'Refuel' program could help men shed fat, build muscle

Friday, August 1, 2014
'Refuel' program could help men get healthy
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The so-called 'Refuel' program could help men shed fat, build muscle and increase testosterone.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Dr. John La Puma, the author of "Refuel," says American men are in bad shape.

"If you look at the data, men are really sick and need help," he said. "They die five years earlier than women, they get double the heart attacks before the age of 64, 92 percent of workplace deaths, four times the suicide rate, diabetes before women."

Yet these stats can change if guys learn to reboot their lifestyle. Outlined in his 24-day Refuel program, Dr. La Puma claims they can shed fat, pump up strength and boost testosterone.

"One of the key factors in the book is the notion that you can't out-exercise your intake," said Dan Cashdan of Westlake Village.

Cashdan travels overseas for work. He took the book on a March trip, came home and got to the program. He cut down on sugar and processed food, while beefing up produce intake. Then he took baby steps into exercise.

"As a younger person, you think maybe the Olympics is still for me. But at 53, you realize that it's not, and yet 5 or 10 minutes, or maybe 20 minutes, of a run and then some push-ups or some other type of resistance really does work," said Cashdan.

No slave to the scale, he estimates a 25-pound weight loss and 5 inches off his waist.

The extra weight men carry is a bigger challenge than most realize. A bad diet and weight gain can affect testosterone levels, which affects mood, sleep, libido and can set you up for a host of serious diseases. But Dr. La Puma says your food choices can actually play a role.

"Men store fat biologically around their waist inside. It's actually an estrogen factory," said Dr. La Puma. "Men's fat cells convert the testosterone that their testes make into estrogen."

The result is an increase in weight, depression and diminishing sex drive. But his Stanford pilot study found the average man on his program lost 11 pounds in 24 days, 3 inches off the waist, with 75 percent increase in strength and stamina, plus a boost in sex drive.

Dan's wife, Allysin Cashdan, loves the concept. She put the whole family on the Refuel program, making extra effort in shopping for foods that her husband was interested in trying in lieu of the processed foods he used to eat.

"So you do have to do it together and actually, I've actually lost a lot of my muffin top as well," she said.