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QUOTE OF THE DAY

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Karl Popper (1902 - 1994; regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century)

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    Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work

    As recently as 2008 I was holding classes at my office to teach groups of students how to count calories. I worked hard, and my students are very smart, but not one of them lost any weight. I understand it now. Three reasons.
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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sat, Jun 30, 2012 4:22 pm | [1] comments

    Fat Language

    Patients speak a language I don’t understand. They would have an easier time losing weight if they used moderate, adult language. For instance, fat people never say, “I am hungry.” They usually say, “I am starving.” Why say such a thing? In point of fact they aren’t starving. But see,if you believe you are starving, well then you must eat right now and you can eat a lot. 

    Instead of saying “I’d like that”, they say I crave it. I must have it, have to have it. But adults don’t crave things unless they are drug addicts. Children crave things. Children have to have it. Fat speech is childish speech. Adults can delay gratification, show restraint, divert focus. All it takes is a little practice.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 5:12 pm | [1] comments

    ​What is Phen-Pro?

    "Phen-Pro" is the combination of phentermine and a low dose of one of the following: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox , trazadone or Effexor. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 12:30 pm | [1] comments

    ​My Situation

    ​My wife has pancreatic cancer diagnosed Mar. 3, 2012. By January 15, 2013 it had spread to her lungs and she is on heavy chemotherapy now. I have cut back to the point that I am in the office only three hours a day. Barry Mennen MD, my able student, is renting space in the office to see patients when I'm not here. In a pinch, he could cover me. He knows what I know and uses my methods.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 11:15 am | [2] comments

    Contact Michael Anchors, MD, PhD

    Michael Anchors, MD, PhD
    16220 Frederick Rd # 210
    Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
    (301) 990-6061 phone
    manchors17@gmail.com

    Click here to link to Google Maps for office location


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 7:57 pm | [1] comments

    You Should Eat Some Red Meat

    ​​Over the years I have noticed many fat vegetarian women. Like you, I would have thought vegetarians would be lean. I don’t know why I thought that. Pretty dumb really. The idea was a holdover from the days of thinking that calories matter. Fat has 9 calories/gram, carbs only 3.5. But of course you know now that calories have nothing to with getting fat. Insulin matters more. Read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung if you still don’t know this.

    Vegetarians might be lean if they were really eating mostly vegetables, but they aren’t. They are eating mostly grains. You can live like that, for a while–a billion people do–but you can’t be healthy doing it. Watch author Lierra Keith at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFm2QLLuh6I&sns=em. You can type all that in, or just google Lierra Keith and click on the video from PaleoHacks. Nothing you will ever read is as good as her book The Vegetarian Myth. Nothing you will ever hear is as well-expressed as her video.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 9:41 am | [0] comments

    Saying It All In One Sentence

    One of my secretaries asked me to sum up myself in a single word. I won’t tell you what word I chose. It’s a ridiculous exercise. Well, it is and it isn’t. There is a place in the Bible, Matthew 7:12 where Jesus says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” I am not a Christian, just a reader. But it’s a good exercise to try reducing your doctrine to a single sentence.

    So here I reduce everything to this. DO NOT EAT IF YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY. Find something else to do.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 11:08 am | [0] comments

    The Duty Of Smart People

    ​On NPR I saw that the American Heart Association recommended against drinking coconut milk. I assure you, reader, this was done on the basis of no evidence whatever. The thinking was that coconut milk is high in saturated fat, and saturated fat is used in the synthesis of cholesterol. All true, but (A) reducing saturated fat in the diet has never been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, and (B) reducing blood cholesterol has never been shown to reduce heart attacks or deaths. In my office are posted 23 articles in major journals, JAMA and Lancet, showing that the higher the blood cholesterol the longer people live. And there is nothing on the other side. If you think the august doctors of the American Heart Association would not make such a basic mistake, you are a dreamer. It’s as though when you get your MD degree, you get a license to say anything you want and it will be deemed true.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 5:58 pm | [0] comments

    ​Reducing Intake Slows Metabolism

    I have been sick. I developed an electrical problem in the heart making the heart go too fast. Not a heart attack, but causing episodes of passing out. To ease the problem, I was put on a medicine called amiodarone. Great for the heart but sometimes toxic to the liver and lungs. And it made me nauseated–I couldn’t eat. Realizing I was going to lose weight, I did an experiment on myself;  I measured my pulse and body temperature daily.

