Chatting with Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz --discusses  women's issues!Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Mehmet Oz on a conference call with other journalists and bloggers. I was able ask Dr. Oz the questions DolceDolce readers always ask me.

The first thing I asked him was how we can lose and keep off weight, especially as we get older. I know this question concerns DolceDolce readers of all ages.
Doctor Oz on weight loss
“Well, let’s go over the general problem that I think happens as women go from their 30s to their 50s, but it’s applicable to people outside those age ranges as well. As your testosterone levels start to drop, which happens in a big way after you go through menopause because your ovaries don’t just make estrogen and make testosterone, without testosterone it is very difficult to maintain muscle mass and without muscle mass you don’t have a metabolic furnace who can chew through calories. So the same foods you could eat at 30 you cannot eat at 50 because without that extra muscle you’re not going to be able to get through those calories without adding them on as fat. So the most important thing that folks need to do if they want to have a sustained and stable weight loss is to build some muscle mass by lifting weights. It could be your own body weight, it could be free weights, it could be yoga, there are many ways of expressing the muscles and forcing them to resist weight, but resistance training is a foundation of any long-term weight program.”
Dr. Oz also emphasized the importance of a healthy diet and cutting down on sugar:
“Your readers should not think that fat comes from fat. It doesn’t. The fat comes from all the foods that you eat, being metabolized by your liver. If there are excess calories, the liver will purposely store them as fat and that’s historically what our ancestors needed to do to weather the storms of famine. So if you’re eating a lot of sugars, you don’t have the natural feedback mechanisms to stop you from eating and so those calories are deposited as fat. And then you go out and you eat more sugar and so those two things are sort of a one-two punch that’s hurting, a sedentary lifestyle, and increased sugar. So the solution is pretty straight forward. I think include some type of resistance training, almost anything would work: Pilates, yoga but I’m not talking about running. I’m not talking about aerobics exercise, exercise that builds muscle and then combine that with cutting out the white foods, white rice, white pasta, white sugar, (and) white flour. Just cut those foods out and that will almost always give sustained weight reduction. We have a program this year that we’re talking about throughout the year which is Just 10, because it’s about losing just 10 pounds. If you can lose just 10 pounds then this is an amazing day. So I’ll say it twice if it’s not clear, but you can cut in half the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, (and) dramatically change your sleeping patterns and across the board numerous benefits, and that’s if you are a 200-pound woman or less and similar numbers for men as well. So it’s a lot of opportunity to gain benefit to health is by losing just those 10 pounds. And those two things I mentioned, muscle mass and cutting out the white foods, (are) the best way to get there.”
Dr. Oz talk about Breast Cancer
Dr. Oz. also had some interesting insights about cancer screening:
“… I was at this cancer event in Los Angeles two weeks ago and I hosted the Susan Komen walk, run in New York about 10 days ago, and what I love about the whole cancer movement is that it’s an empowering movement, the self-realization movements that women are driving, and kudos to anyone on the call who is involved in that process. In terms of the scientific breakthroughs, I don’t think we have any tips with thyroid and tongue, but I do think we’ve got a couple of insights that are changing dramatically how I envision the future of breast care. And one of them is just cutting to the chase. I don’t think mammography is a great way of screening for breast cancer, it’s the best way we have, I think women need to get screened because it’s all we can offer today. But that’s changing and there’s cool insights now about the ability to milk fluid out of the ducts of the breast that might allow us to more readily diagnose ductal cancers a bit earlier. I think we are going to be able to get therapy through the ducts by infusing chemicals that might be help use with the ductal carcinoma in situ, which is
responsible for 20 percent of breast cancer in America. So it’s with better screening and less invasive therapy, I think we can avoid some for the mutilating procedures that are often necessary today for the management of early breast cancer. And I think we will see a big shift in the management of some of these ailments as these technologies mature over the next three to at most five years.”
Dr. Oz also reminded women that a healthful diet can help prevent all diseases, even breast cancer:
“… I can go on forever in breast cancer, but if I just mention one broad theme for all cancers that are organ-based, so specifically prostate and breast cancer which are very similar in their lifestyle risk factors, when you have high saturated fat diet and are obese, all the cells in your belly become alive and they begin to secrete hormones, particularly estrogen-type hormones that we believe are responsible for increasing inflammation in some for these organs. So that’s why obesity is argued to be responsible for about 100,000 cancer deaths a year, many of which are breast cancer deaths.”
