The Truth About Weight Loss, Hormones, Prescription Drugs, and Your Health

For several decades I’ve been calling people’s attention to the fact that diets alone are not the answer to a healthy life. So when the Los Angeles Times recently ran an article “Why Dieters Tend To Regain Weight” on Oct. 26, I read it with interest.

This article covered a recent study about how difficult it is to lose weight, and how pharmaceutical companies continue to work on developing a “magic” pill that they can sell to the growing millions of obese people in the U.S. and around the world. One problem with this approach is what the Times calls the “marginal effectiveness” of the drugs.

Every intelligent human being knows that drugs can and usually do have significant and often dangerous side effects. Science has shown us again and again that getting our nutrients, including healthy fats through the consumption of raw nuts and other foods, let us regulate the naturally occurring hormones in our bodies, and trigger appetite-suppressing hormones, which in turn control our hunger and prevent us from overeating and becoming obese.

After reading the article I reached out to natural hormonal expert Ron Rosedale, M.D., whose  work in this area I respect, and asked Dr. Rosedale for his response to the following LA Times article. —  TR


A Closer Look At What Really Is A Disheartening Pattern…Medicine Itself.…as revealed by a recent LA Times article…

“Why dieters tend to regain weight”.. Oct 27, 2011

“A study shows that various hormones conspire to make us hungrier for at least another year, telling us to eat more, conserve energy and store fuel as fat.  The report, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, helps explain why roughly 4 in 5 dieters wind up gaining back lost pounds within a year or two of losing them — and, sometimes, pack on a few extra pounds for good measure… It is a close look at the disheartening pattern: In the wake of weight loss, ‘multiple compensatory mechanisms’ spring to life, the study illustrates, and work together to ensure that weight loss is reversed quickly and efficiently.”

But does the study really show that weight loss causes these ‘compensatory mechanisms’? …or is it a kind of diet that almost everyone is eating, and that doctors and nutritionists alike have been telling everyone to eat for over half a century, that forces those hormones and ‘compensatory mechanisms’ to ensure that we get fat, diseased, and stay that way?  And is there another diet that might allow us to use these same mechanisms for our benefit instead to burn fat instead of detriment to store too much?  The answer to both those questions is yes.

To summarize this study, participating overweight and obese human subjects had several appetite regulating hormones measured, and were then placed on a very calorie restricted (500 calorie) diet for 10 weeks, after which they (predictably) lost on average 28 lbs and the same hormones were rechecked. The participants were then asked to voluntarily adhere to a less, though still somewhat restrictive, low fat diet with regular dietary counseling for a year. An average of 11 lbs was regained.  It was also found that hormones such as leptin that reduce appetite were decreased, and this decrease was partially maintained for a year as was increased hunger.  It was concluded that the decrease in appetite suppressing hormones was causing increased appetite and is the cause of weight regain after dieting (so-called yo-yo dieting). It was further concluded that because of this, multiple drug therapy may be necessary.

Like happens so much in nutritional research and medicine in general, the conclusions presented in the article represent a very simplistic, and false, view of how the body…and life…works (and that just so happens to greatly benefit the massive profits of pharmaceutical companies by treating symptoms rather than the root disease).

For a deeper understanding of the major so-called ‘compensatory mechanism’, a history and summary of the hormone leptin is in order.

The Ob mouse is a strain of mouse that has a genetic mutation that makes it obese and unhealthy.  It had been used for almost half a century as a research model of obesity, though the reason that it was obese had eluded scientists.  This changed when, in 1994, Jeffrey Friedman of Rockefeller University discovered that this mouse lacked a previously unknown hormone called leptin, and when it was injected with leptin it became thin, vibrant, and very healthy within weeks.  This made headlines around the world, “The Cure for Obesity Found” and pharmaceutical companies started tripping over themselves with trillion dollar signs in their eyes to be the first to genetically manufacture leptin on a large-scale.  This did not last long, for when people were tested for leptin it was found that, unlike the Ob mouse, they did not lack leptin; on the contrary almost all overweight and obese people have excess leptin.  These people were “leptin resistant” and giving extra leptin did little good.  The financial disappointment was extreme and scientists working for pharmaceutical companies said that leptin was no longer financially worth pursuing.

