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Ask Dr. Mike: Tips to Make Diets Work & Alternative Solutions to Treat ADHD

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans. Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

I'm one of those life-long dieters. I just can't stick with ANY of them. The problem is I get hungry and I'm never satisfied. Is there hope for me?

Yes, there is hope. Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon feeling when you're dieting. Your weight equals calories in and calories out. If you're eating more calories than you're burning, it can lead you to weight gain. However, that sounds a lot simpler than it actually is.

Ultimately what diets are trying to accomplish is getting you to eat less. Eating less can be hard; but what really might be difficult is cutting something completely out of your diet, especially if it's a food you love.

Once that food is gone, the satisfaction will never be there.

One option is to introduce healthier versions of the smells, textures, and flavors you really enjoy about food. If this doesn't seem to work, you may want to consider just treating yourself with certain unhealthy foods every once in a while.

You can also try to control your hunger with protein.

My son was diagnosed with ADHD. Our doctor wants to medicate him, but I don't want to. Are there any other solutions?

Dr. Mike just wants to remind you to please always talk to your doctor before making any drastic health changes. Pulling from the Life Extension website, Dr. Mike found a few supplements that might help. These supplements include: pregnenolone, DHEA, magnesium, probiotics, and zinc.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.877.711.5211) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents: Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: February 18, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

It’s time to “Ask Dr. Mike”. Do you have a question about your health? Dr. Mike can answer your questions. Just email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call now: 877-711-5211. The lines are open.

Oh. So, my first question is about dieting. “I am one of those lifelong dieters. I just can’t stick with any of them. My problem is, I get hungry and I’m not satisfied—ever. Is there any hope for me?”

Well, I think, yes. There’s hope for you. And that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it. There is hope for you and I’m going to give you some suggestions. I don’t think this is an uncommon story. You know, many years ago, I actually had a weight loss business. It was called “Diet Basics” and as you can tell by the name, with Diet Basics, I was really trying to help people balance energy intake and energy expenditure. Trying to create a negative number every day. I mean, your weight every day is determined by a very simple equation. Your weight equals calories in minus calories out. If you’re eating too much and not burning enough, every day you’re developing a positive calorie reservoir and you’re going to gain weight. If you’re burning more than you’re eating, it’s a negative number and you’re going to be burning reservoirs and you’re going to lose weight. Now, obviously, it’s a simple equation, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to manipulate it, right? I just want to make sure that’s clear. But, you can’t deny it. It’s simple math. Calories in minus calories out is: if it’s a positive number, I gain. If it’s a negative number, I lose. So, it is simple math, but it doesn’t mean that, you know, manipulating calories in, manipulating calories out—that’s where it becomes difficult.

So, let’s talk a little bit about this. So, you know, here you’re telling me that you’re a lifelong dieter and you even say here, “I just can’t stick with any of them.” But, that tells me you’ve tried probably everything, right? South Beach, Atkins, everything. All of these diets, ultimately, you know what they’re trying to do? They’re trying to get you to eat less. I mean, when you really break down all of these diets, I know they can get very complicated and they write these huge books and it can get very confusing. At the end of the day, when you really look at what they’re doing--because trust me, I did this. It’s all about eating less. It’s about trying to help you remain satisfied as you are eating less. And, I think that’s the key thing. You even mentioned it here. You say, “I’m not satisfied—ever.” And that, I think, is really the issue. I think eating less, although that can be hard at the beginning—you get a little hungry and what have you. I’ve got some suggestions for that. But, although that can be hard, I think what really gets people—the cheating part of it. Just stopping the diet comes in when people are not satisfied. I mean, let me give you an example. I’m going to use me as an example. I love cheese. I love it. The stinkier the better. I love it. I love the texture of different cheeses. I love the smell. I just love and enjoy eating cheese. Matter of fact, I ate it so much I got a little food sensitivity to it, so I had to cut back. But I’ve reintroduced it slowly and I’m okay now. But if you were to tell me, “Okay, Mike. You’re going to go on this diet and you can have no cheese.” I mean, listen, I’m not going to be very satisfied on that diet. I’m not going to enjoy it. Even though I could probably stick with it, I’m just not satisfied. It’s not fulfilling. I’m not enjoying food anymore and it’s just not going to happen. So, I think you really hit the nail on the head here where you talk about not being satisfied. I think it’s easier to deal when you’re a little bit hungry. What’s hard is being satisfied on a diet. So, you have to figure out: what are some of the things that you do enjoy in food? What smells do you enjoy? What textures do you enjoy? What flavors do you enjoy? I mean, really think about that and introduce those things and introduce them with healthy versions. I mean, you can do that. Or, if there’s not a healthy version, you maybe just have to introduce the unhealthier version—just on a rare occasion--to help you stay a little bit satisfied. Maybe that’s all you need is just to get that little satisfaction here and there to stick with the diet.

