Last month, Eze Onwugbenu was featured on the Sizzelle blog. He is a natural health entrepreneur and biomedical researcher. I have been following him for a while now and he never stops spitting truths and debunking myths.
Last week, he started a 7-part series on weight loss which has been gaining a lot of momentum and I thought I should share. If you have any questions or need clarifications, Eze is answering all them on his Instagram page.
Even though the “95% of all diets fail” meme is a bit of a myth. The science concurs. In 2007, UCLA researchers conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of diet studies. In sum: ” You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight [or more] on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back plus more… We conclude that most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all.”
They also observed that the body suffers tremendous wear and tear from repeatedly losing weight and gaining it all back. This weight cycling prematurely ages the body and is linked to hypertension, diabetes, and altered immune function (e.g. chronic infections and autoimmune disorders). We know there is a better way. In this series, we will attempt to unearth it. But we are going to have to dig deep folks.
So we now know that for most people the “eat less, move more” mantra is absolute garbage. Or put another way, the idea of “calorie reduction as principal” is C.R.a.P. So what gives? Simply put, dieting fails because that is not how the body works. Dieting is a conscious decision, an act of willpower. Such austerity can yield good results in the short-term. But your long-term weight is determined by neuroendocrine processes. That is, by a continuous conversation between your subconscious brain and fat stores. Their language is of hormones and nerve signals. And what you “will” has no input here.
So, the willpower to diet invariably encounters a contradiction. Like a speeding car that runs into a concrete wall. Because we are trying to change a subconscious process (i.e. weight) by conscious power. In that battle, the subconscious wins every time.
The dynamics of weight regulation is much like body temperature or the menstrual cycle (i.e. neuroendocrine). Can you decide to ovulate? Can you “will” not to sweat on a very hot day? So, sustainable weight loss only occurs when the will of the mind is in alignment with the workings of the body. But we must go deeper still. Stay tuned.
In all things the body seeks to maintain stable internal conditions (i.e. homeostasis). A steady body temperature. A consistent blood pressure. A predictable menstrual cycle. And also a stable long-term body weight.
The body functions much like a thermostat. In that it has a body fat “set point”. And maintains this set point by continually adjusting appetite and basal metabolic rate (i.e. energy expenditure).
The key regulator of long-term weight is a hormone called leptin. Leptin is produced by fat cells. When fat stores expand, the level of leptin in the body rises. The brain responds by reducing appetite and increasing energy expenditure. When fat stores contract, the level of leptin falls. Again the brain responds by increasing appetite and reducing energy expenditure. The brain also controls a specialized tissue called “brown fat” that burns excess calories. When activated, brown fat can torch over 500 calories a day. In this way, body weight fluctuates very little over the years. And always around a “set point”.
So, runaway weight gain that exceeds the set point is the result of a breakdown in leptin signalling (i.e. leptin resistance). A few kilos overweight is mild leptin resistance. Obesity is severe leptin resistance.
So far so good. But we can still dig deeper.
Imagine you are in an enclosed room with gym socks. After a while you’ll stop smelling the socks. This is a fundamental principle: too much exposure to a substance dulls sensitivity to it. And this dynamic is what causes leptin resistance.
The problem is that the human body is simply not adapted to many staples of the modern diet (e.g. sugary drinks, white flour, and vegetable oil). In various ways, these modern foods disrupt leptin signalling. For example, consuming concentrated sugar triggers an enormous burst of leptin. The brain is overwhelmed by this intense leptin signalling. After a while the brain takes protective action. It gradually tunes out leptin. The brain becomes “deaf” to the vital message communicated by leptin (i.e. level of body fat).
Over time, the brain begins to interpret its “deafness” to leptin as its absence. It now believes the body has no fat stores (i.e. starvation). In response, the brain initiates a metabolic program to rebuild fat stores. It adopts the metabolic type and psychological frame of a starving human being: slow metabolism, constant fatigue, obsessive thinking about food, preference for calorie-rich foods, weak immunity, and so on.
An overweight person looks well nourished but his metabolism is that of a starving person. And this is why dieting fails.
But we can still go deeper.
Dieting fails because of leptin resistance. It shuts down your metabolism and promotes fat build-up. To make matters worse, leptin teams up with insulin to further lock up fat stores. Leptin resistance and insulin resistance develop at the same time and reinforce one another.
These twin hormonal imbalances work like a fridge and deep freezer. Leptin resistance loads up the fridge with fat.
But fat in the fridge is still accessible. It can be burned off with some effort. Insulin resistance takes fat out of the fridge and locks it up in the deep freezer. Fat in the deep freezer is very difficult to burn.
The key to sustainable weight loss is to gradually resolve leptin resistance and insulin resistance. Fat loss then becomes very easy. There are four pillars:
*restore gut structural integrity
*increase gut microbe diversity
*eat more healthy fat
We’ll examine each in turn. Stay tuned.
The digestive tract is the root of the body and its contents is the soil. This network sustains the body and underpins all metabolic processes. Tending to your “inner garden” is the key to sustainable weight loss.
The standard modern diet is a grave insult to digestion. We now eat things that simply have no precedent in human history. And these staples shred the gut:
*unfermented grains like wheat, oats, and millet
*chemically-modified seed oils marketed as “vegetable oil”
*hydrogenated oil in packaged foods
*refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup
*toxic amines marketed as “seasoning cubes”
*and many more folks
The result of all this is a silent epidemic of leaky gut. An overweight person has a river of toxins flowing from the intestines into blood circulation. This slow poisoning burdens the liver and thyroid and effectively shuts down fat burning.
To lose weight you must stem this tide. That is, heal and seal your gut. And this involves adopting some manner of ancestral diet. The guiding principle is: “What would my great-grandmother recognize as food?”
There are certain foods that accelerate healing of the gut:
*cow bone and cartilage broth
*cooked cow hide
*organ meat pepper soups
*raw vegetable juice
*coconut and homemade coconut milk
The “low carb” trend has merit. But not all carbs were created equal. Certain carbs like refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup are no-go areas. As they are literally slow acting poisons. So what makes carb restriction special?
It’s all about insulin. Of the macronutrients (i.e. protein, fat, and carbohydrate), carbs stimulate the most insulin secretion. And insulin puts the body in fat storage mode. So less carbs means less insulin which means less fat storage. But there’s more.
- The amount of insulin released depends on how quickly a carb-rich food is digested into sugar. The quicker the digestion, the greater the insulin response. And this is key. Wheat flour and white oats is basically sugar. So major insulin release. White rice is another bad one. It’s interesting that puffed white rice raises your blood sugar quicker than table sugar. I think that says it all about rice.
But there are carbs that break down into little sugar. In fact, they are partly digested into fat. Wait, what!? That is the magic of resistant starch and prebiotic fibers. These carbs are not broken down by digestive enzymes. They reach the colon intact where bacteria ferment them into short chain fatty acids. These SCFAs lower insulin levels and enable fat burning. Good sources are yam, potatoes, plantain, sweet potatoes, cocoyam, breadfruit, and cassava.
To buttress my point, an overweight Australian man (Andrew Taylor) ate as much potatoes as he could stomach for 100 days and lost 35kg. True story. But no need for such extremes.
Also, never fry carbs. You’ll get a mouthful of acrylamides. And trust me, you don’t want that.
So much information! I bet you’ve never heard them like this before. Follow the rest of the series on his Instagram page.© Copyright 2016 Ebun Oluwole, All rights Reserved. Written For: Get your Sizzelle on!