September 29, 2009 in Features

Dr. Gott: Supplements are not food replacement

Peter H. Gott, M.D., United Media
 

DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 80-year-old woman who weighed 369 pounds at age 42. I lost most of the weight with Weight Watchers, but couldn’t maintain it with their program. Then I found Overeaters Anonymous 22 years ago and have maintained my current weight of 115 pounds for around 15 years.

My problem now is that I find the amount of food my sponsor wants me to eat is too much. Every day, I eat 8 ounces of Greek yogurt, 8 ounces of blueberries, 1/2 cup shredded wheat and black coffee for breakfast. I have a large apple, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and black or green tea for lunch. For dinner, I have 8 ounces of Greek yogurt, 4 ounces of blueberries and a large apple.

Is this enough? I take a lot of vitamins and supplements recommended by my doctor. These include calcium with vitamin D, vitamin C with rose hips, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, beta carotene, aspirin, fish oil, magnesium with chelated zinc and Ocuvite with Lutein. I also take a few prescriptions including atenolol (owing to a rapid heartbeat), furosemide (one tablet twice a week) and Klor-Con 8 (twice a week).

I consider myself in good health other than the occasional rapid heartbeat, which the atenolol seems to be controlling. Thank you for any help you can provide.

DEAR READER: Your diet is inappropriate. It is unbalanced, and, therefore, is not providing you with adequate nutrition. You are not taking in enough protein, you don’t eat any vegetables, and your grain/carbohydrate consumption is miniscule.

For proper health, you need proper nutrition. This isn’t to say you should eat more, but you do need to diversify what you eat. Eating the same five foods and two beverages every day is inappropriate. I urge you to make an appointment to discuss your diet with a certified nutritionist. He or she can help you devise a more appropriate and varied meal plan that will provide adequate nutrients while maintaining a healthful weight.

My other concern is that you are taking a diuretic and potassium supplements twice a week. If this is because of high blood pressure, they are probably not doing you any good. Hypertension that requires treatment should be treated with daily medication. Furosemide is also used for congestive heart failure and certain kidney and liver disorders that cause fluid retention. If this is your case, it is all the more important to have a proper diet to ensure that you have the best possible health.

I am disappointed that your physician has pushed supplements rather than helping you get adequate nutrition through diet. With proper meal planning, you should be able to eliminate most of your nonprescription pills. A good multivitamin and a calcium plus D supplement should be more than adequate when you are taking in proper nutrients from the foods you eat. Supplements are not meant to take the place of food.

To provide related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Reports “A Strategy for Losing Weight: An Introduction to the No Flour, No Sugar Diet” and “Vitamins and Minerals.” Other readers who would like copies should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a check or money order for $2 per report to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).


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