Dr Frank Lipman http://www.drfranklipman.com Functional and Integrative Medicine Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:08:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Oct. 21) http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-oct-21/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-oct-21/#respond Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:00:41 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28237 Every day, we scour the Web for compelling wellness stories. Here’s a look at this week’s roundup.

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Wellness News

By the Be Well Team

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Worked to Death?

Need another reason to find meaningful work? A new study from researchers at Indiana University finds that having a high-stress job with little decision-making power is more likely to lead to health issues — and even an early death — compared to a high-stress job that involves flexibility and judgement. “You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow [employees] to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision-making and the like,” says lead author Erik Gonzalez-Mulé. (Medical Daily)

For Weight Loss, Step Away from the Diet Soda

Water beats diet soda when it comes to weight loss. That’s the word according to a new study which put about 80 overweight women with Type 2 diabetes on the same meal plan except half of the women drank diet soda while the other half drank water. The results? Not only did the water drinkers lose more weight, but they had better fasting insulin and postprandial glucose levels. (The New York Times)

The High Cost of Toxic Chemicals

Health problems linked to everyday chemicals lead to about $340 billion in treatment costs and decreased productivity, according to a new study published in The Lancet. Many experts have called for better regulation of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are used in plastic bottles, cosmetics, detergents, and even furniture. “Adults and children in the U.S. carry more industrial chemicals in their bodies than their European counterparts simply due to differences in chemical policies,” says Joseph Allen, a public health researcher at Harvard University who wasn’t involved in the study. “In the U.S. our chemical policy largely follows the approach of our legal system – ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ This is appropriate for criminal justice policy but has disastrous consequences for health when used for chemical policy.” (Reuters)

6 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Metabolism a little sluggish? You might be making one of these six lifestyle mistakes: skimping on calories, not eating enough high-quality protein, being too sedentary, not getting enough sleep, drinking too many sugary beverages, and not doing enough resistance training. (EcoWatch)

Treat Acne — From the Inside Out

When it comes to treating acne, what you eat may be more powerful than any cream or ointment. “I’ve had a lot of patients who get their acne under control just by changing their diet,” Dr. Daniel J. Aires, a researcher and dermatologist at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, tells the Times. Specifically, Aires says, people with acne should eats lots and lots of colorful veggies, stay away from sugar and starchy foods, and, if they eat dairy, eat only full-fat versions. “Milk has a lot of growth factors in it which, in general, may be promoting acne,” Aires says. “My guess is that those get more concentrated when you take out the fat.” (The New York Times)

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Heal Your Body Through Fasting: An Interview with Dr. Jason Fung http://www.drfranklipman.com/heal-your-body-through-fasting/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/heal-your-body-through-fasting/#respond Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:00:43 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28216 And, no, we’re not talking about starving yourself. Dr. Jason Fung talks about how short-term fasting promotes health.

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An Interview with Dr. Jason Fung
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Intermittent Fasting
By the Be Well Team

Fasting is not about starving yourself. So says Dr. Jason Fung, who just wrote a new book, The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting, about the therapeutic benefits of short-term fasting.

Fasting allows the body to shed weight, says Dr. Fung, because it can help prevent the development of insulin resistance. In fact, Dr. Fung has put more than 1,000 of his own patients on a fasting protocol to deal with health issues, including Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“In most cases, fasting has allowed us to reverse these patients with Type 2 diabetes,” Fung tells us. “We have taken hundreds of people off diabetes medications, insulin, and high blood pressure medications.

“More than that, we allow patients to take control of their own health. Rather than simply going to the doctor to get yet another medication, we take them off and show people how to manage their metabolic problems with diet and lifestyle.”

In this interview with Be Well, Dr. Fung breaks down the health benefits of short-term fasting and offers some tips to get started. Most importantly, he reminds us not to fear fasting: “Our bodies are equipped to handle it. The lions do it. The tigers do it. The bears do it. And the humans should do it, too.”

Why is when you eat as important as what you eat?

Most conventional diets only consider the total caloric value of their foods. However, weight gain is not the result of excess calories, but hormonal effects of the food that instruct our bodies to gain weight. The primary hormone involved is insulin.

One of the mechanisms by which insulin stays elevated is the phenomenon of insulin resistance. Persistent high levels of insulin causes insulin resistance, which is important because this leads in turn to higher insulin levels, which then drive obesity.

Periods of very low insulin, as can be achieved with fasting, will prevent the development of insulin resistance and help with weight loss efforts in the long term.

Studies directly comparing daily caloric restriction with intermittent fasting show similar weight loss, but much improved insulin levels and insulin sensitivity with intermittent fasting despite equal weekly caloric intakes.

You discuss various fasting protocols in your book, including intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, and extended fasting. Can you describe the difference between them?

The main difference is the length of the fast. Intermittent fasting can be of any duration. There are fasts for 16 hours, 20 hours, 24 hours or 36 hours.  36-hour fasts are often called alternate-day fasting since it generally means eating every other day. Shorter fasts are generally done more frequently.

Once past 36 hours, these fasts are classified as extended fasts. They are more powerful, but are sometimes more difficult and generally done less frequently. If you have health issues, or are taking medications, you should consult your physician.

Most of us grew up on the advice to either eat three square meals a day, plus a couple of snacks, or constantly graze throughout the day. What is going on with our metabolism when we are constantly eating versus intermittently fasting?

The NHANES survey in the United States showed that in 1977, the average American ate 3 times per day — breakfast, lunch and dinner. By 2005, Americans were eating closer to 6 times per day — breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. In essence, we are eating constantly throughout the day, from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep.

Essentially, the body can only exist in two states — the fed state (insulin high, storing energy) or the fasted state (insulin low, burning energy). It cannot do both at the same time. So, instead of 1977, where we balanced the fed and fasted state, we now spend 80% of our time in the fed state, telling our bodies to store energy as fat. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic.

All fasting does, at its core, is allow our body to use some of the food energy we have stored (body fat). That’s all. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural. It’s normal.

What effect does short-term fasting have on our blood-sugar and insulin levels and how our body stores fat?

