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Fads Are Bad 

Health and fitness guru Mackie Shilstone debuts in Gambit Weekly and offers advice about how to achieve lasting health.

Fad diets come and go, but those who successfully maintain a good weight and healthy physique do it the old-fashioned way: a balanced diet and exercise, says fitness and nutrition expert Mackie Shilstone.

Shilstone, known nationally as a top sports performance manager, bestselling author and media personality, and a fitness expert to the masses, this week premieres a new monthly health column in Gambit Weekly. In "The Mackie Report," Shilstone will give tips and health information that readers can incorporate into their daily lives.

His method for fitness doesn't include weight loss pills that promise a smaller body without exercise, or diets that tout high-protein intake at the expense of other valuable food groups. Rather, Shilstone suggests "an eating plan for the world" that would include moderate carbohydrate intake and a low consumption of saturated fats. All diets, he says, should be cleared through a doctor first.

"For the general population out there, we know the people who live the longest come from the Mediterranean world," he says, and their diets include monounsaturated fats, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. "The lower carbohydrate diet is not really something people can stay on the rest of their life. It's doomed to failure." Plus, that eating pattern is detrimental to the intestinal track and generally is boring, he says.

Shilstone is perhaps best known for the impressive results he has garnered with professional athletes such as Michael Spinks, who went on to win the world heavyweight boxing title against Larry Holmes; San Francisco Giants baseball star Darryl Strawberry; St. Louis Cardinal Ozzie Smith; athlete-actor Chuck Norris; and almost a thousand other sports figures. His national presence increased with a (favorable) appearance on a 48 Hours exposé on the diet industry.

Emphasizing that he never wanted to be known as a diet author, Shilstone says his ultimate goal is to decrease diabetes and cardiovascular disease. "Ninety percent of all heart disease is preventable," he says. "We're truly driven on our eating plan off of our lifestyles and stress. It's not so much what we're eating, as how and when."

Smaller meals eaten more frequently probably could reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease, he says, and when combined with regular exercise "people would live to the life expectancy that we're expected to."

Among Shilstone's current projects is the upcoming book Staying in the Game of Life. "You have to find something you can stick with the rest of your life," Shilstone says. "If not, you will keep losing the same five pounds, and it will shorten your life. Unlike drug addiction, where you have to quit cold turkey, you can't do that with food. It's the one addiction you can't get away from; you have to learn to make it work for you."

In addition to his Gambit Weekly column, Shilstone is a regular on WWL-TV's Morning Show with Meg Ferris, and has a weekday call-in radio program, The Mackie Shilstone Show, on WSMB-AM as well as Mackie's Health Minute, heard twice a day on WWL radio. He is the sports medicine coordinator for the New Orleans Brass hockey team and is chairman of the Mayor's Advisory Board on Physical Fitness for the city of New Orleans. He also is executive director of Ochsner's Center for Performance Enhancement and Lifestyle Management at the Elmwood Fitness Center, a clinical instructor of public health and preventative medicine at Louisiana State University, a special advisor to the U.S. Olympic Committee, and a member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

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