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We're a little crazy, about science!

Science Fact and Fiction behind Fat Loss

weight loss

Do you have some of that unwanted belly fat? Do you get nervous that you will exceed the weight limit in an elevator? Do you want to eat everything in sight, but still lose the weight? Too bad, that is marketing, not science and if you want to lose the weight science can help, not so much the guy talking on the screen.

Let’s face it weight loss ads are everywhere, I’ve already seen two just typing this little bit thanks to a TV in the room. With all the new diet trends, fad diets, and diet pills that are “clinically proven to work”*, you never know what to trust and where to go.

*Statements about this drug are totally BS but the FDA will still let us say it anyway.

Personally, I think the problem is no one is ever taught how or what to eat, just the edict of eating [which is unfortunate that not everyone learns this] and what your parents teach you about food [if anything]. The side effect of this of course would then be the obesity epidemic. A second side effect is the horrible weight loss ads that come on every 5 minutes.

First, let’s simplify the issue, since there are probably hundreds of reasons why people are gaining weight faster than the U.S. budget deficit. Reasons can range, anything from gut microbe diversity, eating 3+ meals a day from a drive through, genetics, hormones, stress, or epigenetics can be contributing to the issue. For simplicity we will limit this discussion to things you can control today, genetic factors, and microbe diversity aside, there are still things you can do if you want to lose the pounds.

The Myths

You cannot eat whatever you want, no matter what you take. Some of those “fat blocking” medications, besides being horribly regulated by the FDA [see: not regulated at all], you still have side effects from them, like a pretty thing called anal leakage…seriously. Go ahead giggle; I’ll be here when you get back.

The hCG diet, possibly one of the worst fad diets I’ve ever heard about. It involves taking a “natural” booster supplement that boosts hCG [a hormone commonly attributed to pregnancy and one that pregnancy tests look for], but that’s not all, it involves a 500 calorie diet.

Besides the fact that nothing will naturally boost hCG, and the fact that hCG does nothing for dieting, you need to be on a 500-calorie diet for it to “work.” For comparison, the Minnesota starvation study was done on roughly 1500 calories and was to simulate the conditions of the victims of the holocaust. During the study, one person went [a little] crazy, cut off three of his fingers with an axe, and was “unsure” if he did it intentionally. So please stay away from that one, please, for me?

Adkins, ain’t nothing wrong with that if you love meat and hate grains. Really, that is all to say about that one, if bacon is better than bread and you never want that ice cream again; it might be a good choice.

The Facts

Fat does not make you fat, carbs do not make you fat, and protein does not make you fat, overeating [as in chronically taking in more calories than you use] makes you fat. Fat is not even a bad thing, its energy storage for when you really need it. Unfortunately, with the easy abundance of food in today’s society we do not really need a whole lot of storage.

The key to any successful diet is to make small meaningful changes that you can do for the rest of your life [so does Akins sound like something you want to do for life?]. After all, if you were at an undesirable weight now because of the way you eat, why would that change if you go back to that after. Sad news I know.

So what makes a person fat, typically [assuming no health issues] the culprit will be insulin, insulin is for this discussion a “storage hormone,” it will shut down the body’s fat burning machinery and force things into storage. Insulin’s polar opposite is glucagon; glucagon’s job is to raise blood sugar so it dumps that storage into the bloodstream.

Glucagon has a lot of different health issues associated with it; this is because when you take in a ton of sugar. For example, your blood sugar will shoot upward, when this happens your body pumps out insulin and those sugars are thrown into storage [the muscles, liver and adipose tissue, or fat]. When you spike your blood glucose, like that however your body is quick to try to adjust and it will overshoot dipping your blood sugar too low. When that happens Glucagon steps in and dumps sugar and slowly but surely your body will hit homeostasis.

[Loony Hint: Your blood sugar will sit between 70-100 ish the lower end of that is better but anything in between that is normal, under 60 ish and you will start to feel it, over 200 ish and you will start to feel it as well]

That is actually, what Akins is based on, keeping insulin low to help weight loss. Nevertheless, doing that long term is not sustainable. So then comes the question what do you do.

Fiber, I know, in today’s society fiber is that other bad F word. However, fiber is the key to having your cake and your waistline too. How does fiber manage that, well fiber is not digestible, it is a carbohydrate and despite popular belief it is not calorie free [neither is calorie free drinks FYI]. However, that does not matter, what it does is slows digestion [amongst other health benefits].