So, look at smells, textures and flavors. Figure out which ones really talk to you. Which ones really satisfy you and then try to reintroduce them in healthy ways. Or, if you can’t do it healthy, okay, fine. Do the unhealthy way, but just on a rare occasion.

So, those three areas: smells, textures and flavors. Okay?

As far as the hunger, you know, yeah. You’re eating less, so you’re hungry. I mean, it’s pretty simple. So, what are some of the best ways to kind of control that hunger? Protein. Now, high fat will do it, too. High fat, especially in the morning, will help to kind of keep down hunger. That’s why that new craze with Bulletproof Coffee where, you know, you take coffee. You put butter and some oil in it. It does. It works. But, a healthier way to control hunger is with protein. So, just have a lot of protein on hand. You know, seeds, nuts, whatever. Beans, legumes. Whatever you want to do. Just have a lot of protein as snacks. So, find ways to be satisfied with smells and texture and flavor and really get some protein to control that hunger.

And then, remember this: if all of that doesn’t work, well then, maybe you’re the person that simply needs to exercise more. Burn more. Rather than controlling the calorie “in” part of the equation, maybe you need to focus on the calorie “out”—the energy expenditure part—more. That might help as well.

Alright. So, yes, there’s hope. Right? Be satisfied. Eat more protein and then always remember: exercise is important. So, there you go. That was number one.

Number two. I think I’m okay here. “My son was diagnosed with ADHD. Our doctor wants to start medication, but I don’t want that. Are there other options?”

Okay. So, what I did to answer this is, I went to the Life Extension protocol for ADHD. I cannot tell you to not go on medications. I cannot tell you not to give your son the medication. I’m not your doctor. I’m just here as a friend. I’m just going to give you some suggestions, but please always talk to your own doctor before doing anything when it comes to supplement drugs, exercise, what have you. Your own doctor is who you have the relationship with. So, I’m just going to give you some suggestions from the Life Extension protocol on ADHD.

Let me just go through some of the supplements first that have been shown to help with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. First of all, pregnenolone is a hormone. I know when you talk about hormones, we don’t really associate giving kids hormones. But kids with the attention part being the worst have been shown to have low pregnenolone levels. So, maybe a low dose pregnenolone, if it’s really the attention issue. On the other hand, if the hyperactivity seems to be worse than the attention, a little bit of the hormone DHEA has been shown to be helpful. Now, of course, talk to your doctor. Get your son tested, right? Get these hormones tested. See where he’s at. He may not have a hormonal issue, but attention deficits are more associated with pregnenolone deficiencies and hyperactivity with DHEA deficiencies. So, check those out. Don’t forget the power of a basic multivitamin, multinutrient formula. Kids—their diets are not all that great. I’m going to assume you already know that and you’re getting your son off the sugars, off the artificial colors. That’s so important. Artificial flavors—you’ve got to get all those out. Fresh foods. Eighty percent plant, twenty percent lean animal. Very good. Try some pregnenolone, maybe. Maybe some DHEA. A multinutrient formula. Don’t forget the Omega-3 oils. Very important. There’s another one called phosphatidylserine, or PS caps. About 100 mg a day. Kids do very well with that. Magnesium—very important. Zinc. And then, don’t forget about probiotics. Healing the gut is very important with a lot of these attention deficit disorders. So, probiotics could also play a role as well. Go check out for the full protocol.

This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I’m Dr. Mike. Stay well.