    You see I had been telling people you can’t lose weight long-term just by eating less,  because if you reduce calories, over time the metabolism slows down. Amiodarone gave me a chance to check out my advice.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 10:37 am | [0] comments

    ​Compromise and Lowering Stress

    I have read, but seen no scientific proof, that emotional stress itself can make people gain weight. The proposed mechanism is that stress makes the adrenal gland produce more cortisol. Cortisol causes the liver to release more glucose. Elevated glucose triggers insulin. High insulin causes  obesity.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sun, May 28, 2017 11:36 am | [0] comments

    Dave’s Bread

    Late last year I changed order #3, which used to read “Eat less starch and sweets”. I was embarrassed about that order because I knew it can’t be right. In China and India, the two leanest nations, people eat lots of starch in the form of rice and potatoes. They just eat few sweets. So non-sweet carbs by themselves must be okay. 

    The thing to really avoid is (1) sugar and (2) sweeteners regardless of calories and (3) white bread, because these things vigorously drive up insulin without satisfying hunger. Fatness is not about calories, friends; it is about insulin. Read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung MD.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, May 09, 2017 2:24 pm | [0] comments

    ​Yo Yo Dieting

    Last week an article in the New England Journal of Medicine furnished evidence that yo yo dieting increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke. You should not believe this right away because the data were epidemiological, i.e. there was an association between yo yo dieting and heart attack, but association does not prove causation. It might have been for instance that yo yo dieters ate more sugar than no yos or did less exercise. The “dieters” may not have even been dieters at all; the study wasn’t even about yo yo dieting; the data were extracted from a study of Lipitor’s effect on heart disease. The authors merely remarked that people in the study whose weight varied a lot were more prone to heart attack. But weight can vary for many reasons other than dieting.

    Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that each time you lose weight and regain, it is more difficult to lose weight the next time. Yo yoing leads to insulin resistance. 

    Sometimes patients, returning many times, complain that the phen-pro medicines aren’t working like they used to. Usually the problem is not the medicines; it’s yo yoing.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, May 02, 2017 1:23 pm | [0] comments

    ​The Parable of the Two Dogs

    I have two dogs of the same breed, Sam and Lulu. Sam is 8 years old, Lulu 3. Sam weighs 88 lb. He is overweight by the charts. I can’t feel his ribs, a standard way to tell if a dog is overweight. Lulu weighs 50 lb, normal by the charts; I can feel her ribs. Sam gets more exercise than Lulu. I feed Sam 50-70% of the amount I feed Lulu at each meal, using the same food. They have no other source of food. Their relative weights are not changing. Neither dog is sick, and their blood tests are normal.

    What can you learn from this true story? The answer is not a trick, and you ought to understand it after reading the two previous MOWs.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sun, Apr 23, 2017 12:56 pm | [0] comments

    ​Judge Not

    The books I’ve recently read have made me aware, again, how complex obesity is. My god, there are viruses that may make you fat, genes, bacteria, ethnicity, age, gender. Most of my patients lose some weight and keep it off, but there is variation. Some lose a lot, some lose a little, a few lose none. Some keep it off, some regain. Some are not following my Ten Orders, others are. Some ‘fess up, others lie. Some think they are not following the orders even when they really are. They assume that if they are not losing weight, THEY must be at fault. 

    They might be. They may not be. It may even be MY fault. It’s just all so darn complicated.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 12:12 pm | [0] comments

    ​New Thinking

    When people walk into my office wanting to lose weight, almost everything they know about fat is wrong. Their first article of faith is that fat is bad for you, either as a food or on your body. WRONG. The second article is that to lose weight you must either eat less or exercise more. WRONG. If you gained weight back, it was because you ate more or stopped exercising. OFTEN WRONG. The whole matter is so much more complex. Read The Secret Life of Fat by Sylvia Tara or The Obesity Code by Jason Fung. Read something. Your doctor hasn’t read anything, because they are not paid to study, don’t expect to, and don’t know how to. The drug companies rule.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 1:13 pm | [0] comments

    Coffee

    ​While on phentermine, patients should not drink regular coffee. Phentermine is a stimulant and caffeine is a stimulant. Taken together, they increase the chance for nervousness, palpitations and poor sleep. Besides that, people tend to put a lot of sugar or sweetener in coffee, and we were trying to cut down on sugar. That’s was the main point these days.

