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Thread: Weight control theories

  1. #1
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Weight control theories

    Iíd like to start a discussion on theories of weight control (dieting, but also difficulties in maintaining or gaining weight). In particular, calories in/calories out (the move more/eat less camp) versus hormonal control. Both are involved but which one is more of an issue in long-term success?

    My personal bias is that a nutritional theory should be consistent with the known biochemistry. Understanding the actual pathway is more important to me than how a study is interpreted. If the study results appear to contradict the biochemistry then I want to know why. Some cult status nutrition writers gloss over the ďscienceĒ and throw insults at those who donít agree with them; I kind of enjoy reading those books but theyíre not convincing to me. My other disclosure is that Iím an entrenched omnivore looking for nutrient density across each macronutrient, and to me it means both animal and plant material.

    My comments on this post reflect Jason Fung. One of the more important books Iíve read is The Obesity Code. (This puts me in the hormonal control camp.) Fung also has an awesome blog. Two recent beauties:

    https://intensivedietarymanagement.c...cs-irrelevant/

    https://intensivedietarymanagement.c...iet-explained/

    According to Fung, the First Laws of Thermodynamics (the one that supports calories in/calories out) doesnít let you predict how much weight youíll lose because whether we burn calories or whether they go towards fat storage is tightly controlled by hormones, primarily insulin. Insulin is the fat storage hormone and it also blocks release of fat from fat tissue. His theory is that traditional diets fail because they donít account for insulin. Insulin does not respond to calories equally; it rises highest in response to rising blood sugar levels but that isnít the only trigger. In The Obesity Code, Fung explains that even the physical act of eating, of food passing from the mouth to the stomach, stimulates insulin. In long-term caloric restriction your body must reduce basal metabolism to fit the calories or energy available. Exercising burns hardly any calories compared to your overall energy needs but it does help with insulin resistance and some other health issues. Exercise also tends to ďwork up an appetiteĒ.

    Fung is a firm believer that diets work when you get right both what you eat and also when. For Fung, the when part is giving your body a chance to work through stores of blood sugar and glycogen while damping insulin triggers so you have a chance to draw on fat reserves for the bodyís energy needs. Intermittent fasting isnít required but it can be an efficient way to achieve this. In caloric restriction, youíre hungry because your energy needs arenít being met; in fasting, your energy needs are met. Thatís after a period of adjustment, which personally, Iím not in a hurry to find out how long that period of adjustment would be for me. ;^)

    Fung also discusses weight set point as one of the reasons why he feels calories in/calories out doesnít work. Your body strives to maintain or re-establish the prior set point, the weight we trend towards whether weíre trying to gain weight or lose it. Severe caloric restriction (not the same as fasting) can result in a lower basal metabolism without a change in set point. So after losing all that weight you may be stuck with continuing to each much less (even adjusting for less body mass) or else risk gaining it all back because itís very difficult to resist continuing hunger after a long period of deprivation.
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    Kitten time! Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I sure would like to know the answers. I don't care that much about being thin, but I want to be healthy.
    Count your blessings!

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    FORT Fogey Miss Scarlet's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I recently read a few articles on why people gain weight as they age, starting usually in their 30's.
    They said that if you eat the same foods/calories and get the same amount of exercise/activity as you have been, you WILL gain weight as you age. It's inevitable. The reason is that as we age, our bodies burn and require fewer calories even with the same activity level. Our natural metabolism just decreases. Even with all that stuff you read about certain foods increasing your metabolism. All in all it's bunk. If your calorie requirement has been 2000/day in your 20's, It will decrease to maybe 1400 by your 60's. Anything extra will cause weight gain.
    This is the reason that when you see Senior Plates on your menu, they are usually smaller portions. You just aren't supposed to eat as much.

    The only way around this is to change your habits - permanently. It's as simple as eat less, exercise more, but taking into account what you are eating and how you are exercising. Easy to say, hard to do.
    Personally I think that kind of sucks. It's like Seniors are being discriminated against, again. This time by Mother Nature.
    "Success is getting what you want; Happiness is wanting what you get."

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    FORT Fogey Cornholio's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I was always very thin when I was younger but started gaining in my mid-thirties. I exercise a lot but need to start watching what I eat. I know people who have gone to a doctor for thyroid-related weight loss, but these doctors are concierge and charge about $2000 per year! (They also include testing for food allergies and they have told the people I know who go that they need to stop eating gluten. I don't want to pay $2000 for someone to tell me to avoid gluten).