Fasting is simply the most efficient, quickest way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. Since insulin is the main driver of obesity, there is no surer way to lose weight. After all, if you don’t eat, you’ll lose weight. Nobody can tell you otherwise.

You write about how fasting can help you lose weight without slowing down your metabolism — unlike cutting calories. How does that work?

Intermittent fasting is not simply about cutting calories, although it does often lower caloric intake. Fasting is about creating periods of low insulin, and alternating periods of high food intake and no food intake. This is more physiological.

Think about the weather. In 1 week, we get 7 inches of rain. In one situation, every single day is grey and drizzles 1 inch per day. In the second situation, we get 6 sunny days and 1 day of thunderstorms. Are these two situations equivalent? No.

It’s the same with intermittent fasting. We alternate feasting and fasting because it keeps insulin levels and insulin resistance lower. This leads to easier weight management.

Can you explain what ketosis is, and its relationship to fasting and health?

Ketosis occurs when the body has little sugar to burn for fuel. The body produces ketones from fat to power the brain. This can happen in very low carbohydrate diets as well as intermittently with fasting.

Ketosis is not necessary to derive benefits, but many people find that they have better mental clarity and less hunger with ketosis.

Does intermittent fasting work if it’s not being paired with a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic lifestyle?

It works with any diet. Fasting has been performed throughout human history and has been paired with every diet known to mankind. In the end, if you don’t eat, you will lose weight.

Any tips for getting started? What should we expect?

You should expect that fasting, if you are not used to it, will be difficult in the first few weeks, so be prepared. Also weight loss only averages ½ pound per fasting day. However, you will likely lose more than that, typically 1 pound per day. Much of that is water weight and will return once you start eating again.

It is important to understand this so that you do not get discouraged when half your weight loss is regained. That is normal and expected. That is, if you fast 4 days of the week, you can expect to lose 4 pounds, but then regain 2 of them. This does not mean the fasting is not working.

Are there any downsides to short-term fasting? What are some common mistakes people make? Also, is there anyone who should not try fasting?

Fasting should not be done by pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 18, the malnourished or underweight (BMI<20). If you are taking medication, you should consult your physician.

There are many nuisance side effects, such as constipation, cramps, headaches that can occur during fasting. There are often simple tips than can help. Also many of these problems go away once your body gets used to it.

The most common mistake is to change your daily schedule too fast, thinking that you will have no energy and should stay at home. Your body will have the same amount of energy, but we want it to burn body fat, not food for energy. Stay busy, as it will make fasting much easier to your mind off food.

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The Workout: Kettlebells 2.0 http://www.drfranklipman.com/workout-kettlebells-2-0/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/workout-kettlebells-2-0/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:00:11 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28066 This innovative new method of using kettlebells engages your body and mind in unexpected ways.

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Written by Jen Sinkler, PCC, RKC-II
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life

Swing ’em, snatch ’em, or clean ’em. Kettlebells are popular in bootcamps and strength-training classes worldwide. And rightly so: They build your chain of posterior muscles — your back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves — while also burning fat, enhancing body awareness, and improving core stability.

Many of us, though, stick to the same kettlebell movements and are missing out on a host of unsung benefits. “When it comes to getting ­started, the basics are excellent, but what truly transforms someone’s strength is thinking a step or two outside of the proverbial box,” says John Wolf, an expert in unconventional training methodologies — kettlebells, sandbags, club swinging, and mace training, to name a few — who over­sees fitness education and program­­ming at Onnit Academy Gym in Austin, Texas.

Working with kettlebells is, by virtue of throwing around a ballistic weight, a dynamic form of exercise.

It’s all too easy, though, to stay within the sagittal plane (with front-to-back motions), while neglecting side-to-side and rotational moves. Incorporating multiplanar kettlebell exercises challenges your body in new and important ways, improving not only strength and conditioning, but also mobility and range of motion.

“When you start to explore how else your body can function, you develop a more diverse movement palette and increase the ranges of motion you can move safely within; you become more physically resilient,” says Wolf, who designed this workout.

Mixing up your training also engages your mind because you have to pay attention. If you can swing in your sleep, you might find that you zone out doing the exercise or get bored more easily than you used to.

Changing the movement by swinging side to side instead of front to back may be the trick to reengage your attention and interest. By recruiting your muscles and your brain simultaneously, these next-gen kettlebell moves (or any new-to-you exercises, for that matter) can manifest major neuroplastic changes, including sharper thinking and increased creativity, both in and out of the gym.

This workout is designed to be accessible for all, even those new to kettlebell training. As with any new practice, start slow and use a light weight. Assess how your body responds to each movement, advancing in small increments each session.

Approach this workout with a mindset of purposeful exploration rather than a focus on maximizing effort or number of repetitions.

“We all express ourselves through our movement whether we do so consciously or not. As we develop greater proficiency with our bodies, we reap the rewards both mentally and emotionally,” says Wolf. “If we move in new ways, we think in new ways.”

The Workout

Perform each of the four drills in a circuit format for four rounds with a 3/3/3 tempo: Use a three-second lifting phase, a three-second isometric hold, and then a three-second lowering phase. Rest for one minute between rounds.

Chest-loaded Hinge

Why It Works: This hip-hinge variation allows you to practice the hinge movement at various tempos, maximizing the work your glutes and hamstrings do and keeping your back muscles engaged the entire time — a skill that carries over nicely to all other swing and clean variations.

How to Do It

  • Grab the kettlebell with both hands by the horns (near the base of the handle) and place the base against your chest as you stand in a tall neutral stance, feet hip width apart.
  • Actively roll your shoulders back and down to set a proud chest as you brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your lower back.
  • Pushing your butt backward, fold your upper body forward as a counterbalance.
  • Keep your shins vertical and your head in line with the rest of your spine.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees and make sure your shoulders stay higher than your hips at all times. (Your shoulders and hips can be nearly horizontal, but avoid inverting them.)
  • Lift yourself back to the start position and repeat for 10 rep

Coaching Point: Hang out at the bot­tom position of this drill and see if you can actively shift more of the work back into the glutes and hamstrings.

