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HCG Diet Versus Running

Will the HCG diet work better than an intensive running regimen? I’ve decided to find out with a diet bet.

Since I’ve written about how I refuse to try HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) for my “Five Days on a Diet” experiment, it’s a good “diet” bet that I won’t be the one trying HCG. But I found a willing adversary who will try her best to stay on the HCG diet for 26 days while I’m on the running plan.

My close friend decided to try the HCG diet after many of her nursing colleagues started losing a lot of weight. She recently went on vacation and has decided to start her HCG regimen that includes taking sublingual (under the tongue) drops and eating just 500 calories a day after she returns.

The bet will last 26 days because my friend is on the 26-day plan with a 26-day supply of Human chorionic ganadotropin drops.

She will follow the “Simeons” protocol named after research doctor A.T.W. Simeons who came up with the idea to use the pregnancy hormone (also used as a fertility drug) to help people lose weight without hunger.

I thought no exercise was allowed on the HCG diet, but she clarified dieters are allowed “light exercise.”

We are the same body shape and size – although I am a few years older – which means we are starting with an even playing field for our diet bet.

Here are a few of the “rules” for our HCG versus running diet bet:

No. 1:

We will be looking at three factors: overall weight loss; how many inches lost around the belly button area of the stomach and body fat percentage. There are so many other measurements and factors we could look at, but I think those three things will give an accurate depiction of success after 26 days of the diet bet.

No. 2:

She will follow the Simeons diet as best she can – writing down any cheating or times she strays from the 500-calorie diet and I will do my best to stay on the running plan. Part of a plan being successful is whether a person can even stick to it.

No. 3:

I will not have a set eating plan (other than to be sensible) but will jog/run at least five hours a week, and more if I can do so comfortably. She may do some walking.

No. 4:

Success will be determined only after the 26 days are up – not based on who lost the most weight in the first week.

Who will lose the most body fat after 26 days and who will lose their mind? Is it better to challenge your body and mind by running or better to follow the HCG diet?

Which approach do you think you could handle? I invite you to comment on our adventure in the HCG fad diet versus strenuous exercise war.

And now it’s time for me to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement!

HAART, Breastfeeding, and the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in the Developing World

A modern conundrum produced by the unique nature of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the specific case of HIV-positive mothers living in poor countries who have little choice but to breastfeed their infants. However, breastfeeding is one route by which the HIV virus is passed from mother to child, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV accounts for about 10% of new HIV infections worldwide and includes HIV transmission during pregnancy, at child birth, and that due to breastfeeding.

Uganda Struggles with Helping HIV-positive women who are pregnant

I ran across an interesting article concerning how Uganda deals with this issue. It is true that infants can contract HIV through breast milk, however, a huge body of scientific evidence shows that breast milk is really good for infants, due in part to the presence of antibodies from the mother which protected the infant from infection. Such antibodies and the nutritional benefits of mother’s milk is especially important for infants who are growing up in poor countries where there may be inadequate sanitation and high rates of certain infections.

Uganda offers HIV testing for all pregnant women, and if found to be positive there are a number of breast-feeding routines which are offered to the women who then make the ultimate decision. Some women choose not to breast-feed and use formula, while others may breast-feed only during the first six months of the child’s life. A big problem is that in poor countries such as Uganda, formula is too expensive for most mothers to afford. These financial restraints have lead to the promulgation of harm reduction strategies aimed at reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in a resource poor setting.

The World Health Organization recommends that infants are fed exclusively via breast milk for the first six months, and afterwards other foods are introduced. And to help decrease the risk of transmission, the mother or the infant should be on antiretroviral medication. Without treatment, the risk of a mother transmitting HIV to her child during breastfeeding is 5 to 20%. These are pretty big numbers when one considers that HIV is a life-long illness.

In rich countries, such as the United States, the use of breast-milk substitutes, in combination with HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy, has drastically reduced the mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

A study done in Kenya shows that when infants fed formula were compared to infants who were breastfed, the infants who were fed formula had a 44% reduction in their HIV infection rate. However, at two years of age there was little difference in mortality between the two groups. Meaning perhaps that infant formula does a poor job of keeping children healthy.

HAART for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission a New Hope in the Developing World

For the foreseeable future, it appears that the use of HAART (High Active Retroviral Therapy against HIV) is the best possible option for preventing the transmission of HIV during breastfeeding. A recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that 99% of HIV-positive breastfeeding mothers on HAART did not pass along the virus to their newborn infants. The World Health Organization is now recommending that all pregnant women be started on HAART. While one would hope that this would happen immediately, the reality is that funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs are drying up as major donors such as the United States focus on other public health priorities.

Will Infant Formula Ever Play a Role in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in the Developing World?

But would it be possible to produce an infant formula targeted for use in the developing world, which might also contain needed micronutrients such as zinc, which when consumed in deficient amounts leads to an increased incidence of gastrointestinal infections. All experts would likely agree that mother’s milk is best, and that use of HAART during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the best way to ensure that the greatest number of children have a chance at living a healthy life.

However, while antiretrovirals are the integral part of the solution for feasible prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the developing world, their effectiveness in the future may be blunted by increasing viral resistance in coming decades. A safe and effective infant formula, perhaps even fortified with antibiotics and lab produced antibodies, could help infants avoid contracting HIV via breastfeeding and could help them survive in a harsh environment. Considering the devastating consequences of HIV transmission to children, having a “Plan B” in case HAART become ineffective seems like a prudent idea.

