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What is the Metabolic Diet?

Posted By Dennis Harper, DC, NMD, Monday, April 6, 2015
Virtually anyone who has been to Dr. Harper’s office or been to one of the classes that we have been holding this year has probably heard about the “Metabolic Diet.”

So what exactly is “The Metabolic Diet” and why do some call it “crazy”, or worse? The Metabolic Balancing Diet is a diet that consists of protein and carbohydrates from select vegetable sources. It is broken out into a three meal a day plan (although I tell patients that it can be divided into 5-6 smaller meals or really into whatever works best for your particular lifestyle.) For our purposes we will look at the three meal a day example. A protein shake or other protein food (veggie omelet, steak and veggies) for example depending on if you’re a breakfast vs no breakfast person; coffee or tea with 1-2 oz. of Almond milk and Stevia if you don’t like it black, and that’s breakfast. Lunch consists of 8 oz. protein, Fish, Seafood, Beef, Poultry or Veal; 2 cups of select vegetables and unlimited Lettuce. Sea salt is recommended to insure that you are getting some trace minerals, and let’s not forget water, water, water! Drinking at least 64oz. of water (minimum) each day will hydrate the body, and is important for assisting the body to access nutrients stored in the fat cells. Dinner is a repeat of lunch in portion size and content; however feel free to eat a variety of permissible vegetables and proteins. This helps to eliminate boredom which is the greatest danger of the diet. You also get a snack which can be a shake or other protein source. Olive or Grape seed oil, 1-2 teaspoons are recommended daily, as is Magnesium and Vitamin D. That and a short list of permissible seasoning options are what make up the “Metabolic Diet”.

So now that you actually see what the diet consists of let’s discuss the purpose of the diet as well as the things that you don’t see listed. We will also explain the rational for excluding them from the Metabolic Balancing Diet. The first thing that may jump right out at you is “where is the fruit? Fruit is healthy right?” The reason that fruit is restricted is twofold: first we are trying to reset the metabolism. Fruit has excessive amounts of natural sugar in it and when we consume it our body, (which breaks ALL food down into a form of “sugar” that we use for fuel) quickly becomes flooded with an overabundance of sugar that your pancreas then has to try and deal with. What can’t be dealt with is either stored as fat or is voraciously digested by disease which feeds on sugar. The high sugar content is also the rationale behind prohibiting corn, carrots, peas and most root vegetables. The second reason for the sugar restriction is to make the body as inhospitable as possible to disease. These are the reasons for restricting fruit and high sugar vegetables during the 4-6 week course of the diet.

We will take the other two food groups that are conspicuously absent from our plan together, as they are prohibited for the same reason. Grains and Dairy are not permitted due to the inflammatory response they encourage in the body in general and in the vascular and digestive systems in particular. Inflammation in the veins produces an oxidative effect which stimulates the release of “free radicals” into our systems this combined with excess calcium in the veins causes narrowing of the vessels, plaque formations and hardening of the arteries. This is why the term “antioxidant” which we all hear so much about is such a desirable thing to take into the body. To our way of thinking ELIMINATING inflammatory food groups makes much more sense, stopping the inflammation BEFORE it causes damage. Taking a pill that may or may not even reach these areas seems rather pointless. One of the first things our patients notice after having been on the diet for about a week is that they feel less “puffy.” The aching joints that bring many of them in to our office initially, pretty much disappear, and as the body becomes more adept at accessing nutrients from our fat stores that low energy feeling subsides and most feel increased energy and a sense of well-being that may be completely foreign to them. Outwardly we notice that the doughy skin disappears, eyes that were dull and at times clouded with pain are bright and sparkling. Brain fog begins to clear and the light goes on! An additional benefit although unseen but perhaps the most significant in terms of overall health is that this diet will increase the alkalinity of the body, which is also a deterrent to disease. Research is suggesting that Vitamin D levels above 75 and blood sugar levels below 100 are major deterrents to cancer. Both of these concerns are addressed with the Metabolic Diet. Dr. Harper recommends the Magnesium for its anti-inflammatory effect, and prefers the powdered form because it is easily and quickly assimilated into the body.

So there you have it "the crazy diet" when you actually take a moment to see what it consists of and look at why we restrict certain foods and food groups it does make sense. We DO NOT tell people that this is a forever diet, but we strongly encourage folks to make this the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Other foods when eaten in moderation should then be metabolized better by a more efficient system.

At Harper Chiropractic our primary concern is the health and well-being of our patients. We recognize that we don’t have all the answers; however we never stop striving to create or find the best available treatment options for our patients. We never belittle or dismiss treatments out of hand simply because they didn’t originate with us or are “outside the box.” Your health is your responsibility; invest some time and effort in it and you will be “WELL“rewarded.


Tags:  metabolic diet  nutrition 

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