The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fad?

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Over the past year, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the ketogenic diet. Not surprisingly, I have encountered many questions regarding them. What is it? Is it safe? Would I recommend it? 

Despite the recent trend, a “ketogenic diet” is actually not new at all. In the 1970’s, Dr. Atkins popularized his low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other popular diets also incorporated similar approaches for weight loss. But in medicine, we have been using this method for almost a century to treat some forms of epilepsy, especially drug-resistant types in children.

As you know, whenever something is popularized, much information goes around—some accurate, some not so accurate. The purpose of this post is to summarize for you what the medical community actually knows so far through its research on the health effects of ketogenic diets. This post is not to make a stance either for or against, because as you will see, there are both pros and potential cons (as well as some unknowns); rather, I simply want to equip you with the right information in order to empower you to make the best decision for your personal situation.

So let’s get started!

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Continue reading “The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fad?”

How to Fight Fatigue

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

In my last article, I discussed some of the common medical causes of chronic fatigue, which may or may not apply to you. The truth is, many times, there isn’t just one single cause—rather, it’s often many different factors that wear you down and zap you of energy.

So what can you do about it? Fortunately, the answer is…a lot! Aside from ruling out or treating any medical conditions, there is a lot that you can do on a daily basis that can help improve your health and overall energy level, and I will discuss many of those things today. Keep in mind that because healthy living habits work together synergistically, the more you can incorporate into your day, the bigger the energy boost you will experience. So let’s get started!

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Action Planning for Health

Have you ever thought of something you either wanted to do (“I want to lose weight“) or felt like you should do (“I should eat healthier“), but you just cannot get yourself to take the first step, because the task seems too overwhelming or out of reach? Or maybe you start making changes, but then after a while start to feel discouraged at your apparent lack of progress?

If so, you are not alone.

Starting today, I want you to begin incorporating something into your life—a type of goal-setting called Action Planning. Many of you may already be familiar with this. The purpose of an Action Plan is to set you on the road towards your personal goals by breaking them down into small, actionable steps. So let’s get started!

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Taking Control Over Salt

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you enjoy salty snacks? Or find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table?

If you do, you are not alone.

In general, people in the U.S. eat much more sodium (salt) than they should. But why is it important to watch the amount of sodium you eat? It is because the more sodium you consume, the higher your blood pressure becomes. Some conditions, such as certain heart and kidney problems, cause the body to hold onto sodium, which causes extra fluid to build up in the body. This extra fluid forces the heart to work harder. Therefore, if you live with chronic conditions, it is especially important to control the amount of sodium you eat.

So how much sodium should you be consuming in a day? While for most people it is recommended to not go over 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems, the daily limit for sodium is even lower– 1,500 mg ideally, but no more than 2,000 mg.

Pop quiz: How many milligrams of sodium are in one small teaspoon of salt?

Answer: 2,300 milligrams!

1 teaspoon of salt
=
2,300 mg of sodium

Surprised? What this means is that adding any salt to your meals can cause you to go over the recommended limit. So is it even possible to stay within this recommended limit? Yes–it is possible! And today I will discuss exactly how.

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Continue reading “Taking Control Over Salt”

Eating for Heart Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Your diet, as most people know, is a big component of healthy living. There’s even much truth to the idiom, “You are what you eat!” However, when it comes to living with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, having the right diet becomes even more important, as the foods you eat can make a huge difference not only in the symptoms you experience day to day, but also in the way your chronic conditions progress over time.

What this means is that with the right diet, when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, you can take control of your health by helping to slow or even reverse your chronic conditions. When it comes to heart disease, being on a heart-healthy diet can protect you against further narrowing of your heart’s blood vessels and in turn help prevent further complications such as heart attack and strokes.

In this post we will discuss what types of foods make up a heart healthy diet. In a subsequent post, we will cover the essentials of a specific component of heart healthy eating–the low salt diet.

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Heartburn: What You Should Know

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Heartburn. It’s something that hardly needs an introduction. Most people have experienced it at least once in their lifetime. For some, it’s an occasional annoyance; for others, a serious medical problem. But what discerns one from the other? When and why should it be treated? And what exactly can be done about it? These are the questions that will be addressed today. 

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Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Fact or Fad?

