At Home with the Hellers: Cooking, Healthy Hearts and a Little Romance with Richard F. Heller, Ph.D. and Rachel Heller

WebMD Live Events Transcript

At Home with the Hellers: Cooking, Healthy Hearts and a Little Romance with Richard F. Heller, Ph.D. and Rachel Heller

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Good evening and thank you for joining us... and Happy Valentine's Day! We're here live with Drs. Rachel and Richard Heller.

Dr. Heller: Thank you, it's good to be here!

Dr. Heller: Always a pleasure.

Moderator: Welcome!

Dr. Heller: And, we want to thank WebMD for making this possible.

Moderator: The one with the high pitch is Rachel, and the lower pitch is Richard (laughs)

Dr. Heller: (laughs) Thank you and the same to you!

Moderator: The Drs. Heller have written several books...

Dr. Heller: Well, at this point, in related areas, we have something like 9 books, 3 national bestsellers and we have the latest NY Times bestseller.

Moderator: Congratulations!

Dr. Heller: We're excited about it because we've been able to come up with a program that meets the AHA's guidelines but helps the carbo addicts cut their cravings and is sensitive to them.

Dr. Heller: Yes, focused on a common problem that many with heart problems are facing ... the foods that they're eating all day long are causing the release of insulin [to be] so high.

Moderator: So, the diet we'll talk about is the Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program.

Dr. Heller: But, the best part is that while you're reducing your risk for high blood pressure, and diabetes and other diseases.

Moderator: What I'd like our users to know is that the Hellers are not talking from an ivory tower. They have lost 200 pounds between them!

Dr. Heller: Yes, in my own case, I've lost 45 pounds and kept it off for years.

Moderator: That's wonderful Richard!

Dr. Heller: I've lost 56 pounds and kept it off struggle free, but we've also lost our health problems. I had high blood pressure (stroke level) and Richard had high cholesterol and chest pains.

Dr. Heller: The extra weight is an indication, quite often, of high levels of insulin that might lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Heller: But, we felt we were digging our graves with our forks and that's the worst part of all, you're blaming yourself and others are blaming you as well.

Moderator: And Doctors, back to our Valentine's theme, you've really eaten yourselves into a very romantic lifestyle!

Dr. Heller: We celebrate on all levels! If you can imagine meeting the person who's an exact copy of you of the opposite sex and loves the same things you love and also loves the same reward meals that you do ... (laughs) It's absolute bliss!

Moderator: Doctors, we're encouraging our audience to submit their we're going to run a cooking show from the Drs. Heller.

Dr. Heller: We'll just be romantic until then (chuckle) ....

Moderator: thanks for all of your questions. We'll present them to the Hellers after the cooking show. Thank you.

Event_Moderator Welcome to the WebMD Live Special Events Auditorium. Our guests this afternoon are Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller, who will demonstrate how-to cooking for healthy hearts and a little romance. Welcome Drs. Hellers.

Moderator: And we're back live with Dr's Richard and Rachael Heller

Moderator: Drs, thanks so much for the cooking demonstration. We enjoyed it as much as you

Dr. Heller: Our pleasure! We're cleaning up the kitchen right now.

Moderator: Do you have anything to say before we get to the questions?

Dr. Heller: Everybody who's online now is invited over for dinner! Actually, with all of the demands on people with weight and health, they've forgotten or feel ashamed of the pure joy of enjoying your food.

Dr. Heller: And, we hope that carb addicts and everyone realize that they can enjoy their food without guilt.

Billy_de_WebMD I think your aprons are real cute -- is there a story behind them?

Dr. Heller: When we first got to know Rosie O'Donnell, she'd call us 'Chip and Dale' so that's become our signature. And, when we found them in chef hats doing what we love to do ... other than that, that's the story behind it.

petitfour1953_WebMD I am wondering about chromium and if ca's are still supposed to be using it I use solray gtf and seems to be working

Dr. Heller: The American Dept. of Agriculture recognizes that 9 out of 10 American diets are insufficient in chromium and that helps balance the insulin. We recommend for ourselves and for others that they take chromium as a supplement on its own in pill form and not combined with other minerals or vitamins. It's very low in toxicity, but we do recommend 200-400 mg .... and we strongly recommend that you don't combine it in the same pill. Because of sugary foods, the body is depleted from chromium and also from exercise. It acts like a helper to insulin, otherwise, your body has to release excess insulin.