    I don’t care about the caffeine in tea or chocolate. There is so much less caffeine in brewed tea. Interestingly there is just as much caffeine in an ounce of tea leaves as in an ounce of ground coffee beans; but you use so much less tea leaves to make a cup of tea than beans to make coffee.

    You may drink decaff coffee. Here are some things I have heard patients say.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 11:59 am | [0] comments

    Fast Food

    ​When asked to give examples of fattening food, most patients list “fast food” first, meaning things such as KFC and McDonalds. I bet most of my patients have a fast food meal once or several times a week. When I pass such places on the road, there are always long lines of cars in the take-out lane. I assume most of these meals are eaten in the car.

    When I ask patients why fast food is fattening, their first answer is because it contains so much fat. Even people coming for a fourth visit, people who have been told many times that it is sugar, sweeteners and refined (white) flour that cause obesity, they still make the mistake of blaming fat. Old (mental) habits die hard–if ever at all. All of you should be reading The Obesity Code by Jason Fung MD.

    I don’t know of any prospective studies testing whether fast food is fattening, but assuming it is, I lay the fault to the following...


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 7:24 pm | [0] comments

    Beverages Are Food Too

    Many people who have trouble losing weight don’t think to count beverages when they total up the amount they consume each day. Losing weight is all about keeping the insulin level low between meals. Anything sweet, solid or liquid, drives insulin level up and prevents weight loss.

    You have to be aware of how many sweet drinks you take in.

    And how big. All our sodas and coffees are obscenely huge.

    Between meals you must find something to do to entertain your hands and your mouth, other than smoking, eating or drinking. Try reading a book or talking to a friend or playing a game.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 8:32 am | [0] comments

    Phen-Pro No Longer Means Phentermine-Prozac

    A weight-loss doctor in Texas has acquired the trademark to the word "phen-pro" so I will no longer use that word. His product contains neither phentermine nor Prozac. I have no direct knowledge whether his "phen-pro" named product works. 

    For many years I had the use patent for the phentermine-Prozac combination, but I never acquired the trademark because I was not producing phentermine-Prozac pills. There is published evidence from me and other doctors that Prozac enhances the weight-loss action of phentermine, but the most important thing is not the pills--it's the Ten Orders.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Nov 28, 2016 6:22 pm | [0] comments

    Eating And Exercise Are Strongly Linked

    Last week I read Gary Taubes’ wonderful book How We Get Fat and What To Do About It (2010). The book taught me nothing new, but I admired the clear way Gary expressed things. In particular he reminded me that it is impossible to lose weight by eating less or exercising more. Because of insulin, if you exercise more, you WILL eat more. If you eat less, you WILL move less. You cannot overcome it with willpower.

    Pause for a moment to consider how much of what most people and doctors “know” is bullcorn.  I continue to be amazed by it. Science and math, reading, are the only things on which you can rely. What people only tell you is worthless.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Nov 03, 2016 9:32 am | [0] comments

    ​Colas and Kidney Stones

    For years I have been telling dieters to avoid “diet” sodas because the artificial sweetener in them is too sweet. Sweet flavor itself raises insulin, blocking weight loss. Dieters would be better off with the high fructose corn syrup in regular Coke than with the aspartame in Diet Coke, or so I thought.

    Now I must modify that advice. Overconsumption of cola-type drinks increases the occurrence of kidney stones, and that fact is especially true of the type sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. The intake of fructose increases the urinary excretion of calcium and oxalate. Ninety per cent of kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate. Moreover cola-type sodas, diet or non, contain phosphoric acid. Phosphate contributes to starting stones. Fresca and Sprite don’t have phosphate, but they are still fraught with the fructose issue. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 11:39 am | [0] comments

    ​French Fries Aren’t French

    Americans combine french fries with many things. For a dollar extra Dunkin Donuts will give you an order of fries with your donut! As far as losing weight, I don’t care if you eat fries as part of a meal, as long as you don’t eat a lot of them and you don’t eat fries as a snack. They strongly raise insulin; we are trying to keep insulin low between meals. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 3:14 pm | [0] comments

    Meaningless Words

    Patients use a lot of meaningless words, as though mere talking is enough. For example they are eager to tell me they eat “healthy”. I have no idea what they mean. The word “healthy”, an adjective, means ‘not sick’. So are they saying they eat not-sick? What does that mean?

