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The Best Diet

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Six Cardinal Rules when attempting to lose weight and/or reduce the risk of heart and other diseases

  1. You MUST take in (eat) less calories than you burn (by exercising and being active)
  2. Portion size must be reasonable; do not eat to satiety; try to eat a fair amount of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but consume
  3. Eat fewer carbohydrates, especially refined and high sugar-loaded ones.
  4. Enjoy more polyunsaturated fats (e.g., plant oils and fish).
  5. Veer away from low-fat dairy products and nuts.
  6. You gained weight over years; you must lose it gradually, as well; remember, despite the inevitable 'ups and downs,' try keeping it off!

Clear, brief diet-advice discussions can be found in the following two excellent links:

[1] "Best Weight-Loss Diets"

The controversial Atkins Diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fats (68% of its total calories are from fat). In the recent past, Atkins "would have been considered a sure road to a heart attack." Nevertheless, one loses pounds with it (fat is a satiety factor) and the resulting weight loss is associated with reduced cardiac risk.  The problem is, many people regain their weight (and then some). "In addition, experts continue to be nervous about the long-term effects of such a high-fat diet on overall health."

A specific diet, proven to be effective is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet--"It is similar to a Mediterranean-type diet, in that it includes high amounts of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, fish, and poultry. DASH diets have low amounts of total and saturated fats, red meats, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages."  [It] can lower blood pressure, particularly if you also reduce the amount of salt in your diet. It is similar in some important ways to the complex pyramid approach recently recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Neither approach is really a weight-loss diet, but an approach to eating that provides guidance on the relative proportion of foods for someone eating a "normal" amount of calories (about 2,000 per day)."     [Lee, TH (Brigham and Women's Hospital)   The Perfect Diet (Really!)]

[2] "Five diets to recommend to your patients" by , Medical Economics [pub.2/25/14]


Note: 'The Biggest Loser' TV show participants "regained a substantial amount of their lost weight in the 6 years since the competition, but overall, were quite successful at long-term weight loss compared with other lifestyle interventions. Despite substantial weight regain, [however,] a large persistent metabolic adaptation was detected. Contrary to expectations, the degree of metabolic adaptation at the end of the competition was not associated with weight regain, but those with greater long-term weight loss also had greater ongoing metabolic slowing. Therefore, long-term weight loss requires vigilant combat against persistent metabolic adaptation that acts to proportionally counter ongoing efforts to reduce body weight."

Regarding this 'failure of readaptation' — the resting metabolic rate (RMR) failed to rise with body weight, after weight loss, meaning regaining weight becomes easier and losing weight is harder. "Interestingly, patients who lose large amounts of weight after bariatric surgery do not appear to suffer this failure. Better understanding of the forces that control RMR might make it easier to attain a healthy weight - See more at: http://www.jwatch.org/"

Fothergill E, Guo J,  Howard L, et al. "Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition." Version of Record online: 2 MAY 2016  DOI: 10.1002/oby.21538 © 2016 The Obesity Society


In the struggle obesity, here are five diets that can help patients make meaningful lifestyle changes.

1. DASH diet  The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is nutritionally sound, helps control or prevent diabetes, and fosters heart health by emphasizing food variety, regular meal-time, nutritional content, snacking and portion size.

2. Mayo Clinic diet  This diet uses the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid as a guide to smart eating and daily exercise. The diet has two parts: a 2-week “Lose it!” then a “Live it!” phase.

3. Mediterranean diet  This diet helps reduce heart disease and cognitive decline risk by emphasizing fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, and fish and by limiting red meat and butter.  

4. Weight Watchers  A subscription based diet plan, WW uses a point system to show participants what and how much they can eat and it emphasizes fruits and vegetables.

5. TLC diet  The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet
 was created by the National Institutes 
of Health in the interest of promoting cardiovascular health by limiting caloric intake, saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt to promote healthy weight and reduce cardiovascular damage.


You are what you eat and 'mind over matter'

Effects of "intensive directed nutrition, progressive exercise"on MS and Parkinson's Diseases and cognitive functions:

MS: Terry Wahls, MD  "In 2004, Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and ultimately became dependent upon a tilt recline wheelchair.  Despite the best care, including several courses of chemotherapy, Dr. Wahls became progressively more disabled and limited.  She returned to basic science literature and found that mitochondria failure was a large part of what drives disability in the setting of progressive MS.  During the summer of 2007, Dr. Wahls designed a program to provide greater support to her mitochondria.  The results were astonishing.  Within months she was out of her wheelchair and the following year, she was able to ride her bike to work."  See:

Eating the Wahls WayMinding Your Mitochondria - TED - Documentary, Lecture, Talk Nutrition by Health and Super Foods


Parkinson's: Looking for Parkinson’s Sooner NY Times, pub. March 16, 2015 - By Jane E. Brody

“Right now we have no treatment to prevent or slow Parkinson’s, [Nevertheless,] Dr. Henchcliffe suggested that people with symptoms predictive of Parkinson’s, as well as the relative few who are genetically at risk, adopt healthful exercise and dietary habits that may forestall the disease.  'All forms of exercise seem to be good .... With respect to diet, a Mediterranean-style diet – rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and olive oil — is most closely associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s.'”


"Improving the Quality of Life In the Parkinson's Community."  Spring 2016

Nutrition and dietary factors have a bidirectional relationship with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Some foods can impact the absorption of medications used to treat PD and the risk or progression of PD. Similarly, PD symptoms and medications can impact one’s nutritional status. It is important to understand the contribution of nutrition in neuroprotection, neurodegeneration, and general well-being1.

There is an increasing body of literature that suggests neuroprotective bene ts of certain food groups in PD1-3, including phytochemicals (biologically active chemical compounds found in plants), omega-3, soy, caffeine, and tea."


"This diet guide .... lists the most optimal therapeutic diets to recommend to patients on the basis of their chronic condition or disease. Links to reputable sources of diet and patient information are included."

Source: Anya Romanowski, MS, RD. "Matching the Right Diet to the Right Patient." [19 Slides] Medscape.com January 27, 2017