When asked about screening Dr. Oz said:
“Aha, the big question. Self-exams throughout your life — you should do it because breast cancer can occur at almost any age. Men as well should do breast exams. Men have the same percentage of breast cancer as woman if you take into account that they have a lot less breast tissue, so per gram of breast tissue is the same thing in men and women.
“Self-exam, I still think, is the way most women find their cancers. It’s an inexpensive tool, and women sometimes don’t know how to do it correctly. But that’s a teachable event and both doctors and on the show, we spend some time trying to teach people the different ways of examining themselves. Mammography — which is probably what your real question is — is something that is a much more debated topic. There are many women who I understand want to get tested starting at age 40. That is the general guideline from most professional societies, and I think it’s very rational.
“But there are other women who understandably say you know what so many women have to be tested. And there (are) so many false positives between age 40 and 50, let me wait until I’m almost through menopause so there’s less density to my breast so the mammography is a better study. I’ll avoid a lot of false negatives and the pain and torture and the unnecessary procedures that go along with that, and if there’s a small chance that I’ll suffer life-threatening, life-ending breast cancer that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, yes. But it’s small enough that it’s not worth the changes in my life that would occur if I did get screened, so I’ll go 50. That’s was the big debate last year when the statisticians got together, the government panel and offered advice that we delay mammography until age 50. You really have to decide in your own mind, in your own heart, what type of a person you are. If you’re a person who crosses your ts, dots your is, you buy travel insurance. You want everything done like that and it makes you feel better, and then you have a small advantage, go ahead and get the mammography at 40. If you’re a person who believes that through meticulous attention to lifestyle, and if you don’t have a family history, obviously all my comments are based on the idea you don’t have a strong risk factors, otherwise then I don’t think it’s unreasonable to wait till age 50. Many people that I know are doing that and are comfortable with that decision.
“Yes there are tests that are arguably more accurate (than a mammogram), but there’s sometimes false positives with them as well. I said false negative before, I meant false positive, I’m sorry, with these tests. There are MRI scans, there are ultrasound devices, tomography, there is other tests that can be used. The gold standard today is digital mammography — digital because it’s easier to compare them to past images and you can manipulate the image; just look at more carefully some parts of the image to see if there is anything there or not, and that’s what most people get. If you have very dense breasts the images don’t come out so clean, so something like an MRI scan can help you get a better view of the breast, but again it’s difficult to put everyone in America in MRI scans. And for most women, that’s not going to give them a significantly different result than a mammography itself.”
Many women wonder how often they should have a mammogram. Dr. Oz shared the advice he gives his own friends:
“I’ve been telling most of my friends to get it every other year. The debates on this are huge for understandable reasons. Part of the problem with mammography is that although it does diagnose cancer, sometimes it doesn’t make a difference that the mammogram caught it, because by the time it catches it sometimes it’s already spread. So that’s why the timing is very difficult to ascertain. But every other year I think measures a good baseline, if you start around age 40, that gives you the ability to catch these. But they are snapshots. I mean in theory you get a mammography every day, but you can’t get, you don’t want, that radiation, and every other year is a reasonable compromise. Most people, as women get old, they would argue for more frequent mammography because the test is a better test.”
Doctor Oz on Stress
Stress is a part of daily life. It can also be a killer. According to Dr. Oz it not the stress in our lives, but how we handle it that can determine our health and longevity:
“Well you know stress is part of the human condition, and it’s not the stress that bothers us,” Dr. Oz explained. “ It’s our response to stress and a thousand years ago. Stress was primarily defined by chronic stress anyway, (and) was primarily defined by famine. So you would biochemically respond to stress by eating more and eating things you don’t even like, which is what we today when we feel chronic stress, so it’s not the ulcers that worry me. It’s the fat that we put around our bodies. When I see someone whose waist size is large (let’s say more than twice, the general rule of thumb for waist is your waist size, and measure at the bellybutton, should be less than half your height) if you waist size is more than that, I usually interpret that as someone who is not able to cope with stress as well as they should. And that becomes one of the metrics that we use.
