The medical Iconoclast series by Dr Anuma Kalu Ulu


Article by Dr Anuma Kalu Ulu from Obiene Ututu in Abia State and a New York-trained medical doctor (Family practitioner and Geriatrician) currently working as an Emergency room doctor. Also founder of the Charitable organization Kalu Ulu Memorial Foundation, under whose auspices he provides free medical care, scholarships and general assistance to the needy

This column is not tailored towards being exhaustive on the various medical topics that will be discussed here, but to point out the common misapplications by both medical staff and the general populace, to which a little adjustment in approach will be exponentially beneficial in terms of improving the quality of life or saving life itself.

Take for instance the misconception that fatty foods make one fat, just because of the implied name, making people who want to lose weight to avoid fatty foods and invariably gobble carbohydrates. This is so divorced from the truth, as the main vehicle for weight gain in terms of food will be carbohydrates.  Do not get me wrong, fatty foods have their deleterious effects,  mostly on clogging up our arteries and giving us vascular diseases leading to heart attacks, kidney diseases and strokes,  but this will be a topic for another day. Today is for those who wish to lose weight. The body harnesses double the amount of energy from one gram of carbohydrates as it does for one gram of fat, and even less from one gram of proteins. Since energy to perform body functions must be maintained in equilibrium,  if one is taking adequate amount of carbohydrates, then the body will have inexhaustible supply of energy and wont need to burn off already-stored body fat to provide the needed energy, so there will not be any loss of weight. Inexorably,  there will be weight gain because the excess body carbohydrates is converted to a body fat called glycogen and stored, thereby increasing the body weight. Of course if one did not lead a sedentary lifestyle and exercised, then the energy from the carbohydrates may be insufficient to cater to the increased catabolic needs of the exercising and may foray into the stored body fat to augment, thereby losing weight eventually.  Fastforward to someone wishing to lose weight who restricts carbohydrates and takes more proteins and fats, right from the outset,  he already has energy-deficit so will be dipping into the stored body fat to maintain normal body functions and will be losing weight already. If this person exercises like he should, that catabolic state will be significantly additive.

In summary,  to lose weight, we need to eat more fatty foods and proteins than  carbohydrates and also engage in exercises. We should of course not forget our vitamins, trace elements and copious water intake.