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UltraPrevention: Living a Healthy Lifestyle (Dr. Liponis)

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Everything You Need To Know About Living a Healthy Lifestyle by Dr. Liponis (co-author of Ultraprevention). In this interview, Dr. Liponis, a leading expert in preventative and integrative medicine, will debunk common myths regarding metabolism, losing weight, exercise, antioxidants, sodium, fish oil pills, coffee, and 0-calorie sweeteners.

YouTube Interview Q&A on UltraPrevention Healthy Habits

By Sara Zhou

The world of health and fitness can be mind-boggling. One week, Stevia is all the rage—a 0-calorie miracle; the next week, it causes hypoglycemia and… *gasp* cancer! It’s easy to feel like a clueless scientist performing experiments on your own body, hoping the magic weight-loss formula will land miraculously in your lap. The problem with listening to any and all health advice is that most people who give them aren’t professionals; they’re just as clueless as you are.  Jump to the answers you want with this handy show summary to get professional advice from Dr. Lipinois, (co-author of UltraPrvention)

  • How many calories should I be eating? (Start 4:20-8:10)
  • What is a body weight set point? (8:15-10:40)
  • Goals for eating (26:27-36:05)
  • How does exercise affect free radicals? (11:20-12:07)
    • Can antioxidants hamper muscle development? (12:12-14:12)
  • Good or bad?
    • Coconut oil (37:47-38:59)
    • Sweeteners (39:14-42:02)
    • Carbonated Drinks (42:07-43:50)
    • Sodium and Salt Intake (44:10-46:54)
    • Caffeine (49:10-50:40)
    • Fish oil pills (23:40-24:58)
  • The Dual Effect: the truth about medicinal side effects (22:35-24:58)
  • Special diets for diabetes, celiac, etc? (46:54-48:52)

How many calories should I be eating?

Caloric intake depends on three factors: age, gender, and height/weight. For every decade you age, you should be cutting 100 calories. Women should generally eat a little less than their male counterparts. And the taller or heavier you are, the more you should be eating.

However, what makes this question complicated is that your metabolism is constantly adjusting. As a general rule though, you should be eating no more than your appetite allows you. 

Body Weight Set Point

As mentioned above, your metabolism is constantly adjusting itself. For example, if you stuffed yourself to the max over the holidays, your metabolism would measure high. Conversely, if you were dieting, and your body was operating on a calorie deficit, your metabolism would measure low.

This is due to the hormone Leptin, which reduces appetite and speeds metabolism. You lose Leptin when you are losing weight because Leptin is secreted by body fat. Your body is constantly adjusting its metabolism to keep you at that weight set point, which makes losing weight so hard.

Goals for eating:

  1. Quantity over Quality. The first step to eating right is getting the portion sizes right. Don’t worry about what you’re eating and focus more on how much you’re eating.
  2. More colors. When you look down at your grocery cart, you should be seeing a hodgepodge of colors—a rainbow. If it looks like Monet, you’re doing something right.
  3. Fiber. The best source of fiber is beans; they’re low in calories and high in fiber. You should be eating one cup a day. Another great source is berries; you should be eating one cup of berries a day as well. As a general rule, you want your fiber sources to be low in calories and high in fiber.

The Benefits of Exercise:

Exercise, or the conversion of fuel in your body into energy, produces free radicals, which in turn creates free radical stress. This form of oxidative stress is extremely beneficial to your body as it leads to muscle enlargement and strengthening, and thus an increase in lean body mass and metabolism.

However, one thing to remember is that taking antioxidants while you exercise can reduce the benefits.  The antioxidants inhibit the free radicals that strengthen our muscles. So next time you’re hitting the gym, you might want to wait at least a couple hours before eating blueberries, vegetables or vitamins.

Good or Bad?

  • Coconut oil: There is not enough scientific research on the long term effects of coconut oil to justify any claims that it is beneficial or harmful to your body. Keep in mind that poison is in the dose; with something like coconut oil, don’t make it your primary source of oil but also don’t be afraid of it. Moderation is key, especially when science hasn’t yet validated anything.
  • Sweeteners: Even though artificial/natural sweeteners can’t be used by our bodies as fuel source, (hence why they are noncaloric), they can be digested by microbes in our body. The question is: will it feed the right ones? Sweeteners like Stevia might populate your gut with the wrong microbes. As with coconut oil, not enough scientific research has been done on sweeteners yet but it might be a mistake to sweeten all of your desserts and morning coffees with Stevia or Sweet-n-Low.
  • Carbonated drinks: Scientific studies show that they may have a deleterious effect on our bones by leeching calcium from them. These studies are not yet conclusive but try to drink pure water over carbonated water or soda.
  • Salt: Everyone’s recommended salt intake depends on their genetic ability to secrete salt. The guidelines for salt intake used to be too strict and they’re relaxing now; most people don’t need to limit salt to that degree. To test if you are salt sensitive or not, do the ring test or sock elastic test. If they leave deep marks in your skin, you are salt sensitive.
  • Caffeine: New studies show that coffee is a health drink; if you drink up to 6 cups of coffee a day, you get an added boost of disease prevention and disease burden. But the coffee must be brewed the right way. It must be dripped through a round paper filter—a brown paper filter because white paper is bleached. The paper is required to remove cafestol, a compound that increases LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Fish oil pills: Due to the Dual effect (covered in more detail below), fish oil pills are good for the brain and heart but can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer.

The Dual Effect:

Everything you put in your body has a side effect. And that’s due to our body’s opposing forces. For example, if someone has heart disease due to poor circulation of blood to the heart, it would help to grow more blood vessels in their heart; but if you have cancer, growing more blood vessels in the tumor would feed the tumor, and so cancer treatment usually involves choking off the blood vessels. Thus, by trying to protect your heart, you may be increasing your chances of cancer.

And that’s why things like fish oil pills, herbs, and vitamins all have a strange dual effect. Ultimately, decide if the benefits you are getting outweigh the negatives.

Special Diets:

Doctors believe in Thereupeutic diets whether it’s a Diabetic Diet or a Celiac Diet. Nutrition is something that varies depending on the individual’s needs and unique genetic disposition. But if you just ask your doctor generally if you need to go on a special diet, they won’t understand what you’re talking about.

Instead ask: “Should I be on a special diet for my kidney impairment?” Address something specific so your doctor understands.

About Dr. Mark Liponis – Co-Author of NY Times best seller Ultra Prevention and Corporate Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Health Resorts.

Mark Liponis, M.D., is the Corporate Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Health Resorts and has been a practicing physician for more than 20 years, including extensive experience in emergency departments and critical care units. The co-author of the New York Times bestseller UltraPrevention and the author of UltraLongevity, Dr. Liponis is internationally recognized as a leading expert in preventive and integrative medicine.

Click here to see my interview with Dr. Liponis on the Hunter Farmer Diet and how you can lose weight from it: