few facts for the guidance of the
abused, confused, fat and unfit public.
you are fortunate enough to live near a University or Institute
where they have a good collection of nutrition journals
in the library, and have enough time to browse there on
a regular basis, most of your knowledge of nutrition will
come from the printed media (magazines, newspapers) and
the numerous advertisements and "paid" programmes
on the television & radio!
The media reports "news"; unless it is sensational
or sexy enough to grab you, it is not "news", and in
the search to make it glamorous, the truth often becomes vague
or even disappears. Likewise the "paid" programmes;
these people are trying to sell you something. If they tell you
that this or that chromium compound will turn your fat into muscle,
and refer to a study that sounds scientific, you will be tempted
to invest your money in a pill that renders all previous diet
pills obselete. However, they may have omitted to tell you that
their study was published in a journal that has no peer-review
procedure, and that 99 other studies by independent competent
scientists showed that the said pill actually turns carbohydrate
short, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! So before
you fall into the trap, make sure there is scientific evidence,
make sure you see it, and find out whether there are conflicting
scientific opinions about it.
your body, and it is the most valuable piece of equipment you
will ever own, so look after it and don't abuse it by subjecting
it to dubious or hazardous nutritional procedures.
to lose weight?
bottom line is that one lb of excess weight is worth 3,400 kilocalories
(sometimes called Calories), which is about 50% more than you
would or should consume per day. To lose that pound, you have
to make sure your body is expending (burning off) more Calories
than you are consuming. For example, you can cut your food intake
down, or increase your energy expenditure without eating more,
and by the time you have drawn on your fat reserves to make up
the 3,400 Calories that are missing, you will have lost the one
pound. Of course, there are a few rules, if you want to do it
without any danger, and we will get to those shortly, but think
about this: If you need 2,200 Calories per day to maintain your
weight and provide the energy for all your activities, then a
simple calculation reveals that even if you eat nothing at all
for a week, you will only lose 4.5 pounds! Actually, the scales
will go down more during the first week, but that is because you
will also lose a lot of water, not necessarily a good thing, and
in the second week, assuming that you have the willpower to continue,
you will lose a lot less than the 4.5 pounds, because your body
adapts to this time of starvation.
that make you wonder about these advertisements that guarantee
you a weight loss of 30 pounds in a month, without changing your
about the rules? They depend on how you want to do it. If you
decide that you want to eat less, don't even think about just
cutting down the quantities of food you are eating unless you
also change the composition; it is no coincidence that about 2,200
Calories per day of a sensible mixed diet provides all the protein,
vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids you need to maintain
good health. If you just halve the amount you eat, you will develop
some unpleasant deficiencies!
you cut down on Calories, your protein requirement goes up, and
if you do not allow for this, you will start losing "lean
body mass", which is protein from muscles and vital organs.
So you have to consume more protein, and the rule of thumb until
you get down to 1,000 Calories per day is an extra gram of protein
for each 40 Calories less that you consume. Once you go below
the 1,000 mark, your protein requirement goes up even more, and
special rules apply.
most important reason for keeping your protein intake in the right
range is to prevent that loss of lean body mass. Losing muscle
will make you weaker, and you may never regain it, so you can
do permanent damage to yourself! However, there are a couple of
other benefits that are worth having. The first is that protein
needs an explanation. The word means "production of heat",
and heat is, of course, just one form of energy. In simple terms,
when you eat food, your metabolic rate increases to make the digestion,
absorption and metabolism of that food more efficient. All "macronutrients"
(protein, carbohydrate and fat) cause thermogenesis, but the effect
is greatest with protein. Other constituents of food, and some
Dietary Supplements (herbs), are also thermogenic. For example,
you may feel warm after a cup of coffee or tea; the caffeine is
thermogenic. Other thermogenic substances include alcohol, nicotine
and a few spices, as well as some herbs (of which more later),
and exercise is a thermogenic activity.
So protein can boost energy production in your body, and by increasing
your metabolic rate, it can increase your energy requirement,
increasing the gap between "Calories In" and "Calories
Out". The consequence is a better rate of weight loss.
Muscle is, of course, a major site of thermogenesis, so if you
start losing lean body mass, your thermogenic response also decreases.
This is another reason for making sure that you get enough protein.
On bad diets, without enough protein, the metabolic rate actually
falls, so rates of weight loss can decrease, sometimes to zero.