To make money in medicine one needs a patent and this generally means remedies which are not commonly or easily available — that are not natural.  This illustrates two extremely unfortunate principles in modern medicine; only those therapies that will make lots of money (generally for the pharmaceutical industry or hospitals), ever get pursued and thus taught to physicians (since most of medical education after medical school takes place by pharmaceutical corporations), and these therapies, almost by definition, will be unnatural.  This inhibition of extremely important knowledge is not only unfortunate, it is deadly, and is exemplified by how few people, including doctors, know much about leptin, let alone how to control it to greatly improve health. I would consider leptin, along with insulin, to be the most important biochemicals in your body that will determine your health and lifespan, and they are not controlled by drugs. They are controlled by what you eat.

What exactly is leptin?  Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by fat cells that has totally changed the way that science (real science, outside of medicine) looks at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general.  Prior to leptin’s discovery, fat was viewed as strictly an ugly energy storage depot that almost everyone would prefer to get rid of.  After it was discovered that fat produced the hormone leptin (and subsequently it was discovered that fat produced other very significant hormones), fat became an endocrine organ like the ovaries, pancreas and pituitary, influencing the rest of the body and, in particular, the brain.  Leptin, as far science currently knows, is the most powerful regulator that tells the brain what to do about life’s two main biological goals: eating and reproducing.  It takes lots of fuel to make babies.  Just ask any pregnant mom-to-be at the supermarket staring wide eyed at the ice cream.  Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether the time is nutritionally ripe to make babies, or (along with insulin) whether to “hunker down” and work overtime to maintain and repair yourself to reproduce at a future more energy available time. I believe I could now make a very convincing and scientifically accurate statement that that rather than your brain being in control of the rest of your body, the most ancient and critical parts of your brain are, in fact, subservient to your fat — and leptin.

In short, leptin is the way that your fat speaks to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.  It not only takes lots of energy to make babies, it takes a lot of energy to keep you healthy.  Therefore, leptin may be “on top of the food chain” in metabolic importance and relevance to disease.

It has been known for many years that fat stores are highly regulated.  It appears that when one tries to lose weight the body tries to gain it back.  This commonly results in “yo-yo” dieting and in scientific circles one talks about the “set point” of weight. It had long been theorized that hormones must exist that determine this.  Science points now to leptin as being the most powerful and influential.

Nature knows that to make someone obtain more energy if necessary, it must make that person hungry.  Likewise, nature knows  that the only way to not eat too much, to not make too much fat, is to not be hungry.  Asking somebody to not eat, to just use willpower even though they might be hungry, in other words “to count calories” is asking the near impossible.  Hunger is way too powerful a force that has been instilled into us by nature almost since life began to make us eat. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that nature designed to regulate hunger.  We must control leptin to control hunger, health and life.

For our ancestors, life was a time of feast and famine.  We needed to store some fat for the times of inevitable famine. However, it was equally disadvantageous to be too fat.  For most of our evolutionary history, it was necessary to run, hunt and gather, and to avoid being prey. If a lion was chasing a group of people, who would it chase?  It would catch, and eliminate from the gene pool, the slowest runner and the one who could not make it up the tree — the fattest one that would also give that lion the most energy bang for its having to get-up-and-exercise buck.

Thus, it is so critical that fat storage or burning be highly regulated, that this is  done via several hormones, the most significant again being leptin. When leptin levels are low, it is supposed to signal an area of the deep brain in the hypothalamus that you have too little fat, and if there is a bit of a famine you’ll be a goner.  This will override most any other thought, and you will be made to be hungry, and your prime directive as instilled in you by millions of years of evolution will be to find food, eat, turn that food into fat, and save, not burn, the fat that you’ve got.

On the other hand, if a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin which is supposed to tell you that there is too much fat stored, lions are being tempted, more fat should not be stored, and the excess needs to be burned. The key words there are “is supposed to”.  Leptin must function properly… and there are no drugs that will make this happen, now or in the foreseeable future.