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Inflammation. Foods that fight inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets. It has no doubt become a buzzword in the world of nutrition and health these days. But while there’s little question that the food we eat is an important part of staying healthy, some of these diets are being promoted with very big health claims, among them the assertion that they can cure serious diseases. But does the actual science match up to these claims? And should you follow these dietary guidelines? And what exactly do these diets consist of? These are the questions that will be addressed in this post. 

Continue reading “Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Fact or Fad?”

Omega-3 Fats: Are You Getting Enough?

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Omega-3. Fatty fish. The benefits of fish oil.  No doubt you’ve heard these mentioned before. But is it all true? 

Unfortunately, because of the ongoing research on this subject and our ever-evolving scientific understanding of it, the answer might actually be no—not all that you have heard about fish oil is still considered to be true.

Therefore I would like to spend some time on this topic by doing a two-part post. While today I will present the fundamentals of omega-3 fats—what they are, how much you need, and how you can get them naturally—a follow up article will focus specifically on fish oil supplements and their benefits, with a discussion on what is known about them, what has changed, and what you need to be aware of.

My hope is that by providing these up-to-date essentials that you will be empowered and encouraged to make the best decisions for your personal health. 

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Continue reading “Omega-3 Fats: Are You Getting Enough?”

Vitamins: All You Need to Know

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Multivitamins. Have you ever wondered if taking one makes a difference? Whether you even need one? And if you take several supplements, how much should you take of each…and when? In this post I will answer these important questions as well as provide you some tips on finding the perfect supplement for your needs.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol and Heart Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Cholesterol. It’s something that you’ve probably have had checked at least once in your life as part of routine blood work. You may also have heard about your “LDL and HDL” and how it’s important to have healthy levels. But do you know why?

In this post I will go over the essential to-know facts about cholesterol, why it’s important, and ways you can improve it safely and naturally.

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How to Improve Your Brain Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD

The human brain is, arguably, the most valuable organ in your body. Unlike your heart, lungs, or kidneys, your brain—that 1.4kg mass of interconnected cells called neurons—makes up the essence of who you are…of that which makes you…you.

It is, therefore, no surprise why cognitive decline is one of the most dreaded consequences of aging. Fortunately, while the brain does tend to change with age, there are steps that you can take to not only enhance its capacity today but also reduce the risk of age-related memory loss down the road. 

Continue reading “How to Improve Your Brain Health”

10 All-Natural Ways to Improve Your Blood Pressure

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Perhaps you’ve been told you have “high blood pressure.” Or maybe you checked it yourself one day and noticed that it was 146/90. What now?

Today I will discuss some ways in which you can improve your own blood pressure without taking medications. But before I do, let’s first answer an important question: What is hypertension and what’s the big deal?

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Your Health Questions… Answered!

Yesterday, in response to the “Ask This Doc” Q & A, I received many excellent questions, a lot of which are common concerns that I frequently encounter.

Therefore, I am posting some of those questions here today, along with my responses. I hope you will find them helpful as well.

If you would like to ask me a health-related question, I am always glad to answer them. Just click below to go to the original post.

q-and-a-icon-14.jpg Continue reading “Your Health Questions… Answered!”

Ask This Doc: Q & A

Have you been wondering about anything?

Perhaps you have read something health-related on the internet but are not sure of its accuracy and would like the opinion of an impartial doctor…

Perhaps you just have a general question about how to improve your health…

I have noticed that many people have unanswered questions when it comes to health-related issues. Therefore, if you think I can help, I encourage you to ask them (of course this is not to replace your personal doctor’s advice, but just to offer you another source of information).

You are welcome to leave your question in the comment section or submit it to me directly. 

With love,
Phoebe

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 *Remember, any information provided through this blog is solely for educational purposes and is not intended to be used in place of medical advice. Always consult your trusted health care provider before starting or changing any medications/supplements, diet, and exercise regimens.  

10 Weight Loss Tips That Are Backed By Science

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Are you wanting to lose a couple of pounds? Do you ever feel disenchanted by the fad diets, ‘magic foods,’ and weight loss tricks out there and wonder if there is actually any proof behind them other than just anecdotal or celebrity claims?

You’re not alone.

Therefore, the purpose of this post is to 1) present to you some tips that you can easily incorporate into your life that will enhance your weight loss efforts and 2) show you the evidence behind them by directing you to some unbiased, peer-reviewed studies.

Continue reading “10 Weight Loss Tips That Are Backed By Science”

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