Tag Archives: weight loss

Add Salt and Stop Gaining Weight? | The Paleo Diet

“In a study that seems to defy conventional dietary wisdom, scientists have found that adding high salt to a high-fat diet actually prevents weight gain in mice.”1

So, after all this time, is adding salt to the diet not really as consequential as we thought?  Can we just douse our food with it, eat whatever foods we fancy and then magically stay lean and fit? Let’s investigate.

The researchers hypothesized that fat and salt, both tasty and easy to overeat, would collectively increase food consumption and promote weight gain. They tested the hypothesis by feeding groups of mice different diets: normal or high-fat chow with varying levels of salt. To their surprise, the mice on the high-fat diet with the lowest salt gained the most weight.

But how can this be? Don’t we need to eat a diet lower in fat and salt, per USDA recommendations,2 in order to be as healthy as possible?

“Our findings, in conjunction with other studies, are showing that there is a wide range of dietary efficiency, or absorption of calories, in the populations, and that may contribute to resistance or sensitivity to weight gain”, says Michael Lutter, MD, PhD, co-senior study author and UI assistant professor of psychiatry.

Well, that certainly makes sense. Humans certainly are not all cut from the same cloth. We have to factor in genetic variability, and nature versus nurture, in terms of what we we’re fed growing up and whether our upbringing favored activity and exercise.

Furthermore, we need to consider what we are eating in the grand scheme of things. How does this affect our macronutrient ratios and consequently what is our body using for its fuel source? For example, if we eat a ‘healthy’ diet with many servings of natural fruit during the day, we provide our body with a constant, steady stream of carbohydrates. This prevents the body from tapping into stored fat which requires the body to put forth significantly more effort. If, however, we begin the process of becoming fat adapted, we force the body to do the latter and turn to fat as its primary fuel source.3

Many of us who are already in sync with the recommendations of a real Paleo diet are comfortable with the recommendation to eat a diet higher in fat. But, the mention of adding salt really throws us a curve ball! After all, added salt is linked to a host of negative side effects including high blood pressure, osteoporosis and kidney stones, stomach cancer, stroke, Menierre’s Syndrome, insomnia, motion sickness, asthma and exercise induced asthma.4

A brief glance at our colleagues, friends and family’s food habits, provide all the proof we need that the typical American is following a diet far too high in sodium. It’s a fair bet most could do with, at the very least, weaning off the salt, by cutting back on the salt shaker and simultaneously omitting processed foodstuffs. But, this begs the question, how should athletes balance their Paleo diets and replace electrolytes through sweat?

Rehydrating with pure water without also replenishing salts can be potentially fatal and lead to hyponatremia, a condition that can occur when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Drinking too much water during endurance sports causes the sodium in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life threatening.5 Other side effects may include lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches and constipation.

Moreover, on a low carb diet where the body becomes reliant on fat as its fuel, more salt is used in the process when insulin levels go down and the body starts shedding excess sodium and water along with it. On a high carb diet, insulin signals the cells to store fat and the kidneys to hold on to sodium, which is why people often get rid of excess bloat within a few days of low-carb eating.6

But again, if sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body, how do we replace it? Presuming you’re following a healthy, high in fat, but void of refined, processed carbs and with adequate wild proteins and local veggies Paleo diet, adding a few pinches of salt to a recovery drink is permitted7 and may, in some instances, be a part of preventing weight gain. The general takeaway is not to simply add salt and watch the pounds melt away. Rather, train your body to become fat adapted in conjunction with following a real Paleo approach.

These findings “may lead to the developments of new anti-obesity treatments” and “may support continued and nuanced discussions of public policies regarding dietary nutrient recommendations.”

Let’s hope the new treatments go beyond a new pill or surgery, and the recommendations are evidenced by science versus the current guidelines deterring us as a society to truly follow a path to optimal health!

 

REFERENCES

[1] ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 15 June 2015.

[2] “Dietary Guidelines.” Dietary Guidelines. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2015.

[3] Volek, Jeff, Stephen D. Phinney, Eric Kossoff, Jacqueline A. Eberstein, and Jimmy Moore. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Lexington, KY: Beyond Obesity, 2011. Print.

[4] “Sea Salt: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.” The Paleo Diet. N.p., 20 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 June 2015.

[5] “Hyponatremia.” – Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2015.

[6] “Insulin’s Impact on Renal Sodium Transport and Blood Pressure in Health, Obesity, and Diabetes.” Insulin’s Impact on Renal Sodium Transport and Blood Pressure in Health, Obesity, and Diabetes. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2015.

[7] Cordain, Loren, and Joe Friel. “Stages III, IV, V: Eating After Exercise.” The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance. New York: Rodale, 2012. 56-57. Print.

4 Paleo Cornerstones to Increase Your Metabolism | The Paleo Diet

Many individuals who are desperate to lose weight do not realize that they can – and should – eat lots of calories.1, 2, 3 Crash diets do not work, when it comes to long term fat loss.4, 5 In fact, they usually have the opposite effect – weight and fat gain.6, 7, 8 There are, however, some very easy tricks to incorporate into your routine to help ramp up your metabolism.

However, as a disclaimer, if you’re after a quick fix to mimic the effects of steroids or other illegal drugs, you’ll be looking at a harsh reality dead in the eyes. These drugs are dangerous, and are illegal for a reason.

Follow these simple, easy steps to hone in on the last 10% to push you over the edge and help you lose those few extra stubborn pounds!

4 Paleo Cornerstones to Increase Your Metabolism | The Paleo Diet

Mullur, Rashmi, Yan-Yun Liu, and Gregory A. Brent. “Thyroid Hormone Regulation of Metabolism.” Physiological Reviews. American Physiological Society, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 2 June 2015.

1. KEEP CALORIES IN CHECK

Make sure you are eating plenty of calories. Skip the starvation diets and/or “cleanses” please. Secondly, make sure that you are including “good” calories, and leaving out “bad” ones. This means making your diet as nutrient dense as possible, which the Paleo diet will accomplish for you automatically (I told you this was easy!). Leaving out the “bad” calories can be trickier, but you simply choose between avoiding ice cream and achieving their weight loss goal, or downing a pint and keeping those extra pounds. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

2. EAT QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Of these quality calories, protein is probably the most important.9, 10 Most of us do not eat enough protein, and the more protein we eat, the more satiated we will be and the more muscle we can build – both important cornerstones of true weight loss.11, 12 Thermogenesis requires adequate protein – as does muscle growth.13 Without protein, you will never become leaner and meaner.