JennM_WebMD Hi Drs. Heller, JennM here. How long have you maintained your weight loss?

Dr. Heller: I have lost 165 pounds and maintained it for 14 years and Rich has lost 50 pounds and kept it off for 15 years.

Dr. Heller: But, we enjoy what we eat, and eating healthfully.

tommytvtcc_WebMD What data do you have with cholesterol and triglycerides, and whether you eat egg whites or whole eggs under this program?

Dr. Heller: As you saw in our kitchen! Basically it's important to understand that each person is individual, and genetics may predispose them to problems. As a generalization, when you have high levels of insulin, you tend to promote high blood fat. That can vary and everyone needs to be working with a doctor to decide what is best for their bodies.

Dr. Heller: But, we do recommend a low-saturated fat diet, high in mono- and polyunsaturates and balanced high fiber meals and high protein.

marcr1_WebMD question: Are there ongoing studies with type II diabetic patients on your diets?

Dr. Heller: Actually, there are ongoing studies including the use of chromium which helps Type II diabetics and the insulin balancing part of the program.

Dr. Heller: People go off injectable insulin but they again should never be doing this without consulting their physician.

Dr. Heller: The reason for this, is within literally days on our program, your blood pressure will normalize and if you take meds to bring blood pressure down further it might be best to consult your physician.

stickerG_WebMD My valentine is taking me out to dinner tonight. What can I order that isn't all carbs?

Dr. Heller: If you will think of a lovely romantic evening, a bit of wine, fresh salad, a nice steak or piece of fish, chicken is hard to eat when trying to be romantic, or a vegetarian meal .. nice asparagus on the side, you can have some bread and a lovely piece of chocolate for dessert.

slimsoon_WebMD Not clear on why only one cup of coffee daily (except cream)-doesn't trigger me-is it ok to have 2-3 cups in that case?

Dr. Heller: You can have as many cups of coffee as you like as long as you're not having sugar and milk in every one of them.

Dr. Heller: The question is why can I only have one cup of coffee with cream, that's because milk is high in carbos and even if it doesn't trigger your cravings, it can keep you from losing weight.

Dr. Heller: And, we've found that most addicts' bodies can tolerate that one cup with milk, but if you continue, you'll stimulate cravings .. think of going to tea, or sparkling water rather than more coffee with milk.

GingerPennell_WebMD I follow your first book The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, although you now have several more books out. I find that the book directs me in what to do if I have not lost weight in the past week. Do any of your newer books have these same types of guidelines?

Dr. Heller: Our basic ... all of our books do, but they're written differently, they all offer you options to increase your weight loss and increase your heart health. If you're losing weight at a fine pace, that's wonderful. If you want to lose weight, faster, we give you other options. The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet has the basic program that works well and the others have more information that we've learned along the line, as well as the heart book which has information about improving your heart health as well.

Dr. Heller: But, if you want to use the Carbo addict's diet, that works well, but it doesn't have the updated information.

Moderator: Doctors, for the few users that haven't seen your books, where can they find them?

Dr. Heller: If they can't find them in the biggest bookstores around the country, they can ask the managers of the store to order it for them, or go to


Dr. Heller: And, if they go to the bottom of the page, they'll see the link to the book page and they're sold at discount .. some at 50% off.

JennM_WebMD Why is cheese CM friendly, but milk is not? Not questioning your wisdom, just asking about the science :o)

Dr. Heller: (laughs) I like the way that was asked!

Dr. Heller: Because God made the cheese and milk and we didn't, milk is high in lactose which is milk sugar, and in the process of making cheese, there is virtually no sugar in it.

Dr. Heller: Milk has up to 12 grams of carbs per glass and cheese has virtually none.

Dr. Heller: I wish I could make chocolate non-fattening!

Dr. Heller: (laughs)

slimsoon_WebMD Does having too much carb at rm (within 1 hour) trigger addiction or just slow weight loss?

Dr. Heller: Absolutely!

Dr. Heller: Wonderful question.

Dr. Heller: One of the most important things in the program is to have a balanced reward meal .. in some, it will trigger cravings, in others it will slow the weight loss, but it will always lead you down the road to problems. If you think you can get away with not a balanced reward meal, you're fooling yourself and in the end it'll grab you and shake you and you'll have lost your program before you know it, so please keep it balanced.

marcr1_WebMD question Do you have data on circulating insulin levels in patients on your diets?

