Shocking Truths About Dieting and Losing Weight!4 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
When it comes to losing weight and being satisfied with the way our bodies look, whatever will help us achieve quick results and instant gratification is usually the most appealing. This may be part of the reason why an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products.
But guess what?
All this money we are spending may not be helping. Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
And this may be due to the fact that many of the ways we try to lose weight, like juice cleanses, heavily restricting carbs or fat, fasting, etc., are simply not sustainable. We may lose weight at first but gain it back even faster once we return to more sustainable eating habits. In some cases, we are compelled to overeat when not dieting. As a result, we may gain the weight we lost plus more.
So let’s educate ourselves about how our bodies respond to restrictive diets geared toward weight loss. “Dieting” and eating less may not be the best way to lose those unwanted pounds.
Credible research suggests that repeated dieting may lead to weight gain. This is because our brain interprets these diets as famines and urges us to store more fat for future famines.
According to one interpretation of this study, this may “explain why people who try low-calorie diets often overeat when not dieting and so don't keep the weight off. By contrast, people who don't diet will learn that food supplies are reliable and they do not need to store so much fat.”
Recently, scientists may have discovered “a molecular switch in the brain that controls the body’s capacity to store fat, particularly after long periods of ‘famine” or weight loss - a process that underlies yo-yo dieting, where we regain the weight lost caused by dieting.”
The researchers found this “switch” in mice. It is a protein called carnitine acetyltransferase (Crat), and in the mice it was present in hunger-processing brain cells that regulate fat storage after dieting. They developed mice that had this Crat protein switched off.
"Manipulating this protein offers the opportunity to trick the brain and not replace the lost weight through increased appetite and storage of fat," said one of the researchers of the study.
"By regulating this protein we can ensure that diet-induced weight loss stays off rather than sneaking back on."
According to these researchers, being able to control this switch in humans may be a good treatment for obesity and other metabolic disorders, like Type 2 diabetes.
And in yet another recent study, there is some evidence to support a finding that eating less is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. This study looked at how different food portions influenced weight gain. Quite often, if a large portion of food is put in front us we eat the whole portion even if we are not that hungry.
This particular study wanted to see if people who had been trained to manage their portions would respond differently to increased portion sizes, compared to people who had not been trained. It used three groups of women:
- 34 women who were overweight and not previously trained in portion control.
- 29 healthy "control" women who had a regular weight , also not trained in portion control.
- 39 women who were overweight or obese but did undergo portion control training.
All women were served the same foods once a week for 4 weeks, but the proportion size increased randomly. The types of food included high calorie ones, like garlic bread, as well as low calorie ones, like salads.
Results showed that when all the women (even the ones who had been trained in portion control) were given bigger proportions, they consumed more food.
But here’s the catch…
The trained participants consumed more of the low-calorie foods and less of the high calorie foods, compared to the untrained controls. This way of eating - not obsessing over portion control but focusing on eating healthily - proved to be more sustainable.
How can you be proactive?
Be aware that it is not always about how much you eat but rather what you eat. This does not mean that proportion control goes out the window. Avocados, for example, are a very nutrient-dense, healthy food, but they are also high in fat. So you should not just eat avocados without being mindful of how much you are eating. But the point is that if you choose healthy foods, you can still eat significant portions, feel satisfied and have sustainable weight loss.
Focus on eating a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. There are also plenty of herbs and spices that can enhance the flavor of simple, whole foods that you cook at home.
And aside from maintaining sustainable, healthy eating habits, making sure you are nutritionally balanced is imperative when it comes to losing weight. Nutritional testing can help you determine if your body is absorbing the right amount of nutrients, such as the vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids, that may keep your body functioning at its best so that you can workout at your best ability and not hold on to unwanted pounds and excess weight.
Finally, there are specific nutrients like water, B vitamins and iron that may help you with your weight loss goals.
I wish there was a quick and easy way to lose weight, but there just isn’t. It’s all about making sustainable, lifestyle changes. And if you feel like you are being deprived when you are eating, it is highly unlikely you will sustain that method of eating.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.