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Exercise 'not key to obesity fight'

Physical activity has little role in tackling obesity - and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating, doctors say.

In an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three international experts said it was time to "bust the myth" about exercise.

They said while activity was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal.

Instead excess sugar and carbohydrates were key.

The experts, including London cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, blamed the food industry for encouraging the belief that exercise could counteract the impact of unhealthy eating.

An obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat less

Dr Aseem Malhotra, Cardiologist

They even likened their tactics as "chillingly similar" to those of Big Tobacco on smoking and said celebratory endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food and sport must end.

They said there was evidence that up to 40% of those within a normal weight range will still harbour harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity.

But despite this public health messaging had "unhelpfully" focused on maintaining a healthy weight through calorie counting when it was the source of calories that mattered most - research has shown that diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed compared to fat calories.

And they pointed to evidence from the Lancet global burden of disease programme which shows that unhealthy eating was linked to more ill health than physical activity, alcohol and smoking combined.

'Unscientific'

Dr Malhotra said: "An obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat less. My biggest concern is that the messaging that is coming to the public suggests you can eat what you like as long as you exercise.

"That is unscientific and wrong. You cannot outrun a bad diet."

But others said it was risky to play down the role of exercise. Prof Mark Baker, of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which recommends "well-balanced diets combined with physical activity", said it would be "idiotic" to rule out the importance of physical activity.

Ian Wright, director general at Food and Drink Federation, said: "The benefits of physical activity aren't food industry hype or conspiracy, as suggested. A healthy lifestyle will include both a balanced diet and exercise."

He said the industry was encouraging a balanced diet by voluntarily providing clear on-pack nutrition information and offering products with extra nutrients and less salt, sugar and fat.

"This article appears to undermine the origins of the evidence-based government public health advice, which must surely be confusing for consumers," he said.

Read more here: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32417699

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Brain Can Command Fat Burning Through Hormonal Messages

Research and innovations are in full swing to find ways to prevent overweight and obesity from growing as major threats to healthy living. A study by scientists of Monash University, Melbourne might just prove to be path-breaking in this regard. The study that can potentially open new avenues in prevention and management of obesity involves the action of two well-known hormones that have crucial functions metabolic pathways – leptin and insulin.

A deeper look into the study would demand an introduction into two types of fat tissues in the body – White and Brown. White Fat constitutes a large percentage of overall body fat and mainly acts in energy storage and release of hormones. Brown Fat, on the other hand, constitutes only a much lesser percentage of overall body fat and is instrumental in burning calories (higher quantities are observed in lean people and children). The research done by the scientists from Monash University is shedding light into a fat regulatory mechanism involving the brain that can change white fat into brown.

This unique regulatory mechanism demonstrates a synchronized action of leptin, a hormone created by fat cells that can suppress hunger; and insulin, the well-known regulator of blood glucose in the blood stream. The presence of both the hormones in the bloodstream would inform the brain through neurons (Proopiomelanocortin or POMC in this case) about the current and future fat scenario in the body. More leptin indicates more fat; and more insulin means more glucose, that would in turn mean the chance of more fat to be produced in the future.

Another key player in this ‘showy’ back-n-forth is the group of enzymes called phosphatases. The main function of these enzymes is to inhibit the functions of leptin and insulin. Thus reduced levels of phosphatases would also mean better fat burning. The consequence of all these actions in tandem is our centerpiece – the brain’s response by sending commands to convert white fat to brown fat.

In normal cases this pathway is instrumental in maintaining body weight, but goes haywire in people who havediet-induced obesity. Can we use this information already to treat obesity? Though a systematic treatment method or therapy coming out of this study is a long shot, it is quite promising to base further research on these two hormones, which can give groundbreaking insights in obesity research.

Photo: Reigh LeBlanc

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Cravings? Leptin to Blame!

Ever had trouble sticking to a diet?

Crave (junk) foods?

Overweight?

Want to snack, especially at night?

These are all indications that you could have some Leptin issues. Leptin is a master hormone in the body that controls hunger and feelings of satiety. Leptin is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue, so the more overweight a person is, typically, the higher his leptin levels.

According to Mark’s Daily Apple: “Leptin is the lookout hormone – the gatekeeper of fat metabolism, monitoring how much energy an organism takes in. It surveys and maintains the energy balance in the body, and it regulates hunger via three pathways:

  • By counteracting the effects of neuropeptide Y, a potent feeding stimulant secreted by the hypothalamus and certain gut cells.
  • By counteracting the effects of anandamide, another feeding stimulant.
  • By promoting the production of a-MSH, an appetite suppressant.”

It is also directly tied to insulin levels. Many people these days are Leptin resistant and there are many health problems tied to this problem. High leptin levels have been tied to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke, as well as blood sugar related problems.

High levels of Leptin and the accompanying leptin resistance can also decrease fertility, age you more quickly and contribute to obesity. If you’re trying to lose weight or improve a health problem, chances are you have Leptin resistance. If you can’t seem to stick to health changes, chances are you have Leptin resistance.