Bridged Persian Press


Why It Works: This press pays huge strength dividends while introducing a relatively simple rotational variable. This move will blast your glutes and challenge your core.

How to Do It

  • While seated on the floor, use an underhand grip to place two kettlebells on your lap.
  • Lie back and position the kettlebells against your forearms, wrists straight, with your upper arms on the floor and fists facing the ceiling.
  • Draw your feet as close to your glutes as you comfortably can, squeeze your glutes, and drive your heels into the ground, elevating your hips until your body is straight from your knees to the back of your shoulders. Tuck your pelvis under slightly to avoid arching the lower back.
  • Press the kettlebells toward the ceiling over your sternum, and rotate your hands so palms are facing each other to maintain balance of the kettlebells while externally rotating the shoulders.
  • Lower back to start position and repeat for 10 reps.

Coaching Point: If you find the bells are hard to balance as you press them, they are probably floating diagonally upward above your face. Think about pressing them downward over your bellybutton to maintain a strong alignment.

Modified Sumo Squat


Why It Works: This sumo-squat variation trains the hips to maintain external rotation, enhancing hip function, while the knees and ankles are also mobilized through a greater range. All of this translates into better full-body mobility.

How to Do It

  • Hold a single kettlebell by the horns with two hands at chest height. Keep your elbows close to your body and actively set your shoulders back and down, your chest proud. Set your heels slightly wider than hip width apart and turn your toes out as far as you comfortably can without compromising form, aiming for at least 45 degrees.
  • Sink your hips downward, focusing on moving your tailbone straight down toward the floor and keeping your hips aligned between your heels, if possible.
  • Actively press your knees outward, making sure they track in the same direction as your toes, while maintaining a vertical chest.
  • Return to the start position, keeping shoulders stacked over your hips, and repeat for 10 reps.

Coaching Point: If you aren’t able to line up the outsides of your knees with the outsides of your feet, turn your toes in until you can. Upon your descent into the squat, imagine your back sliding down a wall to maintain an upright posture.

Goblet Shinbox Extension


Why It Works: Poor rotary function of the hips contributes to back and knee issues. This drill focuses on improving internal rotation and extension, which are two all-too-common limitations. Done right, this drill will work your butt better than almost any other exercise.

How to Do It

  • Sit with your knees up to your chest, feet slightly wider than hip width apart on the floor in front of you, and hold a kettlebell at chest height.
  • Drop your knees to your right side and onto the floor; knees should form a 90-degree angle with the shins. Focus on sitting tall in this posture. Keep your wrists straight and elbows close to the body as you hold the kettlebell against your chest.
  • While maintaining an upright posture, push your shins and knees downward into the floor (or mat) and squeeze your glutes to extend your hips and elevate your torso. Get as tall as possible, keeping the tailbone tucked.
  • Return to the seated position while keeping your shoulders over your hips to maximize engagement with your glutes. Avoid plopping down to the floor by controlling the lower part of the range of motion. Repeat for five reps per side.

Coaching Point: Focus on the lowering portion of the drill to get the most benefit. If your hips are not happy in the full, seated position, then work the top half of the range only until you develop a greater range of motion.

Photography by Chad Holder
Jen Sinkler, PCC, RKC-II, is a fitness writer and personal trainer based in Philadelphia.
This article is reprinted with permission from Experience Life.

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How to Take Care of Your Skin in the Fall http://www.drfranklipman.com/skin-care-fall/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/skin-care-fall/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 09:00:35 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28192 As the seasons change, so do skin issues. Here are some tips and recipes to help you maintain a beautiful glow.

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By Deborah Burnes

Fall: The leaves start to change and the air grows crisp. It’s a transitional time when we begin hunkering down, preparing for winter and the holiday season. So what does this have to do with your skin? As your body’s largest organ, it’s wholly receptive to even the subtlest of shifts.

While the blistering cold doesn’t usually hit until December or January, fall’s coolness can affect your skin in a variety of ways. If you live in a location where the summer humidity fades into aridity, you’ll want to watch out for dermal dryness. Even though it’s not hot outside, it’s just as crucial to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.

Autumn days are often chilly and can lead to chapped lips and cheeks. Think about switching your moisturizer to something more substantial to preempt parched skin. And make sure you have a good lip balm on hand, avoiding petroleum-based ones. Instead, look for products with ingredients that actually nourish and protect your lips, like Shea butter.

The changing climate also affects we wear in these different conditions. As the weather turns cooler and brisker, we start bundling up in hats, scarves, sweaters, tights, and other garments. If not washed or sanitized, hats and scarves can be culprits of fall blemish breakouts. Even when properly cleaned, they can still cause irritations and yeast-related rashes from perspiration. Materials matter, too. Wearing warmer, heavier fabrics that aren’t as breathable can cause us to perspire, leading to body blemishes as well as rashes.

Seasonal dietary changes can also play a big role in our skin health. Fall holidays are often cause for more parties and gatherings. Some of the fall food pitfalls are pies, sugary cocktails, and candy. Many traditional ingredients, including sugar, wheat, and dairy, can be detrimental to the skin because they are pro-inflammatory.

Fall harvest provides an abundance of wholesome options. Opt for leafy greens, like kale or chard, or some seasonal squash, like butternut or acorn. All of these are anti-inflammatory, full of detoxing fiber, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your skin will thank you!

To help you maintain a beautiful glow this fall and holiday season, try these healthy and delectable skin-loving recipes:

Fall Mocktail

A refreshing alcohol-free beverage that everyone will love.


  • 6 oz. carbonated water
  • Juice from ½ of a tangerine
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cranberry juice


Stir together the carbonated water and tangerine juice in a tall, thin glass. Add the cranberry juice. Finish with a decorative slice of tangerine on the rim or in the glass. (A fun addition is “REALLY BIG ice,” as we call it in my house. There are tons of molds available online or in stores. Try freezing them with a few real cranberries and/or tangerine rind inside for an oh-so-festive beverage.)

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

A yummy replacement for traditional mashed potatoes.


