Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fight obesity with water, low-cal food, fibre

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W. C. FIELDS, the comedian with the bulbous, red, alcoholic nose, when asked if he would like a glass of water, always replied, "Water is for flowing under bridges."

But Fields didn't know about The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, or PGX.

Dr. Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, reports in the publication Nutrition Action that when she was studying the effects of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in food intake, she had a eureka moment. People, she concluded, were not regulating their calories. Rather, they were regularly eating the same weight or volume of food.

Her next eureka moment came with the observation it's possible to eat a large volume of food and still lose weight if the large portions are low in calories.

W.C. Fields didn't know the secret is the amount of water in food. This doesn't mean you have to pour water into your favourite meal. Rather, it means adding vegetables to a casserole and dinner plates because vegetables are mostly water. So you end up with a mouthful of heavier food per bite but fewer calories.

Rolls says it's possible to chew on low-density celery, salad greens, tomatoes, apples and whole wheat spaghetti without gaining excessive weight. But it's easy to add pounds with high-calorie foods such as carrot cake, brownies, chocolate-chip cookies and peanut butter.

Trying to sort the good foods from the bad gets complicated when said Rolls suggests calculating the caloric density of food by dividing its calories by its weight in grams. It's a scientific approach, but hell will freeze over before anyone does it.

It's less complicated when she suggests having a low-calorie soup, salad or apple at the start of a meal. These fill the stomach, decreasing the hunger reflex.

I believe the best way to tame the hunger reflex is a high-fibre diet. Most North Americans consume 15 grams of fibre daily but need 35. This means many people have stools as hard as rocks, are constipated and obese.

The eureka moment that everyone should experience is recognizing the simple, indisputable fact that fibre has what's called filling volume. This tells the brain the stomach is full.

Good sense indicates it's prudent to use diet and exercise to combat obesity, but the wrong foods usually win out, resulting in the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

So if you're losing the battle of the bulge, what else can you do? Try PGX. It's a complex of natural polysaccharides, and gram for gram provides greater filling volume than other fibres. Its soft gels, or granules, when swallowed with meals, expand because of their ability to absorb many times their weight in water, thus decreasing the hunger reflex.

It has another important function. Spikes in blood sugar create a yo-yo effect and increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. PGX, by slowing digestion, moderates blood-sugar levels. This lowers what's called the glycemic index (GI) and decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Studies show overweight and obese people with a low GI tend to lose weight. PGX also decreases blood-cholesterol levels 17 per cent.

The minimum dose of PGX is three soft gels or 2.5 grams of granules daily, taken before, during or after meals with a glass of water or added to moist foods. This creates the same effect as three bowls of oatmeal.

Some people feel full on less, so they can use a patient approach by adding one or two soft gels or one gram of PGX granules to meals throughout the day.

I agree with Rolls that there are more functions for water than flowing under bridges. And for losing weight, there's nothing better, gram for gram, than a high-fibre diet. That's why PGX has been called the holy grail in the treatment of obesity.

PGX is available in most health-food stores.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2012 A21

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