Food Hospital on Weight loss, Gout and Depression

  • 24 Nov 2011
  • Reading time 4 mins
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The Tuesday 22nd episode of Food Hospital dealt with Depression, Gout and Weight Loss. There were some successes in this episode, but I would like to see more of the practicalities of how you actually get people to make the usually quite dramatic dietary changes in diet that the nutritional approach demands.

Thirty-six-year-old Gareth arrived at the clinic because he was often "completely incapacitated" by the pain in his joints caused by gout. The recommended treatment was a classic example of why the nutritional approach often trumps the conventional. Gareth had too much of something in his blood (uric acid) which is made from food so the solution was to cut down on the foods that supply it. Simples. So he was put on a diet that avoided foods high in amino-acids known as purines that are needed to make uric acid. That has to make more sense than simply giving drugs to dull the pain and reduce inflammation.

I had to laugh when the "most relevant" document that came up in a search of my data base for gout treatment was the annual report costs and numbers of all drugs prescribed in England in 2010. This showed that 23 million prescriptions were written for "drugs used in rheumatic diseases and gout" at a cost of 147 million. Properly applied the nutritional approach would have to be able to cut that dramatically. In my special report - An end to gout I detail how you can alleviate gout without or reducing the need for drugs. The case of depressed professional pool player Debbie had the same sort of logic behind it. They assumed that she wasn't making enough of the brain chemical serotonin, usually described as "feel-good" which is what the antidepressant SSRI drugs target.

However instead of doing it by blocking the natural process for removing it, the nutritional approach boosts your intake of a compound found in lots of foods that the body uses to make serotonin (tryptophan). At her first consultation Debbie was rated 14 on a depression scale - that's mild to moderate. When she came back three months later her score was down to just 1. It's interesting to note that SSRI antidepressants can get a licence if they can reduce your depression score by just 3 points. In fact there is good evidence that SSRI drugs when properly tested are no better than a placebo, but one that comes with a raft of side effects.

By comparison changing the diet dramatically cut Debbie's depression score, improved her sleep and helped her lose weight, all without the hint of any side-effects. Again the drug option doesn't look very good value for money by comparison - around 6 million people on anti-depressants at a cost of about 270 million at risk for side-effects that can include withdrawal difficulties, reduced libido and weight gain. I explain the nutritional approach in my special report - How to lift your spirits and balance your mood Inevitably there's a suspicion in programs like this that complications have been cleared up to tell a nice neat success story. A suggestion of this showed up in the case of Gareth who at 8 weeks into his diet was bemoaning that fact he couldn't have any meat (rich in purines) commented that "I'm still in pain..there's no sign of my symptoms improving."

Yet at his check up at three months he said there had been "significant improvement in his pain in the last few months". Clarifying such points would be good. However there wasn't any doubt that Gareth's uric acid level, although still high, was down and that his cholesterol had dramatically improved from seven down to five. Again the nutritional approach looks more competent. Just relying on drugs not only ignored the high uric acid levels but depended on long term use of painkillers that come with a raised risk of both stomach and gut damage and heart disease. Bringing down the cholesterol as well would have meant adding in another drug - a statin. So far the series hasn't said anything about the practicalities of how you actually get people to make the usually quite dramatic dietary changes in diet the nutritional approach demands - a major reason why the conventional approach ignores it.

One man who was hugely overweight and a self-confessed junk food addict was told he had to stick to no more than 2000 calories of healthy foods a day. A real challenge that he apparently kept up for three months - but how? Same for Gareth and his meat-free heavy-on-the-tofu diet. Maybe that's one for the second series once proof of principle has been established. If you want to learn to transform your health today join my 100% Health Club today and move one step closer to being 100% healthy. Gain access to New Special Reports each month and access to our library of hundreds of Reports on important health issues such as stopping arthritic pain, losing weight, balancing hormones, lowering cholesterol and reversing diabetes – and the truth about milk, soya and other controversial issues.