  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Several whole garlic cloves (optional)
  • Almond, cashew, or coconut milk
  • Butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Steam cauliflower for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain (the dryer the better) — or roast in the oven with whole garlic cloves for a toasty flavor. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste. (Butter is optional.) Mash with a potato masher.

Brussel Sprouts

Try this in place of traditional green bean casserole.


  • Brussels sprouts
  • Coconut butter
  • Salt


Steaming is a simple, yummy way to prepare Brussels sprouts, but why not try this: Shave or quarter Brussels and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with melted coconut butter, and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees. Give it a shake once or twice while in the oven, and cook until golden brown. 

Sweet Potato Fries with Caramelized Sage

Truly delicious without marshmallow or brown sugar.


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut butter
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • Salt


Cut sweet potatoes into fries. Take fresh sage leaves (if washed, make sure they’re dry), and place them in a frying pan with melted coconut butter on medium heat. Flip when one side is browned, and remove sage when caramelized. Put fries in a bowl with more coconut butter and salt and stir together. Place in a baking dish at 450 degrees and cook until browned (give it a shake once or twice while in the oven). Remove from oven and garnish with sage.

Deborah’s Holiday Pecan “Cheese” Cake

A vegan heavenly holiday delight!


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 T. cocoa powder
  • 3 T. coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 T. coconut oil

Put all ingredients in food processor until they form a paste. Press into a tart pan, bake at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.


  • 140 grams dark chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 T. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Melt dark chocolate over low heat with coconut milk. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor or blender, combine cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Blend well until super smooth. (The time to get it smooth will depend on your food processor or blender. It can take as long as 8 to 10 minutes.) Add melted coconut oil and blend again.

Add the cooled coconut milk/chocolate mixture to the cashew cream and blend. Pour into cooled tart crust. Decorate with shaved coconut and/or fresh berries.

For permission to reprint recipes contact Deborah Burnes at Sumbody.

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How To Treat a Sinus Infection Before It Starts http://www.drfranklipman.com/treat-sinus-infection-starts/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/treat-sinus-infection-starts/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:00:20 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28182 Clear your sinuses — without using drugs.

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By Dr. Frank Lipman

When you’re in the throes of a bad cold or deep into allergy season, all of that mucus production can be massively irritating. But, believe it or not, mucus has an actual purpose — beyond simply driving you nuts.

All that goo is basically a giant moat of glue that’s protecting your nasal castle. Not only does mucus help keep nasal tissue moist and supple, but it also acts as a sticky barrier that can trap and disarm viruses and bacteria before they get too far into the body.

However, when your sinuses are inflamed, the normal flow of mucus gets backed up, which leads to that ‘plugged up’ feeling. So, how do you keep your sinuses clear without a pharmaceutical assist? Try these simple, healthy, and natural alternatives:

Keep Your Nose Clean

Dust, pollen, mold, fungi, pollution, cigarette smoke, and all matter of microscopic particles flying through the air can land in your nasal passages, irritating them and stimulating mucus production, blocking sinuses and leading to infection. While it’s virtually impossible to avoid all those irritants, you can keep them from gaining the upper hand by regularly rinsing the troublemakers away, every day or every other day.

There are several ways to go about it, so you can pick and choose the technique that’s most comfortable for you:

  • The neti pot is an ancient Ayurvedic tool with which you pour a sterile water (never tap water!) and saline solution through your nasal passages, using gravity to help rinse out irritants. Click here for a tutorial.
  • Squeeze bottles or syringe bulbs are another way to irrigate the nasal passages. Both mechanisms use a sterile water and saline solution, in effect ‘shooting’ the solution into nasal passages with a bit more pressure.
  • Saline aerosol sprays are more convenient, if not quite as effective as the neti pot. The pre-mixed cans of sterile water and saline are good for frequent travelers who need to be able to irrigate anywhere, anytime.

Tune Up Your Gut

If you find yourself plagued by frequent sinus infections and seem to catch just about every cold that blows through your office, your immune system may be compromised. When immunity is weak, it’s easy for pathogens to march in, take up residence, and trigger a sinus infection (or some other illness).

So what’s your gut got to do with it? Well, it’s home to roughly 70 percent of your immune system, so making sure it’s in top form will likely cut down the number of colds, flus, and infections you’ll catch. The easiest way to supercharge your immune system is to rebuild and strengthen it with a healthy and diverse diet that’s full of immunity-boosting nutrients and probiotics. (To really get your gut and immune system humming, I recommend starting the rebuilding process with a two-week elimination diet like our Be Well Cleanse. It will purge allergens from the diet, get digestion back on track, and get gut function up to optimal levels.) For more ideas on how to supercharge your immune system, check out our list of immunity-boosting foods and nutrients.

Sidestep Sinusitis Triggers

Limiting your exposure to the irritants that can send your sinuses into overdrive is another way to combat the sinus problems. And while you might not have much control over the external world, you can significantly reduce the volume of exposure at home and the office by taking a few simple steps:

Make your house completely smoke-free. If anyone wishes to smoke, insist that they do so outside, as far away from your home as possible.

  • Don’t create your own in-house toxic clouds. Skip the aerosol kitchen and bathroom cleaners, air freshener sprays, scented candles, hair sprays, etc.
  • Keep your home well-dusted and vacuumed. Doing so will help keep sinus-irritating dust mites to a minimum. Also, wash bed linens frequently and add dust mite covers to your mattress and pillows.
  • Add an air purifier to the bedroom. Choose one with a well-rated HEPA filter.
  • Run the air-conditioner when seasonal allergies are running high. This will help keep pollen and pollution outside your home, versus opening the windows which will allow them to blow in.
  • Clear the air by adding a salt lamp to your bedroom or office. A pure, high-quality Himalayan salt lamp can help freshen the air, reduce the amount of airborne allergens and irritants, and for many people, make breathing easier.
  • Avoid breathing too much chlorine. Unfortunately, chlorine-treated pools can be a major irritant, so swim in salt water whenever possible. If chlorine-treated pools are your only option, then limit pool time, particularly in winter when most indoor pools are not as well ventilated as they are in summer.