    When pressed on the “healthy” issue, they used to tell me they ate low-fat foods and avoided red meat. Now they have absorbed enough news media to know that red meat is okay (TIME magazine June 23, 2014 and November 9, 2016); carbs are the real problem. But recently they have started telling me they avoid “processed” food. Other than a few fruits, aren’t all foods processed before being eaten? I’m confused.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 11:54 am | [0] comments

    ​Lowering Standards

    In the office I often say, “Late last year I took an important step that tremendously improved my rate of success. I lowered my standards. I decided I am not trying to make women skinny anymore. There is no reason to do it. Men don’t want women to be skinny. GI Joe doesn’t want Barbie to look like this.”

    I show off a Barbie doll.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 9:16 am | [0] comments

    What Dogs Have Taught Me

    My sister is my main helper, taking the initial history on new patients, and she is a dog lover. When I get the chart, it always has information on the patient’s pets. I didn’t ask for this, but it has had a useful result–I have noticed that all the dogs and most of the cats of obese patients are themselves obese. This confirms that animals presented with an excess of food will overeat. I suppose we should not have expected the majority of people to be any different. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sat, Apr 16, 2016 10:30 am | [0] comments

    ​BMI Should Not Be Used For Individuals

    Body mass index or BMI is the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in centimeters. To calculate BMI using pounds and inches, multiply the product by 703. The BMI was invented by Belgian statistician Adolphe Quatelet in the 19th century for use in population studies. He never intended it to be used for individual people, because it says nothing about body shape or composition.

    ​Before 1990 doctors and insurance companies used tables of weight versus height, one for men and another for women, based on simple actuarial statistics, to determine who was at risk. In 1998 the NIH went over to BMI in order to present info on both sexes in the same brightly colored diagrams. You saw then, too, the beautiful food pyramids that were also BS supreme. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Apr 07, 2016 10:06 am | [0] comments

    ​The Most Common Cause Of Stress

    Hard to explain why stress is such a cause of obesity–when I am stressed, I lose my appetite–but among the people who fight obesity, stress is a major cause of snacking and overeating. So it is worthwhile to look at the causes of stress. Cognitive neuroscientists do.

    The major source of stress in most people is: being given responsibility without sufficient power.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 4:32 pm | [0] comments

    Methuselah ate what he found on his plate

    Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,

    And never, as people do now,

    Did he note the amount of the calorie count;

    He ate it because it was chow.

    He wasn’t disturbed as at dinner he sat,

    Devouring a roast or a pie,

    To think it was lacking in granular fat

    Or a couple of vitamins shy.

    He cheerfully chewed each species of food,

    Unmindful of troubles or fears

    Lest his health might be hurt

    By some fancy dessert;

    And he lived over nine hundred years.

    —Anonymous


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sat, Mar 05, 2016 10:32 am | [0] comments

    ​Reflections on the cover of Sports Illustrated

    The cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition this year features plus-size model Ashley Graham on all fours in the surf. I’m not sure which sport this photo is intended to illustrate, but my first guess is . . . swimming :)

    I had to get that joke out of the way. In fact I use the magazine the following way. Next to the Sports Illustrated, there are copies of Self magazine and a Barbie doll. I tell female patients there is no reason they have to look like Barbie. None of the models in Self magazine has visible breasts or buttocks. I point out that the women in men’s magazines have those features. Witness buxom Ashley. Women don’t have to be skinny to be attractive.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 4:42 pm | [0] comments

    ​To Lose Weight Clean The Kitchen

    Years ago a population study showed that obese people have more cluttered homes. You can imagine many reasons for that. You might think it’s a character or personality thing. You might think, spending more time eating, the overweight people have less time to clean. It could be a genetic thing–who knows? But here is a controlled study on the matter.

    In the study a hundred randomly chosen subjects were invited into a clean kitchen or a cluttered kitchen to write a report. In both kitchens there was an equal amount of snack food they were invited to eat. In the cluttered kitchen the study subjects, fat or lean, ate twice as much snack food as in the clean kitchen.

