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Sumo Diet: Why Americans Are Getting Fatter


Are you on the Sumo diet? I am. No wonder my midsection has expanded to the point where I can no longer see my feet unless I bend way over. I am not the only one, either. My patients are on the Sumo diet, too. The Sumo diet seems to be all the rage these days. Americans are becoming alarmingly more obese each year from just following this ancient way of the Sumo wrestler. It is not a diet I recommend, mind you. It just so happens that many of us are on it without knowing it. Take my patient "Bob," a computer programmer who works from home. He really has no excuse when it comes to meal preparation. He is just lazy or busy. The extra 80 pounds piled up around his middle show his lack of culinary enthusiasm. His daily grind goes something like this. He wakes up, turns on the computer, and makes coffee. After his caffeine-rich liquid breakfast, he sets off to check e-mail and catch up on a few to-do items for clients. Before he knows it, it is time for lunch. Does he stop in the middle of his day to eat? Heavens, no! There is work to be done, problems to be solved. He pushes on to the afternoon. When 4 p.m. rolls around, he grows tired and faint and realizes he has been so consumed in his activity that he has forgotten to eat at all. Looking back on the day, wondering what he has eaten, he realizes it was perhaps only a piece of toast with honey on it somewhere between e-mails and telephone conferences. Now that late afternoon has arrived, he is hungry but doesnt want to spoil his appetite so he waits for dinner. At 8 p.m. he finally sits down to a well-prepared meal, lovingly cooked by his wife. He then proceeds to eat the caloric consumption of breakfast, lunch, and dinner in one sitting, plus or minus a few snacks in between. If that were not enough to satiate his hunger, he may even top it off with dessert—a big bowl of ice cream. Then, staying true to the Sumo diet, his head hits the pillow no more than two hours after eating a 3,200-calorie meal. It is the ancient art of KU-CHYA-NEY. It means to eat and drink extraordinary amounts at one sitting and then go immediately to sleep.  It is a proven sure-fire way to pack on pounds. Sumo have used and perfected this diet for centuries. Americans are adopting this way of eating, less the physical training of the Sumo. We are reaching epic weights never before seen, as popularized by such TV shows as The Biggest Loser. This forced fasting due to business,” followed by gorging, is taking a toll on our waistlines as well as general health and family time. Gone are the days of the sit-down family meals we enjoyed in our youth. Social meals have been replaced by fast food, food on the go, skipped meals, eating in front of the TV, gluttonous gorging in a single meal. Has all this technological progress really helped if we are killing ourselves prematurely with our eating habits? So how do we stop this ever-escalating weight gain? Stop the Sumo madness, for starters, and eat/graze throughout the day. Which reminds me, I need to go make a snack. Tune in next time for Starve the Fat, Not the Muscle.

Dr. Cynthia Luce is a chiropractor, practicing for 15 years. She has been studying nutrition for the past decade under Dr. Jeffrey Bland, PhD, founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Luce's office is in Rockaway Beach, Pacifica. She strives to help her clients with natural alternatives for health and healing through understanding nutrition and supplementation. She is holding a weekly nutrition class focusing on weight loss, starting Monday evenings  from 7 8:30, October 19 through November 30. Classes are free with a nominal fee to cover the cost of handouts. To register, call 650-359-6800 or email


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