3. FATTEN UP

The next step (which is so commonly overlooked) is indulging in lots of healthy fats.14 This means extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and other Paleo Diet staples.

4. SLEEP IT OFF

One of the biggest secrets to fat loss, is so simple, and yet so overlooked. As I’ve previously written, getting enough sleep is absolutely vital to fat loss.15 In fact, sleep deprivation will cause fat gain!16 Getting an appropriate amount of sleep may be the most unrecognized and underreported secret to fat loss – and yet so many of us struggle to achieve it.17 Why is this? Examine your lifestyle and see what you can strip away (another secret to fat loss – eliminate activities and stressors – don’t add them!)

So to review, boost your metabolism and get rid of stubborn body fat by getting enough calories (quality here is vital), eat plenty of quality proteins and fats, and get lots of high quality sleep (8-9 hours per night). These four Paleo cornerstones will ramp up your metabolism and help you lose body fat.

4 Paleo Cornerstones to Increase Your Metabolism

Mullur, Rashmi, Yan-Yun Liu, and Gregory A. Brent. “Thyroid Hormone Regulation of Metabolism.” Physiological Reviews. American Physiological Society, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 2 June 2015.

Perhaps two more key notes should be mentioned here. The first is to avoid sugar at all costs. Sugar is your enemy when it comes to fat loss.18 1-2 servings of fruit are all you usually need, and it’s vital (if you want to lose fat) to keep your carbohydrate intake to starchier sources, like sweet potatoes.

The second key is to give it time! Weight loss does not happen overnight – it really does take patience. I have had so many clients who have given up after a week of not achieving their goal, which is truly heartbreaking. I know that if they were to simply hold on for another few weeks, they would see very good results, and stick with it.

A Paleo diet and lifestyle will provide you with all the tools you need to maximize your metabolism and lose weight.19, 20 If you have very complex metabolic or health issues to deal with, you may need to see a doctor or practitioner, but this isn’t always necessary.

Go home, get rid of all the processed and man-made foods from your house, keep exercising and sleeping, and reap the rewards of a Paleo-driven, fuel-efficient metabolism!

 

REFERENCES

[1] Purnell JQ. Obesity: Calories or content: what is the best weight-loss diet?. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2009;5(8):419-20.

[2] Finer N. Low-calorie diets and sustained weight loss. Obes Res. 2001;9 Suppl 4:290S-294S.

[3] Kowalski LM, Bujko J. [Evaluation of biological and clinical potential of paleolithic diet]. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012;63(1):9-15.

[4] Kline GA, Pedersen SD. Errors in patient perception of caloric deficit required for weight loss–observations from the Diet Plate Trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010;12(5):455-7.

[5] Kelley DE, Wing R, Buonocore C, Sturis J, Polonsky K, Fitzsimmons M. Relative effects of calorie restriction and weight loss in noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1993;77(5):1287-93.

[6] Shah M, Miller DS, Geissler CA. Lower metabolic rates of post-obese versus lean women: Thermogenesis, basal metabolic rate and genetics. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988 Sep;42(9):741-52.

[7] Bray GA: Effect of caloric restriction on energy expenditure in obese patients. Lancet 1969; 2:397-398

[8] Keys, Ancel. The Biology of Human Starvation: Volume I. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1950. Print.

[9] Westerterp-plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. 2012;108 Suppl 2:S105-12.

[10] Brehm BJ, D’alessio DA. Benefits of high-protein weight loss diets: enough evidence for practice?. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2008;15(5):416-21.

[11] Westerterp-plantenga MS, Nieuwenhuizen A, Tomé D, Soenen S, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr. 2009;29:21-41.

[12] Clifton PM, Keogh JB, Noakes M. Long-term effects of a high-protein weight-loss diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(1):23-9.

[13] Acheson KJ, Blondel-lubrano A, Oguey-araymon S, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(3):525-34.

[14] Brehm BJ, Seeley RJ, Daniels SR, D’alessio DA. A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88(4):1617-23.

[15] Available at: //thepaleodiet.com/sleep-loss-making-fat/. Accessed May 30, 2015.

[16] Spivey A. Lose sleep, gain weight: another piece of the obesity puzzle. Environ Health Perspect. 2010;118(1):A28-33.

[17] Durmer JS, Dinges DF. Neurocognitive consequences of sleep deprivation. Semin Neurol. 2005;25(1):117-29.

[18] Kuo LE, Czarnecka M, Kitlinska JB, Tilan JU, Kvetnanský R, Zukowska Z. Chronic stress, combined with a high-fat/high-sugar diet, shifts sympathetic signaling toward neuropeptide Y and leads to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1148:232-7.

[19] Boers I, Muskiet FA, Berkelaar E, et al. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:160.

[20] Masharani U, Sherchan P, Schloetter M, et al. Metabolic and physiologic effects from consuming a hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic)-type diet in type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015;

Did All Hunter-Gatherers Really Have a Lean Body Type? | The Paleo Diet

Whether you’re looking at an illustration of a hunter-gatherer in the Paleolithic era with a spear or a photo of modern day advocate in such great shape, they appear to be the perfect specimen of a human, one thing often remains the same:  the idea that all hunter-gatherers were lean, mean machines.

But is this theory really all that accurate?

Were there no cavewomen with curves?  Or portly cavemen that had a bit of a pouch from overdoing it a little on the honey?  (Not-that-funny-jokes aside, sugar consumption is one of the primary causes of extra weight. Top that with not eating fat either, forget about it!)

According to newly presented research,1 fragmentary fossils suggest our genus has come in different shapes and sizes since its origins over two million years ago.

We’re all familiar with how humans as a species have grown taller, wiser and become more adept at decision making as our brains grew, but the idea that our body shape may have its roots date further back in history than Great Aunt Martha and her voluptuous thighs and bum isn’t something that’s discussed that often.