    The report written by the subjects had nothing to do with the study; it was just an excuse to get them into the kitchen. The subjects were not even told the true purpose of the study. They had no idea it was about food or clutter, or that there were two kitchens.

    I conclude that if you are trying to lose weight, it is a good idea to keep the kitchen neat.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 10:49 am | [0] comments

    ​What I Wish I Had Said

    The other day a nurse working at a weight loss clinic called me on behalf of the doctors running her clinic to find out what I do that makes me so successful with the group I am so successful with, i.e. motivated smart people mostly women with a BMI of 25-35. This group constitutes the majority of the people coming to my clinic. Of course my view is that the people with a BMI of 25-30 don’t need help at all, since that group has the longest lifespan, lowest mortality, NOT the skinny people (Flegal 2005). My other view is that we should not be using BMI, but instead some measure involving abdominal girth, waist-hip ratio or body fat percentage.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 12:17 pm | [0] comments

    FODMAPs

    If you have abdominal bloating and discomfort after eating, you may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This syndrome has only recently been described. It will soon be renamed for it has nothing to do with gluten.

    When you eat too much carbs and sweets, you may start to grow the wrong type of bacteria in your colon. The bacteria may even extend up into the small intestine where bacteria do not normally grow. The bacteria cause the wall of the bowel to become leaky, leading to bloating, discomfort and alternating constipation & diarrhea–I am sure about all that–and perhaps to arthritis, "brain fog" and depression. I am not as sure about the latter claim. Google "leaky gut syndrome". 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 12:41 pm | [0] comments

    ​Train Your Dog

    Everyone of you has a dog, and that dog is you. You have to train your dog. One of my patients complained that she could not lose weight because of poor sleep. She would lie awake for hours in the middle of the night, then get up and get something to eat figuring that "she was awake anyway."

    But I pointed out that she was not eating because she was awake, but rather staying awake so she could eat. Picture her as a dog, I said. Stay awake, girl. Stay awake... stay awake... good girl. Now you can have a treat.

    When she looked at the problem in this way and stopped putting treats in the refrigerator, she returned to sleeping through the night.

    You can think of many ways in which you train yourself to do things you don’t want to do. Take control. Especially parents. You can’t train your kids if you make no effort to train yourself.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Dec 02, 2015 12:28 pm | [0] comments

    ​Health and Wellness

    While I was growing up and even when I was in medical school, the word "healthy" meant simply ‘not sick’. It was the opposite of "sick". Now and unfortunately, the word has evolved to mean a zen-like state of wellness. Another funny new word–wellness. The reason this is all bad is that it gets people to think badly about themselves, to worry, reducing the quality of life and spoiling the fun. For no benefit to the person. The idea only makes money for doctors, drug & insurance companies and lawyers.

    The mutation of the word "healthy" began with the idea that real disease could be prevented by doing the right exercise, taking the right vitamins and supplements and getting an annual check-up at the doctor. All this began in the sixties on the basis of no studies at all. Please don’t think American doctors have anything to do with science; they are interested only in money.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 10:14 am | [0] comments

    Why I Love Women

    I love women for four out of five reasons. First they are VERBAL. They use language, keep eye contact and read body language well. As a writer, I appreciate that. Women inherit this ability from cave women. Men inherit only the ability to give and take orders and exchange facts; they struggle to come up with anything else to say.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 10:04 am | [0] comments

    ​Binding Proteins Matter

    Many overweight patients take vitamin D or testosterone supplements prescribed by their primary care doctor. Few patients need it. Here is what is going on.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, May 12, 2015 1:36 pm | [0] comments

    ​Your diet has little to do with what happens to you

    I get a lot of letters like the one that began with . . . 

    "I moved to MA from MD last Fall, and I believe that I need your help. I am a physical therapist, and I am keenly aware of the importance and positive impact of proper diet and consistent exercise."

    People really believe that by acquiring special "knowledge" and regulating how they eat and exercise, they can change their fate. They so much want to believe this that they skip the crucial step of looking for real evidence for the position. If they did, they would find none.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 12:15 pm | [0] comments

    ​Phentramine Is A Scam

    Yesterday I saw a 49 year old mildly overweight woman for the first visit whose blood pressure was 170/117 with a pulse of 77. She said she had no history of high blood pressure, saw her primary care doctor annually and took no medicines. I asked about coffee and caffeine. She thought better of herself and admitted she had been taking "Phentramine" which she had obtained in a local GNC type store. She took two pills twice a day. 

