

How was your experience with Dr. Dirk?

Dr. Dirk gave me so much information and made me feel like I was more than just a patient.

In my visits to his office before the surgery, he told me what the surgery would do and what my life would be like after the surgery. He visited with me frequently after the surgery to make sure everything was good.

During my follow-up visits throughout the year, he checked on my progress and he still continues to educate me on weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle.

How has your outlook on life changed?

When living healthy and treating your body right becomes a priority, you begin to realize that you can take your life to different places. You can do so much more without worrying.

The biggest eye-opener has been being able to exercise and feel good about it. I don’t dread spending an hour and a half at the gym anymore. That experience has shown me that the surgery has changed my life.

Would you recommend weight loss surgery and Dr. Dirk?

Absolutely. Dr. Dirk makes you feel 100 percent comfortable and safe in his hands. Without this surgery, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. I am living the happiest and healthiest life I could ever live.


How to Support a Loved One After Weight Loss Surgery

Hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo obesity surgery every year, and awareness of these procedures is becoming more and more widespread.

Is your loved one considering weight loss surgery?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo obesity surgery every year, and awareness of these procedures is becoming more and more widespread. Just look at the popular TV show “This Is Us,” in which actress Chrissy Metz’s character decides to have weight loss surgery.

As a friend or family member of someone contemplating weight loss surgery, you have an important part to play. Patients need the support of the people closest to them in order to commit to a healthy lifestyle post-surgery.

Here’s how you can support your loved one during this process.

Emotional Support

Making the decision to have obesity surgery and sticking to a diet and exercise regimen after surgery can be emotionally grueling. The single most important thing you can do is to be there for your loved one. Let them know that you are on this journey with them.

You can do that by:

  • Being a cheerleader, not a coach. Don’t nitpick your loved one for their mistakes. Instead, applaud the things he or she is doing right. Even if they miss a weight loss target, show them love and support for trying.
  • Celebrate with your loved one. If your loved one achieves a goal, plan a fun activity to celebrate, such as going to a movie or a concert. Let them know that you’re just as excited about their achievements as they are.
  • Be interested in more than losing weight. Talk about things besides weight loss. Show your interest and concern in your loved one’s life beyond the issue of dieting and weight.
  • Be positive. Don’t judge your loved one for a bad day. Help them to get back on track by focusing on the future, not the past.
  • Support them in their decision about obesity surgery. While weight loss surgery is a choice, it may be the only option to treat severe weight problems. Ask your loved one what they know about the surgery, seek out information together and keep an open mind.
  • Join them at appointments, classes and support groups. If your loved one needs someone to go along with them to meetings with doctors, for example, offer to join them. It can help relieve your loved one’s nervousness. Plus, you can help ask questions and get more information.
  • Be thoughtful about what you say after surgery. It’s important to be sensitive about how your loved one feels after surgery. Try to avoid making comments about weight after surgery. Be careful about how you congratulate your loved one on their progress.

Dietary Support

Diet and exercise are the pillars of weight loss. Even after weight loss surgery, maintaining a good diet is key to keeping weight off and staying healthy. For you, that means supporting your loved one by helping them eat a good diet.

If you live with your loved one, try to get rid of any tempting foods, like chips, cookies and sodas. By removing unhealthy foods and drinks from your home, you’ll make it easier for your loved one to stick to their diet.

You can also help out with meal planning and food prep. Cooking at home is always preferable to eating out because you can keep track of the ingredients in your food and control the amount of oil and salt you use.

On your days off, plan meals for the week ahead with your loved one’s diet guidelines in mind. Prepare your ingredients in advance so they’re easier to cook after a long day of work. For instance, marinate skinless chicken breasts and chop up vegetables ahead of time so your ingredients are ready to go.

Exercise

The second pillar of weight loss and a post-surgery lifestyle is a regular physical activity.

Participating in exercise is an easy way to support your loved one. Here are some examples of exercise that you can do together.

  • Evening walks. Discussing your day at work? Do it on a nice walk instead of on the couch.
  • Workouts. Whether you’re lifting weights, going to Zumba classes or jogging on the treadmill, it’s always easier to get motivated when you have someone to exercise with.
  • Sports. Get a group of friends together for a weekly game of basketball or volleyball.
  • Home exercises. Even on days when you can’t make time for a full-fledged workout, join your loved one for a shorter home workout with simple jumping jacks, squats and lunges.

For overweight and obese individuals, successful weight loss depends upon the support of the people around them. By supporting your loved one on this journey, you can make weight loss surgery feel less overwhelming.


Take Charge of Your Health For American Heart Month

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, and it’s a great time to take action to improve your heart health, especially if you’re overweight or obese.

Why Your Heart Health Matters

Did you know that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for American men and women? Heart disease claims the lives of 1 out of every 4 American adults — that’s about 17 million people every year.

The good news is that there are certain risk factors that can tell you if you’re likely to get heart disease. By learning about the risk factors you may have, you can work to prevent these health problems.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make it more likely that you’ll develop a disease. So what are the key risk factors for heart disease?

  • Being overweight or obese
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

In the past, we’ve discussed how obesity can lead to many of these other conditions. Reducing your weight can go far when it comes to improving your heart health.