Why is that important? Well slowing digestion lowers the insulin spike brought on by sugars. What ends up happening is the area under the curve stays the same, but the length is longer [which, if I lost you at area under the curve, forget about it, it is not important]. This keeps evil insulin and glucagon at bay when your body tries to return to homeostasis.

There are two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble, the difference is what they do in water. Fiber that is soluble will dissolve in water, insoluble will not. You want to take in a few grams of insoluble fiber before your big meal or sweets and it will help keep that insulin spike to a minimum meaning your body will not shut down its so-called fat burning machinery.

There are supplements that provide insoluble fiber, there are “fiber bars,” there are many options to fit your lifestyle. Include that [which an added benefit is it will help you feel full] with a good exercise regimen and a sensible diet, and you will see marked weight loss.

[Loony hint: Calorie counting is good, but counting the ratio between fat/protein/carbs is better. For 99% of people just eating semi sensibly and counting calories will be more than enough. The point is something sustainable that can be done long term.]

One final answer, how much weight loss is good and how much is too much. First, there is no “too little” option, but you should shoot for between one and 2 pounds a week at most adjust calories to reflect this weight loss weekly. Too much weight lost, you should increase calories, too little, and you should decrease calories. Please, no biggest loser style 40 pounds in a week things, which is not healthy, safe, sane, or sustainable. Once you hit your goal weight, increase your calories slightly, and live life.

Better yet just enjoy life now; sometimes people want to lose weight for all the wrong reasons that is never healthy either. Do not focus on the scale or a number, you will weigh less on the moon, or mars anyway, just be happy with what you see in the mirror, not what other people are seeing, but what you are seeing or even better, how you are feeling.

Want more information? Well I would normally post links here but there were so many you should probably just look through my sources if you don’t see the information you were looking for. Or hey just ask in the comment section and I will help you find the answers, it is after all what I am here for!

Any other tips or questions?

Want Part 2? You can find that —here!

Sources:
Bahadori B., McCarty M.F., Barroso-Aranda J., Gustin J.C. & Contreras F. (2009). A “mini-fast with exercise” protocol for fat loss, Medical Hypotheses, 73 (4) 619-622. DOI:

Aleixandre A. & Miguel M. (2008). Dietary Fiber in the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome: A Review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48 (10) 905-912. DOI:

Peiris A.N. (1992). Body fat distribution and peripheral insulin sensitivity in healthy men: role of insulin pulsatility, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 75 (1) 290-294. DOI:

Pawlak D.B., Brand-Miller J.C., Denyer G.S. & Bryson J.M. (2001). High Glycemic Index Starch Promotes Hypersecretion of Insulin and Higher Body Fat in Rats without Affecting Insulin Sensitivity, The Journal of Nutrition , 131 (1) DOI:

Pittas A.G., Das S.K., Hajduk C.L., Golden J., Saltzman E., Stark P.C., Greenberg A.S. & Roberts S.B. (2005). A Low-Glycemic Load Diet Facilitates Greater Weight Loss in Overweight Adults With High Insulin Secretion but Not in Overweight Adults With Low Insulin Secretion in the CALERIE Trial, Diabetes Care, 28 (12) 2939-2941. DOI:

O’Keefe J.H., Gheewala N.M. & O’Keefe J.O. (2008). Dietary Strategies for Improving Post-Prandial Glucose, Lipids, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Health, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51 (3) 249-255. DOI:

Foltran F., Verduci E., Ghidina M., Campoy C., Jany K.D., Widhalm K., Biasucci G., Vogele C., Halpern G. & Gregori D. & (2010). Nutritional Profiles in a Public Health Perspective: A Critical Review, Journal of International Medical Research, 38 (2) 318-385. DOI:

Stamper I.J. & Wang X. (2013). Mathematical modeling of insulin secretion and the role of glucose-dependent mobilization, docking, priming and fusion of insulin granules, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 318 210-225. DOI:

Ishøy P.L., Knop F.K., Vilsbøll T., Glenthøj B.Y. & Ebdrup B.H. (2013). Sustained Weight Loss After Treatment With a Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist in an Obese Patient With Schizophrenia and Type 2 Diabetes, American Journal of Psychiatry, 170 (6) 681. DOI:

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5 responses

  1. I take fiber and I’m not losing weight … oh well, you still love me. Question: what do you mean cal free drinks aren’t cal free???

    May 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    • You’re taking fiber for other health reasons, not that it won’t have the same insulin benefits, which you want anyway since you are potentially pre diabetic anyway.

      As far as calorie free drinks, the artificial sugars get broken down in the digestive processes and release an admittedly small amount of energy [calories]. But they can label them calorie free because of the way the FDA regulates it.

      May 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

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