Today's Post: Tuesday, 5-31-2011
1. The good news first!
To at least some degree, you can lose fat without eating less.
Science writer Gary Taubes in his new book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” says some things that I’m not sure are correct.
But he does present very strong evidence for many things that look very likely to be true. They certainly do based on the evidence he presents. More than that, he has multiple confirming sources for much of it.
We already know that people who cut back quite a lot on calories & fight being hungry all the time all fail to lose fat. If they lose some, they fail to keep it off.
One reason for this is that, your body has a starvation fail safe from your ancestors surviving multiple famines. So, if you once trigger your body’s famine response by eating that much less, you become ravenously hungry.
You also feel tired and depleted and your metabolism slows down.
More than that, your body turns off using fat stores to the max.
You stop losing weight even if you don’t eat more. And, if you do eat more, you may eat a lot more. Soon, you will gain back all you lost. And, all you gain back will be fat.
It’s well known that eating abundant amounts of protein helps prevent this response because your body responds soonest to lack of protein. It also helps that protein turns off hunger best and longest.
And, to a smaller extent, eating nonstarchy vegetables and some beans helps prevent this response because you are usually full from the high fiber.
I’ve posted on those two points often.
But I’ve always thought to lose fat that your new net calorie intake had to be at least somewhat less than before but not enough to trigger the famine response.
Gary Taubes has evidence that if you only eat these things, you can at least cut back less on calories to lose fat. In fact, you may not need to cut back on calories at all!!
He found studies showing that rats who had their fat storage responses turned off or way down, remained lean even if they ate a lot of protein and nonstarchy vegetables. (This could be from NOT eating things that turned on fat storage or from their genes that set them not to do so.)
They ate a lot but were energetic, active, and moved often. And, they did NOT gain fat.
Other rats with who ate less could be fat however and some were quite fat. (They had their fat storage settings turned on by genes or eating foods that did that or having the famine response from eating too little before that.)
He also shows that some people eating these things and very few foods high in carbohydrates and close to no fast acting carbohydrates lost fat and weight eating the same number of calories they were before changing to that eating style.
They ate the SAME number of calories as before and began losing fat and pounds on the scale anyway.
2. The bad news is that sugar and refined grains turned on the store fat settings in some rats that ate them to such an extent, they HAD to overeat to net enough calories to live on after the fat storage took its cut!
When they were forced to eat less, they lost energy and close to stopped moving and even died of starvation –WITHOUT using any of their fat calories to live on.
The worse news is that some people are so sensitive to this effect from carbohydrates that they need to avoid foods that have health supporting nutrition including fruit if they want to lose fat or stay lean.
3. He also gives many examples showing that eating sugar and refined grain is horribly bad for your health.
I’ve come to know eating sugar and refined grain far too much produces heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But he also has evidence for eating too many carbohydrates also producing many cancers as well.
The recent news confirms this for heart disease and also helps explain how type 2 diabetes harms the lining of all your blood vessels.
We already know that small particle LDL tends to get into the molecular chinks in your artery walls to cause heart disease. And, it has recently been confirmed that eating very much sugar or refined grain increases this damaging kind of LDL in your blood.
But the recent research shows this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine making your red blood cells and LDL particles becoming so coated with superglue that they stick hard onto the surface of your blood cells. And, if moved off by the flow of your blood, they tear holes in the surface of the walls of your blood vessels.
It seems that eating a lot of sugar and refined grains does something almost exactly like that.
Your blood sugar surges so fast after you eat sugar or refined grains that it coats or “glycates” your red blood cells with sugar before your body can lower the level with insulin.
(The blood sugar test HBA1C tests for how much sugar is stuck on your red blood cells.)
The news last Friday was truly scary. It seems that this happens to your LDL too.
“Scientists Discover 'Ultra-Bad' Cholesterol FRIDAY, May 27, 2011 (HealthDay News)”
“In the study, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation, University of Warwick researchers created MGmin-LDL in a lab through glycation, which is the adding of sugar groups to normal LDL cholesterol, commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol. The process changed the cholesterol's shape, making it stickier and more likely to build fatty plaques, narrow arteries and reduce blood flow and turning it into what they called "ultra-bad" cholesterol.
The findings, released online May 26 in Diabetes, could have significant implications for the treatment of coronary heart disease, particularly in older people and those with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, the researchers said, the results of their study shed light on how a common type 2 diabetes drug, metformin, fights heart disease by blocking the transformation of normal LDL into the super-sticky LDL.”
(Some people have bad reactions to high dose metformin. And recent research shows that it removes vitamin B12 enough that people who take metformin likely should also take 1000 mcg a day of B12.)
But if your HBA1C goes to 7.0 and stays there or goes above that, this research shows it may be lifesaving to take metformin.
This is a bit of a challenge since so many people take in so much refined grains and sugar today.
The people we are descended from ate a bit less than 3 Tablespoons, 20 teaspoons, of sugar each YEAR.
The average American is now eating more than 3 Tablespoons, 22 teaspoons, a DAY.
And, that’s in addition to eating refined grains in foods people now think of as normal food several times a day.
But there’s more.
There is ample evidence that eating these servings of sugar and refined grains continues to spike insulin and keep it at high levels in your blood.
Gary Taubes is right about this one! Excessive levels and frequency of insulin in your blood does to you what special breeding did to the lab rats who were set to be obese and never lose fat.
Insulin moves the sugars you eat directly into fat storage and prevents your body from using them as fuel. And, even if you are short calories at times, it also prevents your body from using your fat as fuel.
And, there is still more. True, high fructose corn syrup has only a bit more fructose than sucrose, or regular sugar. 55 to 45 instead of 50 to 50. BUT in real sugar the two parts are bound together. So your body has to break the bonds to use them which slows the speed of how fat sugar boosts your blood sugar.
In addition to some of it contain mercury, high fructose corn syrup, I just found out has fructose and glucose already separated, so the blood sugar boost is far faster and the insulin response is greater.
That makes high fructose corn syrup much more fattening and harmful to your health than sugar.
The good news is that it is becoming a bit easier to avoid high fructose corn syrup than it was.
People avoid it now. So food companies are using real sugar more than they were. And, more people know to look for it on the list of ingredients and avoid things containing it.
But, if like me and most of us, you LIKE sweet treats, this new information and Gary Taubes new book is very bad news indeed.
If you want to be lean and healthy, make sweet treats a much more of a rare occasion!
So, his news is a bit of a mixed review.
4. He suggests that the information he has shows that exercise and some calorie restriction that does not trigger the famine response won’t help you lose fat or lose weight.
What he DID find looks quite true. And it can be stronger than exercising more or eating a bit less.
But there is enough evidence that exercise and eating a bit less do work particularly in people who eat very little sugar and refined grains that I think he is wrong to say they don’t work at all.
For example, people who do strength training or interval cardio that is vigorous have lower amounts of insulin and less sugar in their blood. Even sessions of one or two minutes have worked. And, long or brisk walks of 10 to 40 minutes each have also worked. That means they will lose more fat and gain it less easily.
Further, it looks like people who get such exercise and are not now fat, may be able to have sugar a few times a month instead of only once or twice a year.
Exercise also has dramatic and multiple health benefits.
Since it does help people lose fat. Having people exercise to help lose fat and keep it off also improves their health.
But the bottom line is that bread, most pasta, and most cereals and virtually all commercial baked goods or packaged snacks or desserts and soft drinks are very fattening and bad for your health.
The fact that I and very likely you grew up thinking these were normal to eat or drink, makes it a bit of a challenge to switch to close to none at all.
But to be trim and stay healthy, the evidence is in. Don’t eat or drink that stuff!