Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Can I Lose Weight?

A full two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Another two-thirds will eventually die from a “metabolic” disease, caused by diet. The American government has been telling us to eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for the last 50 years, but in spite of this, disease rates are climbing astronomically. How is this possible?

It is an established fact in nutrition and physiology that there are many hormones that cause lipolysis (fat breakdown) in fat tissue, but only ONE hormone that causes triglyceride formation (fat storage) and that hormone is insulin. It is also an established fact that the only food source that causes insulin to be released by the pancreas is carbohydrates. (Amino acids also cause a small amount of insulin release, perhaps because the body can create glucose from amino acids if there is no glucose present in the diet.)

So, only carbohydrates cause insulin release, and only insulin causes fat storage. It blows my mind in my nutrition classes every day that these two facts are so well known, yet the connection is never made that only the consumption of carbohydrates causes fat storage. The body is literally unable to store fat without the presence of carbohydrates in the diet. There are studies done where people ate an excess of 3,000-4,000 calories a day of only animal foods and STILL LOST WEIGHT.

Basically Atkins was right, he just didn’t have the science to back up his experience. He reported that his success rate with weight loss was about 99%. Most people that switch to a very-low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD) can expect to lose 10 pounds in the first week or two, which is initially mostly water weight. My physiology textbook tells us that the consumption of carbohydrates causes the retention of sodium and water. So most of us are carrying around an extra 10 pounds or so of extra water weight. After this water weight, depending on how much weight you have to lose, one can lose 5-10 pounds A WEEK by simply cutting carbohydrates.

Why can some people eat more food and stay thin? Why do some people struggle to keep weight on, while other people only need to smell food and they gain weight? Because obesity is a hormonal condition – and different people have varying abilities to digest carbohydrates and then use the glucose as fuel. Overweight people are simply storing their food as fat rather than using it as fuel. Its not that we eat too much and get fat, it is that WE STORE FAT, THEN WE EAT MORE FOOD. We have the cause and effect backwards, which is a common problem in medical and scientific theory. Ad hoc, ergo proctor hoc. Correlation does not infer causation – just because two things are related does not mean one causes the other, it is possible that they are both caused by another factor, which is the case here. The formation of fat tissue, and the increased eating that usually follows, are both caused by the excessive consumption of carbohydrates.

So there is nothing to feel guilty about. It is not a moral issue. Fat people usually eat less than thin people, but their bodies continually store the food rather than using it for activity. Studies have shown that thin people also have a slightly higher body temperature at times, indicating that their bodies simply release extra food energy as heat, or even create the motivation for increased activity – overweight people often report feeling lethargic, this is because their bodies are short on fuel because their food is being stored. 

And exercise? Well, it’s only effective because it burns off excess blood glucose or glycogen (stored glucose). You end up with the same exact effect if you don’t eat the carbs and don’t do the exercise.  In fact, there is pretty good evidence that cardio activity is actually hard on your heart and contributes to higher rates of heart problems. If you’re going to eat carbs, do it right before you exercise, and choose a low-impact activity like weight-lifting or yoga.

So what foods should I avoid? Anything that contains carbohydrates, including fruit (berries aren’t so bad, they’re pretty low in sugar), fruit juice, sugar, honey, agave, all foods that contain flour or grains like bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, etc. If you have a couple servings of carbohydrates a day the best ones are berries, a little white rice (rice crackers, rice pasta), a little potato, or a small amount of some sweetener. If you are already pre-diabetic, it is probably better to eat the carbs with some fat and protein in order to slow the increase in blood sugar, but if you are solely trying to lose a few pounds, it is better to eat the carbs on their own, preferably before getting some exercise.

And what else can I eat? Basically if it came from an animal, eat up. Bacon, eggs with yolks, cream, cheese, all meats – especially ruminents like cows and bison, full fat unsweetened yogurt, greens, and berries. I will explain in a future post why our medical community and government think that fat causes disease, but fat is not the problem. Carbohydrates are the sole cause of obesity and metabolic diseases that most people die from, so don’t worry that you are being unhealthy in anyway by eating loads of animal fat. I recommend 5 pieces of bacon a day, 3 or more eggs, lots of cheese and/or yogurt every day, meat at every meal, and heavy cream instead of milk.

Meal ideas: Taco salad with meat, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole; meaty spaghetti with a few rice pasta noodles (they are even better than regular wheat pasta without the harmful gluten proteins) or even better, spaghetti squash baked in the oven; pot roast with celery, onion, garlic, and a couple potatoes; shepard’s pie heavy on the meat and cream, light on the mashed potatoes; sausage with sauerkraut and greens sauted in bacon fat. And for dessert – egg custard or panna cotta made with stevia, almond flour cookies, or a small amount of dark chocolate – really any flourless dessert can easily be made at home with stevia or else a quarter of the sugar that the recipe usually calls for. You will adjust to less sugar, and regular desserts will start to taste sickeningly sweet.

It’s so exciting to watch the pounds fall away! I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  You get to be full all the time and eat all day long! Fat doesn’t make you fat, carbohydrates do!

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