Insulin is another hormone, one of whose primary functions is to regulate energy stores.  Its effect on blood glucose is merely a side effect of this.  I first spoke of the importance of insulin in health and disease almost 2 decades ago, and I am even more convinced now.  Aside from its obvious role in diabetes, it plays a very significant role in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  However, new research is revealing that in the long run glucose and therefore insulin levels may be largely determined by leptin.

It had been previously believed that the insulin sensitivity of muscle and fat tissues were the most important factor in determining whether one would become diabetic or not.  Elegant new studies are showing that the brain and liver are most important in regulating a person’s blood sugar levels especially in type 2 or insulin resistant diabetics.  It should be noted again that leptin plays a vital role in regulating the brain’s hypothalamic activity which in turn regulates much of a persons “autonomic” functions; those functions that you don’t necessarily think about but which determines much of your life (and health) such as thyroid levels, body temperature, heart rate, hunger, the stress response including adrenal function and cortisol action, fat burning or storage, reproductive behavior, and newly discovered roles in bone health (osteoporosis), autoimmune diseases (MS), even playing a dominant role in what’s considered insulin’s primary domain; blood sugar levels. This is because recent studies reveal leptin’s importance in directly regulating how much glucose the liver manufactures (gluconeogenesis).  How many doctors treat diabetes by regulating leptin?  The sad truth is, almost none.

Leptin not only changes brain chemistry to do nature’s bidding, it can also “rewire” the very important areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism, especially in the very young and even in a fetus.  I believe that it was the first chemical in the body that had been shown to accomplish this “mindbending” event. Thus a future mom can pass on the predilection for her child to become obese and diabetic depending on what the mom eats that effects leptin.

Many chronic diseases are now linked to excess inflammation, such as heart disease and diabetes.  High leptin levels are very pro-inflammatory, and leptin also helps to mediate the manufacture of other very potent inflammatory chemicals from fat cells that also play a significant role in the progression of heart disease and diabetes. It has long been known that obesity greatly increased risk for many chronic diseases, but no one really knew why.  Leptin appears to be that missing link also.

Leptin will not only determine how much fat you have, but also where that fat is put.  When you are leptin resistant, you put that fat mostly in your belly, your viscera, causing the so-called “apple shape” that is linked to much disease.  Some of that fat permeates the liver, impeding the liver’s ability to listen to insulin, and further hastening diabetes.  Leptin plays a far more important role in your health than, for instance, cholesterol, yet how many doctors measure leptin levels in their patients, know their own level, even know that it can be easily measured, or even what it would mean?

Leptin appears to play a significant role in the so-called “chronic diseases of aging”.  Could it perhaps affect the rate of aging itself?  Scientists who study the biology of aging are beginning to look at that question.  As mentioned previously, there are two drives that life has been programmed, since its inception, to fulfill, succeed at, and succumb to.  These are to eat and to reproduce.  If every one of our ancestors had not succeeded in doing these, we would not be here, you would not be reading this, and I wouldn’t have written it.   All of your morphological characteristics from your hair to your toenails are designed to help you succeed at those two activities.  That is what nature wants us fundamentally to do.

It is important to know what mother nature wants. Otherwise, she can get downright ornery.  Nature does not necessarily want you to live a long and healthy life, but instead wants you to perpetuate the instructions, the genes that teach the progeny how to perpetuate life.  Even so-called “paleolithic” diets, though undoubtedly far better than what is generally eaten today, were not necessarily designed by nature to help us live a long and healthy life but, at best,  to maximize reproduction.  Nature appears to not care much about what happens to us after we have had a sufficient chance to make babies and get them on their feet. That is why we die.  But it is vital to nature that we do stay healthy long enough to make babies to perpetuate the instructions of life, and therein lies the rub.  Nature gives us clues about how to stay alive and healthy.  And that brings us once again to fat– and leptin.

