I’m back from my summer vacation with energy renewed. While convalescing, I read and heard a few research reports on fat loss which I hope you find of interest. The first refutes the decades-old dogma that all calories are created equal. Researchers at Harvard and Johns Hopkins enlisted over 200 overweight/obese subjects and put them on a standard weight-loss diet, giving them about 60% of their usual caloric intake. After several weeks, all had lost weight. They then split the group in two: Half went on a low-fat eating plan- the other half went on a low-carbohydrate plan. Both groups consumed the same amount of calories. The people on the low-carbohydrate diet continued to maintain their weight, while the low-fat diet group gained fat, especially around their middle, which is called visceral fat, the most dangerous to health. If a calorie is a calorie, both groups should have paralleled each other. The finding appear to contradict the FDA’s food pyramid, which promotes nearly 50% of daily calories from carbohydrates. Starches and sugars from white breads and added sugars are known to be problematic. What was surprising to me was that even fruits and veges (except for leafy greens) can cause fat gain in certain people. Additional studies are underway to tease out why certain fruits and veges do this. One thought is that they ferment in the gut and increase yeast formation, which interferes with proper metabolism. Stay tuned…..

In a somewhat related study (published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research), scientists in Ohio and Indiana found that higher-fat dressings poured over fresh green salads unleashed more vitamins and nutrients into the digestive system than low-fat dressings. Hmmmmmm.

A study reported in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal suggests that eating unpeeled apples may keep extra pounds and obesity-related disease at bay. Ursolic acid is a natural compound found in ┬áthe waxy coats on apples and other fruits and herbs that increases the activity of a protein that stimulates muscle growth and glucose metabolism in mice. Increased glucose metabolism = lower insulin response = lower fat storage, and increased muscle growth = a higher resting or basal metabolism = more calories burned. I’m just wondering about the sugar in the apple (see above study): Maybe I’ll just eat the peel-I’m so confused…….

I’ve had a problem with my left foot for more than a year. Inflammation and pain with every step. An ultrasound showed no bunion, no arthritis, no neuroma’s, only swelling. It is not gout. I’ve been biomechanically evaluated for some orthotics. While I wait for those, a Dr. friend suggested I try leeches. Yes, leeches, but not the kind you see in lakes and swamps. These are medical leeches, and they are supposed to work well on inflammation. They suck out the bad stuff and inject their saliva, called hirudu, an anticoagulant, and analgesics. I tried leeches yesterday-I had two put on my foot. Very little discomfort; it felt like a mosquito bite. It was interesting watching the leeches fill up with my blood, etc. They were both the size of a small minnow at the start and looked like sausages by the end. My foot feels a little better today. The leech man said it may take 4-5 days to see the results. I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Stay well, john R Blilie, M.S.