In part 7 of this Exclusive Interview, Scott Isaacs talks with Diabetes in Control Medical Editor Joy Pape about his recommendations to medical professionals looking to use meal replacements as a method to help their patients who have excess weight or obesity.
Scott Isaacs, MD, FACP, FACE is the medical director for the HMR Program for Weight Management at Atlanta Endocrine Associates and a faculty member at Emory University School of Medicine.
Transcript of this video segment:
Pape: And is there anything in particular that you want health care professionals to take back that possibly they can use, or maybe refer to when working with patients that need rapid weight loss when using meal replacements? What would you recommend they do?
Isaacs: Well, I would first say that they work. And I think there’s been a lot of confusion or concerns about meal replacements. It’s just mostly out of not knowing about them, but if you look at the data they provide superior weight loss compared to regular foods, consistently. And so, they are tool. And in this day and age which we’re all constantly looking for something that can be effective for our patients and this is something that’s been proven. So, if you want to get started helping your patients with meal replacements, I think a good way to start would be to get some patients on a partial meal replacement plan where they’re having some meal replacements and some regular foods. It doesn’t require quite as much intensive medical supervision. And then, perhaps identifying some practitioners in your area that specialize in this type of weight loss that really have the program set-up with all the education and all the resources needed to help your patients be successful.
Pape: Yes. They really do need the multidisciplinary care approach. And as we know, the patient is in the center of it and very much a part of it.
Pape: So, we hear a lot about intermittent fasting. What can you tell us and what’s your experience been about that?
Isaacs: So, intermittent fasting, it’s an interesting one because the definition is very loose. So, some people would consider intermittent fasting timed feeding, where they’re restricting their meals to a very small portion of the day, six to eight hours out of the day. And the rest of the day, they’re not eating. Another version of intermittent fasting is actually doing very low calorie diets with meal replacements. And some people would say that just being on pure meal replacements is considered fasting. And there was recently a study published, looking at this type of intermittent fasting in patients with diabetes, and what it showed is that patients with diabetes, it’s safe to do intermittent fasting. And in this study they were doing basically three days a week of very low calorie diet using meal replacements. It’s either three days in a row or any three days they chose. So, it certainly was safe, that we didn’t see hypoglycemia. But we also didn’t see as good a weight loss. And so, really I haven’t seen that it’s very effective for weight loss. And perhaps doing a more structured meal plan or working with a physician, doing a low carb diet or some other form of diet may be more effective. Although, I’ll say that there are certain patients that they love it, they do it, especially the timed feeding, I’ve had many that say they like it but I think it’s more anecdotal. And I’d like to see more controlled studies, looking at it in more detail.
Pape: Well, Dr. Isaacs, thanks so much for your work! And is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Isaacs: I would just say weight loss, it’s a very gratifying field but it’s also a very challenging field, and there’s so much that we still need to learn. And for patients who have tried and not been successful, I would say don’t give up because there’s new things that are on the horizon and trying something different may be just what you need to reach your goals.