Energy was, and always will be, a coveted commodity.  Nature, and evolution hates wasting it.  It makes no sense to try and make babies when it appears that there’s not enough energy available to successfully accomplish that goal.  Instead, it seems that virtually all living forms can “switch gears” and direct energy away from cell division and reproduction and towards mechanisms that will allow a life to “hunker down” for the long haul and thus be able to reproduce at a future more nutritionally opportune time.  In other words, nature will then let you live longer to accomplish its primary directive of reproduction.  It does this by up regulating maintenance and repair genes that increase production from within the cells, of antioxidant systems, heat shock proteins (that help maintain protein shape), DNA repair enzymes, and garbage collection (called autophagy).  This is what happens when you restrict calories (without starvation) in animals, that has been shown convincingly for 70 years to greatly extend the life and health span of many dozens of species.

Thus, there is a powerful link between cellular reproduction, energy stores, and longevity.  Genetic studies in simple organisms have shown that that link is at least partially mediated by insulin (which in simple organisms also functions as growth hormone), and that when insulin signals are kept low, indicating scarce glucose availability, maximal lifespan can be extended– a lot; several hundred percent in worms and flies, and even doubling the lifespan in some mammals.  Glucose is an ancient fuel used even before there was oxygen in the atmosphere, for life can burn glucose without oxygen; it is an anaerobic fuel, kept around today for just that purpose; fight or flight emergencies.  The use of fat as fuel came later, after life in the form of plants soaked the earth in oxygen, for you cannot burn fat without oxygen.  The primary source of energy stores in people is fat by far, as many unfortunately are all too aware of.  The primary signal that indicates how much fat is stored is leptin, and it is also leptin that allows for reproduction, or not. It has long been known that women with very little body fat, such as marathon runners, stop ovulating.  There is not enough leptin being produced to permit it.  Paradoxically, one of the first pharmaceutical uses of leptin was approved to give to skinny women to allow them to ovulate and get pregnant.

To summarize thus far; both insulin and leptin work together to control the quality of one’s metabolism and, to a significant extent, the rate of metabolism.

Metabolism can roughly be defined as the chemistry that turns food into life, and therefore insulin and leptin are critical to health and disease.  The purpose of insulin goes way beyond the control of blood sugar. It works mostly at the individual cell level, telling the vast majority of cells whether to burn or store fat or sugar and whether to utilize that energy for cellular division/reproduction (that, when too loud, can lead to cancer) or for maintenance and repair (youth and longevity).  In this way it actually helps to control the rate of aging, and therefore the chronic diseases of aging such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is so critical to life that is found in virtually all animal life, and has apparently been evolutionarily conserved all the way back to worms and beyond.

Leptin, on the other hand, controls energy storage and utilization by the entire republic of our 15 or so trillion cells allowing the body to communicate with the brain about how much energy (fat) the republic has stored, and whether it needs more, or should burn some off, and whether it is an advantageous time nutritionally-speaking for the republic to make new baby republics.

But for leptin to properly regulate these all-important mechanisms critical to life and health, leptin has to be heard, and if the brain and body cannot properly hear what it is trying to say, people become so-called “leptin resistant”…and sick; obese, diabetic, heart diseased, osteoporotic…not happy campers.

Going deeper…

Each and every one of us is a combination of lives within lives. Therefore, life, and health, depends on a network of communication that allows those 15 trillion separate living cells (and perhaps 90 trillion bacteria in your gut and elsewhere) to act harmoniously as one for the common good.  It is communication such as what you are doing right now (and by attending UPW), that will hopefully make you wiser and healthier.  That network of communication is via chemical signals led by hormones. The neurotransmitters in the brain that allow you to read this are a type of hormone. So is estrogen, testosterone thyroid, insulin and leptin.