Free HIV Medicine Would Encourage Africans to Continue Treatment

Why do some HIV infected people stop taking the very medicines that will help them battle against this virus? Researchers studied the habits of HIV infected people living in the African country of Tanzania for answers. In a recent press release, they reported some of the highlights of their discoveries.

Duke University Medical Center researchers teamed with Tanzanian doctors to discover why some HIV infected patients stopped taking their medications and treatment. They found that some of the ways to help combat the rage that HIV has taken among the African people are to:

  • Provide free medicine
  • Encourage people to provide emotional support for those who have this virus
  • Provide medical services in areas that are geographically closer to the communities with HIV infected patients

Many policy makers struggle with the most effect way to address the AIDs epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of HIV-fighting drugs that are being sent to this area of the world continues to increase. The drugs being sent are considered anti-retroviral drugs. These drugs suppress the levels of HIV in the blood of infected people to the point where HIV is barely detectable, and prolongs life.

Provide free medicine

They determined that the people who had to pay for their HIV medicines themselves were much more likely to stop treatment than those who were given medicine free of charge.

Many of the people who have HIV in Africa are also very poor since the economy in the area isn’t conducive to wealth. The cost of their medications makes a large impact on their ability to provide for the other necessities of life. Given a choice of buying HIV drugs or having shelter, most choose shelter.

Encourage people to provide emotional support for others

Additionally, people who were infected with HIV but spoke openly about it did much better than those who did not want to openly discuss their infection.

“Another quite interesting finding was that being public about their HIV status was associated with suppression of virus. There still is a substantial stigma associated with HIV in Africa. It is likely that individuals infected with HIV who discussed their disease with friends or family members are likely living in supportive environments that promote adherence,” said Habib Ramadhani, M.D., physician at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.

Offer medical clinics that are closer to communities

The father away a patient lived from a clinic, the more the chances that the patient would stop taking anti-viral drugs. Many people have to travel a long distance to get to clinics that provide their treatment and simply cannot make the journey.

By providing free medicine, encouraging emotional support, and moving clinics to be closer to HIV patients, patients will follow through and complete their treatments.

Eating Out on a Diet: Village Inn

Village Inn restaurant may not offer a large choice of “diet menu items,” but it can be a piece of cake – or pie – to stay on a diet while eating out there.

My friend who is on Weight Watchers always orders the same thing at Village Inn. She eats two eggs, two pieces of bacon, toast, coffee and takes the pancakes home to her daughter.

For me, eating out at Village Inn while on a diet is about examining what I’ve eaten the rest of the day – or what I plan to eat. If I do indulge in the pancakes, I go easy on the syrup and butter and don’t eat any more “carbs” the rest of the day other than vegetables and fruit. If I have already had plenty of carbohydrates for the day, I’ll order an omelet.

Here are some tips for staying on a diet while eating out at the Village Inn or other pancake and pie restaurants:

No. 1:

Always order the Hollandaise sauce on the side at Village Inn or other pancake houses. Hollandaise is mostly butter. Eggs benedict and many skillet meals are smothered with Hollandaise. Ask for it on the side and then dip your fork as you would a fattening salad dressing.

No. 2:

Avoid biscuits and gravy with sausage patties. Nothing you do the rest of the day can make up for such an unhealthy and fattening choice in my opinion.

No. 3:

Order the cranberry nut oatmeal with pecans with a dry English muffin (no butter). Take the English muffin home or ask to substitute fruit since you don’t want to eat two starchy carbohydrates in one sitting.

No. 4:

Create your own omelets at Village Inn. Some good choices include red peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, olives, and black beans.

No. 5:

Some of the less fattening sauces at Village Inn include the ranchero sauce. Again, always order Hollandaise sauce on the side.

No. 6:

Whenever possible order the Village Inn Veggie Omelet made with egg substitute and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Fresh fruit is fine but be wary of multigrain pancakes. They still have a lot of calories and should be eaten in moderation. Take at least 2/3 to go.

No. 7:

Crepes do not have to ruin your diet at Village Inn. Crepe Lorraine contains rich Hollandaise sauce, bacon and Swiss. Select the veggie crepes instead with sauce on side.

No. 8:

Skillet meals at the Village Inn come with pancakes. Have either the skillet meal or the pancakes – not both. Avoid obvious gut-busting choices such as the double bacon double cheese or chicken-fried steak with sausage gravy.

No. 9:

If ordering salads at The Village Inn, select grilled chicken. Be care of the Chicken Stir-Fry salad Teriyaki glazed (sugary) crispy (probably fried) chicken, wonton crisps (also probably fried). A better choice is the chicken and fruit salad with strawberries, red grapes, mixed greens, grilled chicken, toasted almonds; poppy seed dressing on side.

No. 10:

Even though it sounds so tempting, avoid the warm grilled pita unless you can control your portion size. Avoid burgers, melts and fried shrimp while on a diet at Village Inn.

No. 11:

Enjoy the half slice of Village Inn pie offered or split a pie with a friend. My friends always enjoy the pie by eating the filling but not the crust which is high in fat. The pumpkin pie at Village Inn is especially good if you are eating only the filling. As always, wherever you go, avoid the carrot cake on a diet unless you plan to share with A LOT of friends or can follow the “three bite rule.”

Eating out on a diet at the Village Inn or other pancake houses and pie joints does not have to be boring. It’s all about pie-power!