In other words, if you want to make lasting health changes or lose weight and keep it off, you have to fix your leptin. The good news is: if you’ve failed at diets or health changes in the past, it was likely because you failed to regulate your Leptin levels and doing so can help you finally make lasting changes. Leptin resistance and its related problems are a complex problem involving the endocrine system and reversing them requires more than simple calorie restriction or will power.

The Downward Spiral

Leptin is the satiety hormone produced by fat cells, so it would seem logical that those with more fat cells would produce more Leptin, which would signal the body to eat less food and weight would normalize. This over-simplified idea is great in theory, but doesn’t always occur, especially in those with damaged metabolisms or endocrine problems (which includes most overweight people).

According to this article: “The problem is not in the production of leptin, but rather, studies show that the majority of overweight individuals who are having difficulty losing weight have a leptin resistance, where the leptin is unable to produce its normal effects to stimulate weight loss. This leptin resistance is sensed as starvation, so multiple mechanisms are activated to increase fat stores, rather than burn excess fat stores. Leptin resistance also stimulates the formation of reverse T3, which blocks the effects of thyroid hormone on metabolism (discussed below).”

So, the person is eating excess food but the body thinks it is starving and tells the person to eat more. It’s easy to see how this cycle could contribute to weight gain!

Factors that Contribute to Leptin Resistance

As with all hormone issues, Leptin resistance is a complex issue with no singular cause, but there are many factors that can negatively impact Leptin levels including:

  • Fructose consumption (especially in forms like High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • High stress levels
  • Consumption of a lot of simple carbs
  • Lack of sleep
  • High insulin levels (vicious cycle here)
  • Overeating
  • Exercising too much, especially if your hormones are already damaged
  • Grain and lectin consumption

How to Fix Leptin Resistance:

As I said, this is a complex problem, but not an irreversible one. Dr. Jack Kruse (a neurosurgeon) and Stephan Guyenet (an obesity researcher) have both written in depth about the causes of Leptin imbalance and ways to reverse it. I highly recommend these articles for more information about their approaches: Changing the Body’s Setpoint, Factors that affect Leptin, and Dr. Kruse’s Leptin Prescription. The bookMastering Leptin also has a much more in depth explanation and suggestions.

In short, the (non-negotiable) factors that will help improve leptin response are:

  • Eating little to no simple starches, refined foods, sugars and fructose
  • Consuming a large amount of protein and healthy fats first thing in the morning, as soon after waking as possible. This promotes satiety and gives the body the building blocks to make hormones. My go-to is a large scramble with 2-3 eggs, vegetables and left over meat from the night before cooked in coconut oil.
  • Be in bed by ten (no excuses) and optimize your sleep!
  • Get outside during the day, preferably barefoot on the ground, in mid-day sun with some skin exposed. There are many reasons this is helpful and I’ll be explaining them soon)
  • DON’T SNACK!!! When you are constantly eating, even small amounts, during the day it keeps your liver working and doesn’t give hormones a break. Try to space meals at least 4 hours apart and don’t eat for at least 4 hours before bed. This includes drinks with calories but herbal teas, water, coffee or tea without cream or sugar are fine.
  • Don’t workout at first. If you are really Leptin resistant, this will just be an additional stress on the body. Let your body heal a little first, then add in the exercise.
  • When you do exercise, do only sprints and weight lifting. Walk or swim if you want to but don’t do cardio just for the sake of cardio. It’s just a stress on the body. High intensity and weight lifting, on the other hand, give the hormone benefits of working out without the stress from excess cardio and are great after the first few weeks. Also, workout in the evening, not the morning, to support hormone levels.
  • Remove toxins from your life as these are a stress on your body. There will be more specifics on how to accomplish this in the next few weeks, but getting rid of processed foods, commercial deodorants (make your own) and comercial soap (use microfiber) will go a long way!
  • Eat (or take) more Omega-3s (fish, grassfed meats, chia seeds) and minimize your Omega-6 consumption (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc) to get lower inflammation and help support healthy leptin levels.

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5 Serious Reasons Your Weight-Loss Efforts Could Be Failing

Weight loss can be challenging, sure, but it shouldn’t be impossible. If you're carefully tracking your calorie intake and logging your workouts and still aren't seeing results, you may want to call your doctor—especially since Ellen Manos, M.D., says that weight-related diseases and conditions can be more common in women than in men.

Irregular periods can be a sign that something is off that could be affecting your weight, says Manos. (The same hormones that affect your cycle can also impact your poundage.) Other symptoms to keep an eye on include unusual fatigue, acne, and hair growth or loss.

If you experience a slow-and-steady weight gain that seems to have no obvious explanation, Manos suggests going to a doctor to see if you could have one of the conditions below.

1. Chronic Stress
The adrenal glands respond to chronic stress (a state of constant anxiety that continues over a period of months, maybe as a result of an event like a death) by increasing the production of cortisol, a.k.a. the stress hormone. "If your adrenal glands are stressed, you’re going to have abnormalities," says Manos. A challenge to the adrenal glands can, ultimately, undermine your metabolism.

