Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Difference between STOTT PILATES and Pilates.

Q. What's the difference?
A. STOTT is an elite level of Pilates which expands into greater detail (STOTT PILATES includes advances in spinal rehabilitation practices, promoting neutral spine placement and stabilization of the upper back while keeping with contemporary physical therapy practices).
STOTT PILATES is now available at Xanadu Health Club for both members and non members. Call or see the front desk for more details.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Deeper Look at HCG Diets…

Ross Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK
Personal Training Manager - Xanadu Health Club

A common mistake is for people to call me Ross Colombo instead of Ross Colomba. It’s kind of annoying but during my research for this blog, the latter actually fits because I set out to investigate factual information on the pros & cons of being on the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) diet. This is a non-biased account of the information I acquired and in no way is it an attempt to shamelessly promote a product or service.

My job, first and foremost, as a health professional is to provide you with up-to date information grounded in evidence regardless of affiliation or monetary gain.

The HCG diet is anywhere between 26-40 days long. It includes administering HCG injections, drops, or creams. Caloric intake is limited to 500-800 cals per day. All starchy & sugary carbs are eliminated, other than a minimal amount of fruits. The diet primarily consists of lean cuts of protein (beef, chicken, & fish) & vegetables. As a standard, those on the diet are expected to lose anywhere between 1-3 pounds per day. Common side effects are fatigue, leg cramps, headache, feeling thirsty all the time, bad breath, metallic taste in the mouth, weakness, dizziness, nausea or stomach ache, sleep problems, & constipation.

HCG is a hormone that is most prominently produced in pregnant women in the cells that form the placenta. This helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, fueling the fetus with the energy to grow. Proponents of this diet plan say that HCG helps stimulate metabolism and fat burning because the hormone signals the hypothalamus in the brain to mobilize fat stores and convert them for energy. As of December 2011, the FDA sent a letter to companies that sell over-the-counter products stating that HCG has not been approved for weight loss. The letter also contained information that the drops used as part of the HCG protocol do not contain the HCG hormone but a synthetic version. This is nothing new. In 1975, the FDA made it illegal for all HCG diet manufacturers to disclose that HCG products cause weight loss and that it hasn’t been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. In 1995, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology stated that “there is no scientific evidence that HCG can or does treat obesity,” which is why independent researchers, the FDA, and most recently the Mayo clinic are pointing to the reduction of calories as a reason for the rapid weight loss.

Diets that are low in carbohydrates will typically trigger a state of ketosis after the body is starved of carbohydrates for several days. Instead of using carbohydrates as a main source of energy, the body will begin to burn fat as fuel. Ketosis is a stage in metabolism occurring when the liver has been depleted of stored glycogen and switches to a fasting mode similar to one that occurs during sleep, dieting, and the body's response to starvation. Energy from fat is mobilized to the liver and used to synthesize glucose. As a result of this metabolic response, ketones are produced and left to roam throughout the body. Some can be excreted via the lungs, while others must be broken down by the kidneys. This over- works the organs and forces them to excrete important electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, & potassium. Reducing the amount of calcium in the body can lead to weakened bones & teeth. Low levels of magnesium are associated with reduced muscular function, and once potassium levels drop muscle fatigue and heart arrhythmias begin. In extreme cases, ketone body accumulation can lower the blood's pH to dangerously low acidic levels, leading to ketoacidosis which can be fatal.

Furthermore, diets consisting of between 500-800 kcals are classified by nutritionists & doctors as being VLCD (very low-calorie diets). Long-term side effects are anemia, decrease in thyroid function, bone loss, a decreased immune system and malnutrition. These diets are not well-balanced and do not provide enough calories, severely depriving individuals of much needed nutrients. If this isn’t concerning enough, research also shows that those on VLCD’s will, the majority of the time, gain their weight back.
As with the start of any new diet, it’s always best to at the very least make an appointment to see your doctor and get a physical. Make sure you’re screened for diabetes – especially if you have a family history, and ensure your hormones are at adequate levels. As I said earlier, I am here to provide the factual evidence surrounding the latest topics on health and wellness. At the end of the day you must decide if the positives outweigh the negatives. For another informative look at the HCG protocol refer to the following links.