The Science of Weight Loss
Oh the age old question of what losing weight really entails. Eat frequently. Don’t eat at all. Don’t eat after 7 pm. Don’t eat red meat. Don’t eat fat. The list goes on and on and the reason for that is because some version of some kind of diet has worked for someone we know. We all know someone who did some kind of crazy thing and got amazing results. The truth of the matter is that even though we all have the same organs and blood pumping through our veins; we all respond to food/drink just slightly different than the next person. This, unfortunately, causes us to believe that some crazy infomercial diet that our neighbor tried and had some success with will also work for us and it’s just not the case. There are absolutely exceptions to the rule, but you have to remember that those people are EXCEPTIONS.
There is real, concrete science behind what will work for roughly 75% of the world’s population. Those 25% on the fringe, on either end of the spectrum, have to follow some different protocol. So, first things first, what group am I in? There are typically three categories of people in the world. Group one is the people who have always been able to eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce. We all know these lucky genetic lottery winners and we all hate them. Group number two is where most of us fit in, present company included, and that’s the people who have to watch what they eat but can get away with some treats every so often. If we let ourselves get carried away, we can also run into some problems fairly quickly, but for the most part we can get away with a slice of cheesecake on the weekends. Group number three is the group of people who gain weight if they so much as look at a slice of cheesecake. This group of people have always been big due to some genetic predispositions BUT they don’t have to stay like this. If this is you, don’t feel bad, it really isn’t your fault. The human body is, if nothing else, the master of adaptation. If you do something to it over and over and over, it is going to get really good at that thing and that means what you’re putting in your mouth too.
So, now that we’ve classified just where you’re at let’s discuss the science aspect of it. This portion pertains to everyone. The amount of leeway you have depends on what group you are in. The body has two main hormones for dealing with food and how you use it/store it. Those two are insulin and glucagon. I won’t get into all the nerdy details of it all but if you’re into that stuff I highly recommend giving those two terms a google search. The important piece you need to know is that insulin is our body’s natural reaction to eating food or drinking anything with sugar or alcohol. Insulin is your body’s storage hormone. The moment you eat or drink something insulin gets released and your body places those proteins/carbs/fat into your cells. Glucagon is the counter opposite of insulin. It tells your body to use those proteins/carbs/fat in your cells in order to provide you with energy to complete a task ranging from super strenuous exercise to walking your dog. Glucagon will also get released by the pancreas when your blood sugar gets too low. This is why if you go a few hours without eating you’ll get a headache for a minute or two and then suddenly be fine. Your pancreas receives that signal from the brain that blood sugar is too low and then does it’s job to release some glucagon. The glucagon tells your fat or muscle tissue to let out some glucose into the blood in order to satisfy the brain and keep it running.
Now, something else about insulin. Insulin tends to get released in MUCH higher quantities specifically for the ingestion of any kind of carbohydrate. It gets released for protein and fat too but not anywhere near the levels of carbohydrates. We need insulin to live, just ask any type 1 diabetic, but too much insulin can lead to diabetes on the other end of the spectrum, which would be type 2 and a whole host of other problems. So, if too much insulin is bad, and carbohydrates raise insulin more than any other macronutrient (protein/fat), what exactly is a carbohydrate? Glad you asked. Carbohydrates are pretty much anything that isn’t an animal or a nut. Yes, vegetables/pasta/rice/bread/dairy/fruit/ and mostly everything you can get at the grocery store is a carbohydrate.
Now, remember those groups we talked about earlier? Group one folks if you’re still here I commend you but we all still hate you. Group 2 and 3 folks this is the really important piece for you guys. Take a second and think about your day to day eating. Cereal, maybe yogurt or some kind of bar in the morning, maybe a sandwich for lunch and then pasta or pizza for dinner, right? Well, let’s take a look at what you did here. Huge dose of insulin for breakfast? Yup. Lunch? Check. Dinner? Yes sir captain! Well, group 2 and 3 people, I told you that you all had to be careful about just how much insulin you’re pumping into your body, didn’t I? Well, your diet as currently constructed is quite the opposite of that. If you are constantly dumping high doses of insulin into your bloodstream, the only signal you’re sending to your brain is to store energy, and the most efficient way is knows how to do that is by adding body fat.
I did say that no matter what you eat your body is going to release insulin, which is true. But, group 2 people you can still have some carbohydrates daily, in fact you should. Specifically vegetables and fruits. I don’t need to tell you why they’re good for you. We all know they are, just eat them. Group 3 people, you guys probably should only eat leafy green vegetables and no other form of carbohydrates until you’re satisfied with your weight loss. I know it sucks. The problem for you guys is that your hormones just cannot handle any kind of sugar. I would try vegetables and fruits but if you still aren’t seeing results then you may have to do away with fruits too.
Group 2 people you should be eating fruits and vegetables along with protein sources at every meal. Remember, protein is anything that was going to be an animal. So, yes, bacon is good! As I said, you guys can have some fun stuff on the weekend but try to make it only 1 or 2 meals out of the weekend. Not the entire day or two.
There’s a lot of information here so if you have more questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!