“So then the question becomes how you cope with the stress. Well, the number one coping tool that has been used for most of human history is deep breathing. Deep breathing which is part of a foundation of yoga. It’s part of Christian, mystic elements, it’s part of Islam, it’s part of Judaism. Deep breathing exercises which came in the form of prayers or meditation are common in the human condition. It’s for a good reason. You take deep breaths with your belly, your diaphragm, so you’re using that big thick muscle to inhale with, so that you are actually pushing your bellybutton out as you breath in, and then pull your bellybutton towards your spine, tucking in your belly to push your diaphragm up to exhale. You’re moving a lot of nitric oxide in your sinuses. Nitric oxide is a very short-lived gas that is responsible for dilating up the lungs, and it also relaxes you when it increases. There was a Nobel Prize awarded actually for the identification of the role of nitric oxide in the body. That’s a tool that most people can use. You could be in a crowded room with people you don’t know and take a deep breath in and out, and then go on with the depiction that you’re having a good time. But at least the stress is not affecting you.”
Doctor Oz on popular anti-oxidants
Doctor Oz gave his opinion about some of the trendy new exotic fruits being marketed as health cure-alls:
“Well I don’t know if noni (fruit) is all that different, it’s like a lot of other antioxidants rich foods — Goji berries — and I could go on and on. There’s mangosteen,” Dr. Oz explained. “There’s a lot great exotic fruits and foods out there and you know there is some marketing around all this.
“I think antioxidant juices are a worthy contribution to our food supply. Make sure you don’t have too much sugar in them — and if they are not too pricey for you it’s fine. But fundamentally what you want is a diet that consists of whole foods, foods that come out of the ground looking the way they look when you eat them and they are found in the outside aisles of the supermarket and they are affordable in many communities and you get the fibre along with the juice. So that’s generally how I advise people to get their antioxidants.”
Dr Oz on metabolism
Most of us who are trying to lose weight want to know if we can boost our metabolism to make the process a bit easier. This is what Dr. Oz had to say about metabolism and weight loss:
“Metabolism is assessed with a device that looks at you like you’ve got a carburetor hose and you breathe into it. As you breathe into it — it takes about 10 minutes — it will assess how much you can burn oxygen to carbon dioxide which is the way we assess metabolism. Most of your readers are not going to do that and they don’t really need to do it, because your basal metabolism. Let’s just say it’s 1,400 calories a day versus someone else’s 1,200. Well in fairness, you’re going to figure that out because you add to that basal metabolism the 1,400, another 600 of activity, and that’s 2,000 calories a day. And if you eat more than that, you’ll gain weight. And if you eat less you’ll lose weight. And most women can figure that out more readily in that function than anything else. If your metabolism happens to be small, the major drivers for that are loss of muscle mass because remember, muscle burns calories. 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. Think of your thyroid like a thermostat in your body so the thermostat is turned down a little bit and when it’s cold you’re not burning much energy. So if you’re hypothyroid you will naturally lower your metabolism. Same thing happens when (there are) changes in the female hormones and sometimes your diet can change it as well.
“What are the things that increase metabolism? Caffeine, which is why caffeinated
beverages are often a valuable asset if you are on a diet program, and aerobic
exercise you know when you actually run, you change the way the blood vessels
function and respond, and that seems to affect to your metabolism as well. So you
can check your metabolism. But I don’t think that’s fruitful use of your time. You’re
better off knowing that it’s a number in that range and recognizing that through
physical activity and a few of the things I mentioned, you can increase it.
“One of the things I didn’t mention earlier was sleep. The brain has four satiety centers: you can sleep crave sleep, sex, water, and food. You guys can figure out sex, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re going to crave carbohydrates, and that will actually change your ability to resist eating foods that we know add fat without maturely affecting nutrition. 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 because it’s looking for nutrients. Whereas if you eat foods that are wholesome, that come of the ground looking the way that they look when you eat them, then you actually will be getting nutrients and the body will therefore stop insisting on more calories.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz is the Emmy Award-winning host of the Dr. Oz Show. He is also the co-author of the best-selling new book series “You and” by Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen.

Look for the upcoming installment of Chatting with Dr. Oz part in net few weeks.