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Functional Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine: Getting To the Root Cause

On today's episode of the Harmony with Food Radio Show, I talk about the difference between conventional and functional medicine, and 3 hormones that affect your weight.

Conventional vs. Functional Medicine

On today's radio show, I played a few clips from Dr. Mark Hyman, an MD turned functional medicine doctor to talk about the differences in how he practices medicine now. In conventional medicine, you usually come in with a problem: say, you have chronic diarrhea. Your doctor will run some tests and possibly do a colonoscopy and endoscopy to diagnose you.

This can go one of two ways: one, your doctor finds an issue and diagnoses you with something like Chron's or Ulcerative Colitis and starts you on medication that you may have to take for life. Or, they don't find anything and aren't able to provide you with any solutions.

When you visit a functional medicine professional, they focus less on diagnosis and medication, and more on finding the root cause. For example, as a functional nutritionist, I run tests with microarray technology on my patients to help find what is causing their issues. In this case, I may find that the cause of their chronic diarrhea is a food intolerance, an imbalance of their gut bacteria, or a number of other things.

Once I know the root cause of the problem, I can treat it (usually using natural methods) and get you back to feeling better.

3 Hormones That Affect Your Weight: Ghrelin, Leptin, and Insulin

If you feel like you've been trying everything but still can't lose weight, these three hormones may be contributing. That is why I am always saying you have to get to the root cause!


Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced in the gut and helps to regulate your appetite. If your ghrelin is high, it can increase your appetite and desire to eat.


Leptin is a peptide hormone that is produced by fat cells. It interacts with the areas of the brain that control hunger and eating behaviors. Its role is to help maintain the body's weight.

When leptin levels go up, your hunger should decrease. Leptin levels can decrease with low-calorie dieting or excessive exercise. When you lose body fat, your leptin levels decrease, which signals your body to think it is starving. This makes you hungry and can lead to overeating. This is a big reason that people often wind up gaining back more weight than they lost when stuck in a cycle of dieting.


Insulin is a hormone that is produced by our pancreas. It helps control blood sugar levels by converting food into energy. When someone has Diabetes, the isolate cells of the pancreas aren't functioning correctly. That means it is either making too little insulin or your body can't use the insulin that is being made, leaving your blood sugar uncontrolled.

These three hormones all play a role in our appetites and our ability to lose weight.

4 Ways to Work With Me

If you're interested in working with me, I have a few different options available depending on your goals and budget.

  • BioUnique Boutique - If you want to get testing done to get to the root cause of your health problems, the BioUnique Boutique is the best place to start. Click HERE to schedule a free 45-minute call with me to determine which tests are right for you.

  • 1:1 Consultation - Right now, I do telemedicine consultations. I accept Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, and I also accept HSAs and FSAs. If you're interested in a 1:1 consultation, click HERE to schedule a free 45-minute call with me so we can determine the best way to work together.

  • Your Diet Do Over - This is my signature 6-week course that will help transform your relationship with food. Click HERE to learn more and use the code RADIOMEG for $100 off the course price.

  • Harmony Within Monthly Membership - In my monthly membership, you'll get two 45-minute group Zoom calls with me each month, plus a wealth of knowledge from multiple experts. Click HERE for details.

Episode Transcript


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