If You Already Have a Sinus Infection…

OK, so let’s say you’re game to try the ideas mentioned above. But what to do if your sinuses are totally blocked up, you’re miserable, and you need relief right now? Don’t reach for jitter-inducing decongestants, ineffective chemical nasal sprays, or off-the-mark antibiotics. Instead, try these healthier DIY alternatives to breathe easier:

Massage your face. To unblock one or both nostrils, try facial massage, self-administered acupressure, or visit a trained acupuncturist to help relieve congestion.

Hum your favorite tunes. Apparently, humming a few of your favorite tunes — and the vibration that humming creates — can help loosen sinus sludge.

Bust out the back massager. Any sort of handheld back massager or ‘personal’ massager, when applied lightly to either side of the nose and cheeks, can create enough vibration to help move mucus out of the nasal passages, just like the aforementioned humming idea.

Spice it up. Another way to get relief? Head to your kitchen. Adding flavor boosters to a meal – such as black pepper, thyme, horseradish, wasabi, curry, garlic, onions, and chili peppers – helps thin out the mucus and ease congestion.

Get hot and steamy. Wet heat can also help get things moving again, so boost your hot tea drinking. In between teatimes, have a session in a wet sauna or steam room, or treat your sinuses to frequent warm compresses.

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Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Oct. 14) http://www.drfranklipman.com/wellness-news-roundup-oct-14/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/wellness-news-roundup-oct-14/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28164 Every day, we scour the Web for compelling wellness stories. Here’s a look at this week’s roundup.

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By the Be Well Team

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Big Soda Funded Almost 100 Health Groups

The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo sponsored 96 medical and health organizations, which might have influenced the health groups’ stance on nutritional policy, according to a new paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “We were surprised to see that many of these health groups taking Big Soda money were silent on public policies to reduce soda consumption, such as soda taxes,” says co-author Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences in the Boston University School of Public Health. “Clearly, the soda companies are using sponsorship of medical and health organizations to promote their public image, mute the support of these organizations for policies like soda taxes that would decrease soda consumption, and in the long run, to increase soda consumption,” he said. (CNN)

Lower Back Pain? Yoga as Good as Physical Therapy — and Cheaper Too

Weekly yoga classes are as effective as physical therapy (PT) in reducing chronic lower back pain, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting at the American Academy of Pain Management. Bonus: Yoga is way more cost-effective. “There are yoga classes that cost $10 or $15 a week,” says Dr. Robert Bonakdar of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, adding that yoga “can be transitioned into a home practice.” (Medscape)

Omega-3 Levels in Farmed Salmon Have Plummeted

Levels of omega-3 fatty acids in farmed salmon have halved in the past five years, according to researchers at Stirling University in Scotland. Stirling researcher Dr. Matthew Sprague says the British government might have to change its nutritional advice: “At the moment, they are advising to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily. But the advice of one portion of oily fish really should now be two portions at least.” (BBC)

Lobbying for Cleaner Personal Care Products

The U.S. government needs to do a much better job regulating the many chemicals that are allowed in personal care products. So says Gregg Renfrew, the founder and chief executive behind Beautycounter, a start-up that offers squeaky-clean personal care products. Renfrew, along with others, is urging Congress to tighten up the regulation of ingredients allowed in personal care products. The federal laws that govern those ingredients have not been significantly updated since 1938. “Consumers are demanding cleaner and safer products, but we still have this law from almost 100 years ago,” says Bryan McGannon, policy director of the American Sustainable Business Council. (The New York Times)

Who Beats the US on Paid Parental Leave? Basically Everyone.

What do New Guinea, Suriname, and the United States have in common? They are some of the only countries out of the 193 countries in the United Nations that do not have a national paid parental leave law. “The U.S. is absolutely the only high-income country that doesn’t, and as you can tell by the numbers, overwhelmingly the world provides it,” says Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA. “The world not only provides paid maternity leave, but they provide adequate paid paternity leave.” (NPR)

Is Big Pharma Behind ADHD Overdiagnosis?

“ADHD itself is not an epidemic—ADHD misdiagnosis is an epidemic.” So says Alan Schwarz, author of the new book, ADHD Nation, in this thought-provoking interview about the surge in American children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and put on powerful drugs. The culprit, according to Schwarz, is the pharmaceutical industry: “The pharmaceutical industry has massive financial incentive to produce drugs that address medical needs….there’s nothing wrong with their making a product people want. The problem, in the ADHD world and others—particularly psychiatric—is that the companies hijacked the entire field. It corralled all the top researchers and doctors in the field and paid them five, six, even seven-figures apiece to conduct studies all written in the same key: ADHD is more widespread and dangerous than anyone knows, the drugs work wonderfully and with almost no side effects, and that if you don’t diagnose and medicate a child, he or she will be doomed to academic and social failure, crash their car, get venereal disease and more.” (Scientific American)

Can Protective Bacteria in the Vagina Guard Against Common Infection?

Lactobacillus bacteria has long been thought to keep vaginas healthy, but, as it turns out, they are not all created equal. Specifically, L. crispatus is a type of Lactobacillus bacteria that can help ward off bacterial vaginosis, an infection that is marked by a foul-smelling odor and discharge. “For some researchers, L. crispatus is emerging as the vagina’s superhero,” notes The Atlantic. “It not only pumps out the best mix of two different types of lactic acid to keep the vagina inhospitable to other bugs, but it also fortifies a woman’s vaginal mucus to trap and keep at bay HIV and other pathogens.” (The Atlantic)

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9 Non-Edible Uses for Coconut Oil http://www.drfranklipman.com/9-non-edible-uses-coconut-oil/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/9-non-edible-uses-coconut-oil/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:00:26 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28151 Coconut oil is great to cook with, but did you know it can polish your furniture, soothe bug bites, and more?

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By Sheila Eldred

Quick: What can soothe sunburns, add gloss to your furniture, clean your teeth — and make the best-ever popcorn?

You may already be familiar with the superhero qualities that coconut oil has in the kitchen, but if you’re trying to reduce your toxic load, consider keeping a jar (or three) on hand for inedible uses as well.

