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Sixty-One Questions and Answers for New Knowledge and New Thinking in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Past, Present, and Future of Humankind; the Challenging Issues of Medicine, Science, Religion, and Politics for the Global Mind
By Charles H. Chen
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Charles H. Chen, MD
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMedicine and Human Health
1. How can you lose weight or achieve normal weight without spending any money? can you achieve this goal easily?
Answer: Yes, you can.
First, you need to check whether you are overweight or not. Please look at BMI table in the back of this book to calculate your body mass index. If you are overweight or obese and you are serious about reaching your ideal weight, please read the following instructions. There is no shortcut to lose weight quickly. You cannot just ask for something to eat or drugs to take or corrective surgery. There are many explanations why people cannot lose weight. They blame something they cannot control, such as genetics, and other factors. All those explanations are just excuses to comfort people and compromise their will and determination. These try to make people feel like it is not their own problem. However, it is their own problem, but no one had ever guided them to the right path to achieve their weight goal in the past. One must have determination and follow the simple instructions here. You don't need to spend any money to reach your goal. It is very simple.
Please write down the following instructions. You must follow the instructions very carefully in the beginning. It is very simple and easy to follow.
The reason obesity can be traced to intake energy (calories) more than output energy. That extra energy is stored in your fat cells (for long term usage), and carbohydrates are stored in your muscle and liver cells (for short term usage). These had accumulated for years to make you overweight and obese. Naturally, it will take a few years to reverse as well. By burning your body fat cells to supply your own body with calorie, you can lose weight.
Do you know that extra energy coming from? Primarily, it comes from overeating (i.e., too many calories). Secondly, it comes from inactivity like sitting instead of exercising.
How to overcome that extra-energy?
First, calculate your calorie intake. Please visit www.mypyramid. gov for more details. You should bookmark this Web site for future usage. Once there, you can enter your physical information, (e.g., height, weight, age, sex), and the site will display your calorie need for your current weight.
Secondly, look at the BMI (body mass index) table in the back of this book for your ideal body weight. Then you can subtract your current weight from ideal body weight.
Thirdly, you can find how much weight you need to lose (i.e., how many pounds you are overweight) from the above subtraction. Scientist already knows that 3,500 calories equal one pound of body weight. If you can reduce your intake by 500 calorie a day, you can lose one pound a week (500x7=3,500). For example, if you are overweight by fifty pounds, then it will take fifty weeks to lose fifty pound. Ideally, you should only lose one pound a week to remain healthy.
Fourthly, how you can reduce your intake by 500 calorie a day: Go back to my pyramid Web site. There, you can copy the calorie menu. Please click on "For Professional Use" in the subject box. Then download the "MyPyramid Food Intake Patterns" document. There are many level of the calorie menu. It is free to download so you can copy the calorie menu. Now you can view and calculate your goals. (For example, if your current weight need is 3,000 calories, then you should use the 2,500-calorie menu, because it is 500 calorie less). You should eat according to your diet outlined on the calorie menu. In this case, we're using the 2,500-calorie menu. My pyramid Web site also has an exercise and calorie consumption table. You can see how many calories are consumed when you do exercise as well. This is a calorie loss in addition to following your food menu.
There are three ways to reduce by 500 calorie a day: (1) Increase exercise time; (2) reduce eating (reduce calorie intake to follow calorie menu); and (3) combine both exercise and diet. You can choose any or combined them. I personally believe that the number three is the best method to reduce weight.
During your weight reduction period, you should follow the calorie menu faithfully. You cannot eat whatever you want whenever you want. For instance, some fruit or vegetable juices may contain extra calorie in addition to their water. You must follow the menu to the detail.
It is also very important that you adjust calorie menu every two to four weeks. This means you should go back to the Web site with your pyramid and enter new weight information (assuming you have lost weight). Then you will find your new calorie menu that you need. For example, if you lose four pound in four weeks, your calorie menu intake also needs to change (reduce) according to that calculation. If you feel very hungry at that calorie level, you should do the following: Stay at the calorie menu you are using for a few months until you do not feel hungry. (Make sure the hunger is only temporary. This feeling is probably because you are used to that calorie level to satisfy your stomach's inner lining cells. The genes will modify after you have reduced food intake.) If you are still hungry after a while, try losing half pound a week instead of one pound. Then you will likely not feel so hungry, but it will take twice as long to lose weight.