How much does what we eat really factor into the shape of our bodies?  Dr. Jay T. Stock,2 co-authored a study from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology that compared measurements of fossils from sites in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Georgia. He found significant regional variation in the size of early humans during the Pleistocene, noting “we can now start thinking about what regional conditions drove the emergence of this diversity, rather than seeing body size as a fixed and fundamental characteristic of a species.”

So, does that mean we should shrug our shoulders, throw in the towel and sigh with disappointment that we’re destined to never achieve that taut tummy or toned thighs we’ve always coveted? Not by a long shot!

What you eat factors in tremendously to how you look.  In my experience working with clients over the years, I’d wager to guess that nutrition can play as much as 80% of the role in whether or not an individual resembles the stereotypical hunter gatherer…or the stereotypical modern day American!

While genetics obviously factor into what you look like, we can still control the amount of foods we ingest and our movement. For example, there may be foods we can tolerate better than others based upon our ethnic roots, or our ability to build up endurance to run long distances.

By relying on a sound, true Paleo diet approach, you can reach your own personal best lean body size that combines what nature provided you with and what you choose to nurture yourself.

If you’re 5’6” and 45 years old, you’re not going to get any taller and unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do on that end. But if you’re also tipping the scales at 200 pounds at that very same height, you’ve got an incredible opportunity to change your fate (and your body size and shape) by choosing the path to better health, simply by what you’re putting in your mouth.

So, carry on being a hunter-gatherer, even if it is 2015 and you’re not exactly doing the hunting and gathering yourself. Lean body coming soon!

REFERENCES

[1] University of Cambridge. (2015, March 26). Earliest humans had diverse range of body types, just as we do today. Science Daily. Retrieved April 13, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150326204642.htm

[2] Manuel Will, Jay T. Stock. Spatial and temporal variation of body size among early Homo. Journal of Human Evolution, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.02.009

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Congratulations to the winner of The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook Giveaway, Karla! Thanks for sharing your inspired journey with us!

“I began the Paleo Diet with my daughter January 8, 2013 and within 2 weeks I had more energy, my mind felt clearer, I no longer had constant sinus drainage and nasal stuffiness, my digestive problems resolved and I didn’t feel bloated. I then segued to the autoimmune protocol due to having Rheumatoid Arthritis and my SED rate dropped dramatically (per lab tests) to the point where I went off Methotrexate (which wasn’t working anyway) and didn’t have to go on Humira. I virtually eliminated my R.A. joint pain and swelling.

My daughter who was 17 at time experienced loss of belly fat, more energy and though she had been on Solodyn for her acne for years, never really eliminating it, she experienced a dramatic reduction of her acne for the first time. But the most amazing change she experienced was no longer having exercise induced asthma, which was huge since she is a competition dancer and had to use an inhaler 30 minutes prior to dancing but still had the fear of experiencing an attack. The Paleo Diet gave her freedom and gave me a life back.”

Karla

The BEST Fat Loss Diet in The World | The Paleo Diet

It’s officially 2015, the New Year is upon us and with it many resolutions to lose weight and get into shape. With so many magazines and websites filled with latest fad diets, how do you know what diet really works best? The good news is the scientific research is actually quite clear with respect to the ‘best diet’ for not only promoting fat loss but also improving your overall health.

A low-carb diet (LC), or its cousin the very low-carb ketogenic diet (VLCK), are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to promoting weight loss and upgrading your health. A low-carb diet is typically classified as a diet consisting of 100g of carbs or less per day, whereas a very low-carb ketogenic diet is generally 50g of carbs or less. (It’s called a ketogenic diet due to the ketone body by-products produced when the body switches over to primarily fat- burning for fuel.)

Practically, adopting a LC or VLCK diet entails decreasing your intake of starchy carbohydrates while increasing your consumption of tasty lean proteins, healthy fats, nutrient-dense veggies and whole fruits.

For some this might be a whole new approach to eating, for others something you’ve experimented with in the past. How do low-carb and very low-carb ketogenic diets work to promote weight loss? There are numerous physiological mechanisms at play. Let’s take a closer look.

A low-carb diet dramatically improves your blood sugar control and the function of your blood sugar hormone insulin.1 After you eat a meal, insulin’s job is to get the sugars from your bloodstream into your cells.  The more overweight or out of shape you are, the greater the amount of insulin your body produces to get the job done. This leads to higher insulin levels in the blood, which directly blocks your capacity to burn fat via the hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) enzyme. This person would be called insulin insensitive and if the condition persisted they would eventually become insulin resistant and develop type-II diabetes.

How does this relate to carbohydrates? Carbohydrates exert the greatest impact on your insulin output, therefore by reducing your carb intake (and increasing your consumption of healthy proteins and fats) you’ll improve your body’s insulin sensitivity or efficiency at shuttling the food you eat into your cells where it can be used for energy.

A recent meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition of 1,400 people adopting a very low-carb diet showed significant reductions in bodyweight, as well as lower triglycerides and improved good HDL cholesterol.2 Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine of 322 obese patients revealed that the low-carb group on an unrestricted calorie diet lost more weight than subjects on a calorie-restricted low fat diet, or a Mediterranean diet.3 The beauty of a low-carb diet for weight loss is that you don’t have to bother counting calories and you’ll still see results.

It’s not just the hormone insulin contributing to all the positive outcomes. Low-carb diets increase your body’s satiety signals via the increase in protein consumption and improved efficiency of the satiety hormone leptin.4,5 Low-carb diets also trigger greater lipolysis – the breakdown of body-fat – as your body shifts to burning fat as a primary fuel source.6 There is also an increase in the metabolic cost of producing glucose (gluconeogenesis) when on a low-carb diet, which requires your body to burn more energy and translates into a slimmer waistline and better health for clients.7

A Paleo dietary approach fits perfectly with a low-carb or very low-carb ketogenic diet due to the inherently higher intake of lean proteins, healthy fats, and abundant vegetables.  The natural elimination of grains on a Paleo diet quickly and easily reduces your total carb intake (although it’s important to remember that not all Paleo diets need to be low-carb, particularly in athletes). The goods news is you’re replacing the nutrient poor starchy grains with nutrient-dense veggies and fruits. This promotes not only superior weight loss but better overall health.

The latest research shows a low-carb diet also comes with a myriad of other health benefits, such as; improved blood pressure, triglycerides, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and reduced inflammation.8,9,10 These are profound and dramatic changes that stem from simply eating more in-tune with how your body has evolved. (Not even best drugs in the world could improve these parameters so significantly!)