A study conducted at the Ohio State University found that women who experienced a stressor within 24 hours of eating a meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat burned 104 fewer calories than women who hadn’t experienced a stressor. The conclusion? Stress can cause an estimated 11 pounds of weight gain per year in women.

To fix the problem of chronic stress, “You have to delve, as a patient, into why you are having these stresses and whether you can make a lifestyle change to make your life less stressful,” says Manos. She adds that techniques for addressing can include exercise and meditation.

2. Depression
Depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways, one of which is a change in appetite. “Some people who get depressed don’t have energy for anything and want to eat for comfort,” says Manos. A doctor can help you figure out how to best treat depression if you suffer from it.

3. Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism (or an underactive thyroid) causes an upset in the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), hormones that support the metabolism. “It often will hit you when you’re ‘stressed,’ and I put stressed in quotes because it’s mostly physical stress—times when your body is changing,” says Manos. The condition is often associated with puberty or menopause (but not always). Symptoms can include sluggishness and a leaking from the nipples.

The thyroid, which is located at the center of the neck, works with the hypothalamus and the pituitary to support the metabolism. Diagnosis of hypothyroidism includes an examination of the thyroid and a series of blood tests. Treatment of hypothyroidism involves the hormone levothyroxine, which is typically taken daily to reverse symptoms such as chronic fatigue, high cholesterol, and weight gain.

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is when a patient has benign cysts on her ovaries, as connected with an imbalance of hormones in the blood. Patients with PCOS have high levels of "male" hormones (progesterone and testosterone), which affects their ability to ovulate and can cause acne and growth of hair on the body/face (in addition to obesity).

According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, PCOS is associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes, independent of BMI. But by addressing your weight (with or without medication), you may be able to ease your symptoms of PCOS—and decrease your risk of these types of diabetes. "So the good news is you effect the change,” says Manos.

5. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a resistance to insulin, which affects the metabolization of glucose. "You can’t concentrate because your sugar goes up," says Manos. "You might get a little hyper, but when it bottoms out you’re out of it." Symptoms can also include increased thirst or hunger as the body works to process and eliminate the glucose.

Before developing type 2 diabetes, you may experience insulin resistance syndrome or prediabetes. At this stage, you can reverse the trend with changes to diet and exercise, so it’s important to receive an evaluation with a blood glucose test ASAP.

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Why New Year’s Resolutions to Lose Weight Often End in Failure

Have yet to make a resolution that sticks? Join the club. By the end of January, 36 percent of New Year’s resolvers have thrown their hands up in the air, said “oh, well,” and probably asked for a piece of leftover holiday candy.

But that’s no reason to abandon the grand tradition of resolution-making: People are 10 times more likely to hit their goals if they actually make a resolution, according to the same study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. And if you learn from these common mistakes, you’ll be even more likely to hit your weight-loss goal this year.

1. Making a Vague, Results-Based Resolution
These rarely end in success, according to study author John Norcross, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Scranton and author ofCHANGEOLOGY: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. “‘I want to lose weight,’ doesn’t take into account all the minute details of what needs to change for the long-run,” says Terese Weinstein Katz, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, eating disorder specialist and diet coach. ‘I want to eat less fast food,’ ‘I want to eat more vegetables,’ ‘I want to eat less sugar,’ ‘I want to learn to eat smaller portions’ are all better starting points for goal-setting.” These are goals you can work toward each day and that will result in the weight loss you want.

2. Keeping Their Resolutions in Their Head
Writing down your goal can make it seem more real, keep you from tweaking it when things get rough, and strengthen your resolve, says Katz. “Sometimes in writing, too, you can see more clearly what might be unrealistic.” For added accountability, Norcross also recommends sharing your resolution with others.

3. Thinking It Takes 21 Days to Form a Habit
It’s more like three months, says Norcross. So don’t freak out and give up when you’re a month into your resolution and it still feels like work. Be patient, and living healthy will become second nature. “Success, and the self-esteem boosted by that, then opens the way for future steps and goals to be achieved more readily,” says Katz.

4. Lacking Confidence
If you go into something thinking you can’t do it, you’ll be right. But if you think you can, you’ll also be right. Confidence (a.k.a. self-efficacy) is a strong predictor of resolution-keeping success, says Norcross. To boost your can-do attitude, focus on playing to your strengths, and again, don’t get hung up on your weak spots or missteps. 

5. Not Tracking Your Progress
Evaluating yourself can be scary, which is why many people don’t do it. But monitoring your progress, whether it’s by measuring your waistline, stepping on the scale, tracking your workouts, or journaling what you eat—can up your chances of following through with the changes you need to make every day. Bonus: Tracking allows you to recognize and celebrate milestones along the way, a process that’s vital to keeping you confident and motivated.

6. Getting Discouraged by Slip-Ups
They can be disheartening, but successful resolvers use slip-ups to strengthen their determination, says Norcross. Just recognize your mistake (no beating yourself up) and move on. Did that junk food binge make your stomach sick? Remember that feeling the next time you’re tempted to swing through the drive-thru.