Communication depends partly on what is said, but more importantly on what is heard. This is important. The effect of all communication will be secondary to what is heard, or not heard.   Likewise, it is not the level of a hormone that matters. It is how well that hormone is communicating.  For instance, it is now known that a high fasting insulin represents insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. In other words even though the insulin may be high that usually would drive down blood glucose, the cells aren’t listening to it, so the cells behave as if  insulin is too low, raising blood sugar and causing diabetes.  I believe that this not only happens with insulin but happens with many hormones, in particular leptin, and in fact can happen with any sort of communication, and it generally happens when a message is being screamed too loud, too often, and for too long.  For instance if a person has to sit in a meeting next to someone with strong perfume (or no deodorant) it will be noticed quite significantly at first.  However sit there for a while and the sense of smell becomes dulled and the odor is much less noticeable.

The same happens with insulin…and leptin. Spikes in blood glucose from eating foods that digest into sugars such as rice, potatoes, cereals, most breads and pasta, cause repeated surges in insulin and leptin.  Your 15 trillion cells that makes you up, your republic of cells, will at first be able to listen to them; you stay thin and relatively healthy when young, but over weeks, months, years, or decades, they lose their ability to ‘smell’ these critical hormones necessary to control the storage and use of energy, metabolism, and life itself.  They will then smell a week signal rather than the true loud signal that has been given, and the brain and body will respond accordingly… and improperly.  One gets insulin and leptin resistant, unhealthy, diabetes, heart disease, even cancer, and life becomes unhappy and short.

To restore that sense of smell lost in the meeting, one must reduce the odor, not increase it.  Go to lunch and come back and once again you can smell the perfume, and in the case of hormones this is very much for the better.  In other words to restore and maintain the ability for your body and brain to properly ‘smell’ the life giving messages from leptin, as much as possible stop eating sugar, and this means starches, for when they are digested they are rapidly turned to sugar.  Whether that sugar originated from rice, potatoes, whole-wheat toast, twinkles, glucose syrup, or agave, your cells are oblivious.

In the case of the participants of the study cited in this LA Times article, and indeed in the case of anyone desiring to lose extra fat, the “set point” for fat storage, somewhat like a thermostat (though in this case a “fat stat”) needs to be reset to a lower level, and the fat stat is determined mostly by leptin, and even more by the ability of critical areas of the brain to understand what it is trying to say; in other words leptin sensitivity.  Nature knows that the only way to lose weight (and really what this should refer to is fat weight, not any weight) is to not be hungry and instead “eat” extra  belly fat…and to do this you must be able to hear what leptin is trying to say.

The continued hunger in the study mentioned at the beginning was coming from the maintenance of a restricted, though high carbohydrate, dietary program after the initial weight loss. This would continue to cause blood leptin to repeatedly spike, in turn causing continued leptin resistance.   Though their belly’s leptin would be screaming to their brain that it is getting too fat,  their brain would only be hearing a whisper, and think that they are too skinny to survive a famine. It will make them hungry, make them eat, make them store even more fat, and prevent them from burning what they have.  In the words of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ played by Paul Newman in the movie of the same name to the prison warden after having escaped from a southern prison and just before capture, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”.  This doesn’t end too well for Cool Hand Luke, or his brain, either; he is immediately shot in the head.

If you can’t burn fat (or ketones from fat), you will have to burn the only other fuel your cells can burn; sugar (glucose), and since you only store a small amount that your body wants to save for fight and flight (anaerobic) emergencies, you will be made to crave carbohydrates and sugar; you will be made to be constantly hungry. This is not surprising as it has been shown for the last 50 years that trying to reduce calories on a high carbohydrate diet results in hunger, eating more, and weight gain. This is what the LA Times article has once again illustrated; that the diet that has been recommended by the medical profession for over half a century has forced us to burn glucose as our primary fuel rather than fat and therefore has forced us to crave it… and keep craving it even after dieting such that we once again become more insulin and leptin resistant and regain the fat that we so diligently might have lost.

If I had to summarize everything known about nutrition, health and aging, it would be this; your health and lifespan will be determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar you burn over a lifetime.  The more sugar you are forced to burn,  the more diseased you will become. The more fat you burn, the healthier, younger, and longer your life will likely be. And whether you burn sugar or fat will be mostly determined by those critical metabolic hormones insulin and leptin, and they in turn will be determined by what you eat. Therefore every meal must be considered a most important hormone.

