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Physician urges low carb, grain-free Paleo diets for weight loss and diabetes

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In 2012, Diane Labelle was morbidly obese at 286 pounds, sick, depressed and suicidal. She felt hopeless when she visited family physician Dr. Maurice St. Martin. Taking 12 different medications, several for diabetes, Diane also had to inject herself in the stomach with insulin four times a day.

"I'll do anything as long as it works, man. I'll do anything," she recalls telling him in an interview with the Sudbury Star.

Diane made that confession to the right doctor. St. Martin, 61, had lost 130 pounds himself and was determined to encourage his patients to follow the diet plan that worked for him: No wheat, no sugar and no processed foods, with a focus on Paleo-style low carb, grain-free meals.

Now, two years later, Diane is a believer too. She follows a Paleo-style diet: No dairy, no sugar, no grains, no processed foods, and has lost more than 80 pounds. As for those medications? Diane no longer needs them.

St. Martin's family medicine practice contains a library dedicated to books that advocate low carb, high fat, high protein diets while eliminating grains:

He also has the leading books in the Paleo diet field, including:

And St. Martin points out that although Americans are eating a diet high in whole grains, our nation is fatter than ever. Moreover, even 30 percent of normal weight people have diseases associated with obesity, such as metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.

As for his own journey, St. Martin began by seeking books on clean eating and why we get fat, including Gary Taubes, who wrote "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" (click for details).

He prescribes for his patients the same approach that worked for him, which is a combination of the Paleo diet and the low-carb, high fat approach. He plans to continue to lose weight, noting: "My goal is to be healthy."

And St. Martin's advice to those who have tried traditional low-calorie diets and feel frustrated: Read all that they can on alternatives. He tells his patients to recognize that it's not their fault that they're obsese, contending that foods such as wheat and sugar are causing cravings that are hard to control.

Just ask Diane Labelle whether it works: She's a permanent convert to the Paleo-style way of life.

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