Dr. Heller: Yes, that is the basis of our book and work, and 10 years of work at Mt. Sinai school of Medicine in NY.

Dr. Heller: There is a phenomenon which we love called 'The Heller Factor' and we did not name it. People who are addicted have lower levels of blood sugar and become hypoglycemic after they've eaten a high carb meal. This is a drop in blood sugar because of high insulin levels .. some have dropped their insulin levels as much as 1/3rd. Also, people that smell food can release insulin into the body, and yes that's been measured. So, yes we have data.

Moderator: Here's another question from one of our users, BarbieJ...

BarbieJ_WebMD I would like to know if the Drs. Heller are going to write a book specifically for diabetics.

Dr. Heller: That's funny, because we are considering working with someone in the area of diabetes to develop a program.

Dr. Heller: We're right now working on it and it has been tested and we believe it's needed. We're not sure where or when it'll be published, but we hear the need. We have other projects that are primary and need to be finished first. But, if you're a Type II Diabetic and you're working with your physician any of our other books will be helpful.

jen123_WebMD Can too much sugar (&AS) cause panic attacks?

Dr. Heller: Oh yes. We'll tell you how that happens in both addicts and non-addicts, when you're eating too much sugar, the body releases too much insulin, which helps take the sugar to other parts of the body, but in an overload, it stores it into the blood fat and there's a surge and a drop, with the drop, there's a release of adrenalin. Your heartbeat will become rapid and you'll have a panic attack .. in children, especially young boys, it's seen as hyperactivity.

NiteBreez_WebMD Are there any ongoing studies into using your programs during pregnancy and lactation?

Dr. Heller: We cannot condone using any program on pregnant women because they're not experimental animals. So, it's important to attest to the safety and validity of that program for anyone who has one as far as pregnant women are concerned. But, we can't condone the use of any special diet during pregnancy, we can help you take it off after after pregnancy.

Billy_de_WebMD What are some tips for travellers who are trying to diet?

Dr. Heller: Okay, Richard and I whitewater raft and scuba and climb mountains. With good planning, the program can work well.

Dr. Heller: If you're on an airplane, call ahead and ask for the cold seafood platter.

Dr. Heller: We bring extra goodies, like extra salad and extra dessert.

Dr. Heller: You can, at any restaurant, including fast food places, get a piece of grilled chicken and a salad.

Dr. Heller: If you're going to be crossing time zones, in a plane for 12 hours and your whole night/day is altered, we recommend you figure out the timing and still keep one reward meal for each sleep period and low carb meals in between.

Dr. Heller: Make a plan up!

Dr. Heller: Don't expect to figure it out as you go. .... plan as though you have a baby with you and you have to prepare for him/her.

vic44_WebMD If I take in too much protein, is there a risk of damaging my kidneys?

Dr. Heller: First of all, you won't be taking too much protein on our program, but if you do take too much, yes there is the possibility of kidney damage. But, it should be a balanced program of protein, high fiber vegetables, and if you're eating the right program, you shouldn't be so hungry.

Dr. Heller: Our programs are not low-carb programs, they are smart carb programs where you eat them, but not all day. Our program is carb smart and you will have your carbos everyday.

BarbieJ_WebMD BarbieJ here..please put a book specifically for diabetics out... so far CALP has helped me so much I am type 2

Dr. Heller: That's wonderful!

Dr. Heller: Ask her ... you can write to us via our publisher, but we hear the desire for the diabetes book and my grandfather suffered from it, and I was an adult onset diabetic on medication when I started this program. Work with your physician and you'll have the basic program that you need ....

Dr. Heller: We want to get you started, you deserve it!

GingerPennell_WebMD What happens if you follow the diet and get stuck on a plateau?

Dr. Heller: If you get stuck, you have to go back and look at what you're doing, carbo addicts all like to drift! There are other areas to look into as well.

Dr. Heller: Do we have something for you

Dr. Heller:  If you go to .. and see the links at the bottom, you'll see FAQ's and find a whole array of points and links to help you with glutamates to artificial sweeteners ... all about plateaus and how to break them.

Dr. Heller: So, we've got lots of help there for you folks!

curlylocks1_WebMD Does this way of eating help with ADD? How?

Dr. Heller: Yes, in our Carbohydrate Addicted Kids book, we deal with kids with ADD, etc. And, when the problem comes from blood sugar swings, it can be helped with our program. One is a program that the kid doesn't even know that he or she is on, and the other is a jump start program. So, the child can get started right away.

bev002_WebMD I would like to be able to start taking Glucosamine once again for my painful knee and back. Do you recommend this? And if so, when should I take it?

