Decreasing food calories does lead to some weight loss but doesn’t lead to long term permanent weight loss. To date, there are no scientific studies to show that decreasing food calories leads to long term weight loss. Some studies indicate a loss of healthy lean body tissue known as muscle, but an inadequate amount of fat mass to make lowering calories a workable solution.
Decreasing Food Calories Is Not A Physiological Function:
Our body has no receptor sites that attract calories or know how much we are consuming or not consuming. The idea that calories in must be less than calories out is fiction. Science knows this through the understanding of the body’s set weight also known as the BSW. The BSW is the biological set point that our body dictates are an ideal level of body fatness. If we are too thin, our body attempts to gain weight. Conversely, if we are too fat, we try to lose weight. Unfortunately, this ebb and flow of our BSW are what cause us to gain weight. Each time our BSW fluctuates, then so does our basal metabolic rate also known as BMR. Decreasing food calories creates a metabolic drop and the body slows down. The body’s response is to adjust the physiological appestat and hunger ensues. The dieter then finds themself gaining weight again despite decreasing food calories.
The Appestat and How We Really Gain Weight:
The appestat is a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus which controls a person’s appetite. Obesity is a disease caused by a build-up of excessive insulin, not simply too many calories in. Too much insulin creates a hormonal imbalance. The function of insulin is to regulate blood sugar and store excess sugar within fat cells. When we are in a fasted state such as when we are sleeping our blood sugars drop to very low levels. When we consume sugar drinks or high glycemic foods our blood sugars begin soaring. When blood sugar soars, insulin begins storing sugar nutrient with the fat cells which eventually grow larger in overall size. Hence we become fatter. The fat cells then produce more hormone called leptin. The leptin sends a message to the brain that we are getting too fat. Our appetite will soon decrease and insulin drops. This momentum tells our body to begin burning fat instead of storing nutrients in fat cells. This cycling of blood sugars creates a physiological feedback loop which causes the BSW to creep up over time. This accounts for the reason why people become obese over time versus suddenly.
If the root of the problem of eating way too much sugary foods isn’t addressed, then the body becomes develops hyperinsulinemia. If you find yourself getting fatter from poor eating behaviors, it is likely you are eating too much-refined sugars and grains, and therefore Insulin dominates over leptin. As fat cells become larger or hyperplastic then the body responds by producing more leptin to attack the insulin. Over time, leptin develops resistance, leaving Insulin to continue to dominate and make the body fatter. Leptin resistance is universally seen in morbid obesity. With Leptin down and out, the body’s BSW is left to reset body weight upward.
The Real Solution to Losing Weight:
Don’t rely on decreasing food calories as a solution! Begin by lowering your insulin levels so Leptin can do its job at helping us feel full. This can be done by:
- Avoid foods that have refined sugars like breakfast cereal, sugary soft drinks, bakery goods, snack chips, etc.
- Reduce your intake of foods that represent grains like rice, barley, pasta, etc.
- Make your food choices protein-rich. Foods such as organic chicken, grass-fed beef, wild fish and pasteurized eggs.
- Choose healthy omega 3 rich fats found in avocados, salmon, anchovies, cod liver oil, flax seeds, chia seeds.
- Your carbohydrates should be complex in nature. Spinach, lettuce, kale, string beans, broccoli, cauliflower. You get the idea.
- Limit your high sugary fruits, such as oranges, apples, grapes, watermelon, mangoes, and bananas. In general, your berry fruits are much lower in fruit sugar and better at controlling insulin surges.
- Weights loss is a complex phenomenon that science is just beginning to finally understand. It is vitally important that you get your self educated to avoid making mistakes when trying to lose stubborn body fat.
An Added Bonus:
It is a well-known fact to both medical professionals and Holistic Lifestyle Coaches that exercise in the form of resistance training and cardiovascular training can greatly drive down blood sugar levels and therefore stabilize insulin surging. It is so effective that medical endocrinologists and diabetic counselors preach 30- 40 minutes per day of arduous physical activity to their patients to control insulin surging. And if the patient is compliant then, titration off oral and injectable agents is in the foreseeable future!
So my professional advice to those who are looking to drop unwanted pounds is to stop focusing on decreasing food calories and focus on healthy blood sugar compatible foods. With a small but effective dose of resistance training, you will surely begin to drop weight and inches in a healthy manner. And develop the integral skills required to live a long and healthy life!
About the Author:
Rivak Hoffman is the President and founder of Every Bit Fit Arizona located in North Scottsdale. He is a CHEK Institute licensed Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach. He also holds numerous certifications in medicine, rehabilitation, nutrition and exercise coaching. For more information on Rivak and what he can do for you and your health issues, visit everybitfitaz.com and sign up for a complimentary consultation!