Episode 39: AMA | PCOS, Sugar Substitutes & Supplements

Dr. Simonds and Michelle Kennedy, NPC answered viewer weight loss and health questions. We’re also launching our new Body Contouring Channel on our website and gave a sneak preview to viewers. The Body Contouring Center is located right next door to our Durham office and offers a very spa-like experience. All services are provided by Anna Simonds, RN and patients are already loving their results! We also offer free consultations. Contact our office if you’re interested in these services.

Q: I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and need help with losing weight. Are you experienced with this?

A: Absolutely! PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a very common hormonal disruption that many women experience. It can be related to weight issues, fertility, and irregular menstrual cycles. Generally, it is hallmarked as having increased testosterone in women, which may cause acne, increased hair growth, infertility, and menstrual issues.

Many women that have PCOS also have increased insulin levels that need to be targeted. The higher insulin levels in the body also cause an increase in testosterone instead of estrogen and progesterone, which causes an imbalance in the hormones. Too much testosterone is not a good thing for women. By targeting the insulin by helping blood sugar levels, usually with carbohydrate restriction, many women will experience weight loss and even completely resolve their PCOS. We’ve helped many women with PCOS lose weight, and go on to have regular menstrual cycles and have pregnancies. Along with a low carbohydrate and anti-inflammatory diet, Metformin is a great medication to help target high insulin levels.

Q: It feels like I have tried just about everything to lose weight, but nothing is working. Any advice?

A: There’s always a solution, so don’t feel discouraged! It’s important to understand where you are in regards to food intake, activity levels, and behaviors. It’s going to take a change. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It really depends on the individual and it always involves a change somewhere, whether it be about diet, or even adding a medication. We have many tools that can help!

Q: Are sugar substitutes safe, and how much of them can I consume each day?

A: Unfortunately, no one really knows the exact answer, and there’s an absence of data. We really don’t know how healthy they are and believe that a diet that is whole, with a limited intake of sugar substitutes is the healthiest.

Real, refined sugar is definitely the problem and is harmful to our bodies. Sugar substitutes from a diet standpoint are not the enemy, but they aren’t the best for your health either. For the healthiest option, we suggest eliminating both refined sugar and sugar substitutes from the diet. But, we know that’s quite the journey, so we suggest that you start with small steps. Also, if you’re still losing weight and achieving your goals while consuming sugar substitutes, then they may be okay for you.

Q: Is it advised to use HCG more than twice a week?

A: No, we don’t recommend exceeding that dose.

Q: What kinds of supplements are recommended to help speed up weight loss?

A: There are some over-the-counter supplements such as amino acids that may help, but we recommend pharmaceutical medications combined with diet, lifestyle, and behavioral changes. We prescribe FDA-approved medications that are very effective for weight loss and treating obesity. We have some great options that target many different aspects for those struggling with weight loss.

Many over-the-counter supplements make many claims that are not backed up by any data, but patients have success with the medications that are prescribed at our office.

Q: Why is it so hard to lose weight as you get older?

A: There are many reasons, with the main one being a drop in metabolic rate due to the hormonal changes that come along with the menopausal and perimenopausal periods. Lean body mass is also associated as our muscle also drives our metabolic rate. Strength training as we get older as women and eating plenty of protein is very important. Keeping insulin levels low and eliminating refined sugars and carbohydrates is also imperative to control blood sugar and weight gain.

Q: What is a good amount of time to start regular exercise and how often?

A: If you’re not doing anything, just start with something. It doesn’t have to be fancy or include a gym membership. Start with a 15-minute walk, then gradually increase the time. Always listen to your body to help prevent injuries and joint pain. Stay consistent and try to increase duration over time.

Q: How do I handle my cravings for certain foods?

A: Cravings are an addiction. To control cravings, we recommend completely avoiding the food or any triggering environments.

Q: What is the best multivitamin to take while on keto?

A: We love the brand Metagenics!

Dr. Simonds holding Metagenics