“It’s a cost-effective and all-natural way to care for the skin,” says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic, and clinical nutritionist. In addition to being much less expensive than over-the-counter beauty products, Axe says, coconut oil “packs a ton of health benefits” even when not being directly consumed.

Coconut oil is better at penetrating the skin than most skin-care products, Axe says, because of its low molecular weight. That means you don’t have to ingest it to reap the benefits of the fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Coconut oil has been shown to improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, the same properties that make it a great pick for sunburn relief, he says.

“Our skin is our largest organ, and it’s also quite porous, which is why it’s important to avoid products that contain harmful ingredients and can have a negative impact on health,” Axe says.

There are health concerns associated with many common cleaning and beauty products, especially since we tend to use them on a daily basis, notes Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research at Environmental Working Group.

“One single product may not be definitively to blame for a health issue,” Leiba says. “But if you’re a woman, years of applying 168 unique chemicals to your body a day, on average, may indeed affect your health.”

Here are nine ways to reap the benefits of coconut oil while avoiding worrisome ingredients:

Heal a Cold Sore

“The disinfectant and antimicrobial properties of the capric, caprylic, and lauric acids in coconut oil make it a great natural treatment for cold sores,” Axe explains. “Just dab a bit on the sore to speed healing, alleviate pain, and reduce the risk of scarring or discoloration.”

Use As Your Go-to Hair Care Product

In addition to detangling hair, coconut oil can fight dandruff and even prevent or treat lice infections, Axe says.

Try Oil Pulling

“Oil pulling is an ancient practice that removes bacteria from the mouth, promotes healthy teeth and gums, and even prevents cavities,” Axe says. “All you need to do is swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes, and then spit the oil into the trash (not in the sink, as it could clog the drain).” Bonus: You may notice whiter teeth after regular use.

Swap for Some Medicine-cabinet Items

In addition to hair conditioner, coconut oil can replace shaving cream, aftershave, deodorant, diaper cream for babies, body scrub, and toothpaste (when mixed with baking soda). It’s also a great makeup remover (perfect for kids’ face paint, too!), lip balm ingredient, and acne treatment —  a recent study found that lauric acid can kill the bacteria that promote inflammatory acne.

Soothe Pain

Coconut oil may take the ouch out of bug bites, poison ivy rashes, and even earaches (when melted, cooled, and applied via eyedropper).

Polish Your Furniture

Swirl a spoonful of coconut oil with some lemon juice, then wax on. Or rub plan coconut oil into dry wood. (Just don’t forget to dust the furniture first.)

Eliminate the X Factor

Not sure what that sticky mess is on your dining room table? Rub it out with a coconut oil and baking soda combo. The duo also works well for gum in your 3-year-old’s hair.

Pamper Fido

Stir into pet food or smooth onto fur for a glossy coat and to ward off fleas.

Keep Insects at Bay

It may be as simple as making your skin too slick for bugs to land on, so slather it on! Add other essential oils such as peppermint or tea tree to maximize effectiveness.

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Acupressure Points for DIY Health http://www.drfranklipman.com/acupressure-points-diy-health/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/acupressure-points-diy-health/#respond Wed, 12 Oct 2016 09:00:15 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28143 An acupuncturist explains how you can use firm pressure — instead of needles — to relieve headaches, nausea, and more.

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By Sandra Sanchez

Acupressure is form of manual medicine based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture meridian points. In TCM, we believe that Qi energy flows through our body via the meridian lines. If this energy becomes excess, deficient, or stagnant in our body then disease can occur.

In acupressure, we use our hand instead of needles to place deep firm pressure on the points. Acupressure can help relieve a variety of symptoms, and you can repeat as often as you like.

Here are some of the most common symptoms my patients experience — as well as the pressure points I use to help them:


Pressure point: Large Intestine 4 (Hegu)

Location: Place your thumb and index finger together. At highest point of the bulge of the muscle and at the end of the crest is LI4.

Notes: This point is used for many conditions related to the head, including nosebleeds, nasal congestion, and tooth pain. Women who are pregnant should not use this point as it can induce labor.


Pressure point: Pericardium 6 (Nei Guan)

Location: Two finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm between the two tendons.

Notes: This point is also used for motion sickness and upset stomach.


Pressure points: Large Intestine 20 (Ying Xiang), Stomach 2 (Sibai), and Bladder 2 (Zanzhu)

Location: LI 20: In the midpoint of the nasal groove; ST 2: As the eyes are looking forward in line with the pupil, in the depression of the infraorbital foramen; BL 2: On the medial end of the eyebrow

Notes: This point is also used for sinus pain.

Lower Back Pain

Pressure point: Lung 10 (Yuji)

Location: LI 20: On the palm side of the thumb, midpoint of shaft.

Notes: I also use this point for back spasm.


Pressure point: GV 24.5 (Yin Tang)

Location: At the midpoint between the eyebrows.

Notes: Also used for frontal headaches, sinus issues, and nosebleeds.

Sandra Sanchez, who is on staff at Dr. Frank Lipman’s Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, is a licensed massage therapist, Active Release Technique practitioner, and acupuncturist.

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All About Antinutrients http://www.drfranklipman.com/all-about-antinutrients/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/all-about-antinutrients/#respond Tue, 11 Oct 2016 09:00:30 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28134 How soaking, sprouting, and fermenting legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds can make them more easily digestible.

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Written by Rachel Warren, MS, RDN – Illustration by Stuart Bradford
Reprinted with permission from Experience Life

If grains give you gas and beans make you bloat, you’re not alone. Many people experience uncomfortable digestive symp­toms, including gas, swelling, cramping, and pain, after eating legumes, grains, beans, and many seeds and nuts. The common denominator? These foods are all relatively high in natural compounds called antinutrients.

As the name suggests, antinutrients can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. They may also cause damage to the intestinal lining and trigger an inflammatory response elsewhere in the body.

With this in mind, you may be inclined to give up the offending foods altogether. After all, abstaining from antinutrient-laden fare is a cornerstone of many elimination diets, which are designed to help people identify nutritional triggers for sensitivities, allergies, or digestive ailments. Some people suffering from seemingly unrelated symptoms — migraines, joint pain, or asthma, for instance — experience a reduction in symptoms when they steer clear of these foods.

