Health and Wellness With Dr. Oz

Do you ever wish your best friend was a doctor who would answer any question about dieting and exercise, from losing 5 pounds to whether pricey antioxidants are really necessary? We chatted with successful heart surgeon and TV expert Dr. Mehmet Oz, and that is exactly what we discussed.

According to Dr. Oz, you need to look at the excess sugar in your diet if you want to lose weight. “You should not think that fat comes from fat -- it doesn’t,” says Dr. Oz. “The fat comes from all the foods you eat being metabolized by your liver. If there is an excess calorie, the liver will purposely store it as fat, and that’s historically what our ancestors needed to do to weather the storms of famine.”

If you are trying to trim down, don’t skip meals to make up for bingeing. According to Dr. Oz, you can’t outsmart your body. “Remember the body is not looking for calories, it’s looking for nutrients. So if you eat foods with no nutrients but lots of calories, your body is going to want you to keep eating. Whereas if you eat foods that are wholesome, you actually will be getting nutrients, and the body will therefore stop insisting on more calories.”

If health claims for pricey new foods or drinks tempt you, follow the doctor’s sensible advice: “There are a lot great exotic fruits and foods out there. I think antioxidant juices are a worthy contribution to our food supply -- just make sure they don’t have too much sugar in them.”

Fundamentally, what you want is a diet that consists of whole foods, or foods that come out of the ground looking the way they look when you eat them. They are found in the outside aisles of the supermarket, and you get the fiber along with the juice.”

To lose weight and keep it off, exercise is essential -- and not just cardio. Dr. Oz’s two-pronged approach includes some type of resistance training: “Pilates, yoga -- but I’m not talking about running,” says. Dr. Oz. “I’m not talking about aerobics exercise, exercise that builds muscle. Combine that with cutting out the white foods, including white rice, white pasta, white sugar, white flour. That will almost always give sustained weight reduction.”

While many women worry that a slow metabolism can make losing weight difficult, exercise can help speed up or maintain your metabolism. “If you don’t have any muscle, you’re not going to generate metabolism. And sometimes hormonal shifts like low thyroid levels will drop your metabolism. But there are things you can do to raise your metabolism.” This includes drinking caffeine, which is why caffeinated beverages are often a valuable asset if you are on a diet program, as well as aerobic exercise. When you run, you change the way the blood vessels function and respond, and that seems to affect your metabolism as well.

In addition to diet and exercise, Dr. Oz says that whatever you do, get enough sleep. Not meeting your basic drives in life -- sleep, sex, food and water -- can lead to weight gain. “The brain has four satiety centers,” he says. “You can crave sleep, sex, water and food. If you don’t sleep, you’re going to crave carbohydrates, and that will actually change your ability to resist eating foods that we know add fat.”

There you have it -- practical and personal advice, according to Dr. Oz.