    Children, children. Phentramine is a swindle taking advantage of the fact that you can’t spell. I thought it was available only on line. I was alarmed to learn you can buy it off the shelf. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 1:19 pm | [0] comments

    ​You Don’t Have To Be A Biochemist

    You don’t have to be a biochemist to know how to eat! Most foods contain about the same things–most foods come from cells. You can live eating nothing but meat. Cavemen came close to doing that. The Masai in Africa do so even now. Provided you occasionally eat liver (for certain vitamins), you can live on meat. You can live on starch, too. A billion people do it, because it’s all they can get. You can live on vegetables. There’s protein even in broccoli.

    Americans think they are biochemists. On my desk there is a block labeled “meat & cheese” and a block labeled “starch”. I use them in explaining the harm done by combining large portions of each. (Basically starch drives insulin very high allowing extra calories from meat to come in.) When asked about this part of my demonstration, many patients swear I told them to avoid combining protein and starch. I said no such thing. The block was clearly labeled “meat & cheese”, not protein. My material is meant to be understood word for word as written.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Oct 03, 2014 3:45 pm | [0] comments

    ​Bureaucratic Versus Radical Change

    The most frustrating thing in my practice is the tendency of patients to make bureaucratic changes rather than radical changes.  The bureaucratic process is the process by which government agencies change, i.e. making a small change and waiting to see if the change makes a positive difference. If so, they make another small change and wait. This process is very safe–especially for the bureaucrats–and also very slow. The social need usually outruns the response.

    In the office I present compelling evidence why exercise, low-fat diet and calorie-counting do not work and the only effective means to lose weight is the Ten Orders. Too often patients respond bureaucratically, with a half-hearted effort to do some of the Orders, never bothering to learn the rest. And they hedge their bet by continuing to exercise, restrict fat and count calories. Result? They lose only 2 or 4 lbs between visits, and sometimes gain.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, Sep 02, 2014 10:33 am | [0] comments

    ​CHANGE ORDER #8

    Heretofore Order #8 of the Ten Doctor’s Orders has been “Moderation in all things”. I was never satisfied with that order. It was a place-holder so that I would have ten orders like Moses. But it was useless as a teaching tool since women already knew it and American men, having learned excess, violence and winning as children, can’t learn moderation & compromise as adults. 

    Besides that, there are things in which you should not be moderate, such as devotion to the truth. And cases where compromise is inappropriate. Cutting the dose of statin drugs in half is inappropriate; they should be stopped altogether. 

    So last week I changed Order #8 to “Eat more slowly”.  I noticed that when food arrives at the table, Americans pick up their fork and do not set it down again until the food is all eaten. By contrast, French people set their fork down while talking or listening intently. They don’t talk with mouths full.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 12:56 pm | [0] comments

    Dr. Anchors’ 10 Weight Loss Lessons

    Here are my 10 Weight Loss Lessons that I give to all of my patients.

    1. ​Eat less food.
    2. Use small DARK plates.
    3. Follow Dr. Anchors' Food Pyramid.
    4. Don't balance meals.
    5. Drink more water.
    6. Weigh yourself every morning.
    7. Eat some breakfast, a slow lunch, and a smaller supper.
    8. Eat more slowly.
    9. Stop snacking.
    10. Eat with friends or family.

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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 12:50 pm | [0] comments

    ​The Difference Between Excuses And Reasons

    On the occasions when patients return having gained weight back, many feel compelled to offer an explanation. It’s always an excuse, seldom a reason. It is worthwhile to know the difference.

    The hallmarks of an excuse is that it is stereotyped, unoriginal and irrational. The most common excuse is, “I ran out of medicine”.  I won’t even comment on this canard. The best thing people get in my office is the Ten Doctor’s Orders. When people learn them, they never need me again. The pills are like Dumbo’s feather.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sun, Jun 01, 2014 12:40 pm | [0] comments

    Most of What You Know is Wrong

    Most new patients assume they already know about fat and weight loss; their only concern is to score more diet pills. As long as they remain in that frame of mind, they won’t learn what I teach. So I try to open their minds by saying...