Those meals need to prevent leptin from spiking thereby maintaining low leptin (and insulin) levels, such that your cells, you, can continue to ‘hear’ and ‘smell’ the critical messages that those hormones are giving you, messages that tell you how to maintain health and life.

The only known way to do that is via a dietary plan such as mine, perhaps augmented with synergistic supplements.  As such, these can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment.

What causes insulin and leptin to soar, to constantly yell at your cells so that ultimately they will lose their hearing for these life-saving messages? Sugars, sugar forming starches and excessive protein.  What doesn’t cause leptin or insulin to spike, that keeps them low so that their critical messages continue to be heard?  Fat. That’s right. Fat. The best diet to preserve health, youth, and longevity is virtually opposite to what we’ve been brainwashed to believe is good ever since we’ve been in our mothers womb.  It isn’t fat that makes us fat; it is the inability to burn fat that makes us fat, and this is caused by the inability to properly listen to leptin. That in turn is caused by eating a high carbohydrate low-fat diet that has been recommended by doctors and nutritionists our entire lifetime, and that has resulted in a worldwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes such that human average lifespan is likely to be reduced for the first time in the history of mankind, as being predicted by many experts. That high carbohydrate, fat demonizing recommendation has likely lead to more illness and death than the combined sum of all past worldwide epidemics.

Eat fat…good fats, as long as sugars, and sugar forming foods such as rice, potatoes, cereals, most breads and pasta, are avoided that would  otherwise raise insulin and leptin and prevent the burning of that fat.

What are good fats?  Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine, and macadamia nuts; all good, preferably raw or dried with low heat.  Peanuts are not nuts (they are legumes, beans) and they therefore have a different (high omega 6) and unhealthy fat content. Olives and olive oil, avocados and guacamole, coconut oil, ghee; all great.

Eat these along with non sugary vegetables and a moderate, not high, amount of protein, and leptin’s messages will remain clear; live long and prosper.  My guess is that Mr. Spock was on my diet.

When leptin signaling is restored, your brain can finally hear the message that perhaps should have been delivered decades ago; high leptin levels can now scream to your brain that you have too much stored fat and that if you don’t want to eat it, a lion might. Your brain will finally allow you access into your belly’s pantry of fat.  Your cells will be fed that food and they will be satisfied.  They will be receiving energy that they need and will not have to ask for more.  You will not be hungry.  This also makes counting calories irrelevant, for the calories that you put into your mouth are not necessarily what your cells will be eating; that will be determined primarily by leptin.

Whether or not you put food into your mouth, your cells will be eating, and if they cannot eat fat they must eat sugar.  Since little sugar is stored, that sugar will be had by making you crave it, or by turning the protein in your muscle and bone into sugar.  This contributes in a major way to weakness and osteoporosis.  Whether or not this lean tissue wasting happens is determined by your capacity, or incapacity, to burn fat, and that is determined by leptin.

Back to the LA Times study.. The researchers in this study, as is virtually universal, assume that high hormone levels translate to stronger signaling, such that higher leptin would cause greater reduction in hunger, and that lower leptin causes increased hunger.  However,  one of the most important concepts in health, and indeed life itself, is not being recognized or understood.  We must make this clear to doctors, researchers, medicine in general and the public alike; just yelling louder (giving more insulin, giving more drugs) will not increase the ability of our cells, ourselves, to hear, and in fact will cause our cells to go deaf.  It is not the quantity of information that determines health, but the quality of information.  What must occur is eating a diet that reduces leptin spikes and maintains a lower leptin, so that the hearing by the brain and body to leptin’s messages can be restored. The messages to maintain and restore health are there in nearly all of us; we just need to be able to hear them.

