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Fighting Fat

By Dr. Victor Gong, Medical Director of 75th St. & 126th St. Medical, Ocean Pines Medical & Doctors Weight Control & Wellness centers, Ocean City, MD.

When weight control is your goal, it's easier and healthier to follow a low-fat diet indefinitely than to restrict calorie intake forever.

Two recent studies support the theory that dietary fat is the key to controlling extra fat on your body.

  • First Study:

    When investigators compared the diets of lean versus obese volunteers, they found no significant differences in calorie intake or total sugar intake. However, dietary fat intake did vary: Obese men had diets with 33% fat versus lean men with 29% fat. Also, fiber intake was lower among the obese participants while intake of added sugar was higher.

  • Second Study:

    Researchers watched the weight-loss progress of 2 groups of obese women-half on a calorie restricted diet and the other half on a fat-restricted diet. At the end of 6 months, the women in both groups lost comparable amounts - an average of 8 to 10 pounds each. But six months later, the calorie-restricted eaters had managed to keep off only 20% of the weight while the fat-restricted eaters had kept off 50% and enjoyed their food more.

The researchers in both studies suggested that cutting back on fat and filling up on complex carbohydrate foods – fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, cereals and breads – can help you trim down and perhaps lower your rise of certain diseases without ever going hungry.

15 Painless Ways To Cut Fat

To slenderize your meals, adopt some new eating habits:

  1. Use nonstick pans or vegetable sprays when cooking.
  2. Pick pretzels over potato chips.
  3. Order vegetarian pizza and ask for half the cheese.
  4. Choose 2 fig bars instead of fruit pie.
  5. Spread your bread or bagel with jam instead of butter or margarine.
  6. Baste, marinate or saute with juice or stock, not oil.
  7. Use herbs and spices to flavor meats and vegetables instead of oil, butter or margarine.
  8. For homemade salad dressings, try mustard as a thickener, not oil.
  9. Try ground turkey breast in spaghetti sauce rather than ground beef.
  10. Halve the oil called for in recipes.
  11. Choose lean cuts of meat labeled "loin" (tenderloin, sirloin) and "round" (round roast, eye round).
  12. Enjoy a slice of fruit or scoop of sorbet for dessert.
  13. Order fast food sandwiches without added spreads and cheese.
  14. Try fat-free mayonnaise, salad dressing, sour "cream" and "cream" cheese.
  15. Use a rack to drain off fat when broiling or roasting foods.

Your taste perception will adjust to lighter, lower-fat meals, but not overnight. Nutritionists say it can take 6 to 8 weeks for you to feel fully satisfied, from a flavor aspect, with your new diet. Give it a chance!

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