So, why isn’t everyone who is overweight or out of shape on a low-carb Paleo diet? Unfortunately, even many old diet and nutrition myths still persist in doctor’s and dietician’s offices across the country.

One of the most common mistakes is avoiding saturated fats for fear they will worsen a patient’s cardiovascular health. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies continue to pour out of the scientific literature confirming that your dietary intake of saturated fat does NOT impact your blood levels. In fact, the study goes on to show that carbohydrates are the real culprits (if you are overweight or out of shape), increasing blood levels of saturated fats alongside a key marker associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes.11 In short, cut the carbs to get your health and bodyweight back on track.

Now that you know why a low-carb diet is best way to lose weight and improve your health, the next step is implementing the diet into your day-to-day routine.

If you are new to the Paleo diet or have a lot of weight to lose, start out slow and scale up. Remember, whether you’re just starting out or have been following Paleo for sometime, our 85:15 Rule permits the inclusion of three ‘cheat’ meals per week, where you can loosen the rules, not feel too restricted, and ease into the Paleo lifestyle.

Here is a sample day of meals for beginners with recipes to get you started!

By following this approach many will lose weight gradually, feel satiated and content, and not compromise health or performance at work or in the gym.

Make 2015 a year to remember, transform your body and mind with a low-carb Paleo diet and unlock your weight loss and performance potential.

REFERENCES

[1]Ballard, K et al.Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves insulin sensitiv­ity, blood pressure, microvascular function, and cellular adhesion markers in individuals taking statins.Nutr Res.2013 Nov;33(11):905-12.

[2]Bueno, N et al.Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v.low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.Br J Nutr.2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87.

[3]Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359:229-41.

[4]Veldhorst M., Smeets A., Soenen S., Hochstenbach-Waelen A., Hursel R., Diepvens K., Lejeune M., Luscombe-Marsh N., Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein-induced satiety: Effects and mechanisms of different proteins. Physiol. Behav. 2008;94:300–307.

[5]Sumithran P., Prendergast L.A., Delbridge E., Purcell K., Shulkes A., Kriketos A., Proietto J. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013;67:759–764

[6]Cahill G.F., Jr. Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2006;26:1–22.

[7]Tagliabue A., Bertoli S., Trentani C., Borrelli P., Veggiotti P. Effects of the ketogenic diet on nutritional status, resting energy expenditure, and substrate oxidation in patients with medically refractory epilepsy: A 6-month prospective observational study. Clin. Nutr. 2012;31:246–249.

[8]Perez-Guisado, J.Munoz-Serrano A.A pilot study of the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: an effective therapy for the metabolic syndrome.J Med Food.2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):681-7.

[9]Crane P.et al.Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia.NEJM.Sept 2013 Vol 369.

[10]Heilbronn LK et al. Energy restriction and weight loss on very low-fat diets reduce C-reacctive protein concentrations in obese, healthy women. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2001;21:968-970.

[11]Volk B et al. Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. Plus ONE 2014, Nov 21:1-16.

Your Dietary Fix for Stress: Paleo Diet or Nordic Diet | The Paleo Diet

In November of 2014, the International Journal of Obesity published a study conducted by Swedish researchers comparing Paleo-inspired diets with those based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR).1 The NNR are comparable to the USDA’s dietary guidelines, emphasizing low-fat dairy and cereal grains and recommending a macronutrient distribution of 55-60% of calories from carbohydrates, 25-30% from fat, and 15% from protein. The macronutrient distribution used in this study to represent the Paleo diet was 30% carbohydrates, 40% fat, and 30% protein.

The researchers grouped 49 overweight or obese postmenopausal women into the Paleo and NNR groups, tracking their progress over two years. They were primarily serving how these diets influence glucocorticoid metabolism. Glucocorticoids are stress hormones that modulate various metabolic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular processes.2 Abnormal glucocorticoid metabolism is associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Cortisol, the principal active glucocorticoid, is secreted by the adrenal glands and converted to cortisone, the inert form.3 One of the enzymes responsible for this conversion is called 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1). Obese individuals demonstrate increased activity of 11β-HSD1 in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), which is fatty tissue directly under the skin. The researchers hypothesized that diet-induced weight loss results in decreased expression of 11β-HSD1 in SAT and thus a reversal of the abnormal glucocorticoid metabolism common to obese patients.

The study’s participants were observed at baseline, after 6 months, and after 24 months. Both groups lost weight and decreased BMI, waistline measurements, and total body fat throughout the study. The Paleo group had greater reductions after 6 months, but after 24 months there were no significant differences between the groups. Both groups also demonstrated decreased activity of 11β-HSD1 in SAT. The researchers noted, “We did not find any major difference between diets on glucocorticoid metabolism.”4

So what does this study tell us? The Paleo diet performed better than NNR after 6 months, but after two years, it seems neither diet had any advantages over the other. It’s important, however, to look closer at the structure of the study. Every two months, participants attended sessions with dietitians to ensure compliance with their respective diets. Food journals and urine samples were used for monitoring and measuring food intake. An anomaly, however, pointed out by the researchers, was that urinary nitrogen levels were not higher in the Paleo group (as they should have been) at any time during the study, “indicating that the actual intake of protein was similar in both diet groups.”5 The Paleo group, however, was instructed to eat 30% of calories as protein, double the amount of the NNR group.

Also, Paleo participants were instructed to eat 40% of calories as fat, “with a high proportion of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs).” An authentic Paleo diet, however, would have higher proportion of saturated fatty acids and MUFAs, with only very small amounts of PUFAs. So, the “Paleo diet” and the low-fat, high-carb, grain-centric diet fared similarly, but were Paleo participants following an authentic Paleo diet? This seems doubtful. Nevertheless, this study represents an important advance in our understanding of how diets influence stress hormones. Follow-up studies will hopefully ensure greater compliance to authentic Paleo diets.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Stomby, A., et al. (October 2014). Diet-induced weight loss has chronic tissue-specific effects on glucocorticoid metabolism in overweight postmenopausal women. International Journal of Obesity. Retrieved from //www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo2014188a.html

[2] Wang, M. (February 2005). The role of glucocorticoid action in the pathophysiology of the Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2(3). Retrieved from //www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/3

[3] Ibid, Wang.