7. Going on Crash Diets
Losing weight quickly is tempting, but extreme dieting is grueling and will eventually make you want to throw in the towel. Plus, it can actually prevent weight loss. “When our bodies don’t get enough calories, they can go into ‘starvation mode,’" says Tori Holthaus, M.S., R.D., founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC. "Our basal metabolic rate is lowered to compensate for our inadequate energy intake, making it harder to lose weight and causing weight regain once calories are normalized." She recommends instead focusing on making small changes that you can stick with throughout the year.

8. Not Addressing Why You Have Gained Weight In the First Place
To lose weight and keep it off, you have to combat the issues that made you put on an extra few pounds to begin with. “There’s often an emotional attachment or a true addiction to overeating," says Katz. "This is especially true when it comes to comfort foods, sugars, and certain starches." Have a heart-to-heart with yourself—or even a professional—about the root of your weight gain, whether it’s stress, a super-tight schedule, or having an unhealthy relationship with food. You need to ease these burdens in order to make a sustainable change.

9. Being Unrealistic
In theory, it would be great if you cooked all of your meals and ate Brussels sprouts on the regular, but if you don’t have time to cook and think the little green orbs taste like farts, then that’s probably a terrible plan that will leave you feeling defeated. “Having realistic expectations helps you to form goals that fit with your real life and your individual needs and personality—so that you can be successful and feel good about that,” says Katz.

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Human Growth Hormone (HGH) & Intermittent Fasting

Our ancient ancestors grew up in a world of stress and scarcity.  Food was not often not available and intermittent fasting was common.  This form of life left a genetic blueprint with key information pertaining to our health and wellbeing.  Intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress, enhances cellular repair processes and appears to be a key strategy for anti-aging and longevity.

Our ancient ancestors lived in a world where food had to be fought and won.  Many days went by with little food.  Occasionally, a big hunt would score days of food at a time.  This was rare.  Typically, one or 2 big meals every few days was sufficient to keep our ancestors nourished.

Food Scarcity Creates Efficient Metabolic Systems:

Thousands of years of food scarcity led our bodies to develop a protective mechanism to adapt to alternating phases of food abundance and scarcity.  During times of food scarcity our cell membranes become more sensitive to insulin.  This is especially important when food is scarce because it ensures that every bit of food be efficiently used or stored.

During times of food abundance the body desensitizes the cells to insulin in an effort to avoid the stress of a heavy calorie intake.   This results in elevated insulin levels, increased fat storage and increased oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions in the body.  Insulin also enhances cellular division which is a risk factor for cancer formation.

Today, we have a massive abundance of food sources.  We can virtually eat anytime we would like.  In fact, many health coaches recommend eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day.  This process, however, sends the body the signal of surplus that inhibits key tissue repair hormones that have powerful anti-aging effects.

Turning on Genetic Repair Mechanisms

Intermittent fasting acts to turn on certain genetic repair mechanisms that enhance cellular rejuvenation.  This adaptation appears to allow certain cells to have a longer lifespan during times of famine.  It is energetically less expensive to repair a cell than it is to divide and create new cells.  This has a positive effect at shutting down cancer cell formation and proliferation.

These genetic repair mechanisms are turned on through the release of human growth hormone (HGH).  HGH is known to create physiological changes in metabolism to favor fat burning and protein sparing.  The proteins and amino acids are utilized to repair tissue collagen which improves the functionality and strength of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.  HGH also improves skin function, reduces wrinkles & heals cuts and burns faster.

HGH and insulin are opposites in function.  HGH is focused on tissue repair, efficient fuel usage and anti-inflammatory immune activity.  Insulin is designed for energy storage, cellular division and pro-inflammatory immune activity.  Insulin is the dominant player in this game.  When conditions demand an insulin release (carbohydrate intake) HGH is inhibited.

Fasting is a Powerful Healing Modality

Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful modalities for reducing inflammation, boosting immunity and enhancing tissue healing.  This is one of the reasons why many people feel nauseated when they have infections.  This innate mechanism is the body’s way of influencing us to fast so it can produce the right environment to boost natural immunity.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that men who had fasted for 24 hours had a 2000% increase in circulating HGH.  Women who were tested had a 1300% increase in HGH.  The researchers found that the fasting individuals had significantly reduced their triglycerides, boosted their HDL cholesterol and stabilized their blood sugar.

The best way to begin fasting is by giving your body 12 hours between dinner and breakfast every single day.  This allows 4 hours to complete digestion and 8 hours for the liver to complete its detoxification cycle.  After this is a standard part of lifestyle try taking one day a week and extending the fast to 16-18 hours.  Eventually, you may choose to do a full 24 hour fast each week.

Sources For This Article Include:

http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/1/7.full

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/imc-sfr033111.php

http://www.naturalnews.com/029298_aging_industry.html

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fasting/

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Using Metformin for Weight Loss! #diabetes

Weight management can be broken down into these three basic elements.  These are hunger, satiety, and the caloric content of your food. 