Avoiding antinutrients is also part of the popular paleo philosophy, which eschews relatively modern (think post­­agricultural revolution) foods such as dairy, sugar, refined oils — and cultivated legumes and grains.

But there’s more to antinutrients than their malevolent name and digestive crimes suggest. Think of antinutrients as the unexpected hero of the ancestral-diets world: oft-misunderstood villains that may play a greater role in our well-being than they’re given credit for.

Learning more about antinutrients, including how to work with them, can offer much-needed relief and allow you to enjoy a wider variety of foods.

The Good With the Bad

The first step toward establishing a better relationship with grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts is to see them in their evolutionary context.

“Every living thing has a defense mechanism,” says Diane Sanfilippo, certified holistic-nutrition consultant and author of Practical Paleo.

For animals, it’s the ability to fight or flee. Plants, however, can’t run away or put up their dukes. Some plants have thorns or hard outer shells that help protect them from being eaten; others guard themselves via antinutrient compounds that are difficult for animals — including humans — to digest.

Antinutrients behave in different ways in the human body. Some bind up important minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc, interfering with the body’s ability to use them. Others have been found to cause gut inflammation and irritate the digestive lining, says Maggie Ward, MS, RDN, LDN, nutrition director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass.

But antinutrients also offer some important health benefits.

“Most things in the natural world have a risk–benefit ratio,” explains Ward. “Many of these compounds are phytochemicals that have a supportive effect on our immune systems, or serve as antioxidants to protect our cells from oxidative stress.”

The antinutrient phytate, for instance, has been shown to neutralize free-radical formation, according to research published in The Journal of Nutrition. As for broader health benefits, other studies suggest consumption of phytates can prevent osteoporosis and promote better blood-sugar control.

In the Nurses’ Health Study 3, a long-term epidemiological study of women’s health, women who ate the most phytate-rich diet had the lowest risk of developing kidney stones compared with those who ate the least.

Lectins are another example of antinutrients that can be beneficial. While some can spur inflammation, others have an anti-inflammatory impact on the body, according to research published in the journal Molecules. The defense role that lectins play in nature may also make them especially well suited to help fight off cancer cells. Researchers are investigating various types of carbohydrate-binding lectins for their antitumor properties.

Another reason to choose anti­nutrient-­containing foods — unless you’re sensitive or allergic to them, of course — is that they’re important sources of healthy plant-based fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. And they provide ­bacterial diversity for your microbiome, which is increasingly understood as critical to overall health.

In one study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, extreme low-carb dieters (24 grams per day, roughly the amount in one small banana) experienced disproportionate decreases in fecal butyrate, the short-chain fatty acid produced by bacteria in the colon that can protect against colon cancer and inflammation.

Other research finds that people using the low-FODMAP diet, a plan that limits foods like beans and wheat to manage irritable bowel syndrome, experience decreases in beneficial gut bacteria.

Seek a Middle Way

If you have a condition related to inflammation or gut health, antinutrients may indeed be playing a problematic role, say experts. In many cases, taking a hardline approach and permanently exiling the offending foods is the only way to help the condition. (People with celiac disease should avoid all gluten, for example.) In other cases, a moderated approach to antinutrients may be more appropriate.

“The terrain is everything,” says Sanfilippo, who recommends that the paleo diet be considered more of a short-term elimination diet than a lifelong exercise in bread-shunning. It is more beneficial, she says, to figure out what your body can tolerate and reap the benefits of a more varied diet.

For instance, both Ward and Sanfilippo advise clients with ­compromised digestion or signs of increased inflammation to eliminate beans. They may eventually ­suggest reintroducing beans that have been soaked and cooked to find out what the clients can tolerate and, ideally, expand their eating options. (For more traditional methods for reducing problematic antinutrient activity in food, see “Make the Most of Antinutrients,” below.)

If you don’t have a diagnosis but feel “off” whenever you eat certain foods, carefully experiment with eliminating and then reintroducing the offending fare. You may find, for instance, that while super-refined grocery-store bread makes you uncomfortable, traditionally baked sourdough doesn’t bother you at all.

For most people, the impact of antinutrients on their bodies is best discovered through some dietary detective work, rather than by subscribing to one nutritional approach. Relying on your own judgment — ­perhaps with a little guidance from a registered dietitian nutritionist, or practitioner trained in holistic health — can help you discover the foods that best suit you right now.

Make the Most of Antinutrients

In traditional cultures, soaking, sprouting, and fermenting foods are time-honored ways to make antinutrients easier to digest and to increase the availability of health-promoting nutrients. Try these techniques to see if they lessen the discomfort or inflammation caused by the legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds you eat.


Soaking foods high in antinutrients can significantly reduce lectin and phytate content, says John Bagnulo, MPH, PhD, a nutritionist in Yellow Springs, Ohio. For example, one study of home-based processing techniques used in Malawi, Africa, found that soaking maize flour reduced its phytate content by up to 57 percent — a difference that Bagnulo finds can help people better tolerate foods like grains and beans.

Maggie Ward, MS, RDN, LDN, director of nutrition at the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass., says that soaking or rinsing quinoa in warm water can remove saponins, taking out bitterness and also reducing the chances they will cause inflammation. (For specific soak times for individual foods, see “Smart Soaking and Sprouting,” opposite page.)


Eat raw seeds and nuts and you’ll miss out on some of the vitamins and minerals that remain bound up and protected as they pass through your body. Eat them sprouted, however, and you’ll have access to more bioavailable nutrition.

“When you sprout foods like grains, seeds, and legumes, it’s almost like you’re tricking them into thinking the seeds have been planted,” says Diane Sanfilippo, a certified holistic-nutrition consultant. Sprouting causes these foods to let down their guard (lowering phytate levels) and release some of those nutrients they hold on to so tightly.

Researchers in India found that the iron in sprouted and dried millet was 300 percent more accessible than that in the unsprouted grain; levels of the minerals manganese and calcium also increased.