We should not, must not, if at all possible, be treating symptoms. This ignores the deeper meanings.  We must instead attempt to seek out the common roots of so-called “diseases”.  When we do, we find that so-called diseases such as obesity, type 2 (insulin resistant) diabetes, heart and vascular disease, osteoporosis, even age related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s — virtually all of the chronic diseases of aging — have common roots, and it is those roots we must treat.  Otherwise, we are likely to not just ignore, but worsen the true underlying disease…as in virtually all (non emergency and critical care) standard medical practice, that lives off of treating symptoms rather than diseases.  See the ACCORD study mentioned below and so many others. Where does one find the roots of all the major chronic diseases of aging?  In communication.  All disease is a disease of communication, particularly of insulin and leptin.

Diabetes is not a disease of blood sugar but a disease of telling sugar what to do. Osteoporosis is not a disease of calcium.  People with osteoporosis have lots of calcium in their arteries. It is a disease in telling calcium where to go.  Heart disease is not a disease of cholesterol. Every living cell membrane requires cholesterol. You can’t be a man or woman without cholesterol since all the steroid hormones are derived from it, including testosterone and estrogens. Coronary heart disease is an inflammation that requires the knowledge by our bodies of where, when, and how to use cholesterol to heal and make new cells.

So while emergency and critical care medicine is often miraculous, the rest of medicine that deals with chronic care, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc., by not understanding the root cause of disease, frequently (usually?) causes much more harm than good.  Let me give just a few of many examples…

Diabetic drugs; any and all of them ever created and used, (with the lone exception of maybe metformin)

Sulfonylureas like gliburide, the mainstay of diabetes treatment for nearly half a century, work by raising insulin to lower blood sugar…but high insulin is what usually causes insulin resistance that is the root cause of 95% of diabetics. These drugs just trade one evil (blood sugar) for an even worse evil, high insulin.  Insulin and leptin blood levels are rarely ever checked though they are relatively easy to measure now by any large laboratory.  The ostrich of medicine just keeps its head in the sand.  (See the transcript of a now well known talk given in 1999, widely distributed on the Internet, “Insulin and its Metabolic Effects”; //

PPARg stimulitors i.e. Avandia and Actos.. These work by creating more fat cells to put sugar. It lowers sugar by making you fatter… not ideal for a diabetic… So much so that Avandia was found to greatly increase heart disease and has been pulled from the market of most countries.

The latest diabetic drugs are DPP4 inhibitors such as Januvia…they inhibit an enzyme, DPP4 that helps to manufacture sugar, but that same enzyme is used for over 60 other functions, most of which help inhibit cancer..

This is all not just theoretical.  The ACCORD study was a major study several years ago that pharmaceutical companies were so sure would show benefits of drug therapy by lowering blood glucose, that the study was highly publicized prior to the results.  However what it started showing was quite the opposite, so the study had to be abruptly halted midstream; a far greater percent of patients died even though their sugars were better controlled. The story broke in the New York Times and then carried worldwide.  Doctors, especially those specializing in diabetes, are still scratching their heads and trying to explain away the results. I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times that, to my surprise, they published; “The increased mortality seen in the diabetics in this study is not from lowering  the sugar, but from the treatment that neglects and often worsens the underlying cause of insulin resistance. Until medical ‘science’ begins to recognize the difference between symptoms and disease we will continue to see results such as this and the recent Vytorin (Enhance) cholesterol-lowering study, where the treatment itself becomes the disease.”

The most common drugs;
Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor, also restrict the production of CoQ10 necessary for all forms of life, including humans, to turn food into usable energy, that the heart greatly needs. So you die sooner, though with lower cholesterol.  See “Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease”; //

Antibiotics mess up beneficial intestinal bacterial flora, sometimes permanently unless corrected, increasing inflammation of the colon, impairing the immune system, and increasing risk of colitis and cancer.

…and I could go on and on with the drug treatment of most any disease… Why?  Why do so many drugs, in fact most drugs, cause more harm than good?

The tens of thousands of chemical functions that occur in every cell must be orchestrated for that cell to remain alive, and the function of trillions of cells must then be orchestrated for you to remain as one, alive and healthy. When that orchestration is ignored, life is harmed.

