Saturday, April 04, 2009

Your Metabolism and You- Part One

April 4, 2009
Your Metabolism and You- Part One

The most common health complaint I hear in my practice deals with weight management. Upon visiting my office. my patient's often get grumpy when asked to step on the evil scale.

When the evil, vile scale is read, I often hear the phrase, "It must be that I have a slow metabolism". But we should all remember that evil spelled backwards is live, so a scale is not always such a bad thing, but a necessary part of my job, and helps to keep you a-live!

Overall, metabolism is not just about being overweight, but is also responsible for being underweight. How can this be? Let us take a look at metabolism, and its definition.

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life. These "metabolic" processes allow us to grow and reproduce, maintain our organs, and respond to our environments. Metabolism is actually a balance between anabolism-the storing of energy, and catabolism- the burning of energy.

If you store more energy than you burn, you gain weight and may look like the figure on the right in the above cartoon. If you burn more energy than you store, you lose weight, and may look like the figure on the left.

How we maintain balance to get to a healthy weight is where the fun, or pain begins, and has been the subject of numerous diet books, of which, I have read a great many. Some have made me laugh out loud, while others have changed the way I eat and the way I practice. The first book I read was Protein Power, by Dr Eades. This book went over the metabolic processes of how we store and burn energy. It advocated we lower carbohydrates in our diet along while increasing both proteins and fats. It went against most of the lessons I was taught in medical school, yet it made tremendous sense. But I was not yet convinced and was not about to change my views based on one book. So I continued to research. Dr Atkins diet revolution, The Schwarzbein Principle, and Life Without Bread were all books that had similar concepts to Protein Power, but with their own distinct flavor. These books all based their theories on real human physiology. But just like life and politics, theories are one thing and reality can be another.

Would the theory of eating a low carbohydrate diet help the overweight and obese to lose weight? The only true way to know would be to test it out. But try convincing anyone to go against what all the so called experts on television and radio say about a healthy diet.

Well, the stars must have all been aligned, as a patient came to my office who had recently read Protein Power and wanted to try out the diet. I agreed to help and to monitor their progress by watching their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels. The low carbohydrate diet was a huge success. Weight loss with normal sugars and a much improved cholesterol profile. Blood pressure dropped so much that we had to stop blood pressure medications, and energy levels rose. How did this happen while eating more protein and fat, and less carbohydrates? Could all I was taught in medical school, and all the "media pundits" be wrong? More on this later. But if you want a sneek peek, check out the books mentioned above. It may open your eyes, slim your waistline, improve energy levels and balance out your metabolism!

If you have any suggestions about topics for future newsletters, or how to make the newsletter better, please send me an email at

To Good Health!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone: 856-231-0590
Fax: 856-294-0311
Please visit for more information about Dr. Horvitz and The Institute for Medical Wellness.

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