Sprouting also seems to increase disease-fighting antioxidants. When researchers compared the nutritional content of white rice, brown rice, and sprouted brown rice, the sprouted rice came out on top, according to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry. Other research finds that sprouted wheat and rice are higher in fiber than their unsprouted counterparts.

A note of caution: Sprouts grow in warm, humid conditions, which can cause bacteria to proliferate. “Those with compromised immune systems — the very young and old, and pregnant women — should use extra caution,” says Ward. “If you eat sprouted foods like bean sprouts, it is best to cook them and not eat them raw; cooking should kill dangerous microbes.”


If you’ve eaten sourdough bread, you already have experience with fermented grains. “Traditionally, cultures used to ferment most of their grain flours into sourdough to help preserve and reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria,” says Ward. Using a live sourdough culture to make bread helps break down as much as 70 percent of its phytate content.

After you soak dried beans or grains, rinse them thoroughly and add more soaking water along with a dollop of yogurt or kefir. These active cultures will help to break down the difficult-to-digest compounds. Alternatively, you can simply allow the grains or beans to sit overnight and “wild ferment” from naturally occurring microbes in the air, suggests Bagnulo.

Any film you see on top of the soaking water, says Bagnulo, is low-level fermentation that is “cleaning up your legumes.” In a study from Sweden, allowing beans to ferment for 48 hours resulted in an 88 percent reduction in phytate. Be sure to rinse your beans and grains before you cook them.

Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN, is a New York–area nutrition writer, educator, and counselor.
Find a longer version of this article at Experience Life.

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3 Weight-Loss Rules to Rethink http://www.drfranklipman.com/3-weight-loss-rules-rethink/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/3-weight-loss-rules-rethink/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:00:54 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28124 Here are three of the most common weight-loss myths out there — and why they’re wrong!

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By Dr. Frank Lipman

Every day new patients arrive at my office with a variety of health issues that need to be addressed — and weight problems are close to the top of the list. One of the things that always surprises me is the durability of the weight-loss myths that so many of us were raised on. Here are three of the most common weight-loss myths out there — and why they’re wrong!

MYTH # 1: But doc, my momma always told me — it’s all about counting calories.

THE REALITY: Your momma was wrong.

No disrespect to your mom, but the idea of counting calories as the path to weight-loss nirvana is a pretty outdated one. If you’re depending on the calculator to save you, you’re barking up the wrong tree — and probably also carrying around extra weight.

Granted, some people seem to find the sense of control they get from calorie counting helpful, but for most of us it’s an invitation to become neurotic about numbers and lose sight of the health-supporting power of actual food. To put it simply, counting calories is a great way to suck the joy out of eating and savoring good food.

On the other hand, if you ditch processed foods and sugar and simply focus on eating real, fresh whole foods, including nutrient-rich veggies and well-sourced animal protein, there’s no need to count calories! With nutrients, fiber, healthy fats, and protein to keep your belly full and blood sugar on an even keel, you’re simply not going to surpass your daily caloric max by, say, gorging on veggies — unless of course you’re drowning ‘em in must-avoid bottled dressings that are loaded with sugar, bad fats, and additives.

BOTTOM LINE: Quit counting calories and focus on the quality of the food on your plate in order to start shifting weight. More fresh, whole foods equals less weight over time (not overnight!).

MYTH # 2: To lose weight, exercise, exercise, exercise!

THE REALITY: Exercise delivers tremendous benefits, but weight loss isn’t necessarily one of them.

Perhaps it’s a vestige of our Puritanical past (or memories of Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda still dancing in our heads), but most of us are still convinced that exercising to the point of near-exhaustion is the key to weight loss. While exercise is a critical part of health and wellness and has untold number of benefits, the idea of burning calories via exercise is still stuck in the same calories-in-calories-out mentality. And, over time, depriving our bodies of calories can slow down our metabolism — which will cause us to gain weight.

Chronic overexercising can also elevate our body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make weight loss difficult. Instead, it’s important to exercise smarter in order to balance our hormones — yoga and interval training are great.

BOTTOM LINE: All this does not mean that exercise isn’t good for you. Regular exercise is fantastic for so many things, including strengthening your heart, maintaining healthy blood pressure, boosting mood, and balancing hormones. So, keep moving! Just don’t overdo it.

MYTH # 3: Eat everything in moderation, and you’ll lose weight.

THE REALITY: One man’s moderation is another man’s binge.

Everything in moderation is a nice idea, but for most people, that strategy simply doesn’t work when it comes to sugar and refined carbohydrates. Moderation is an especially lousy strategy to tame sugar intake for those who have a problem with weight, high blood sugar, or insulin resistance. The best thing to do is ditch sugar altogether because, like any other addictive substance, even small amounts can set people down the path of way-too-much. (There’s really no negotiating with sugar!)

Studies have shown that eating something sweet lights up the same pleasure centers in the brain lit up by heroin use. With something as intrinsically addictive as sugar it’s not a case of simply liking a sweet food — you’re in the insidious grip of a brain circuit-mediated compulsion. It’s a legal drug! The good news is, if you stop feeding the craving, you’ll be surprised how quickly it will dissipate, often in a matter of weeks.

Rather than attempting – and most likely failing— to be moderate about everything you eat, the best strategy is to be generous and enthusiastic with veggies, legumes, low-sugar fruits, healthy fats, and well-sourced proteins. Be rigorous and strict about your intake of bad stuff like sugar, processed foods, and refined carbs, eating as little of them as you can get away with. Even better, eliminate them. Remember, any kind of refined carb, whether it’s bread, pasta, or a bite-sized 3 Musketeers candy bar, turns into glucose minutes after eating. There’s no such thing as moderation once it’s in your bloodstream.

BOTTOM LINE: While moderation may work for some people without blood sugar or weight problems, it’s still not a recipe for good nutrition. Moderation doesn’t give you enough of the healthy, nutrient-dense foods you should really be indulging in, and it doesn’t cut you off from the foods you’d be much better off being done with altogether. My advice? To hell with moderation!

To get started on saying farewell to the foods that keep you fat, check out my 20 sugar-kicking tips.

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