On Nutrition by Ed Blonz

Still No Magic Solution for Quick Weight Loss

DEAR DR. BLONZ: It’s a new year, and I am researching a “100 percent natural” weight-loss tea. So far, I have been unsuccessful in verifying the claims it makes, such as its being able to foster five pounds a week of weight loss. Have you heard of any such tea or herbal weight-loss remedy being able to do this?

Apparently, this product has natural fat-burning enzymes that are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and are carried throughout your entire body, continuously releasing millions of fat-eating enzymes. It also claims that its first stop is in your digestive system, where its flavonoid enzymes rapidly start to clean and unclog your large intestine’s mucous membrane, which could make you lose three to four pounds within the first 48 hrs. Then, it says your metabolism is forced to accelerate the elimination process to preserve lean muscle tissue and enhance muscle tone. This process is supposed to drain out fat accumulations at the rate of about 454 grams per day (one pound). I know it all sounds too good to be true, but is there any chance it might work? Or is it all a myth? -- E.K., Phoenix

DEAR E.K.: Your last three words, “all a myth,” sum it up well. The idea of a fat-burning enzyme quickly absorbed into the bloodstream that “releases millions of fat-eating enzymes” makes absolutely no sense.

Claims are easy to make, especially when you don’t have to back them up. I would predict a total lack of any objective evidence, mainly because if such stuff were verifiable, science would be all over it. I wouldn’t waste my time or money with such hooey.

Checking the unspoken “big picture” here, excess weight tends to take years to get on board, so to speak. Don’t look for, or expect to find, a quick fix. Rather, you should invest in several subtle ways to tweak your eating and lifestyle habits to foster slow, but steady, progress toward your goal.

DEAR DR. BLONZ: Are almond, rice or coconut milk as nutritious as soy milk? How do they get milk from these foods? -- S.B., Kenosha, Wisconsin

DEAR S.B.: You can get a milky beverage from many foods. In addition to almond, rice, coconut and soy, there are “milks” from oats, hemp and a variety of other plant foods. Most are made by soaking the plant in water for many hours and then grinding it with additional water. There can be filtering to eliminate particulate matter, and some types can be cooked somewhere along the line. Flavors such as chocolate or strawberry can also be added.

Each type of milk will have its own unique flavors and nutrients. Rice milk, for example, is lower in protein and most vitamins and minerals than soy milk, but it is higher in carbohydrates and richer in folic acid.

A variety of “milk” offerings are now fortified with nutrients, especially calcium, to approximate the levels in dairy milk. There can be varying amounts of fat and added sweeteners, so it is essential to read the Nutrition Facts panel and compare your options.

Send questions to: “On Nutrition,” Ed Blonz, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to questions@blonz.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.