Apr 01, 2011 12:53AM
● By Diane Carr
Obesity is out of control. Characterized by a much higher amount of body fat than lean muscle mass or when one’s body mass index (BMI) is over 30, obesity is wreaking havoc in the general population with side effects that include diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cancer, sleep apnea, arthritis, menstrual abnormalities, hyperlipidemia, and Alzheimer’s. Deepti Sadhwani, MD confronts these problems head on by helping patients understand obesity and how to get it under control. With 1.7 billion people world wide overweight or obese and the number of obese adolescents tripling over the last 20 years, the time has come to tame the obesity beast.
Although there are many reasons for obesity – genetic, hormonal, behavioral, environmental, and cultural – Dr. Sadhwani believes the origin stems from silent inflammation (inflammation below the threshold of perceived pain) caused mainly by the standard American diet. The food industry fails its customers by not stating real nutritional facts in commercials. The weight loss industry takes advantage of vulnerable consumers with ineffective products. "Pharmaceutical companies contribute to the problem with pills for every disease in the book," explains Dr. Sadhwani, "and health care professionals may not take time to teach patients the importance of a holistic approach."
Obese patients often feel guilty about their condition and Dr. Sadhwani is quick to point out it is not their fault, but rather a lack of education. The holistic approach she proposes begins with alterations in dietary habits, physical activities, supplements, lifestyle changes, and behavior modifications. "Changing your lifestyle is not just about eating less of the wrong foods, but eating more of the right foods," she explains. "There needs to be a proper balance of nutrients, proteins, and low glycemic index carbohydrates to reverse metabolic abnormalities." Food is the key to reducing weight and treating illness and Dr. Sadhwani concentrates on macro/micro-nutrients and how they optimally affect the hormonal balance of the body. Simple dietary changes can dramatically reduce the incidence of chronic illness. Choosing the right foods will increase energy, allow better mental focus, and ultimately reduce the silent inflammation in the body.
The typical breakfast of cereal, orange juice, and muffin are all high glycemic index foods. The sugar may provide energy but it drops in two to three hours. Dr. Sadhwani teaches, "Having protein at every meal is extremely important because protein increases metabolism, prevents hunger, and holds carbohydrates longer. Protein, low glycemic index vegetables, and fruit with less sugar helps patients create meals that are super healthy." Vitamins and minerals are also important as no matter how many fruits and vegetables one eats, foods may be lacking certain nutrients. Dr. Sadhwani stresses the importance of taking a full fledged multi-vitamin and her biggest ally, long chain Omega 3 fatty acids, because "inflammation, insulin, and hunger go down and they don’t crave the wrong kinds of foods."
Dr. Sadhwani believes permanent lifestyle changes are far more effective than a temporary diet as diet alone will not work. The same concept is true for exercise. "It has great merits by increasing endorphins and improving overall health but burns very few calories." She prefers a body, mind, spirit approach because if one has an inner spirit of peacefulness, one does not look for comfort through food. Dr. Sadhwani recommends stress management, meditation, and yoga including a good night’s sleep as "lack of sleep increases the hormone ghrelin which in turn increases appetite."
Depression, anxiety, and boredom can contribute to obesity through too much comfort food. The satisfaction received from sugar temporarily increases serotonin levels; however, once the patient reaches obesity levels, they run the risk of lower levels of serotonin and dopamine causing increased depression and anxiety. Dr. Sadhwani teaches alternative ways to comfort insecurity and manage stress with meditation and yoga.
Board certified in bariatric training, Dr Sadhwani focuses on genetics, hormones related to obesity, and factors in daily living that affect these hormones. As a bridge between the regular physician and the Bariatric Surgeon, she counsels and educates in an attempt to prevent radical surgical measures which can have tremendous side effects.
Dr. Sadhwani has seen dramatic results including a woman who went from size 20 to size 8 and off all medications. Once people understand why they are making lifestyle changes, they recognize long term advantages: less doctor visits, lower health costs, and increased productivity. "People feel so good after being on the plan they never want to go back," she states. Her message to obese patients is "It is not a character flaw. Don’t panic. Get yourself educated." Dr. Sadhwani reveals her own habits which include eating ahead of time before going out, knowing what will be on the menu so appropriate choices can be made, having a contingency plan, and keeping a food diary. Dr. Sadhwani coaches the obese patient with hope and optimism, "Know you will get plenty of food – the right kinds of foods."
Dr. Sadhwani’s greatest source of education has been her patients and her goal is to share her knowledge with others through free lectures and an online chat. "I’m not here to make money," she explains. "I’m here to help people. I am who I am because of the community and this is my way of giving back." It is obvious she speaks from the heart: "One-by-one we join hands to help. One neighbor helps the other; grandparents help children and grandchildren." Displaying her generous and loving spirit, Dr. Sadhwani tells us she would like nothing more than to see more professionals in the health community join hands in this healing circle of support.
Deepti Sadhwani is at Quality HealthCare, 12920 US Highway 1, Sebastian. Contact her office at 772-581-2373, 772-581-1316, or qhccenter.com.