Footnotes: When you feel hungry, your body will ask you to take the following actions: (1) Eat more to get more calorie. This is not good, because you don't want to gain more weight. (2) Burn your body fat cells to get calories. This is a good sign, for you will be losing weight then. Try to do something that helps you forget that you're hungry. For example, you may try drinking plain water. Your hunger will go away after your body had adjusted and adapted to your new condition.
After you reach normal weight, you should revisit your calorie intake menu. (This may be only one or two years later. It all depends on how soon you can reach normal weight.) This time, you should use a different calorie menu to maintain ideal body weight. Try to follow the calorie menu faithfully for three to six months. You will develop a habit and condition yourself to those foods and amounts you eat. Then you can eat the right amount of food without looking at the menu.
Footnotes: In my medical practice and observation, I have learned that walking or jogging is a simple and effective way to manage weight. You do not need to spend any money. I suggest exercising in the early morning or the evening. You must make sure that you exercise daily and persistently for a few years until you reach the goal, and you should maintain this habit at your ideal weight as well
If you want to lose weight faster, then you should increase your exercise times. Perseverance is the key to reaching your goals. You cannot depend on doctors or someone else to tell you to do these things for you. You must do them by yourself. It is very simple.
2. Do you know the meaning of Bing Chong Kou Ru, and why it is important to know?
Bing Chong Kou Ru is an old Chinese saying, which means "disease from mouth entry." The interpretation of this old Chinese saying is as follows:
The short-term implication: What you eat, such as unsafe foods or anything that contains bacteria or poisonous materials, will cause you to become sick immediately.
The long-term implication: If you eat junk foods or unhealthy foods, such as bad oils (e.g., saturated fat, trans fats, etc.), bad carbohydrates, or too many calories, then you will develop bad lifestyle diseases in the coming years, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. Developing those bad lifestyle diseases as a result of unhealthy living is a medical fact. It is not just conjecture or hypothesis. Everyone must understand and pay attention to this fact.
Next time you are going to eat or going to the supermarket to get food, try to remember this old Chinese saying. You must start now. You cannot wait to see what will happen.
In 2000, the American Obesity Association estimated about 30.3 percent of American children from age six to eleven and 30.4 percent from age twelve to nineteen were overweight. Given those numbers, if we do not do something to prevent obesity in children, the medical costs will be huge, and the longevity of the human life span will be shortened in the future.
Remember, doctors can look after you only as doctors. You are responsible for your own fate. Healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle need to start when you are young. There is much information about eating healthy foods and maintaining a good lifestyle available. Life is precious and short. You need to cherish every moment while you live on this beautiful blue planet Earth. It is not a difficult thing to do. You just need to pay a little bit more attention to those facts in your daily life.
3. Do you know what lipids, fats, oils, and cholesterol are, and why they are important to know?
Essentially, they are very important foods that will affect your health for the years to come. You must pay attention to these from a young age. You should not depend on someone just to tell you about these. This is your own fate after all. You have to take care of yourself. When you read ahead, please write down the good oils or fats you want and remember the bad oils or fats you want to avoid. When you go to supermarket to buy food, you will remember these. You can always check labels or ask a store manager, too.
Lipid: This is a general term for fats or oils. They cannot dissolve in water but will dissolve in an organic solvent or alcohol. They are a very important part of a living cell's architecture. Usually, lipid means solid fat and liquid oil.
Fat: Fats come in solid or liquid form. Animal fats are usually solid in room temperature. Fats have four different fatty acids. It is very important to know all four. You must try to remember them, because they will affect your health in the future.
A. Saturated fats: These are bad fats, because they produce LDLs (low-density lipoproteins) that will harden and clog your arteries, which will increase your risk of a heart attack later in life. Saturated fats generally come from animal sources-meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. They also can come from coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.
