Eric C. Westman, MD, MHS, chief medical officer of HEAL Clinics (healclinics.com), specializing in diabetes remission and weight loss, delivers a thorough analysis on the nutritional and medical significance of carbohydrate reduction.
Dr. Westman has a deep level of experience in medicine with a specialization in lifestyle-related conditions and illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, as well as other medical issues, treatments, and research. He is the co-founder and chief medical officer of HEAL Clinics. Dr. Westman’s clinics are the creators of HEALcare, a comprehensive treatment plan for obesity, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes that integrates personalized keto dietary and nutrition coaching with group behavioral coaching, as well as any needed medical care. HEALcare is a non-medical weight-loss program implemented by specialized counselors who have already brought about dramatic, significant changes in their own lives by adapting ketogenic lifestyles. HEALcare is medically supervised and thus offers complete obesity and diabetes treatment program.
In addition to his intensive work at HEAL Clinics,Dr. Westman is also the director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, and medical director of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation. Dr. Westman is a board certified doctor in internal medicine as well as obesity medicine. He is the co-editor of, Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, and co-author of The New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great, and Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL Is Wrong with My Numbers?
Dr. Westman discusses his intensive research as an internal medicine and obesity doctor focused on the body’s ability to create its own ketones by cutting out carbohydrates. He explains the difference between exogenous and endogenous ketones, and some of the fallacies and breakthroughs in nutrition-based research. Dr. Westman talks about his early work at Duke University and experimentation in clinic trials that motivated him to devote more time to studying how nutrition impacts the body. He states that over the last few decades, research has demonstrated that cutting carbs has a significant impact actually. By cutting out the carbs, the body begins to burn its own fat. The big shift in thinking came when the medical community began to understand that the governmental guidelines issued in the 70s promoting carbohydrates were not truly the best advice. The outdated guidelines promoted avoiding fats and eating healthy carbohydrates, neither of which was based in evidence.
Dr. Westman talks in-depth about the specifics of keto, and how the reduction of sugar, eating healthy fats, etc. is good for the body. He talks about the impact of keto on the body and the importance of still considering calories in regard to weight loss. It’s possible to ingest too much of a good thing, meaning that even if the foods and oils are extremely healthy, a very high caloric intake can certainly prevent weight loss from occurring. As everyone has their own metabolism, individuals will experience variations as they work toward finding their perfect diet for great health. Dr. Westman discusses Harvard research and Duke University studies that deal with weight gain, metabolic rate, etc., as well as the importance of caloric deficits for losing weight. But ultimately, most people can probably eat more and still lose weight when on a keto diet, as opposed to other diets.
Dr. Westman details how he works with patients, outlining his preferences such as beginning work with diabetes patients before they are put on a medication regimen. Dr. Westman states that all patients should be given a choice, and that diet and lifestyle changes can reverse the condition without medications. He talks about metabolic rate in regard to eating habits, such as intermittent fasting, etc. Regarding keto and carb-cutting success, Dr. Westman discusses the early studies and trial and error approaches to cutting carbs such as were developed by Dr. Atkins, and others. And he adds that proper carb intake amounts for individuals seeking to achieve optimum health and weight loss/management are certainly related to age and activity level. Younger, more active people, as you would expect, can eat more carbs daily and still see results. Older and/or more sedentary individuals may need to restrict carb intake more significantly.
Dr. Westman is currently the president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, and a fellow of the Obesity Society and the Society of General Internal Medicine. His extensive clinical research includes more than 45 peer-reviewed papers on the efficacy of ketogenic diets and lifestyle in the management of type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and obesity.
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