This happens most often in those who are seriously overweight,
and who may stop losing weight even on diets of only a few hundred
Calories per day.
good reason for eating enough protein is that you need the essential
amino acids (EAAs) it contains. Protein is composed of amino acids,
some of which cannot be made in the body, and these latter are
thus essential in the diet. The body uses EAAs to make substances
called neurotransmitters, which keep your brain and nervous system
functioning. The amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, for example,
are converted into catecholamines, which play a key role in thermogenesis
as well as helping transmit messages around the nervous system.
Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which controls mood and
satiety (the sensation of "feeling full"), so getting
enough of these EAAs is very important to those who are trying
to lose weight.
are other reasons for having enough protein, one of which is the
"anabolic" effect; protein stimulates release of substances
which help amino acids pass into cells (including muscle cells),
so that with even moderate exercise, the pieces are in place for
healthy muscle growth. This also applies to those who are not
trying to lose weight, but want to build muscle.
The good low-calorie diet therefore provides an adequate amount
of protein. It must also contain some fat, and this must be fat
of the right type. If you do not get enough essential fatty acids
(EFAs), then many of your bodily functions will become sluggish
and inefficient, and you may develop EFA deficiency. The results
of EFA deficiency are very varied, but it has been linked to gallstones,
skin disorders (dry skin, loss of hair), high blood lipid levels
(increased cholesterol and triglyceride) and other serious problems.
It has also been shown that an adequate EFA intake is required
for optimal thermogenesis, so not getting enough fat of the right
type will reduce or eliminate the effects of a weight loss diet.
EFAs belong to two families, known as omega-6 and omega-3, and
you need EFAs of both types, in the right proportions. The best
conventional sources are soya bean oil and canola oil, which do
contain both types and in good ratios. Corn oil and sunflower
seed oil contain only omega-6 EFAs, while olive oil contains little
of either. If you think your EFA intake is low, then you can always
take specialty products containing oils such as borage seed oil
or blackcurrant seed oil, which are good sources of a rare omega-6
EFA called gammalinolenic acid (GLA), and fish oils which are
good sources of the unusual EFAs called eicosapentaenoic acid
(EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In some cases, these specialty
products are preferred, because they bypass the metabolic block
caused by the trans fatty acids in partially hydrogenated domestic
a general rule, try to keep your fat intake at about 30% of calories,
divided equally between the saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated
fats, but you can reduce this if you are taking the specialty
oils, since they are much more potent as EFAs. If you consume
much in the way of partially hydrogenated oils, then you will
have to compensate by increasing your intake of polyunsaturated
fats, or taking the specialty oils, since the trans fatty acids
in the partially hydrogenated oils block the metabolic conversion
of the parent omega-6 and omega-3 EFAs and can cause an EFA deficiency!
fat is not a problem if you follow these guidelines. It only becomes
a problem if you increase the proportion of saturated fat in the
diet, since then you may not get enough EFAs. However, saturated
fat has no intrinsic bad properties, and the body does require
certain saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid (needed for
thermogenesis as well as good functioning of the lungs). They
can, of course, be made in the body, but it is more effective
to get them from the diet.
mention of carbohydrate? Some carbohydrate should be present in
your diet, otherwise you will develop ketosis, which makes for
bad breath, euphoria and occasionally disturbances of the delicate
balance between acids and bases in the blood and tissue fluids.
Some medically supervised very low calorie diets actually rely
on ketosis to improve results, as does the Atkins diet, but you
don't really need to become ketotic to lose weight effectively.
Complex carbohydrates are a little better for you than the simple
sugars, since they are digested and absorbed more slowly (and,
by making the body work harder, can increase the thermogenic response).
You should also make sure you get enough dietary fibre, otherwise
you may become constipated.
There are, of course, the unfortunates who suffer from what is
popularly known as "carbohydrate craving". This is an
imprecise description, and we do not really know what causes it.
It may be possible to help such sufferers on a temporary basis
with a so-called starch blocker, such as Carb-Blocker, but
this is purely a method of helping them over the initial problem.