    It seems to me that there is a trend every decade to avoid one particular thing to lose weight. In the 90s it was fat, in the 00s it was carbs and now it's gluten.
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    FORT Fogey Miss Scarlet's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornholio View Post
    I was always very thin when I was younger but started gaining in my mid-thirties. I exercise a lot but need to start watching what I eat. I know people who have gone to a doctor for thyroid-related weight loss, but these doctors are concierge and charge about $2000 per year! (They also include testing for food allergies and they have told the people I know who go that they need to stop eating gluten. I don't want to pay $2000 for someone to tell me to avoid gluten).

    It seems to me that there is a trend every decade to avoid one particular thing to lose weight. In the 90s it was fat, in the 00s it was carbs and now it's gluten.
    This one bothers me a lot. Not just for weight loss, but gluten has gotten a bad name as being unhealthy to eat. This is flat out untrue.
    There are those who truly do have an allergy to gluten, it's called Celiac Disease, and those who have it truly do get sick when they eat foods with gluten. For them "gluten free" is truly a necessity. But for most, it's nothing more than a trendy fad that accomplishes nothing.

    Yes, you can give yourself a sensitivity. When you remove any food type from your diet, or limit it dramatically, it can cause your body to "forget" how to process it. Then when you do happen to eat some, you don't feel right because your body is saying: "What the heck is this? And what do you expect me to do with it?" In other words, these people are creating intolerances in their own bodies. Not because there's anything wrong with the item (like gluten) but because the body just isn't used to it anymore.

    Also, when something is removed or kept out of a food, the makers usually replace it with something else to improve the taste. Usually these replacements are salt, sugar, fat, unpronounceable artificial ingredients. These replacements are often, if not always, worse for you than the natural ingredient that they replaced. This applies to items like: Fat Free Dressings; Non-Dairy Cheeses; Fat Free Yogurt; Sugar Free Anything; Gluten Free Foods.

    What's found in nature is almost always better for you. Moderation is the key.

    I personally know a woman who is constantly coming up with a new "allergy". Then when she finds out that what she replaced it with isn't good for her, the "allergy" magically goes away. Currently gluten is at the top of her list. When she told me this, I said "I didn't realize you have Celiac Disease". She answered "What's that? I've never heard of it." I walked away thinking "Here we go again."
    mesachick, Cornholio and Debb70 like this.
    "Success is getting what you want; Happiness is wanting what you get."

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    FORT Fogey Debb70's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I know what you mean. Some people seem to thrive on fads. Now it's gluten. There are people who must avoid it, but for the others, it just makes me chuckle. It's as if they never stop to really see what it's all about. They just want something to latch on to.

  7. #7
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    Nutrition science did us a huge disservice last century with the increasing reductionist approach. Foods were reduced to their individual nutrients but nutrients don't work in a vacuum. I'm not vegan but I try to eat as wide a variety of vegetables and fruits as possible to increase the likelihood of a range of synergistic phytochemicals, most of which might never be identified. They're not essential, like vitamins, but they may contribute significantly to a degree of health.

    Gluten can be a severe problem for people who are sensitive but not celiac. Keith McCormick's book The Whole Body Approach to Osteoporosis discusses the tests that are necessary to confirm this. I don't think I have a gluten issue so I've never worried about it.

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    FORT Newbie BostonMom's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I was recently advised to start the Whole30 diet. My weight has always fluctuated but two years ago I started losing a lot of weight, and I didn't change my diet and exercise. I think it might've been stress. Then last year I noticed that my energy was wearing off very early in the day and I went from 87 pounds to 165 in a year. Again, didn't really change my eating habits. So now I'm at the heaviest I've ever been and I'm trying now more than ever to get to a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin. the only other time in my life I really dieted was after I had my son and just wanted to fit back into my pre-baby clothes. So I'll be starting the Whole30 diet on Monday. Has anyone tried this diet?
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  9. #9
    Kitten time! Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    I had to Google it. It's a sound diet. What happens after the 30 days?
    Count your blessings!

  10. #10
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Re: Weight control theories

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonMom View Post
    My weight has always fluctuated but two years ago I started losing a lot of weight, and I didn't change my diet and exercise. I think it might've been stress. Then last year I noticed that my energy was wearing off very early in the day and I went from 87 pounds to 165 in a year. Again, didn't really change my eating habits.
    Stress (cortisol) is often a reason to put on weight or to not be able to take it off. That's a lot of change in weight both up and down for not really changing your diet or exercise. Has you doctor checked you for issues, like maybe thyroid? Good luck with Whole30.
    BostonMom likes this.

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