The orchestration of a cell is mediated through what’s called genetic expression. This is where certain genes are turned on and “read” so that they are allowed to give messages, and other genes are turned off. Though ones genes might be fixed, genetic expression is always changing. This is why, though we share over 99% of the genes of a chimpanzee, we are quite different.  It is like the keys of a piano. The same keys can play a virtually infinite variety of music. The same genes can play the music of diabetes, or of heart disease, or of health and longevity.  As in an orchestra, just telling the trombone players to play louder (drugs) is not likely to lead to better music.  The only way to enhance the music, health, happiness and longevity, is to allow the cells to play the proper music, and even more importantly, to allow the republic of cells to hear it…and who are the main conductors of this living orchestra?  Metabolic hormones, namely insulin and leptin, and they are in turn conducted by what you eat.

Drugs do not orchestrate. They treat symptoms, and when one treats symptoms, not only is the real culprit, the underlying disease, ignored, it generally gets worse. Most of the time symptoms are the way nature deals with a problem, and getting rid of this symptom uncovers and worsens the underlying disease.  We don’t get a runny nose to make you miserable. It’s natures way of trying to wash out the infection. Taking a decongestant undoes billions of years of evolutionary knowledge..  it’s hard, generally impossible, to outthink nature. But that is what medicine thinks it can do.

A disease is rarely a disease of the individual part.  It bears repeating; diabetes is not a disease of blood sugar, osteoporosis is not a disease of calcium and heart disease is not a disease of cholesterol.  A disease is rarely caused by a breakdown of the parts themselves, but corruption in the instructions to those parts, a disruption in the unity of the whole.

Though occasionally requiring a little bit of tweaking, the instructions to be healthy are inside each and every one of us.  We just have to enhance our ability to hear them by what we eat…so that we, our republic of cells, can communicate harmoniously as one.

For more in-depth knowledge, see my PowerPoint presentation presented earlier this year at the American Academy of Antiaging Medicine, entitled Life, Death, Food, and the Disease of Aging. //,%20Death,%20Food,%20and%20the%20Disease%20of%20Aging.pdf

or my website; //

Ron Rosedale, M.D.

Dr. Ron Rosedale is an internationally known expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine and the founder of the Rosedale Center, co-founder of the Colorado Center for Metabolic Medicine (Boulder, CO USA) and founder of the Carolina Center of Metabolic Medicine (Asheville, NC). Through these centers, he has helped thousands suffering from so-called incurable diseases to regain their health.

He has written a highly acclaimed book, “The Rosedale Diet” covering his proven treatment methods for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and even aging itself.


  1. This is the answer! So how do I get help in my area?

    paula S. on November 7th 2013
  2. I’ll admit, this post was way to long to read, but can you sum it up for me ? How do I control the hormones that are making me fat ?

    Joann Morrell on April 2nd 2013
  3. I remember the time when a family doctor could prescribe an amphetamine/benzo pill that really turned off the apetite. I’d take it for three months and painlessly lose weight. I was never addicted. Thanks to the nanny state, these pills are now illegal and everyone is fat.

    Irene on February 15th 2013
  4. You made some decent points there. I looked on the web to find
    out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    daily recommended on December 20th 2012
  5. My daughter is overweight and has many allergies to food including nuts and legumes. Please recommend some alternative healthy fats that she can eat.

    Beth on November 8th 2012
  6. My harmones are raging and my moods are from crying to frustrated,happy to hateful! I have NO sex drive! Im 36 and wright 242 lbs i need HEL

    Leeanna Lake on October 16th 2012
  7. may I ask (anyone): After reading this article I realized that the whole paleo diet is build upon these findings. Has anyone tried it? 😉

    Tomy on February 6th 2012
  8. Thanks Tony, this couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

    Bo on December 29th 2011
  9. Thanks a lot Doc…Need to get your book asap!!!working on losing weight program for costumers, will be so clear to understand about sugar and fat…

    Raul on December 28th 2011
  10. I find it interesting that many “illness” and “disease” is caused by a communication problem…similar to many malfunctions and breakdowns in relationships (family, spouse, work, etc).

    Danette Layne on December 28th 2011

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