Tag Archives: Obesity

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Intermittent Fasting & Time Restricted Eating: Potential to Influence Insulin & Thus Obesity & Disease

Intermittent Fasting and Time Restricted Eating: Potential to Influence Insulin & Thus Obesity & Disease

New Insight into Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is now and forever will be alive and strong as individuals struggle to keep the pounds off.  The majority of motivation may be aesthetics, but the need to shed the excess body weight goes well beyond simply feeling good about your counterpart staring back at you in the mirror.
I become discouraged with loud and large celebrities who look to spearhead the movement of embracing obesity as being comfortable in their own skin.  Being comfortable and happy with yourself is no doubt a justifiable desire, but pushing personal acceptance of obesity is reckless to say the least.
This is not about looks or appearance either, although the message of “accepting you for you” will incorrectly cite this.  This is about an outright unhealthy state for the body to be in, and the cascade of consequences that follow.  Body fat is not a static or silent tissue; rather quite the contrary.  Adipose tissue or body fat is actually a highly active metabolic tissue that when in excess disrupts hormonal signaling (including those responsible for appetite, blood sugar and sleep regulation).
It is also a pro-inflammatory tissue, meaning the more you have the more inflamed you will be throughout the body.  This lends it’s hand not only to elevated pain levels, but it increases the common denominator behind virtually every condition known (from plantar fasciitis to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s); inflammation.
The bottom-line here is that it’s not about the looks from a quantity and quality of life standpoint.  We are talking about a truly taxing state to ask a body to operate in, especially over time, with a list of concomitant issues that far exceeds the few listed above.
This brings us to today’s topic, which is not meant as a standalone solution to the issue, but rather another piece of the intelligently assembled, holistic puzzle.
If you’ve read any articles on this site before, you know we rightfully place an abundance of emphasis on intestinal health or “the gut.”  The major player in this system and thus our overall health is our intestinal flora, or the “probiotic” good bacteria that populate our digestive tract.
Researchers have discovered that there is a certain type of bacterial organism (firmicutes) that is more prevalent in obese individuals as opposed to the majority of bacteroidetes found in their lean counterparts.  This makes sense as firmicutes are notorious as “fat loving” bacteria with a higher propensity to digest complex carbs, extracting the energy from food and ultimately storing it as fat.
These bacteria communicate directly and indirectly with our brains, and if we are dominated with a strain of flora that thrives off of carbohydrates, the message is sent to our brains to crave and potentially overconsume these fat generating foods.  What’s more, we’ve just learned that higher levels of these firmicutes actually turn on genes (epigenetics) that not only increase the risk for obesity, but diabetes, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.
In an individual’s personal war on obesity this serves as a powerful foundational weapon.  As previously stated, obviously a variety of lifestyle strategies must be implemented to successfully attain and maintain a healthy weight.  However, this piece of information should be universally utilized in order to better control cravings from within, optimize metabolism for the goal at hand, and further substantiate a quality probiotic (and a healthy intestinal tract for it to flourish within) as one of the cornerstones to optimal health and longevity.

Drop the Wheat, Drop the Weight

It’s a new year and with it comes renewed motivation for change and resolutions.  One of the most prevalent goals for the new 365 day cycle is to shed those pounds that may have been accumulating for sometime now.

With all of the quick fixes and abundance of conflicting information out there, it can be difficult to know which way to go.  Well, a simple, free way to get the ball rolling is by eliminating all wheat from your diet.  Now this may sound way too simple, but there is a physiologic explanation for this and here it is:

The first concept that needs to be understood is that for the most part it is not dietary fat, but rather the carbohydrate that is mostly responsible for increased deposition of body fat.  This includes everything from bread, sugar, pasta, and even too much fruit.

This is due to the fact that these foods break down to glucose in the body, which then prompts the release of insulin.  Insulin delivers what glucose is needed to fill stores in tissue like the liver and muscles, with the rest being stored as fat.

You see this mechanism came in handy for our Paleolithic hunter and gatherer ancestors who encountered real periods of feast and famine due to the unavailability of food supply.  It was at these times that the fat stores would be utilized to survive.  For the most part this is not the case today as we live in an age of availability and relative abundance.

The issue arises when, due to high carb meals, insulin is constantly triggered by elevated blood glucose levels.  When no more is needed for fuel, the storage of fat begins.  The difference being, most people do not fast or skip meals at this point, but rather eat another carb heavy meal when hungry or even out of habit.  The fat storage continues, the pounds pile on and the waist circumference balloons.

The higher the carb content of the meal, the higher the blood sugar rises, the more drastic spike in insulin, and the more fat being deposited; mainly around the waist and abdominal region.

This creates a vicious cycle as a high carb meal will lead to a high insulin response from the pancreas.  This aggressive clearing of glucose from the blood can then leave you tired and hungry for another ride on the blood sugar roller coaster.