Let’s talk about hunger.  When your stomach is empty it releases Ghrelin (Growth Hormone Releasing Initiator).  As a matter of fact, the part of the stomach that produces Ghrelin is surgically removed during a gastric sleeve.  Ghrelin gets into the brain and generates the FEED signal, one of the four “F”s that control behavior (FIGHT, FLIGHT , FEED, and ...).   The “FEED” response gets your intestines ready to digest food, and you release human growth hormone (HGH) in large quantity.  The HGH stimulates your metabolism, motivates hunting and mixes with Insulin to make fat cells grow, insuring there is plenty of space to store the calories you find. 

Now let’s talk about satiety.  When fat cells get full, they produce Leptin, the satiety hormone. Leptin counters Ghrelin, the “Feed” signal, and makes you feel satisfied. 

Finally, let’s talk about the caloric content of your food. The caloric content of the food you eat determines how much Leptin gets into the brain.  The higher the caloric content, the less Leptin gets into your brain.  High starch and sugar foods have the most caloric content and effectively block Leptin.  Ghrelin then shoots directly into your brain every time your stomach is empty, and you just keep on eating – “Bet you can’t eat just one!”  This sets HGH and Insulin into action and you make fat cells divide like crazy. 

Metformin is a medicine that helps you use Insulin more effectively so you don’t need as much Insulin for the same caloric intake.  It prevents you from forming new fat cells, calorie for calorie, because less Insulin is produced and Human Growth Hormone cannot make new fat cells without Insulin.

If your body mass index is more than 30 you may benefit from controlling Insulin release with Metformin.

To Safely Use Metformin

The dose of Metformin should be slowly increased and your progress should be monitored.  Periodic testing for kidney and liver functions should be performed. You should not use Metformin if you are allergic to it or already taking Glucophage (another name for Metformin). 

You should not start Metformin for weight control if you are using Insulin.

A serious but rare condition associated with the use of Metformin is lactic acidosis.  Lactic acidosis occurs once in every 16,600 patient-years and may be fatal if untreated.  To put this in perspective, fatalities related to NSAID/aspirin use are 20 times higher, occurring once in every 820 patient-years.  Also, lactic acidosis most often occurs in patients with serious health conditions. These conditions are related to reduced oxygen intake.  These conditions include heat stroke, dehydration, severe systemic infection, recent heart attack, cardiac failure, lung disease, surgery and alcoholism.

You should not take Metformin if you have or kidney impairment (serum creatinine >1.3 mg/dL), liver disease or a history of heart disease.  This could increase the risk for lactic acidosis.

Metformin should be stopped for 48 hours prior to surgery or X-Ray procedures requiring intravenous dye, and not restarted until a normal fluid intake resumes. 

For more information and to schedule a consultation please contact us HERE.

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Metabolic Screening is the First Step!

Did you know that September was Fruits & Veggies month?

Did you know you can give your body fat-burning instructions? Dr. Brooke Kalanick, N.D., MS, Lac, knows. She is co-author of the book Ultimate You, a body makeover plan that uses cutting-edge training and eating strategies to set up the optimal fat-burning environment in your body. (Her co-author, Joe Dowdell, created the 4-phase fitness plan in Ultimate You, as well as this month's Tone Up for a Two-Piece workout.) We chatted by email with Dr. Brooke about her hormone-focused approach to weight loss, and about the secrets of life-long metabolism mastery. 

Women's Health: In Ultimate You you write "in order to lose fat one should focus less on calories and more on the way food effect's one's hormones." Why are hormones so critical to weight loss? 

Brooke Kalanick: Food is more than calories; it contains information, or a message, for your body. One hundred calories of baked potato gives you 100 calories of energy, but its high carb load triggers the hormone insulin, sending the message to your body to store fat. One hundred calories of chicken breast sends the message to burn fat, by triggering a hormone called glucagon. 

And it goes beyond the commonly talked about metabolic hormones like insulin. Our sex hormones have profound effects on our amount of body fat, as well as where we store it, and this is overlooked in most nutrition advice. Simply look at a man and a woman's body shape and you'll see the effects of the sex hormones on our physique. Estrogen for example, fills out our hips, giving us a feminine shape, but when it's dominating a woman's hormonal landscape [estrogen] can make it very hard to shed fat—particularly from trouble spots like the hips and thighs. 

The real trick of it all is that all of these hormones work together; no one is good nor bad, nor should be singled out--but instead all orchestrated in a symphony where everyone's in harmony. Ultimate You tries to teach women about all of the hormones affecting their physique—without being a crash course in biochemistry, but in a practical way that helps them set things back in balance.WH: Should a person get their hormone levels checked before starting to eat as outlined in your book? 

BK: It's definitely not necessary; we provide lots of questionnaires that help the reader use their own symptoms as a guide to target specific hormones. Testing can be useful. However in some cases, such as with female hormones, disruption is often not detected on standard lab testing. Consider that a blood test is a snapshot of a woman's hormonal landscape—and what we really need to see is the entire movie. Same is true with stress hormones like cortisol. 