B. Unsaturated fats: These are good fats, because they can lower LDLs in addition to benefiting your body cells in other ways, too. There are two types of unsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats, such as olive, canola, avocado, peanut oils, and some seeds or nuts. Polyunsaturated fats, which include two kinds as well-omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids-that can be broken down into various categories. There are three different kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: 1. ALA (alpha linolenic acid) 2. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 3. DHA (docasahexaenoic acid) DHA and EPA are often found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines. DHA is a good fatty acid for newborn brain development. ALA and EPA are found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola, grape seed oils, tree nuts (e.g., almond, walnut, hazelnut, etc.), and soybean oils. Omega-6 fatty acids consist of linoleic acid, a precursor to a hormonelike chemical known as prostaglandin. They are abundant in the American diet. They are often found in grains, corn, soybeans, other vegetable oils, meat, eggs, and dairy products. It competes with omega-3 fatty acid; therefore, omega-6 fatty acids are not good fatty acids. The limitation of its intake should be four to one ratio (four omega-6 to one omega-3). C. Trans-fattyacids: These are very bad fats, which come from vegetable oil and harden through hydrogenation. They can raise your LDL (i.e., bad cholesterol) in your blood. They can also lower HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is your good cholesterol. They are often found in fried foods or fast foods (e.g., french fries, chicken nuggets, etc.), solid margarines, baked goods (e.g., donuts, cookies, crackers, pastries, etc.), and processed foods (e.g., cakes, candy, snack foods, etc.). D. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats: These are bad fats similar to trans-fatty acids. This refers to oils (vegetable oils) that have become hardened or partially hardened through hydrogenation (chemical process). Please read the labels when you buy foods to avoid these fats.
This refers to the liquid form of fats in food industry. They are usually vegetables, nuts, seed, and bean oils. When people refer to good or bad oils, they are using the same meaning as good or bad fats mentioned above.
This is a waxy, soft substance found in the bloodstream and all body cells. It comes from foods that already have some cholesterol (mostly from animal meat) and from the metabolism of fats (saturated fats) you eat. Blood test can measure cholesterol levels. There are two major cholesterols circulating in the bloodstream:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein): This is bad cholesterol. Please refer to previous paragraphs to find out its major food sources. Smoking also increases LDL. Try to lower LDL as much as you can. HDL (high-density lipoprotein): This is good cholesterol. Please refer to previous paragraphs to find out its major food sources. Physical exercise can increase HDL. Moderate alcohol use can increase HDL, too. Try to increase HDL as much as you can.
Try to remember the above facts when you are shopping. You must read the labels and determine what kind of fats or oils you are going to eat. Whether you are young or old, you must control your own health and your own fate. No one can help you except you. You may think that your mom know what to buy and what to cook for you, but your mom may not know what food contains good oils or fats. You have to know by yourself. It is not difficult. You just need to pay attention in your daily life. It is easy to remember.
4. Do you know what are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates? Do you know why it is so important to know?
In short, they are very important foods that will affect your future health.
Good carbohydrates have a low glycemic index (blood sugar level). These foods will produce a low blood sugar level in your body, which is good for supplying energy to your body. The followings are good carbohydrates: whole grain cereals, whole grain rices, lentils, peas, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Bad carbohydrates have a high glycemic index. These foods will increase your body blood sugar levels quickly, which is not good for your body. The following are bad carbohydrates: refined sugar, bleached flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, potatoes, cornflake-style cereals, popcorn, candy, sugared soft drinks, cakes, cookies, and pies.
You should eat or drink good carbohydrates for good health. Bad carbohydrates will increase your weight and may cause diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Again, you must make sure to pay attention to these facts in your daily life. It will have a tremendous impact on your good health in the coming years.
5. Do you know how the human body maintains life and its function during a person's life? You need to know, because it has something to do with your health.
There are basically two mechanisms that maintain life and its function. When we are born, tissues inside our bodies have two kinds of cell. One form includes mature cells (e.g., skin cells, muscle cells), and another form includes adult stem cells, which are inside your body tissues.
Mature cells have the ability to produce exact replicas of themselves by cell division (mitosis during cell division cycle) from a newborn state to adolescence until the physical body reaches maturity. This replicating mechanism has a time limit. It does not last forever. Adult stem cells (or somatic stem cells) can regenerate new cell for damage tissues or replace dead cells altogether. There is not time limit for stem cells. For example, if you damage your skin, the adult stem cells around the damaged tissue will replace the damage skin.
Excerpted from Sixty-One Questions and Answers for New Knowledge and New Thinking in the Twenty-First Century by Charles H. Chen Copyright © 2010 by Charles H. Chen, MD. Excerpted by permission.
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