[4] Ibid, Stomby.

[5] Ibid, Stomby.

Tips to Jumpstart Paleo New Year

Did you find yourself eating differently during the holiday season and have resolved to make drastic changes at the beginning of the year?  Forget about juicing, cleansing and detoxing for a quick fix to jump-start your resolution to trim your waistline and purify your body. There is little scientific evidence to support temporary measures have an impact on your overall wellness long term.

The truth is our bodies are continuously processing toxins (both environmental and dietary), chemicals, and waste products.1 It is a day-to-day undertaking involving the liver, kidneys, and spleen, rather than something you can undertake for an intense period.2 If you are looking to recover from the lifestyle implications of your holiday choices, return to the basic principles of the Paleo lifestyle, which focus on a consistent, long-term approach to optimizing metabolic and physiological health.3

Negative side effects are routinely experienced on calorie and fat/protein restricted programs, including low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea. Specifically, some programs allow for only fruit and vegetable juices to be consumed for up to a week at a time. The negative effects from consuming significant amounts of fructose, especially without fiber, fat, and protein, include rapid stimulation of lipogenesis and triglyceride accumulation, which in turn contributes to reduced insulin sensitivity and hepatic insulin resistance/glucose intolerance.4

Although purification naturally occurs on a daily basis, we can support the body’s pathways to function most efficiently. Focus on the following guidelines, as a part of your Paleo Diet, to feel energized and strong at the start of the year.

1. DRINK BONE BROTH REGULARLY

Broth a great way to stay hydrated, which keeps the circulatory and lymphatic system functioning optimally.5 Bone broth is rich in minerals6 and has been linked to healing the digestive tract and is rich in collagen, glucosamine, and gelatin. You can add a small amount of coconut oil, to aid in blood sugar regulation and minimize the risk of insulin resistance.7

2. INCREASE GLUTATHIONE-RICH FOODS INTAKE

Glutathione is an essential antioxidant naturally produced by the body8 to facilitate cell reactions,9 is quickly depleted by a poor diet, stress, illness, pollutants, and even aging. Sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.) are especially high in glutathione.10

3. SUPPORT LIVER AND KIDNEY FUNCTION WITH ADEQUATE BETAINE

Betaine protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress and participates in the methionine cycle.11 Betaine can be obtained in the highest concentrations from both spinach and beets.12 Raw beets can be sliced thinly or grated over a raw spinach salad for a betaine-rich combination and a vibrant addition to your Paleo dishes.

Stephanie Vuolo
@primarilypaleo
Facebook
Website

Stephanie Vuolo | The Paleo Diet Team

Stephanie Vuolo is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, an American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Coach. She has a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. She is a former contributor to Discovery Communications/TLC Blog, Parentables.

Stephanie lives in Seattle, WA, where she is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for how diet and lifestyle can contribute to overall wellness and longevity. She has been raising her young daughter on the Paleo Diet since birth. You can visit her website at www.primarilypaleo.com.

REFERENCES

[1] Available at: //www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/. Accessed December 16, 2014.

[2] Dorfman, Kelly. “Improving Detoxification Pathways.” New Developments 2.3 (1997): 4.

[3] Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. “Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947-955.

[4] Basciano, Heather, Lisa Federico, and Khosrow Adeli. “Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia.” Nutrition & metabolism 2.1 (2005): 5.

[5] Jones, JUDY M., L. A. Wentzell, and DANIEL P. Toews. “Posterior lymph heart pressure and rate and lymph flow in the toad Bufo marinus in response to hydrated and dehydrated conditions.” Journal of experimental biology 169.1 (1992): 207-220.

[6] Roberts, Sam J., et al. “The taphonomy of cooked bone: characterizing boiling and its physico–chemical effects.” Archaeometry 44.3 (2002): 485-494.

[7] Kochikuzhyil BM, Devi K, Fattepur SR. “Effect of saturated fatty acid-rich dietary vegetable oils on lipid profile, antioxidant enzymes and glucose tolerance in diabetic rats.” Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;42(3):142-5.

[8] Wu, Guoyao, et al. “Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health.” The Journal of nutrition 134.3 (2004): 489-492.

[9] Available at: //www.readisorb.com/science/methionine_cycle_and_glutathio.html. Accessed on December 16, 2014.

[10] Nuttall, S. L., et al. “Glutathione: in sickness and in health.” The lancet351.9103 (1998): 645-646.

[11] Craig, Stuart AS. “Betaine in human nutrition.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80.3 (2004): 539-549.

[12] Available at: //nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000145000000000000000-1w.html. Accessed on December 16, 2014.

Stop Counting Calories, Start Assessing Quality | The Paleo Diet

In the new paper soon-to-be published by Public Health Nutrition, a Cambridge University Press journal, doctors Sean Lucan and James DiNicolantonio question prevailing ideas on obesity and weight gain, with respect to calorie counting, while arguing for a more qualitative, rather than quantitative, approach to nutrition.1 Dr. Lucan is a practicing family physician and researcher whose work focuses on urban food environments and how they influence dietary behavior. Dr. DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. We caught up with Dr. DiNicolantonio to discuss his new paper and ask his views on calories, food quality, the Paleo Diet, and more.

In their paper, the doctors observed that most public health initiatives addressing obesity approach the problem arithmetically. In other words, make a balance sheet, add calories in, deduct calories out, and whenever there’s a deficit, weight loss should occur. This approach can also be summarized as “eat less, move more.” Research shows, however, that caloric intake and caloric expenditure are coupled, and thus consuming fewer calories “will necessarily result in a compensatory drive to reduce calories expended.”2 People who cut calories often fail to lose weight because they get tired and hungry, and this hunger drives them toward higher-calorie foods. Maintaining caloric deficit, the doctors argue, “is practically and biologically implausible.”

So what makes us gain weight? Is a calorie a calorie? In other words, do 100 calories of salmon have the same physiological impact as 100 calories of sugar or 100 calories of bread? In fact, different foods have substantially different effects on key hormones related to satiety, food consumption, weight maintenance, and body composition, particularly ghrelin (an appetite-stimulating hormone) and leptin (an appetite-suppressing hormone). Long-term overconsumption of refined and rapidly absorbable carbohydrates, the doctors explain, may promote leptin resistance, a condition they characterize as “a neurohormonal drive to ‘eat more’ and ‘move less.’”