Dr. Heller: Nobody's gonna wanna hear this, but we have seen more people have problems with Glucosamine ... in our experience, the carbo addicts have shown that they gain weight, get more addicted and several have gone on to becoming adult onset diabetic. In our experience, it has been a problem with this and we think it might come out in the future.

Dr. Heller: It makes the addict less able to handle the carbos and we've had it reverse when we take it off.

RDozer_WebMD Do you find it difficult to manage your professional lives and personal time with each other?

Dr. Heller: No! Because no matter what's going on ... and we do get up at 5am sometimes, by 10 or 11pm, we will sit down and read to each other, pick up our banjos and make sure we have a quality of life that goes with our professional lives as well.

Dr. Heller: We do take time off to go white water rafting, scuba diving and caving.

Dr. Heller: There are two important threads that run through our lives, the big pieces ... number one, both of us really respect each other's minds, so we listen to each other to learn and not prove that we're right.

Dr. Heller: We also have a shared mission and that we've been given a gift out of our problems, and to have someone to share a mission with has got to be the most wonderful blessing in the world!

Moderator: It is indeed wonderful... the whole world knows you are going on a vacation soon. As a carbohydrate addict, give us some clues as to the types of snacks you'll be taking on the plane...

Dr. Heller: Yes! Yes. Well, on the flight from LA to Australia, we'll pack little ziplocks with low carb veggies, take things that we know we won't get on the plane and try to order special meals to meet our needs.

Dr. Heller: And, we also take fresh boiled shrimp, that's our first snack.

Dr. Heller: We'll take cheese as well and some meat that will stay without refrigeration for another few hours, finally we'll have our reward meal.

Moderator: Will you be able to have whatever they serve on the plane as a reward meal?

Dr. Heller: No! I always supplement it, that's never good enough! We have cold asparagus, salad and extra meat or chicken.

Dr. Heller: And, for dessert, there's probably a Cinnabon waiting for us at the end!

Dr. Heller: It's pure pleasure!

Moderator: You bring up the dessert. Can you clarify the reward meal within one hour a day?

Dr. Heller: The reward meal in one hour a day ..the reason for that is because insulin is released within 1-2 minutes of food in your mouth and then 75 minutes later more is released.

Dr. Heller: 1/3rd of the plate will be carbo rich foods, 1/3 is protein and 1/3 is vegetables, but before that you have to have a low carbo salad .. eat towards the carbos ... have your salad, then have veggies and meat and then move towards the carbos.

Dr. Heller: You know, some say 'how can you cook without tasting?'

Moderator: I might mention to the users that when we were doing the cooking portion, our photographer tried to tempt them with the carbohydrate foods, and they were very careful to wait until the reward meal hour.

Dr. Heller: When you taste all the time, you stop eating the food and you start feeding yourself, but you eventually get used to just smelling the food.

slimsoon_WebMD Do you have any views on STEVIA-natural 0 carb sweetener from plant source?

Dr. Heller: Yes, we do and we know that it's been said to not release insulin, we can only tell you our experience, and that is that anything that's sweet will cause the body to release insulin. if they are enjoyed or consumed other than at the reward meal, the body will produce insulin, you'll be in fat making mode.

Dr. Heller: When it's sweetness on the tongue, the pancreas gets the message to release insulin. The way to think of it, is if it's going to make saliva be produced, it will release insulin.

BarbieJ_WebMD BarbieJ here Does it make weight loss slower because I am injecting insulin?

Dr. Heller: Yes, if you are injecting, your body is out of balance with regard to the normal way your body handles insulin. And, if you do it on the same site of the body day after day, fat cells will begin to form. But, you need to do that, if you lose weight slowly, it's not your fault. We've had people come off of injectable insulin in a matter of weeks! With your physician's help.

ixllive In the Pumpkin Soup recipe, did you use light or dark brown sugar?

Dr. Heller: We used light brown sugar simply because it flows more easily ... I'm almost sure to get too much dark brown sugar in there cause it gets too lumpy and packed in.

Moderator: I want to thank all of our users at WebMD LIve, and Drs Richard and Rachael Heller for joining us today, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Dr. Heller: Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy it. Be your own sweetheart, too.

Moderator: Have Fun in Australia...good night

Dr. Heller: We will, thank you! Goodnight.

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