Over the years, a great many weight loss products have come and gone. Each new weight loss season, a fresh crop of dragon slayers is announced and by the end of the year, most of these have slipped into well-deserved oblivion. Turnover on this level tends to obscure the fact there are some approaches that work and that the fundamentals of weight control are reasonably well established, even if products are not.
In his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease, Gary Taubes responds concisely regarding the fundamental question of what regulates fat accumulation, which is to say, weight gain. Taubes answers simply, “This was elucidated by 1965 and has never been controversial. Insulin is the principle regulator of fat metabolism...”
Kids are not only growing up faster than ever, they’re also growing out faster. Statistics show that childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years and in adolescents it’s actually tripled! Nowadays over one third of children and adolescents are living with so much excess body fat, they are deemed obese.
The fact is, childhood obesity is already a pandemic in many developed and underdeveloped countries. Kids are taking their parents’ lead and putting on pound after pound of fat and they’re doing it at an astonishing rate. The biggest problem is most of these kids are likely to keep all that extra fat and then some for the rest of their lives. Studies show that obese kids have a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming obese adults. If they have an obese parent, the odds climb to 80 percent.
Obesity and overweight are at the core of a tremendous health crisis in the United States today with one-third of Americans being obese and another third overweight. This crisis is particularly acute among children and young adults. In addition to the toll taken on our health and longevity, the financial concerns of this crisis are devastating and are only getting worse. Great minds and programs are working diligently to correct this huge medical issue. As a nutritionally-oriented medical practitioner for 40 years, and struggling with my own weight issues, I offer here my guidelines for weight reduction and health maintenance.
Recent research found that when human stem cells — which can turn into any type of cell — were exposed to a common virus they turned into fat cells. They didn’t just change, they also stored fat. Earlier research showed another common virus causes cells to store more fat, and those with obesity were three times as likely to have been infected. It doesn’t explain America’s entire growing obesity problem, but it adds to other recent evidence that blames more than just super-sized portions and lack of exercise and will power for expanding waistlines.
Earlier research showed that Adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), a common cause of respiratory and eye infections, caused animals to pack on the pounds in lab experiments. Obese people were three times more likely to have been infected with Ad-36 than thin people in a large study of humans. Now researchers have shown that exposure to the virus caused adult human stem cells to turn into fat-storing cells.
Newsflash: there’s no magic bullet for fat loss. (But you already knew that.)
That’s what Melinda M. Manore, PhD, RD, CSSD, FACSM concluded after examining America’s $2.4 billion weight-loss supplement industry. Her results appear in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Manore, a professor of nutrition and exercise sciences at Oregon State University, began this study by categorizing supplements into four categories:
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the latest studies indicate that, in the past 20 years, overweight and obesity rates have more than doubled for adults and tripled for children.1 So why the sudden expansion (pun intended)?
We are exposed to an estimated 600 billion pounds of synthetic chemicals every year, according to Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.1
After reviewing 120 scientific papers on the link between environmental pollution and human disease, Cornell University researchers concluded in July 2007 that various toxins found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and food we eat contribute to 40 percent of deaths worldwide.2 Many of these toxins are fat soluble, often becoming lodged in our fat cells. Korean researchers discovered that people with high levels of these toxins are more likely than the general population to suffer from type 2 diabetes.3
Everyone knows that smoking is a major cause of cancer. Yet, according to research published in the British Journal of Public Health, obese adults have more chronic health problems than their smoking counterparts, some of which greatly increase their risk of cancer.
More than 30 known diseases are now believed to be directly linked to excess body fat, including heart disease, diabetes, periodontal disease, inflammation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, infertility, and many cancers (including gastrointestinal, colon, kidney, esophagus, prostate, breast, and endometrial).
The more belly fat these people lost, the more blood flowed to their fingertips, indicating better arterial function.
"Our study demonstrated that the amount of improvement in the vessels was directly linked to how much central, or belly fat, the individuals lost, regardless of which diet they were on," said lead researcher and John Hopkins professor Kerry J. Stewart.
Does it really matter where the source of your calories come from? Are all calories created equal? In scientific terms, a calorie (also known as kilocalorie or kcal) is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water one degree Celsius. By that definition, chemically speaking, calories from fat, protein and carbs might be considered equal. When we consider the hormonal, physiological and psychological effect of various macronutrients, however, the results change.
Boost Protein to Reduce Belly Fat:
Protein is a necessary building block for many hormones including serotonin, melatonin, growth hormone, thyroid hormone and dopamine. If we fail to get enough in our diet, we can experience mood disorders, memory loss, increased appetite and cravings, decreased metabolism, sleep disruption, muscle loss and weight gain. Protein triggers glucagon (which maintains normal levels of glucose in the blood while carbohydrates trigger insulin (your fat storing hormone). As you can see, these are two very different hormonal reactions. Protein also stimulates the release of Peptide YY from the gut, suppressing our appetite by acting on our feeding center in the hypothalamus. A protein-rich diet also helps to shed stubborn belly fat, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. Researchers compared a high-protein diet with a low-protein diet in 54 obese men and women with type 2 diabetes. Those on the high-protein diet had significantly greater reductions in total and abdominal fat mass and a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol.1