This is also the mechanism behind type II diabetes, as repeated spikes of blood sugar from high carb meals and subsequent surges in insulin in response to the blood sugar spikes leads your tissues to become insulin resistant, not wanting to accept any more glucose. At this point the only place for your body to dump the glucose load is around your waist as body fat.

So why is wheat public enemy #1 if you are diabetic, trying to lose weight or simply interested in overall health?  Well if we comprehend the physiologic process laid out above, we understand that the higher the carb load, the more insulin is secreted and the more fat is stored for a rainy day; or better yet a beach day when it’s really appreciated.

Wheat is special due to the fact that it breaks down into a complex carbohydrate (a string of glucose molecules) in the body called amylopectin A.  This particular carb has the distinguished honor of spiking the blood sugar more than actual table sugar.

If you are familiar with the glycemic index, you know it is basically a scale or measurement showing how readily absorbed a food is and the effects it will have on the blood sugar levels.  Wheat ranks higher on the glycemic index than actual table sugar.

If we combine that knowledge with the knowledge of the carbohydrate digestive process that leads to fat deposition and the road to diabetes that we described above, we know that this is a big, bad deal.  It also is essential, empowering knowledge of you are looking to drop the weight.

In addition to leading to weight gain and the metabolic dysfunction described above, wheat packs one more diabolical punch in that it is actually chemically addictive.  You may hear people joke about their addiction to bread, but chemically it breaks down and serves as an exorphin to your brain that stimulates the same pleasure generating opioid receptors as heroin or morphine.  There is a reason for the overeating of this mind altering, comfort food, and now you hopefully have another reason to kick it to the curb.

Two points in closing:

Many people resist the notion that wheat, or any food they were raised on can have such a negative impact. What needs to be fully understood is that the food, and wheat in particular, of today is not the food of the past.  Cross breeding, hybridization and genetic modification has created a new product not in line with our genome, of which the long term effects are not known.

What is known is the basic human physiology and systemic impacts of elevated blood sugar (which wheat is king at causing), as far as weight gain and the path to diabetes.  The fact that a diet consisting of heart healthy grains is still suggested to anyone, but especially those with the aforementioned two conditions is outright shameful.

The second point is that while kicking wheat (and all wheat, not just the obvious bread; read your labels) can have a strong impact on weight and blood sugar control, it needs to be accompanied with an intelligent diet.  It seems obvious, but if you avoid wheat, but continue to drink soda, eat a high sugar diet (excess fruit included), and high carb/sugar gluten free alternatives, results will in all likelihood be hindered or outright negated.

However, beginning to phase the wheat and gluten out of your regular regimen can have benefits well beyond those covered in this brief post, but is essential if you are looking to drop some weight or regain control of your blood sugar.

If you have questions, need help getting started, figuring it out or devising an implementable and practical plan, please do not hesitate to contact us. (321-848-0987)

Make a move.

Lab Tests: What Constitutes “Normal?”

Are you one of the many Americans feeling “off,” yet the blood work ordered by your doctor reflects “normal” ranges?  This can be a maddening predicament fueling a seemingly endless journey down the rabbit hole.

An explanation for this all too common phenomenon can be found by probing where exactly “normal” comes from.  The “normal” as well as the pathological ranges for your blood work and other labs are based upon the averages attained by all the people tested at that lab over the past year.

This means your numbers are being measured up against a segment of the population who we can assume were having health issues that led them to the lab in the first place.  It means you are being compared to a portion of the population which accepts things like fatigue, aches and pains, digestive issues, insomnia, hot flashes, etc. as a “normal” part of life.  They have to because they were told by their healthcare provider that their numbers were within “normal” ranges.  Ranges that were determined by people just like them, similar ailments and all.

While these ranges can be useful in labeling a definitive presence of a particular pathology, they do little for the assertive, concerned patient who knows something is wrong, but has not met the quantitative criteria for disease and traditional allopathic assistance.  Which in some cases isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Many times answers and thus long awaited relief can be found by looking at labs through the eyes of functional medicine.  This consists of narrower ranges of “normalcy” based upon levels that constitute energy, alertness, happiness; overall health, rather than stacked up against all the sick people in your region.

Uncovering and addressing an issue using functional parameters, before it reaches the outlying pathological ranges leaves the door open to engage the issue intelligently, naturally, and thoroughly, rather than with a knee jerk reaction filled with a lifetime laundry list of pharmaceutical dependency and donations.

Same Procedure, New Perspective.

Investigatory lab work is done to analyze various aspects of our complex matrix.  This provides us with tangible markers and their levels.  We can test pre, during and post treatment to measure one aspect of progress.  The difference is we are looking for favorable or better yet optimal levels, rather than “normal.”

I ask again, in a society where pain, obesity, diabetes and a fully stocked medicine cabinet is considered the norm; who the hell wants to be “normal?”

If you’ve been frustrated by “normal” labs while mysterious symptoms remain or if the afore described approach of functional medicine appeals to you, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987).  As always, we are here to help.