Users and Doctor Agree Trendy Weight Loss Programs Work - Have Risk

September 9, 2003 - Posted at: 11:45pm

GREENE CO./CRAIGHEAD CO. -- Some users say diets and weight loss procedures helped them shed tens of pounds in a couple of months, and despite the risks others are trying them too.

"I tried several diets. I had been through everything that you could imagine, and my blood pressure was really high. It was to the point that I was going to have a stroke," said Christy Adams, who once weighed 375 pounds.

Adams had gastric bypass surgery in May 2002. It shortened the route food travels from her gut into her large intestine, and reduced the size of the bottom part of her stomach. She's now more than 200 pounds lighter.

Less invasive, but sometimes just as dramatic weight loss is coming from high protein, low carbohydrate diets. Howell Westbrook lost 10 pounds eating both food and meal replacement products on a diet similar to the Atkins diet.

Westbrook explained, "Two years ago I did this, and lost about 20 pounds then, but as soon as you get off the diet, the weight comes back, unless you're really strict with it."

Researchers at the American Heart Association reported the Atkins diet does improve the heart's function, but it can put strain on the kidneys. Drinking lots of water helps off-set that effect.

Another popular diet is called the South Beach diet. It's similar to the Atkins diet, but vegetables and fruits are introduced soon. Doctor Randy Carlton said makes it healthier, and helps us live longer.

"Not only a healthy lifestyle. Not only a healthy, sensible diet, but also moderate amount of exercise to help loose weight," added Carlton.