Take Action: Know Your Numbers

There is no better time than American Heart Month to become more aware of your important health numbers. By learning about and keeping track of these numbers, you can learn your risk factors for heart disease, monitor your progress in reducing them and motivate yourself to stick to good heart health.

The key numbers include:

  • Body weight and body-mass index (BMI)
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood cholesterol
  • Blood sugar

To find out your numbers and to set up a plan to bring them within the healthy range, arrange an appointment with a doctor.

Take Action: Change Your Lifestyle

The best way to improve your health, reduce your weight and prevent heart disease is to make positive changes to your lifestyle through diet and exercise.

To reduce your weight and fight back against heart disease, eating a healthy, balanced diet and committing to an active lifestyle is crucial.

Dr. Dirk recommends a diet that is high in protein, low in carbs and made up of unprocessed foods, lean proteins, whole grains and produce. Committing to daily calorie-burning aerobic exercise is also crucial to effective weight loss.

Sometimes, diet and exercise aren’t enough to help you lose weight. In those cases, weight loss surgery is an option. When paired with diet and exercise, weight loss surgery has been shown to have a real effect on heart health:

  • 95% of people are able to avoid diabetes or make it easier to treat
  • 93% of people see improved blood pressure

Don’t wait until American Heart Month is over to start taking your health seriously. Call (214) 308-0189 today to set up an appointment with Dr. Dirk to discuss your weight loss options.

 


Apple Cider Vinegar Promotes Weight Loss: Fact or Fiction?

apple cider vinegar

So-called health experts love to tout the health benefits of certain “superfoods” like apple cider vinegar. While many of these foods can indeed be nutritious, these broad health claims are often exaggerated or completely unsupported by science.

In recent years, apple cider vinegar fans have claimed that the superfood can boost weight loss efforts.

But is the link between this so-called superfood and weight loss a verifiable fact or just a myth? Here are the facts:

What’s the hype around apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple sugars. For decades, people have proclaimed that apple cider vinegar is a magic elixir with a range of health benefits. Those supposed health benefits include:

  • It helps keep blood sugar under control, decreasing the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
  • It supports good digestion and an improved immune system.
  • It promotes weight loss.

Are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar real or just a myth?

Studies show that, of the purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar, only some are true. Let’s look at each claim one by one.

Consuming apple cider vinegar may help keep blood sugar under control.

There is substantial evidence that apple cider vinegar has a positive effect on regulating blood sugar. According to Carol S. Johnston, associate director of the nutrition program at Arizona State University, vinegar appears to inhibit the enzyme that aids in the digestion of starch. Because less starch is digested, less of the starch sugars make it into the blood.

In the long run, keeping blood sugar in check can help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

It’s important to note that all vinegar — not just apple cider vinegar — produces this blood sugar effect. That’s because all vinegar contains acetic acid, the ingredient that inhibits starch digestion.

Apple cider vinegar may aid digestion.

Since apple cider vinegar is derived from fermented apple juice, it can contain probiotics, like many other fermented foods. Probiotics are bacteria that help keep the stomach and digestive system healthy.

The probiotics are contained in the “mother,” or the cobwebby strands that are found in raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Pasteurized apple cider vinegar is clear because the pasteurization process removes the “mother,” which takes away the probiotic benefit.

Still, while raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar may offer probiotic benefits, this has not been verified by research.

Apple cider vinegar — like all vinegar — may have a prebiotic effect, however. While “probiotic” refers to live bacteria, “prebiotic” refers to a type of plant fiber that nourishes the beneficial bacteria already living in the large bowel and colon. The healthier the good bacteria, the more robust your digestive system.

Does apple cider vinegar promote weight loss?

Unlike the other benefits of apple cider vinegar, the purported weight loss benefit is a myth.

There is simply no science to back up the claim that apple cider vinegar triggers a metabolic process that results in weight loss, according to Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness.

Other experts share this conclusion. Carol S. Johnston, the Arizona State University nutrition specialist, agrees: “Vinegar is not a magic bullet for weight loss.”

How to consume apple cider vinegar

If you want to consume apple cider vinegar for its blood sugar benefits, it is important to consume it correctly.

Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 8 ounces of water and drink it right before eating, once or twice a day.

But don’t overdo it. Consuming too much apple cider vinegar can have adverse health consequences. Because of the acidity of apple cider vinegar, overconsumption can cause stomach irritation, wear away at your tooth enamel and harm your esophagus.

What is an effective weight loss program?

Health and wellness specialists and doctors — including Dr. Dirk — agree that the most effective weight loss program doesn’t rely on a single superfood, but a comprehensive program of diet and exercise.

Fad diets, superfood and lose-weight-fast regimens are often ineffective and can even be detrimental to your health. Healthy and sustainable weight loss depends upon eating a healthy and balanced diet and incorporating calorie- and fat-burning workouts into your lifestyle.

So what are the real superfoods?

“Real superfoods are any type of food made by nature,” Dr. Dirk says. “Eating a balanced diet of small, frequent meals with minimal amounts of processed foods helps make you super-healthy.”

To learn more about Dr. Dirk’s nutrition recommendations, set up a consultation today.