So other testing—such as salivary testing—over the course of a month with female hormones or throughout an entire day for adrenal hormones (also stress hormones)—are much more useful. To get this type of testing find a doctor that practices functional medicine (functionalmedicine.org ornaturopathic.org). However if you suspect you are insulin resistant, having your MD run what's called a fasting insulin along with your fasting blood sugar via a simple blood test can be useful. I consider a fasting insulin test result above 5 to show insulin resistance (which is lower than the standard reference range). Thyroid function is also seen on blood tests. We provide a list of all the tests necessary to see the full hormone picture in Phase 4 ofUltimate You. If you suspect you have a thyroid issue, testing is a great idea and to get all of the information; ask your doctor to run all of those tests we list. 

WH: You offer a suggested week of menus in the book, but not a day-by-day eating plan. Why not? 

BK: Ultimate You is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle. It is about empowerment and education. Diet books that lay out a day-by-day eating plan can set up the reader for failure later. When the book's over and there's no one telling you what to eat every day, people find themselves back to their old habits. I encourage all of my patients, and the readers ofUltimate You, to take the time to understand what makes up a meal: fibrous veggies, lean protein, healthy fat, and—if desired—an optimal starchy carb in your prescribed amount (phase 2 of Ultimate You helps you find your carb tipping point). When they understand the what and the why, they can look at dozens of meal ideas and easily substitute other veggies or proteins they prefer. So, not only do they get to eat foods they enjoy more, but they learn how to create meals for themselves for the long term. 

We gave two different week-long menus as guidelines for women who feel they need that type of structure to get started, and we included a large recipe appendix as well. The recipes in Ultimate You can be easily modified and that taste great – so you can feel good feeding your family or guests, and no one will feel like they are on a "diet". 

WH: What's the single most powerful step one can take toward optimizing one's metabolism? 

BK: Manage your stress. It might sound crazy as we consider stress to be "calorie free," right? But in our modern world we are so inundated with stress and "busy-ness" that our sleep, appetite and cravings are all out of whack, making it much harder to make better food choices, and much easier to create a fat-storing, vs. a fat-burning, situation in our bodies. 

Stress hormones have one main job: get your blood sugar up (it goes back to an ancient survival mechanism where stress meant your body needed fuel—sugar—to either run from a predator or fight it, or survive a long winter without food, etc). In our modern world our stresses don't need so much fuel; they usually happen sitting at our desks or stuck in traffic, but the mechanism is the same. Unrelenting, repetitive stress turns on fat storage and it triggers cravings for fatty and sugary foods—making the choice to eat the veggie omelet for breakfast over the doughnut a battle of wills. 

Our life stressors sometimes feel beyond our control, but some stresses are well within our control. Eating breakfast religiously (one that includes protein, veggies, and some healthy fats) and getting on a meal schedule of eating every 3 - 4 hours avoids any added stress and fat-storing hormone release. 

WH: Naturopathic physicians receive a rigorous and deep education in nutrition. What aspects of your training were most helpful in designing theUltimate You eating guidelines? 

BK: During our first of four years in Naturopathic medical school we learn the foundations of Naturopathic medicine: first, do no harm; be a teacher and guide to the patient; treat the cause treat the whole person; aid in prevention and support the body's natural ability to heal itself (this is called the vis medicatrix naturae in naturopathic medicine, known as Qi orPrahna in other forms of medicine). 

Those principles become the framework for treating any patient or condition. 

So, excess weight, for instance, is not the issue, it's the symptom—telling us something internal is off. When it comes to helping someone shed fat I look at why they are having trouble getting or staying lean in the first place: is it digestion, stress, female hormones, brain chemistry, food allergies, heavy metals, mental roadblocks, etc? And I treat that—the cause. Of course, it may be more than one of those things, so it's important to treat the whole person. By working in the hormone realm I'm always helping patients get healthier as well as get leaner, thus preventing future health issues. A very disheartening stat is that 95% of people who lose weight fail to keep it off, so it's crucial to get those underlying factors set right so people can have lasting success and health. It's a lofty goal, but I would hope any women who follows Ultimate You would never need another "diet book" again. 

WH: What dieting myth would you most like to dispel? 

BK: That simply eating more "flat belly foods" or "fat torching antioxidant rich berries" is the best way to shed fat. I see so many women who are loading up on whole grains for fiber, fruit or "superfruit" juices for antioxidants, and eating handfuls of organic nuts every day for those healthy fats. And they are gaining weight, their skin is breaking out, and they are totally confused and frustrated! Many of these healthy foods pack a big carb punch that can send a women's insulin through the roof. 

Food is medicine and as an ND (Naturopathic Doctor) I certainly love a diet rich in plant nutrients; I also encourage the consumption of healthy fats like nuts and avocado. But it's important to be clear on the goal when you are making dietary choices. If the goal is to increase antioxidants, then, yes, more fruit is a good way to go. If the goal is fat loss, then 1 - 2 fruits per day is the limit for most women. Nuts are great fats, but they are also a great way to rack up calories, ¼ cup of nuts or 2 tsp nuts a couple times per day will give better fat- burning results. 

