Originally published in the Kingston Whig-Standard.
Natasha Turner is one of North America’s most prominent naturopathic doctors. Her three books, The Hormone Diet, The Super-Charged Hormone Diet and The Carb Sensitivity Program are all bestsellers (maybe one is even on your shelf). Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she recently appeared on the Marilyn Denis show with Suzanne Somers. Like myself, Natasha promotes treating the root cause of illness with natural therapies. Her newest book lays out a plan to combat insulin resistance, a phenomenon that we learned about in my previous column. When you treat insulin resistance, weight loss is a natural side effect. I was so pleased to find another ND promoting this concept that I had to bring her to you in an interview. Andrea Hilborn: What is The Carb Sensitivity Program? Natasha Turner: Over time, I noticed that a small percentage of people did not respond to the Hormone Diet (outlined The Hormone Diet). They experienced more cravings and did not continue to lose weight. Only healthy carbohydrates were included in the Hormone Diet, but when I looked into those carbs more closely, I found that they varied greatly in net carbs. For example, in squash, there are four grams of net carbs but in sweet potato there are 20. I also learned that everyone has a unique response to carbs. The more sensitive a person is, the greater then insulin spike they experience after eating. The Carb Sensitivity Program builds on the Hormone Diet and works for everyone. AH: What is carb sensitivity? NT: The more carb sensitive you are, the more blood sugar imbalance you have. Your insulin is higher and insulin is the one and only hormone that tells your body to store fat, even if you are eating only healthy carbs. You do not need blood work to identify carb sensitivity — you will experience cravings, weight gain and belly fat. AH: You get carb sensitive people to do a Metabolic Repair’ program — what’s that? NT: The purpose of the metabolic repair program is to get insulin down by decreasing the release of insulin through nutritional choices and by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin through supplementation, exercise and super foods. The analogy I like is of someone who is hard of hearing. You want your pancreas (the organ that secretes insulin) to only have to whisper for the rest of the body to hear it. AH: A lot of people get intense carb cravings; what do you recommend to combat carb cravings? NT: The Carb Sensitivity Program outlines a five-step process to decrease cravings: sleep well and manage stress; keep your digestive tract working; keep warm and soak up some sun; enjoy regular sex and use supplements to balance brain chemistry and beat stress. These things will prevent carbohydrate cravings and the cravings will also be gone by the end of Day 4. If you are in the midst of a craving, try opening a 500 mg capsule of glutamine under your tongue or chew a Nusera lozenge from Metagenics. AH: What are your favourite supplements? NT: The Clear Medicine Metabolic Repair pack is my absolute favourite because it includes nutrients that are depleted by having high insulin and nutrients that increase insulin sensitivity. If I had to choose just the most crucial supplements, they would be Vitamin D, fish oil and a probiotic. AH: What is more important, supplements or nutrition? NT: Nutrition first, definitely. However, for certain nutrients, it is almost essential to have sufficient levels in order to lose weight. Vitamin D, for example. AH: What has been the biggest obstacle to losing weight for your patients? NT: Lack of time in the kitchen. Many people do not spend a lot of time cooking. I had one patient in her eighties who hadn’t cooked in seven years. Now she is using the recipes from The Carb Sensitivity Program and loving cooking. Some people just choose four to five recipes from the book and rotate through them, or prepare meals ahead of time. If someone is really struggling, I suggest picking one day in the menu plan and repeating the recipes for three days. All the recipes were designed by myself and my team and each one meets and lot of different criteria because they are compatible with both the Hormone Diet and The Carb Sensitivity Program. AH: What would you say to someone who has tried a lot of different weight loss systems and never had success? NT: You haven’t figured out your carb sensitivities. It’s the No. 1 reason. AH: Tell me your favourite success story. NT: It’s hard to pick out just one, but some of my favourites are women who come in with polycystic ovarian syndrome. They lose weight, their blood work normalizes and they get pregnant. Finally, I had to ask Natasha what she eats for breakfast. “Eggs, feta cheese and tomatoes,” was her reply. One patient in her book describes her has a “dynamo of contagious energy”, so I guess it’s a winning combination. If you would like to learn more about weight loss, you can access my article called The True Weight Report at http://www.natural-route.com, which discusses the approach I use in my clinic.