Weight Reduction

Compiled by John G. Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac., Edited by Barbara Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Research on How Acupuncture Benefits Weight Reduction
Useful Foods
Foods to Avoid
Useful Herbs and Supplements
General Considerations
References

INTRODUCTION
·        Creating a long-term plan to help us manage our weight so that we look and feel good will also help us avoid health risks associated with obesity, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetic complications and arthritis in the weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips and ankles.

·        In general, losing weight is a matter of consciously curbing the amount of food we eat, regulating the types of food we eat and increasing daily activity.  In addition to acupuncture and craniosacral therapy, the following recommendations below should be helpful in reducing weight. We also invite you to read our article on Understanding Obesity for more information on this subject.

RESEARCH ON HOW ACUPUNCTURE BENEFITS WEIGHT REDUCTION     
.         The results of a study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1993 Mar, 13(1):22-6 by Sun, Q. and Xu Y. entitled “Simple obesity and obesity hyperlipema treated with otoacupoint pellet pressure and body acupuncture” indicated that treatment in the auricular and body acupoint group was superior to treatment in the control group.  In the acupoint group body weight dropped by an average of 5.04 kg in 84.55% of the patients, who also showed decreased appetite, blood TC and TG.

·        The results of another study which was published in Australian Family Physician 1998 Jul; 27 Suppl 2:S73-7 by Richards, D. and Marley, J. entitled “Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss” found that frequent stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points is an effective method of appetite suppression which leads to weight loss.

 USEFUL FOODS
·       Eat plenty of fresh high quality vegetables. They are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. 

·        Unrefined cold pressed flax oil, adzuki beans, mung beans, rye, amaranth, quinoa, oats, basmati rice (unrefined), lettuce, celery asparagus, turnips, radishes, alfalfa, scallions and other vegetables.

·        Eat meat in moderation, but when we do so, it should be lean, organic, range free, hormone and antibiotic free.  Wild caught fish and organic eggs from range free chickens can also be eaten in moderation.

·        If we want to eat fruit, eat only fresh fruits.  Avoid the temptation to drink fruit juice as it contains lots of sugar and lacks fiber.

·        Drink five to eight glasses of filtered water each day because water helps the body function efficiently, which facilitates weight loss.

·        Kelp and seaweeds are rich in iodine, which stimulates the production of thyroid hormone and, thus, supports the increased metabolic rate that generally accompanies weight loss and exercise.  CAUTION: If you have high blood pressure or a thyroid disorder, you should consult a health care practitioner before using kelp or seaweed.

FOODS TO AVOID
·        Avoid fried foods, fatty foods, ice cream, margarine, processed foods, white bread, white potatoes, white rice, sodas, beer, figs, dates, dried fruit, candies, cakes, cookies, natural and chemical sweeteners, salt and foods made with white flour.

·        Avoid sugar, whether in the form of maltose, sucrose, lactose or fructose, as it not only contributes to weight gain, but it contributes to diabetes, suppresses the immune system, generates free radicals, raises triglycerides and contributes to arthritis, etc.  According to Dr. Agatston in his book, The South Beach Diet, eliminating processed carbohydrates from your diet improves blood chemistry, ultimately resulting in lowered triglycerides and cholesterol.

·        Avoid foods made with polyunsaturated  fat or partially hydrogenated oils as they increase the bad cholesterol levels which are associated with heart attacks and strokes.

·        According to Dr. Atkins, diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates radically increase the body’s production of insulin, which is the best single index of adipose tissue or fat.

USEFUL HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS
·        Chromium picolinate – 0.05 to 0.2 mg of chromium picolinate per day may help to reduce sugar cravings.  Chromium picolinate acts as a synergist with insulin, making it easier for the body to burn glucose because the pancreas does not have to produce as much insulin to get the desired effect.  Brewer’s yeast is the only food that has appreciable amounts of chromium.

·        Green tea – According to nutrition therapist Linda Prout, green tea may not only boost metabolism and suppress sugar cravings, but it may also burn fat.

·        Vitamin C – It is important to have adequate amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C available in the body during weight loss because toxins and metabolic wastes are stored in adipose tissue and will be release as fat is broken down.  These must be neutralized by antioxidants such as vitamin C so they do not cause cellular damage.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
·        Exercise is vital for weight loss, as it speeds us metabolism and burns calories and may even lower the appetite.  Join a gym or a health club and work out regularly.

·        Aerobic exercise helps burn calories and increase our metabolic rate between exercise periods, thereby helping our bodies use calories effectively.  Exercise also sparks the release of increased amounts of endorphins in the brain, which induce feelings of happiness and relaxation.

·        Cultivate relationships with people who lead less sedentary, more active lifestyles.

·        As far as excessive weight is concerned fast sugar is worse for you than slow sugar.  Therefore fiber, healthy fats and protein are good for you because they slow down the process by which you metabolize the sugars in carbohydrates.  If sugars are metabolized more slowly then insulin is released more gradually.  The slow decline in blood sugar translates into less insistent cravings for more carbohydrates later.  When the decline in blood sugar is gentle the cravings are lessened.

·        According to Dr. Agatston we can most easily stop ourselves from overeating by two strategies:
         We can eat foods (and combinations of foods) that cause gradual rather than sharp increases and decreases in blood sugar.  We can learn to anticipate hypoglycemia and avert it with the timely consumption of healthy snacks such as nuts.

·        There are some excellent websites which provide online food and exercise diaries as well as useful nutritional information which you may wish to check out.  One that we liked is a website that provides nutrition facts, calorie counts and detailed nutrition data for foods and recipes at www.nutritiondata.com

REFERENCES
Agatston, Arthur, M.D., The South Beach Diet, New York: Rodale, 2003
Atkins, Robert C., M.D., Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, New York: Avon Books, 1999
Balch, James F., M.D., Balch, Phyllis A., C.N.C., Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Garden City Park: Avery Publishing Group, 1997
Cabrera, Chanchal, “Shedding Pounds”, Herbs for Health, p. 23-27, Jan/Feb, 1997
Cavelli, Ellen, “Appetite Control”, Vegetarian Times, p. 80, Jan. 2000
Vanderhaeghe, Lorna R., & Bouic, Patrick J.D., Ph.D., The Immune System Cure, New York: Kensington Books, 1999
Werbach, Melvyn R., M.D., Nutritional Influences on Illness, Tarzana: Third Line Press, 1996

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Compassionate Acupuncture and Healing Arts, providing craniosacral acupuncture, herbal and nutritional medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Phone number 919-309-7753.

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