We asked if sugar, in all its guises, is driving the obesity epidemic. “Refined/rapidly absorbable carbohydrates as well as added sugars (sucrose, also known as table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup) as well as free sugars, honey, 100% fruit juice, and syrups (agave syrup for example) are the primary drivers of obesity,” said DiNicolantonio.

Many people are surprised to learn that fruit juice is so metabolically destructive. Dr. DiNicolantonio refers to fruit juice as “soda without the buzz,” echoing Dr. Loren Cordain’s claims that fruit juice is “liquid candy” following the report fruit smoothies were equally as unhealthy as soda beverages. “Fruit juice actually has a higher fructose to glucose ratio than most sodas,” said DiNicolantino. “The rapidly absorbable sugar that is provided outweighs any small benefit provided from vitamins and minerals supplied in fruit juice.”

We also asked Dr. DiNicolantonio for his thoughts on the Paleo Diet. He observed that there are “good” and “bad” interpretations of Paleo. The bad interpretations, or more accurately, misinterpretations, would be those including highly processed animal foods or otherwise inferior quality animal products. “Then there is good/healthy Paleo,” he explained, “which is someone who is consuming animal products from animals set to pasture and never grain finished.”

In his paper, DiNicolantonio argues that with respect to calories, quality is far more important than quantity. He feels the same way about Paleo—quality predominates. “In essence, you can eat animal foods and be healthy, or you can eat them and be unhealthy. It depends on how the animal is bred and fed, as well as how the person is cooking the animal products.”

So if you’re trying to lose weight, quantitative strategies like caloric restriction probably won’t help. The Paleo Diet, on the other hand, is a scientifically vetted, evolutionary approach to health and wellness, including reduced body weight. The Paleo Diet works because it’s fundamentally a qualitative strategy, focusing on nutrient and ingredient quality rather than quantity consumed.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Lucan, S and DiNicolantonio, J. (Embargo: November 24, 2014). How calorie-focused thinking about obesity and related diseases may mislead and harm public health. Public Health Nutrition. doi:10.1017/S1368980014002559

[2] Ibid.

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings | The Paleo Diet

The scientific basis behind the recommendation to cut out sweets for weight loss and overall health benefit is often overlooked.1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Did you know that the more sugar you consume, the more you come to crave it?6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Or how about that eating sweet foods causes a reward in the brain and mesolimbic dopamine pathway?11, 12, 13, 14

The science behind sweet is surprisingly complex, and also paints these foods in a fairly negative light.15, 16, 17, 18 Gambling, shopping, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol – are all common addictions supported by salient science.19 But food and sugar addiction is still questioned – even though our world’s population has never been fatter than we are right now.20, 21, 22 Oftentimes, we see clients turn to artificial sweeteners. And while these may be good as a “methadone” to getting off of sugar, they actually tend to result in weight gain, not weight loss.23, 24, 25

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings | The Paleo Diet

Yang, Qing. “Images in This Article.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 29 Nov. 0005. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings | The Paleo Diet

Ahmed, Jessica, […] Robert Preissner. Oxford University Press. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

There are a multitude of reasons to avoid both sugar and artificial sweeteners.26, 27, 28 The body responds to sweet food with a need for more sweet food, and ignores foods that will contain more nutrients, and have more satiety.29 If we look at something like fructose specifically, some researchers have pointed out fructose is nearly equal to alcohol, in both societal function, hedonic and neuronal response, among others.30, 31

Molecularly, the structure of artificial sweeteners is interesting.32, 33 These creations have only existed for a little over 100 years, so we know very little about how our genome responds to them, at least in the long term.34, 35, 36

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings | The Paleo Diet

Yang, Qing. “Images in This Article.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 29 Nov. 0005. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

In 2008, only 15% of the population consumed artificial sweeteners, but that number has increased every year since. The number of products containing artificial sweeteners has also increased substantially, from 369 in 1998 to 2,346 in 2010. Interestingly, table sugar and glucose activate human taste pathways differently than artificial sweeteners.37

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings |The Paleo Diet

“Download PDFs.” Altered Processing of Sweet Taste in the Brain of Diet Soda Drinkers. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

Sucrose elicts a stronger brain response in the following regions: the anterior insula, frontal operculum, striatum and anterior cingulate.38 Sugar also stimulates the dopaminergic midbrain areas in relation to the behavioral pleasantness response.39 Your brain can tell the difference between artificial sweeteners and sugar, but does that mean that artificial sweeteners are better for us?

Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings | The Paleo Diet

“Download PDFs.” Altered Processing of Sweet Taste in the Brain of Diet Soda Drinkers. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

The answer: No.40 41 The link between artificial sweetener consumption and obesity is an interesting one.42 Presumably, non-nutritive sweeteners would be a better alternative. However, there are alterations in reward processing of sweet taste in individuals who regularly consume diet soda.43 The more the reward process is altered, the more diet soda is consumed.44

Addictive drugs cause increases in extracellular dopamine in the brain’s “pleasure center,” the nucleus accumbens.45 When you consume sugar, binging on the substance releases dopamine, similarly to addictive drugs.46 The brain responds to chronic high sugar consumption by altering its own dopamine receptors.47 The sugar-opiate similarities are fascinating, and even work at a genetic level.48 In fact, research shows sugar-dependent rats have alterations in dopamine and opioid mRNA levels, similar to morphine-dependent rats.49

The best way to combat sugar cravings and live a healthier life? Consume a Paleo Diet. You will be loading up on nutrient dense foods, and avoiding large amounts of sugar. You will also be cutting out artificial sweeteners entirely. By resetting your taste for sweet foods, a little fruit here and there, will go a long way, to satisfying your sweet tooth. And if you must indulge, aim for some very dark, organic, chocolate. Enjoy the slimmer, trimmer, version of yourself, as a result.

REFERENCES

[1] Chen L, Appel LJ, Loria C, et al. Reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight loss: the PREMIER trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(5):1299-306.

[2] Kasim-karakas SE, Almario RU, Cunningham W. Effects of protein versus simple sugar intake on weight loss in polycystic ovary syndrome (according to the National Institutes of Health criteria). Fertil Steril. 2009;92(1):262-70.