Long-term success in weight loss requires a causative approach
and changes in eating behaviour. If it is necessary to block starch
absorption for a few weeks in order to help such subjects get
started, then use of starch blockers is justifiable, but the long
term goal is to teach sensible eating habits that do not include
good diet provides enough protein, an adequate amount of fat of
the right type (and no partially hydrogenated oils), some carbohydrate,
some dietary fibre, and last but not least, adequate amounts of
vitamins and minerals (take a supplement at about 100% RDA level;
no need to megadose, and it could be harmful).
what if you don't want to diet formally, but still want to lose
weight? Then you can take a thermogenic
herb supplement, particularly those containing Bitter
Orange (Citrus aurantium) such as Somatherm, ThermoCaps®
or ThermoTea®. Bitter Orange works somewhat differently from
Ephedra, and is very much safer, but as with any Dietary Supplement,
read the directions for use carefully first. If you continue to
eat the same amount as before, then you will develop a negative
energy balance (using more Calories than you consume) because
the Bitter Orange will increase your metabolic rate, and also
increase the breakdown of stored fat. Therefore you will lose
on studies of Citrus aurantium and other thermogenic substances,
your metabolic rate can be increased by anywhere from 8% to 20%,
which is about the same as going on a mild diet, and should give
a weight loss in the average person of up to one pound per week.
It may not sound like a lot, but every little helps, and if you
only had a few pounds to lose it would be the method of choice;
no weighing and watching, no major lifestyle change!
course . . . . you could combine the Citrus aurantium with the
mild diet and increase the effect substantially! The combination
of Citrus aurantium with a diet corresponding to our guidelines
would be unbeatable!
it all together; some practical tips!
you know the rules, but you don't know how to start! Maybe the
following informal diet plan will help (for a more formal approach,
look at the ThermoDiet®):
1. Look at what you normally eat; upsize the serving of "protein"
food (fish, chicken, meat, some beans) and reduce the serving
size of the carbohydrate portions by half. Double up on low-calorie
leafy vegetables. This instantly gives you a greater thermogenic
benefit from protein, and reduces the negative effect of the carbohydrate.
The increased leafy vegetable servings should bring you up to
a decent fibre intake.
2. Make sure you get enough fat, of the right type, and avoid
trans fatty acids (partially hydrogenated oils) like the plague!
You can actually reduce your fat intake to about 15% of calories
if you take a good specialty oil product containing both omega-6
and omega-3 EFAs, preferably Bari-EFA®, otherwise stay close
to 30% of calories. Don't forget, you need omega-6 and omega-3
EFAs in the right proportions! Above all, if you do use the specialty
oils and reduce the total fat intake, do NOT make up the difference
3. Take one of the thermogenic Dietary Supplements named above
according to the instructions.
4. Take a multi-vitamin and mineral preparation (Bari-VIT®)
each day. If you want to take it a step further, then replace
a meal by a nutrition bar (Proti-Bar®) or a protein shake,
drink or soup (Proti-15®, Proti_Max® or Nutri-15®),
which will probably drop you a couple of hundred Calories and
give you the necessary extra protein.
Finally, a word of advice. You have the metabolism of a vegetarian;
thousands of years of eating meat has not changed that fact, and
humans still lack many of the enzyme systems that carnivores and
omnivores have. So back off the red meat a little and put more
emphasis on fish (which fits our metabolic systems quite well)
and high-protein nuts, seeds and legumes. If you really like your
meat, go for chicken or pork rather than beef, but balance it
out with fish or take the specialty EFA products to counteract
the bad effects of the hidden fat in the meat (arachidonic acid).
is also a word of caution; You may have been eating badly, and
there could be consequences that CAN be avoided. For example,
you probably do not know that during the first 2 - 3 weeks of
weight loss, the fat released from your fat stores, in the form
of fatty acids that travel throughout the body in the blood, can
contain both trans fatty acids (from having eaten food containing
partially hydrogenated domestic oils before starting the diet)
and arachidonic acid (from the lean part of red meat). The trans
fatty acids can block your metabolism of essential fatty acids
(EFAs), so that your cholesterol goes up and your risk of gall
bladder problems increases, while the arachidonic acid can increase
your risk of thrombosis! In fact, studies have shown that heart
attacks DO occur more frequently in those who have previously
eaten unwisely and then start burning off fat, which is exactly
what happens when you go on a diet.
this applies to you, stop the bad things you are doing at least
2 weeks before you go on your diet, and start taking fairly large
amounts of non-hydrogenated vegetable oil (soy or canola preferred),
but without reducing your Calorie intake. You can also take one
of the specialty oil products at the same time. The fat that you
have stored is constantly being replaced, and by making sure that
you only consume vegetable oil you will replace at least 50% of
the bad fatty acids in your fat stores during that 2-week period.
Remember: ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL,
BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS!
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