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, May 23, 2014 6:06 pm | [0] comments

    ​The Highest Value

    What is men’s greatest value? What do they value above all else? The answer is independence, i.e. the fact or the illusion that they control something external to themselves. Men will give up everything else to preserve this. When a wife or a government steps on their sense of control, men bite back.

    What is women’s number #1 value? Connectedness–to family, friends, teachers, place and tradition. Women will give up everything to keep these connections. If a husband steps on his wife’s sense of connection to friends or family, he is in trouble.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 2:13 pm | [0] comments

    ​Why Soda And Colas Are So Bad

    Fat people drink a lot of soda. Soda meaning “sweetened carbonated beverage”. Sodas, diet or regular, raise insulin blocking weight loss. They acidify the blood leading to osteoporosis, dental problems and kidney stones


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 12:44 pm | [0] comments

    An Exercise Paradox

    Most people and all doctors believe that physical exercise makes you live longer. There is no evidence for this idea. In longitudinal studies, people who exercise more tend to live longer, true, but in studies where long-lived people were interviewed, the long-lifers were no more likely to have exercised than anyone else. In fact, they were less likely to have exercised.

    This apparent paradox is a consequence of the healthy survivor effect, i.e. the people who were more healthy to begin with were the ones most likely to exercise.  Notice, that does not imply that the exercise itself made them more healthy.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Sun, Mar 16, 2014 11:56 am | [0] comments

    ​No Such Thing As Ideal Body Weight

    Many patients on their first visit ask how much they should weigh? I answer, simply, “less”. 

    There is no such thing as ideal body weight. There is only an ideal body weight range, and it is surprisingly wide. After all, what does “ideal” mean? To me, reasonably, it can only mean the weight at which the patients are least likely to get sick, the weight at which they are most likely to live the longest. It’s a wide range. The body is not such a delicate flower–it is resilient.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Feb 03, 2014 3:51 pm | [0] comments

    ​The Dialectic of Romantic Love

    As said before, I use stereotypes a lot in the office. It’s okay as long as (1) they are mostly true, (2) the use is helpful and (3) I am aware there are exceptions. I also use stereotypes in life. Here is one.

    (A) Most men fall in love inspirationally, in a flash, then later search for logical reasons for their choice. They fool themselves into believing it happens the other way around.

    (B) Most women choose mates logically, taking their time to do so, then later “find love”. They believe it happens the other way around. 

    This way of men and women is ideally suited to propagate the species.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 1:15 pm | [0] comments

    ​The Spread of Orthorexia

    In my social grouping almost all the women are on some sort of kooky diet. Gluten-free is a common one.  Raw diet, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, organic, you name it, but please don’t because some woman will start following it.  

    Some of them sincerely believe the diet will make them healthier. Evidence is neither sought nor appreciated. Faith is good enough. Others replace the focus on snacking with a food-focus that won’t make them fat–that’s at least rational.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 11:19 am | [0] comments

    ​A Christmas Message

    I have never done a Christmas message among my Messages of the Week, but this year I will do one. About race. What has that to do with obesity? Nothing. Since race does not exist, it has nothing to do with anything. There is no biological definition of race. It is an illusion that continues to shame the United States. 

    The French purposefully make no public recognition of race, don’t ask about it, don’t keep statistics. When recently a right-wing newspaper called Minister of Justice Mdm. Taboura a monkey, there were huge counter-demonstrations all across France. I was proud of the French for that.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Dec 09, 2013 1:29 pm | [0] comments

    ​Compromise Versus Moderation

    Recently I added two new orders to the Eight Doctor’s Orders to make ten. The first new order was “Eat some breakfast, a long lunch and a small supper”, i.e. move more of your food into the front part of the day when you have more self-control. We’re good with that one.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Dec 05, 2013 11:57 am | [0] comments

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is the second strangest holiday of the year. (The first is Halloween) Both holidays are devoted to gluttony. Whatever they originally meant is lost on modern Americans. Make no mistake–they are now about eating.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 3:32 pm | [0] comments

    When Good Advice Is Bad

    Eighteen years ago when I began in bariatrics, I did not know what to tell people. I knew that the existing nostrums were all wrong. So I made up stuff. In my defense, I always checked the results of my advice and discontinued it when it wasn’t working. 