[3] Drewnowski A, Bellisle F. Liquid calories, sugar, and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3):651-61.

[4] Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, et al. Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite. 2010;55(1):37-43.

[5] Malik VS, Pan A, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(4):1084-102.

[6] Avena NM, Bocarsly ME, Hoebel BG. Animal models of sugar and fat bingeing: relationship to food addiction and increased body weight. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;829:351-65.

[7] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Sugar bingeing in rats. Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2006;Chapter 9:Unit9.23C.

[8] Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44.

[9] Blum K, Thanos PK, Gold MS. Dopamine and glucose, obesity, and reward deficiency syndrome. Front Psychol. 2014;5:919.

[10] Swiecicki L, Scinska A, Bzinkowska D, et al. Intensity and pleasantness of sucrose taste in patients with winter depression. Nutr Neurosci. 2014;

[11] Berridge KC. ‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ food rewards: brain substrates and roles in eating disorders. Physiol Behav. 2009;97(5):537-50.

[12] Wise RA. Role of brain dopamine in food reward and reinforcement. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2006;361(1471):1149-58.

[13] Blum K, Gardner E, Oscar-berman M, Gold M. “Liking” and “wanting” linked to Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS): hypothesizing differential responsivity in brain reward circuitry. Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(1):113-8.

[14] Murray S, Tulloch A, Gold MS, Avena NM. Hormonal and neural mechanisms of food reward, eating behaviour and obesity. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014;10(9):540-52.

[15] Tandel KR. Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011;2(4):236-43.

[16] Bellisle F, Drewnowski A. Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(6):691-700.

[17] Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB. Nucleotide sugar transporters of the Golgi apparatus: from basic science to diseases. Acc Chem Res. 2006;39(11):805-12.

[18] Willett WC, Ludwig DS. Science souring on sugar. BMJ. 2013;346:e8077.

[19] Grant JE, Potenza MN, Weinstein A, Gorelick DA. Introduction to behavioral addictions. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2010;36(5):233-41.

[20] Ziauddeen H, Fletcher PC. Is food addiction a valid and useful concept?. Obes Rev. 2013;14(1):19-28.

[21] Corsica JA, Pelchat ML. Food addiction: true or false?. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2010;26(2):165-9.

[22] Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011;378(9793):804-14.

[23] Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8.

[24] Mattes RD, Popkin BM. Nonnutritive sweetener consumption in humans: effects on appetite and food intake and their putative mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(1):1-14.

[25] Fowler SP, Williams K, Resendez RG, Hunt KJ, Hazuda HP, Stern MP. Fueling the obesity epidemic? Artificially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(8):1894-900.

[26] Popkin BM, Nielsen SJ. The sweetening of the world’s diet. Obes Res. 2003;11(11):1325-32.

[27] Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-24.

[28] Fried SK, Rao SP. Sugars, hypertriglyceridemia, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(4):873S-880S.

[29] Cantley LC. Cancer, metabolism, fructose, artificial sweeteners, and going cold turkey on sugar. BMC Biol. 2014;12:8.

[30] Lustig RH. Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110(9):1307-21.

[31] Lustig RH. Fructose: it’s “alcohol without the buzz”. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):226-35.

[32] Leban I, Rudan-tasic D, Lah N, Klofutar C. Structures of artificial sweeteners–cyclamic acid and sodium cyclamate with other cyclamates. Acta Crystallogr, B. 2007;63(Pt 3):418-25.

[33] Ahmed J, Preissner S, Dunkel M, Worth CL, Eckert A, Preissner R. SuperSweet–a resource on natural and artificial sweetening agents. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011;39(Database issue):D377-82.

[34] Brown RJ, De banate MA, Rother KI. Artificial sweeteners: a systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. Int J Pediatr Obes. 2010;5(4):305-12.

[35] Cong WN, Wang R, Cai H, et al. Long-term artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium treatment alters neurometabolic functions in C57BL/6J mice. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(8):e70257.

[36] Stellman SD, Garfinkel L. Artificial sweetener use and one-year weight change among women. Prev Med. 1986;15(2):195-202.

[37] Frank GK, Oberndorfer TA, Simmons AN, et al. Sucrose activates human taste pathways differently from artificial sweetener. Neuroimage. 2008;39(4):1559-69.

[38] Chambers ES, Bridge MW, Jones DA. Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity. J Physiol (Lond). 2009;587(Pt 8):1779-94.

[39] Thornley S, Russell B, Kydd R. Carbohydrate reward and psychosis: an explanation for neuroleptic induced weight gain and path to improved mental health?. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011;9(2):370-5.

[40] Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014;

[41] Gardner C, Wylie-rosett J, Gidding SS, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners: current use and health perspectives: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(8):1798-808.

[42] Davidson TL, Martin AA, Clark K, Swithers SE. Intake of high-intensity sweeteners alters the ability of sweet taste to signal caloric consequences: implications for the learned control of energy and body weight regulation. Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2011;64(7):1430-41.

[43] Green E, Murphy C. Altered processing of sweet taste in the brain of diet soda drinkers. Physiol Behav. 2012;107(4):560-7.

[44] Smeets PA, Weijzen P, De graaf C, Viergever MA. Consumption of caloric and non-caloric versions of a soft drink differentially affects brain activation during tasting. Neuroimage. 2011;54(2):1367-74.

[45] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39.

[46] Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44.

[47] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Underweight rats have enhanced dopamine release and blunted acetylcholine response in the nucleus accumbens while bingeing on sucrose. Neuroscience. 2008;156(4):865-71.

[48] Mysels DJ, Sullivan MA. The relationship between opioid and sugar intake: review of evidence and clinical applications. J Opioid Manag. 2010;6(6):445-52.

[49] Spangler R, Wittkowski KM, Goddard NL, Avena NM, Hoebel BG, Leibowitz SF. Opiate-like effects of sugar on gene expression in reward areas of the rat brain. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2004;124(2):134-42.

