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It’s about eating with intention: Pharmacy sets 10,000 pound goal

February 10, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek


Johnny Wong, Pharmacist at Alliston Family Pharmacy held a weight loss seminar at his clinic on January 10.

As a diabetes and menopause educator, the concept was to speak about the variety of prescription drugs Wong dispenses to deal with issues caused by obesity.

“We as pharmacists are treating the symptoms, not the root cause of patients’ illness,” said Wong.

A community pharmacist since 1992, Wong says he loves helping people.

“I am dispensing more medicines than ever, and people aren’t feeling any better,” he told The Times. “Something is not right.”

Wong said that he believes Type II Diabetes can be reversed.

“We use the term controlled, nobody says ‘reversed’,” said Wong.  “We are forgetting at times what we put into our system and how we’re going to use that energy. I am starting to look at how I can help a person’s mindset to change.”

Wong says the solution can be found in weight management.

“How do we reset our bodies? Why should I care?” said Wong on typical questions received from patients. “Well, one tool is the diet Ideal Protein.”

Ideal Protein, a ketosis based plan, focuses on creating mindful eating habits and portion control, with lots of protein and supplements to maintain good health and a feeling of fullness.

“Sixty per cent of all adults are overweight,” said Wong. “And, shockingly, 26 per cent of Canadian children are overweight or obese too.”

These staggering numbers are better than the averages in the United States, but represent a huge problem for the Canadian Health Care System.

“It’s not just about weight; if we focus on the numbers we might miss the big picture,” said Wong.

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a better way to measure your health, Wong told his audience.

“But we must remember that BMI doesn’t consider lean mass, therefore a muscular person could weigh the same amount as a person his same height, and both persons would be considered overweight, depending on their score,” said Wong. “So, we also look at percentage of body fat. This is directly related your health status.”

Wong went on to say that obesity is linked to chronic disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety, back pain, Fibromyalgia, dementia, and menopause symptoms.

“But of course we have multiple medications for everything,” Wong reiterated. “When we change a person’s body fat, everything gets better.”

Wong’s first candidate on Ideal Protein was his 67-year old mother, who had been on blood pressure medications for over 30 years. She lost 20 pounds overall, and Wong says his biggest reward was getting her off the pills.

“My dad was also thrilled,” Wong said with a chuckle. “He said, ‘Your mom has a waist’.”

“When we change our body composition we can reverse some conditions,” said Wong. “I know I’m a pharmacist and my job is to dispense medication, but I am a healthcare provider first. The more weight we carry, the more we trap ‘messenger’, like hormones, in our bodies. Hormones are fat soluble and therefore don’t make through our system as they should – and this can ultimately lead to problems.

“So, where do we start? Back to basics with Nutrition 101. We need to look at our calories, sodium intake, fat and sugar consumption as well as our macro-nutrients like Omega 3 and how our bodies use them. Who’s the bad guy? How does what we eat lead to inflammation?”

Wong said that the low fat diet craze of the past 20 years has caused a lot of yo-yo dieters to become bigger than ever.

“We need to be looking at the carbohydrates,” said Wong. “Carbs, or sugar as it’s interpreted by our bodies, is the culprit. The average Canadian consumes 150– 200 pounds of sugar annually, most of which is hiding in plain sight in the foods we eat, unaware of what it’s doing to our bodies.”

Metabolic Syndrome, or pre-Diabetes, is caused by high insulin levels – our bodies’ natural response to sugar consumption.

“Even diet soda is interpreted by our bodies as sugar – because aspartame is picked-up by our sugar receptors,” said Wong to a sad audience. “I know, I know, we’ve been told for years it’s okay for us. But it’s not.”

Over production of insulin, a fat retaining hormone, leads to hormone resistance, which leads to diabetes, causing increased chance of kidney, eye, heart, and nerve problems.

“Our body has three storage tanks for consumed calories: glucose (sugar), muscle and fat. When we overfill the sugar tank, it turns to fat. When we empty the sugar tank, the body uses stored fat, as long as we’re getting enough protein to maintain our muscle, and burns it off,” said Wong.

This process, known as ketosis (because of the resulting keytones found in blood and urine – the byproduct of using fat as the primary fuel source) helps to “trick” the body into consuming its own fat.

A registered Ideal Protein hub, Alliston Family Pharmacy promotes and recommends this weight loss program to interested clients.

“Ideal Protein is a Canadian program, founded in Quebec 20 years ago, by chef Olivier Benloulou who hails from France. He partnered with Dr. Tran Tien Chanh to develop this program that ‘resets the body’, and creating more mindful eating patterns,” said Wong.

Ideal protein credits accountability (coaching, journaling, follow-up) for its success, as well as a plethora of delicious packaged, portion controlled foods. Multivitamins and macro-nutrients are also required to achieve optimal health.

Ideal Protein is set out into four phases: Phase I – weight loss; Phase II – Pre-Stabilization (2 weeks); Phase III – Stabilization (2 weeks); Phase 4 – Maintenance (12 months – new Lifestyle).

“Phase 4 takes a year because we believe that is the length of time necessary to return to normal eating habits that will last a lifetime,” said Wong.

The program also requires 8 x 8 oz. of water daily, as well as four cups of allowed vegetables and 8 oz. of protein at dinner, in combination with three Ideal Food options daily. Olive oil, and IP salt (mixed with potassium) are also requirements.

Clients meet with their coach once a week, and maintain a food journal for review. As with most other diets, alcohol is not permitted. Neither are fruits or fruit juice, dairy products (other than milk in your morning coffee), and nuts, as well as starch veggies like potatoes, corn, peas and carrots.

“This diet requires one hundred per cent commitment,” said Wong. “As we like to say: 100 per cent commitment equals 100 percent results. 90 per cent commitment equals zero results.”

There is a one-time consultation fee ($150) and food costs about $90/week – depending on your selections, plus $90 worth of supplements monthly.

Since offering Ideal Protein clients at Alliston Family Pharmacy have lost a combined 1,600 pounds.

“We were hoping to announce a 10,000 pound loss overall, but we’re still working on getting the word out about the program,” Wong told The Times.

Whether you try Ideal Protein, or not, Wong reminds: “Let’s be mindful about what we eat. Are we having good fat? Are we having enough protein? And most importantly, are we storing more fat  that our bodies can use?”

For more information, or to find out about upcoming weight loss meetings (to be held twice monthly going forward) contact Alliston Family Pharmacy (.com) by calling 705-434-4338.

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