Finally, when you think fiber, think veggies, not grains! For fat loss, veggie fiber gives you all the satiating, healthy digestion-promoting fiber without the carb load. So while a healthy diet might not be the best fat-burning diet, the Ultimate You fat burning diet is most definitely a health diet—so, it's win win. 

WH: Are there any favorite foods or eating tips of your own that didn't make it into the book? 

BK: We certainly tried to cover it all in Ultimate You! It's quite long for a book of its kind. We did dedicate an entire chapter to prepping for the ultimate you, and I think that's the most important, yet often overlooked, part of weight loss. It's easy to show someone the hormonally-balanced, fat-burning, and tasty Ultimate You nutrition plan, but if they can't follow it, it's useless. 

Most everyone does great right out of the gate; they are motivated and excited, they really rock it . . .for about 3 - 4 weeks. Then life happens again—that same life that created a body they weren't satisfied with in the first place. 

It takes time, money, and energy to be healthy—and it takes time, money, and energy to be sick and unhealthy. Take the time to get clear on why you want to lose weight and change your body. The reason better be a good one (one worth getting up early to workout for, one worth skipping cocktails with the girls for, one worth spending a little more on high quality foods for)! Get clear, commit to that goal, get your life set up to support that goal. Fat loss requires being a little more strict for a period of time, then you get to loosen the reigns and find where your livable diet is. Knowing it is "just for now" takes away that restricted feeling most women have when they are trying to lose weight. Put some resources towards getting ready for your new healthy lifestyle, get support if you need it, and take the time to get set up for success. 
 

Come by and see us today for a consultation so we can get you on the right track for LIFE!

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Dr. T Approved: The Fast Diet

Overview

Type: Low Calorie

Resembles these U.S. News-rated diets:

Glycemic-Index DietRaw Food DietMedifastSlim-Fast

The aim: May include weight loss, disease prevention and optimal health. 

The claim: You’ll lose weight – specifically fat – and reduce your risk of a host of chronic diseases.

The theory: Michael Mosley, a journalist trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and Mimi Spencer, a journalist and author, tout the scientific evidence behind significantly cutting calories two days a week as well as their own experiences with this method in their book, “The FastDiet.” They say that when we intermittently fast, we’re fooling our bodies into thinking we may be experiencing a famine, in which case the body switches into maintenance mode and burns energy from fat stores. As our bodies respond to this stressor, they toughen up – essentially following the logic of, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” 

How does the Fast Diet work?

This pattern of eating is often referred to as the 5:2 diet – you eat normally for five days of the week and cut your calories to about 25 percent of normal intake on two nonconsecutive days of the week. Men consume just 600 calories on their two weekly fast days, while women are limited to 500 calories. Not surprisingly, those calories must be spent wisely on fast days, or you could blow half of them on a flavored latte. The diet authors suggest choosing high-protein foods, such as skinless chicken, nuts and legumes to curb hunger. You’ll also eat strawberries, carrots and other foods with low glycemic loads, meaning they’re less likely than others to affect blood sugar and insulin levels.

On fast days, there are no specific rules for when you eat or meal frequency. Theoretically, the longer amount of time without eating the better, the diet authors say, so dieters would ideally have just one 500 to 600 calorie meal that day or two meals several hours apart. However, Mosley and Spencer also suggest the best approach is one that the dieter will actually stick to, so if it’s easier to spread those 500 to 600 calories on several low-calorie snacks throughout the day, go for it.

On fast days, shoot to meet your calorie count with about 50 grams of “good protein,” such as steamed white fish, skinless chicken, plant-based protein like tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes and eggs. Fruits and vegetables will play a big role on fast days given that many of them have low glycemic loads, few calories and plenty of fiber and nutrients.

On the other five days of the week, there’s no calorie cap, and no food is off limits. This freedom isn’t permission to binge and make up for your two fast days, but it does mean you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating a slice of cake.

Will you lose weight?

Probably. You’ll consume significantly fewer calories than you normally would on two days of the week, so there’s a good chance that if you actually stick with the plan, you’ll steadily drop weight. And because the two fast days are nonconsecutive and allow for at least some eating, the diet authors have found that people don’t typically binge and overeat on the non-fasting days. Does it have cardiovascular benefits? It’s likely. If you’re using those 500 to 600 calories wisely on fast days, you’ll likely consume very little (if any) saturated fat and opt for foods high in fiber, such as on fruits and veggies, which are in line with the medical community’s accepted definition of a heart-healthy diet that keeps cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay.

Can it prevent or control diabetes?

The diet appears to be a viable option for prevention of Type 2 diabetes

Prevention: Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. If you need to lose weight and keep it off, and the Fast Diet helps you do it, you’ll almost certainly tilt the odds in your favor. Diet authors also suggest intermittent fasting will increase insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of diabetes.

Control: People with Type 1 diabetes are not advised to try this diet. Those with Type 2 diabetes should consult with their doctors before trying this diet. If they choose to follow this meal plan, it’s extra important to choose low glycemic index foods on fast days to manage blood glucose levels.

Are there health risks?