Media’s Botched Coverage of Long Term Weight Loss | The Paleo Diet

A study recently published online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal compares rapid and gradual weight loss diets.1 We’ll examine this study, but first let’s fast-forward to its conclusions. Study author Katrina Purcell said contrary to widespread recommendations for gradual weight loss, “our results show that achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% is more likely, and drop-out is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.”2

In an editorial published in the same journal, scientists Corby Martin and Kishore Gadde expressed modern, crash-diet products are well-formulated, provide adequate nutrition, and are “safe if used under expert supervision.”3 They added that for weight loss, “a slow and steady approach does not win the race, and the myth that rapid weight loss is associated with rapid weight regain is no more true than Aesop’s fable.”4

The popular press swallowed this pro-crash diet slant and swiftly regurgitated it for readers touting:

  • “Crash diets might not be so bad in beating fat after all, suggests new study”5The Independent
  • “Does it matter if you lose weight quickly or gradually? Apparently not.”6 CNN
  • “Fast Weight Loss May Be More Effective, Study Says.”7 Men’s Fitness
  • “Crash diets may be most effective weight-loss technique, U.K. study suggests.”8The Telegraph
  • “Another Diet Myth Exploded: Gradual Weight Loss No Better Than Rapid Weight Loss”9 Forbes

What’s going on here? On the surface, based on comments from the study’s authors, an editorial published alongside the study, and sensational headlines spewed across the web, this study seems like fantastic news for crash-diet product manufacturers. Keep this in mind.

THE STUDY

This was a two-phase study involving 204 participants, whom all had BMI (body mass index) scores between 30 and 45. In other words, the study involved only obese participants. Do its conclusions also apply to those only slightly overweight and in better metabolic health than the participants? We cannot say, but the discussion around this study has avoided this question, taking a more “crash diets work for everyone” tone.

During phase 1, participants were randomly assigned either a rapid weight loss (RWL) or gradual weight loss (GWL) program. Here’s where it gets interesting. RWL participants consumed only 450 to 800 calories daily for 12 weeks, subsisting solely on Nestlé’s Optifast products. GWL participants consumed an energy-reduced diet based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHL) and with one or two Optifast meal replacements daily.

The AGHL is nearly identical to the USDA’s MyPlate as both are high-carbohydrate, grain-centric diets. Additionally, both encourage dairy, discourage saturated fat, and promote vegetable oils. Nestlé’s Optifast products are heavily processed, featuring ingredients ranging from hydrogenated oils to soy protein isolate, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and other nutritional abominations. Additionally, these products contain little to no fiber and low amounts of vitamins and minerals. The ingredients and nutritional information for three Optifast products are pictured below.

Media’s Botched Coverage of Long Term Weight Loss | The Paleo Diet

“OPTIFAST HP® Shake Mix.” OPTIFAST HP Shake Mix. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Media’s Botched Coverage of Long Term Weight Loss | The Paleo Diet

OPTIFAST 800® Bar.” OPTIFAST 800 Bar. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Media’s Botched Coverage of Long Term Weight Loss | The Paleo DIet

“OPTIFAST 800® Soup Mix.” OPTIFAST 800 Soup Mix. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Of the 204 participants who completed phase 1, only 104 completed phase 2. The authors explained, “The main reason given for withdrawal in both groups was difficulty adhering to the diet.”10

At the end of phase 1 (12 weeks), 81% of RWL participants achieved 12.5% or more weight loss, whereas only 50% of GWL participants achieved such results.

For phase 2, participants were placed on individualized diets based on the AGHL. At the end of phase 2 (144 weeks), RWL participants regained 71.2% of the weight they lost, whereas GWL participants regained 70.5% of the weight they lost.

CONCLUSION

This study shows that neither grain-centric diets, nor crash diets are effective for long-term weight loss and neither are health supportive. The headlines should have highlighted this. Instead, many of them read like Optifast advertisements, focusing on crash diets being slightly more effective than grain-heavy diets for short-term weight loss. Interestingly, Joseph Proietto, the study’s lead author, “was Chair of the Optifast Medical Advisory Committee for Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition Australia Ltd from 2005 to 2010,” as fully disclosed in the study’s Declaration of Interest.11

The Paleo Diet is a nutrient-dense template delivering optimal nutrition for sustainable, long-term health. The Paleo Diet is wholly unlike both the Nestlé crash diet and the U.S. / A.U. government-endorsed, grain-centric diets. Unfortunately, irresponsible reporting around this study is sending the message that all diets fail long-term, but at least short-term benefits can be enjoyed through crash diets consisting of synthetic, heavily processed products. We see this as a grave error and encourage people to consume nutrient-dense, natural foods, in accordance with the Paleo Diet, for both short-term and long-term health.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Purcell, K, et al. The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 16 October 2014, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70200-1

[2] The Lancet. (2014, October 15). Gradual weight loss no better than rapid weight loss for long-term weight control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141015190832.htm

[3] Martin, CK and Gadde, KM. Weight loss: slow and steady does not win the race. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 16 October 2014, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70153-6

[4] Martin, CK and Gadde, KM. Weight loss: slow and steady does not win the race. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 16 October 2014, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70153-6

[5] Cooper, C. (October 16, 2014). Crash diets might not be so bad in beating fat after all, suggests new study. The Independent. Retrieved from //www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/crash-diets-might-not-be-so-bad-after-all-suggests-new-study-9796651.html

[6] Kimball, H and Ryan, D. (October 17, 2014). Slow and steady may not win the weight-loss race. CNN. Retrieved from //edition.cnn.com/2014/10/17/health/five-studies/

[7] Fox, K. (October 16, 2014). Fast weight loss may be more effective, new study says. Men’s Fitness. Retrieved from //www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/burn-fat-fast/fast-weight-loss-may-be-more-effective-new-study-says

[8] Knapton, S. (October 16, 2014). Crash diets may be most effective weight-loss technique, U.K. study suggests. The Daily Telegraph. Retrived from //www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11164914/Crash-dieting-more-effective-than-gradual-weight-loss-study-suggests.html /

[9] Husten, L. (October 15, 2014). Another Diet Myth Exploded: Gradual Weight Loss No Better Than Rapid Weight Loss. Forbes. Retrieved from //www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2014/10/15/another-diet-myth-exploded-gradual-weight-loss-no-better-than-rapid-weight-loss/

[10] Purcell, K, et al. The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 16 October 2014, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70200-1

[11] Purcell, K, et al. The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 16 October 2014, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70200-1

Affiliates and Credentials