FOOD SENSITIVITIES Your weight problem may be more about bloating than fat if you have food sensitivities, says Elson Haas, M.D., of San Rafael, Calif., author of The False Fat Diet: The Revolutionary 21-Day Program for Losing the Weight You Think Is Fat (Ballantine Books). “False fat refers to the bloating and swelling that occur when your body treats a food as an allergen and starts holding onto water to protect itself,” Haas says. Highly suspect foods include soy, dairy, sugar, eggs, corn, peanuts and—especially—wheat.
To find out if you have food sensitivities, go on an elimination diet, Haas recommends. Cut out all of the “sensitive seven” foods from your diet for two weeks, then add them back in one at a time. He suggests watching for any stiffness or congestion in the following three to four hours and after waking up the next morning. “Cut the food from your diet and watch water weight fall away,” Haas says.
CANDIDA If you find yourself craving sweets or other carbs, yeast (Candida albicans) might be the culprit. “Yeast can migrate into the small intestine, where it latches on to the lining and creates micro-punctures—what we call ‘leaky gut syndrome,’ ” explains Hawaii-based Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., co-author of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health (Square One). “Through these little tears, yeast’s toxic waste products can get into the bloodstream.” This creates a foodsensitivity setup and leads to out-of-control eating—false fat and real fat, in other words. To find out more about how and why to cut sugar from your diet, go to naturalhealthmag.com/sugardetox.
HORMONE IMBALANCES According to Maine OB-GYN nurse-practitioner Marcelle Pick, M.S.N., author of The Core Balance Diet: 4 Weeks to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight for Good (Hay House), thyroid and adrenal dysfunction and imbalanced female hormones can also cause weight gain. So can a lack of feelgood neurotransmitters. “Serotonin deficiency in particular can cause you to crave sweet foods,” Pick explains. To determine whether your hormones are out of whack, see your health care provider for appropriate testing and treatment.
Supportive supplements for weight loss
Ginger Sheila Kingsbury, N.D., chairwoman of the botanical medicine department at Bastyr University in Seattle, recommends taking two 250-milligram capsules twice a day.
Green tea “Green tea speeds metabolism, and it works really well in tea form,” says Gaetano Morello, N.D.
Probiotics Taking a probiotic supplement may help you burn more calories, says Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D. Take one with at least 5 billion live organisms per dose once a day.
Garcinia cambogia (aka Citrimax) “It helps some people feel less hungry,” says Elson Haas, M.D. “Plus, it helps the body metabolize fats.” Take a 250- to 500-milligram capsule before every meal.
Gymnema “Gymnema helps keep blood sugar levels stable so you can stick to three meals a days without snacking,” says Ayurvedic physician John Douillard, D.C. Take one 500-milligram capsule three times a day with meals.