There are several groups of people who should not fast, including women who are trying to get pregnant, women who are already pregnant, children and adults with Type 1 diabetes, eating disorders or who are already lean. Also, those who have medical conditions or are on medication should talk to their doctors before trying this diet.

How well does it conform to accepted dietary guidelines?

Fat. The government recommends that 20 to 35 percent of daily calories come from fat. A sample daily menu on the Fast Diet provides 40 percent. The sample menu was based on a fasting day.

Protein. In a sample fasting day menu, 17 percent of daily calories are from protein, compared with the 10 to 35 percent the government recommends.

Carbohydrates. The government advises that between 45 and 65 percent of daily calories come from carbs. The Fast Diet provides about 45 percent on a fasting day.

Salt. The majority of Americans consume too much salt. The recommended daily maximum is 2,300 milligrams, but if you’re 51 or older, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the limit is 1,500 mg. A sample fasting day menu adds up to only 262 mg.

Other key nutrients. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines call these “nutrients of concern” because many Americans get too little of one or more of them:

  • Fiber. Getting the recommended daily amount of 22 to 34 grams for adults helps you feel full and promotes good digestion. Veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains – all major sources – are encouraged on this diet. A fasting day on this diet provides 14 grams.
  • Potassium. A sufficient amount of this important nutrient, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, counters salt’s ability to raise blood pressure, decreases bone loss and reduces the risk of developing kidney stones. It’s not that easy to get the recommended daily 4,700 mg. from food. (Bananas are high in potassium, yet you’d have to eat 11 a day.) The majority of Americans take in far too little potassium. A sample menu came up short at 950 mg.
  • Calcium. It’s essential not only to build and maintain bones but to make blood vessels and muscles function properly. Many Americans don’t get enough. Women and anyone older than 50 should try especially hard to meet the government’s recommendation of 1,000 to 1,300 mg. A sample daily menu provides 529 mg.
  • Vitamin B-12. Adults should shoot for 2.4 micrograms of this nutrient, which is critical for proper cell metabolism. Fish like salmon and trout, along with eggs and yogurt, are good sources. A sample daily menu provides 2.1 mcg.
  • Vitamin D. Adults who don’t get enough sunlight need to meet the government’s 15 microgram recommendation with food or a supplement to lower the risk of bone fractures. A sample daily menu provides 3.3 mcg.

Supplement recommended? N/A

How easy is it to follow?

That depends. Drastically cutting your calories on fast days will likely be a challenge. But for five days of the week there are no rules to keep track of. 

Convenience: The Fast Diet’s minimalist set-up makes it fairly convenient, given you can count calories and restrain yourself. The biggest inconvenience is likely the very premise of the diet – ignoring hunger and consuming few calories on two days of the week. 

Recipes. Both “The Fast Diet” and “The Fast Diet Cookbook” include numerous recipes and meal plans for 500 and 600 calorie fast days.

Eating out. Dining out should be no problem five days of the week. On fast days, however, the inflated portions at many restaurants may be a challenge, given that one serving of fries could possibly add up to your whole day’s worth of calories. Choosing restaurants with disclosed calorie counts may take some guesswork out of ordering. Be prepared to stick to the diet plan while other friends are ordering freely.

Alcohol. Again, five days of the week, do what you like with your calories. On fast days, however, your calories are so precious that it’s better to spend them on foods with nutritional value. So steer clear of alcohol on these days.

Timesavers. There’s a reasonable chance you’ll save time preparing meals on fasting days, especially if you choose simple recipes. Other than that, there areno timesavers, unless you hire somebody to plan your meals, shop for them and prepare them.

Extras. None.

Fullness: Nutrition experts emphasize the importance of satiety, the satisfied feeling that you’ve had enough. However, there’s a good chance that, at least toward the beginning of dieting, you won’t feel particularly full on fast days.

Taste: You’re making everything, so if something doesn’t taste good, you know who to blame.

How much does it cost?

Cost isn’t really a factor for this diet, given that you’re eating normally most days. There’s a good chance you’ll wind up buying fewer foods on fast days, and thus spend less on your grocery bills. But keep in mind that if you follow the diet authors’ advice and get your calories from high quality foods, they can be a bit pricier than cheap, high-calorie fast food cheeseburgers.

Does the diet allow for restrictions and preferences?

Most people can customize the Fast Diet to fit their needs – pick a preference for more information.

Vegetarian and vegan

Yes, with a few minor tweaks you can easily replace any animal products with vegetarian- or  vegan-friendly options.

Gluten-free

People who can’t tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can easily followthis diet. The key is selecting gluten-free ingredients when possible.

Low-salt

Doable, but it’s up to you to check the nutrition information on recipes and keep track of your sodium intake.

Kosher

Yes, you can make sure your diet is kosher.

Halal

Yes, but it’s up to you to ensure your food conforms.

Overall we truly recommend this to our patients for weight management. I personally fast twice a week as well. Ask me about my journey and give it a try! We'd love to hear from you!

Sincerely,

Dr. T

 

For more information click here for Dr. Michael Mosley's website.

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