    For example, I used to tell people to eat when hungry and stop when full. Sounds right, doesn’t it? But it was a disaster. People started gaining weight. I quickly snuffed out the advice. In postgame analysis I realized that fat people assume they are always hungry and feel full only when the overfull stomach is stretched. My advice had given them permission to snack and eat huge suppers, the very things I now oppose.

    I’ve got it straight now. All of my advice is battle-tested.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 2:25 pm | [0] comments

    Why Doctors Seem Stupid

    My best friend Larry Hobbs persuaded me to read Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini. A boring title, but a life-changing book. It has already allowed me to understand something that had puzzled me. Earlier this year, I prepared some large posters containing the super-abundant evidence that cholesterol has nothing to do with causing heart attacks and statin drugs such as Lipitor cause harm for no benefit, a fact I have testified to, as an expert witness, in court.  If you don’t already know about this, watch Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains. I loaned the posters to a large number of doctors including cardiologists. None of them ever commented on the poster or showed any evidence they had read it. Their office staff, nurses, PAs and patients read it. They told me so. 


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Nov 08, 2013 10:47 am | [0] comments

    ​Alcohol, Carbs and Obesity

    People often ask if they can drink alcohol while taking phen-pro. Yes. The medicines have nothing to do with alcohol. But you should drink moderately because you should do everything moderately. And they ask, does alcohol make you fat? No. Alcohol contributes to obesity only when combined with carbs, meaning starch or anything sweet.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 9:36 am | [0] comments

    ​American Cynicism

    When I was shopping for vegetables at Whole Foods to please my daughters, an overweight woman walked over and asked whether beets can be eaten raw.

    "Do I know you?" I wondered why she picked me out.

    "No."

    "Well it happens I do know, but why do you want to eat vegetables raw?"

    "I’m on a raw diet. I heard that most vitamins get cooked out in the water."


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 9:23 am | [0] comments

    Letter about my latest book ‘Medical Myths Doctors Believe’

    ​Here is a letter I received regarding my latest book Medical Myths Doctors Believe. 

    Dear Dr Anchors,

    I've just finished reading your excellent book 'Medical Myths ... Doctors Believe'. As a Doctor of Mathematics and some-time practitioner of Statistics, as well as a firm defender of the scientific method and stauch proponent of skepticism it was deeply encouraging and enjoyable to see my values shared and propogated by a physician (albeit a PhD-trained one); indeed such is the value of the book in promulgating the importance of rigorous, skeptical scientific judgement as applied to the multitude of claims, counter-claims and sub-standard studies which are rife in the field of medicine that I would stongly back its use as a core text during the undergraduate education of medical students.

    Anyway, the book was a pleasure to read and I look forward to another volume, perhaps with co-authors remedying some of the necessary omissions discussed in the 'Apologies' section of the book.

    Yours sincerely,

    John Smith (name changed)


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Fri, Oct 04, 2013 12:12 pm | [0] comments

    ​Timing of Meals

    ​A big reason why the French are leaner than we are is that the majority of them eat their largest meal in midday, from 12:20 to 2:30 PM. The meal is eaten slowly, with friends or other distractions. The French are not crazy workaholics.

    I am not saying by this that food eaten at night is more likely to be stored as fat. That myth was destroyed by a study in 1998, and should never be mentioned again. You can look at the globe and see that in the countries around the world where people eat late, i.e. the hot countries, people are the leanest.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 10:03 am | [0] comments

    Dr. Barry Mennen

    ​I have not been keeping up with the Messages of the Week since March because I have been taking care of my seriously ill wife. But I have to send out this Message about Barry Mennen. He started renting space from me in January and I taught him all I know about helping people lose weight. He has applied the knowledge well, and added to it. Now he is getting results just as good as mine. I am still the original, but apparently I can pass this art on to other doctors. Any bariatrician who wants to learn from us is welcome to visit us. 

    I am in the office only three hours a day. If you want to be seen quickly, you may book with Dr. Mennen, instead of me, and get results just as good. By the way Dr. Mennen and I are almost the same age.


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    By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD on Thu, May 30, 2013 11:30 am | [0] comments


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