diet

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Avoiding the Fat Trap

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Gastric hormones are programmed to restore fat stores after weight loss. The appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin remains high after weight loss, while hunger suppressing hormones, peptide YY and leptin, remain low. Lower leptin levels also lower one’s metabolism. The end result is more hunger and a lower metabolism.

According this NY Times article,  this state of more hunger and lower metabolism lasts a long time. A quote:

“Preliminary research at Columbia suggests that for as many as six years after weight loss, the body continues to defend the old, higher weight by burning off far fewer calories than would be expected.”

Well, it’s no wonder; a study that examined 60 years of trials found the common dieting outcome is weight regain or trivial loss.

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60 years of trials: Most common dieting outcome is weight regain or trivial loss

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From this article, Oprah’s Investment in Weight Watchers Was Smart Because the Program Doesn’t Work, a quote:

“My lab reviewed 60 years of clinical trials of diets, and we found that people lose an average of 10 percent of their starting weight on most diets but within two to five years have gained back all but about two pounds.  So, in reality, despite the short-term effectiveness of certain diet regimes, the most common outcome of dieting itself, by a landslide, is either weight regain or trivial weight loss".

A diet is not a permanent fix. Three life style changes that are sustainable:

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A study: Strength training plus additional protein results in fat loss and added muscle

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The body makes adaptations to survive. Don’t eat enough and the body will catabolize calorie-consuming lean body tissue to lower your metabolism. Lift weights and the body will build lean muscle and raise your metabolism. In order for that to occur sufficient protein must be consumed. To fight the resulting lower metabolism of a restrictive diet it makes sense to lift weights and consume adequate protein to keep your metabolism up.

From this study, More Protein Combined With Exercise May Lead to Weight Loss and Muscle Gain | McMaster University Research Snaps this quote:

“Weight loss regimes that involve a low-calorie diet result in a major loss in fat mass, but can also cause a loss in muscle mass.”

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60 studies say exercising is not the key to weight loss

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The opening lines from this article, Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies:

"'I'm going to make you work hard', a blonde and perfectly muscled fitness instructor screamed at me in a recent spinning class, 'so you can have that second drink at happy hour!'

At the end of the 45-minute workout, my body was dripping with sweat. I felt like I had worked really, really hard. And according to my bike, I had burned more than 700 calories. Surely I had earned an extra margarita."  

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Changing perceptions: From fit to fat in an instant

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You are getting stronger and a bit heavier; surely most of that weight is muscle. Some refer to this phenomenon as bulking up. You might subconsciously have a bias when you look in the mirror, as you stand a little straighter, you suck your gut in a bit, and square your shoulders. You could be fooling yourself. 

Several years ago I used to weight myself at the health club where I worked. I was the heaviest I had ever been. No problem, I was the strongest I had ever been. Instead of asking if I once played basketball people would ask me if I had played football.

Shortly after that I went to work at a different health club. They had no scale, but when they did get one I was told it was five pounds off. The scale indicated 250, so I subtracted five pounds to get 245 pounds. I had gained an additional five pounds. Still no problem, I was bulking up and getting stronger.

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Losing weight and keeping it off - what you are up against

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This New York Times article, The Fat Trap, explores how people lose weight, but almost without exception, gain it right back.

In one study, 50 obese men and women consumed just 500 to 550 calories a day for eight weeks and lost an average of 30 pounds. A year after the study, subjects had regained an average of 11  pounds and reported feeling far more hungry and preoccupied with food than before they lost the weight.

Yeah, I know the diet was too restrictive, but regardless, it is interesting to note what is going on hormonally. A quote from the article:

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Three different diets, equal in calories, three vastly different results

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This New York Times article, What Really Makes Us Fat, discusses the result of a study that produced surprising results.

The experiment: Three separate groups on three different diets stuck to a diet for a month. All subjects consumed the same amount of calories.

Diet 1: A high-carbohydrate low-fat diet - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein.

Diet 2: A low glycemic index diet - fewer carbohydrates in total - non-starchy vegetables, beans, and minimally processed sources.

Diet 3: The Atkins diet - high in fat and protein and very low in carbohydrates.

Results: The fewer carbohydrates consumed, the more energy was expended.

A quote from the article:

“On the very low-carbohydrate diet, subjects expended 300 more calories a day than they did on the low-fat diet and 150 calories more than on the low-glycemic-index diet.”

And another:

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Caloric restriction and longevity

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A New York Times article, The Calorie-Restriction Experiment, details a study where researchers attempted to find out if eating less increased longevity. 132 men and women reduced their daily calories by 25 percent for two years to see if a Spartan diet affects the aging process and its associated diseases. 

Subjects experienced “astounding drops in cardiovascular risk factors”.

BUT, another quote:

“Ninety-nine percent can’t do it,” John Holloszy, a medical doctor who is the lead investigator at Washington University, told me. “The people in the study are not going to stick with it” after they leave.

Damn.  Two years to figure that out?

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Charmed substances that contain life preserving properties. Saccharine?

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From the Woody Allen movie, Sleeper, describing health foods, “Those charmed substances that some years ago that were felt to contain life preserving properties”.

There have been changes in the conventional wisdom regarding a number of charmed and not so charning substances – margarine versus butter, eggs, salt intake, dark chocolate, cholesterol, coffee, high carb diets versus diets with more meat and fat, and now saccharine. From this Medical News Today article, Could saccharin be used to treat aggressive cancers? comes this quote:

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Rethinking eggs versus grains in the diet

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From this article A big fat surprise for dietary dogma comes this quote:

“Last month, in an epic climbdown, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advice Committee, whose guidelines influence millions of people, finally dropped its recommendation to restrict cholesterol. “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption,” it said.

And this:  "Just about everything we thought we knew about the evils of cholesterol and fats has turned out to be wrong. The doctors, the nutritionists, the dietitians, the heart societies, the experts at Health Canada, the food pyramid that hung on the wall in school – the entire health and medical establishment, in fact, have been perpetuating a big fat fraud."

Strong statements. The article goes on to say the previous prevailing wisdom that grains, pasta, starchy vegetables and refined carbohydrates are better than eggs and meat turns out to be wrong. They have actually made us fatter and sicker.

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