The Science of Weight Loss for those wanting to shed a few kilograms!

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Most of us, as we age, are challenged by increasing weight.

The 2 major factors in weight loss are

  • Decreasing your calorie intake,
  • Reducing your insulin.

Dr Ben Bickman and other researchers working in this area suggest that it is 50/50 the above 2 factors. The ability to reduce your sugar intake will in turn reduce your body’s need to produce insulin, which will in turn help make your cells more sensitive to insulin and reduce your propensity to store fat. Insulin is very efficient at turning on the cellular biochemical processes that cause us to store fat.

The good news is that with this new understanding of the importance of avoiding sugar and high glycaemic index foods it is quite “do able” to lose weight.

Below are 12 rules I have lived by, backed by science, in my journey losing 13+ kg between the ages of 57 and 60.

  1. Eat as much of the healthy stuff as you like ( vegetables, cheese, meat, eggs, fish, seafood) Do not allow yourself to get hungry.

    If you are hungry you are more likely to be tempted to eat something sweet or a high glycaemic index food like one of Dr Ross Walker’s “4 white poisons” ( bread, pasta, rice or potato). Providing you do not have high blood pressure you do not have to restrict your salt intake. Research has proven salt is no longer the demon we thought it was. Salt will help make your food more appetizing. Over a month you will adapt to the absence of the sweet taste of food.

  2. Protein and oil are the 2 macro nutrients that are most satiating on the appetite centre. When you feel hungry, eat something high in protein e.g. meat, fish, egg, raw almonds, peanuts, cashews or macadamia nuts ( Nuts can be kept in the pocket of the dieter.) Raw macadamia nuts are my favourite and are about 70% fats and oils) After eating your appetite suppressing snack, wait for half an hour. Extra virgin olive oil is your “new best friend” for cooking, salads etc.In Australia, Cobram estate extra virgin olive oil has won “best” as determined by independent tester “Choice Magazine” in 2018.

  3. If you want to “supercharge” your weight loss I can recommend “The 5:2 diet”. Every third day reduce your calorie intake to 500 calories, a quarter of what it normally is on the days when you are not fasting ( 2000 calories) Don’t eat excessively on the normal days.

    Dr Michael Mosley video on the 5:2 diet. I have on DVD is worth watching.Millions of people have used the 5:2 diet to lose weight.

  4. If you are going to delay one meal, make it breakfast. Wait till you are feeling hungry. Have a “brunch” say at 10.30 am. No lunch. Early evening meal at say 6 pm. Do not eat your evening meal within 2 hrs. of going to bed.

  5. Weigh yourself daily at the same time. Being able to see there is some loss keeps you motivated. If there is no weight loss, alter your strategy with or without the help of your advisor.

  6. Reduce your intake of physical and hidden simple sugars to 24g (ie 6 teaspoons). This is maybe 1/5th of what it is now Don’t drink things in a carton which you buy out of the supermarket. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, lemonade, flavoured fruit juices, flavoured milk. All have significant amounts of added sugar. Be careful of drinks that claim to be high in protein but also have sugar added. Hidden sugar is the enemy.

  7. We have an epidemic of type II diabetes. Clinical diabetes is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a large number of people in the population who are on the way to becoming type II diabetics i.e. they are pre diabetic but usually do not know it.

    Measure your fasting blood glucose in the morning with a glucometer. It should be less than 5.5. Ask your doctor to also measure your HbA1c as part of your blood test panel. HbA1c gives an average over 3 months of your blood glucose.

    If you are pre-diabetic try changing your diet (low sugar, low glycaemic index, high fat) before taking Metformin.

  8. Exercise is important, not just for the calories that it burns up, but more importantly for the effect that it has on making our cells more sensitive to insulin. HIT ( high intensity exercise ) has a lot of good science behind it from many different research groups around the world. You are getting a maximal training effect from the time you invest into training when you are doing high intensity training. However gentle aerobic exercise like walking is where you should start. (Take the dog for a walk?)

    Dr Michael Mosley video

    High intensity exercise comes much later when you have a sound aerobic foundation to your fitness. High intensity exercise is hard, and for some it will never be part of their routine. Strength training maintains and develops your muscle mass which helps control your blood glucose.  Dr Rangan Chatterjees “5 minute kitchen work out” is something that is simple and requires no additional equipment.

  9. Omega 3 fatty acid rich diet.  Almost everybody in the western world has a diet that is too high in Omega 6 (because of our grain and oilseed based diet) and is inadequate in omega 3 fatty acids. 5 to 10 x 1 g fish oil capsules daily and or salmon as an oily fish are the 2 most common ways of getting adequate long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

    Monosaturated oils like those contained in extra virgin olive oil and avocados will become an important part of your diet. Avoid trans fats used in foods which have a long shelf life eg pies, donuts etc . Poly unsaturated oils like canola, sunflower, soya bean and safflower are off the list. The latter are potentially subject to oxidation which places an increased oxidative stress on your cells.
    Salmon Fish, High in Omega 3

  10. “Grazing” is better than eating discrete meals

  11. Intermittent fasting should be introduced so that it becomes a habit after a month. This is the practice of compressing your eating into a <12 hour period so you have at > 12 hours of overnight fast. See the article on our website at called “A Diet Strategy That Counts Time, Not Calories”.

  12. Maximize your intake of fruit and vegetables. Fibre is fantastic for health through the establishment and maintenance of a robust and diverse population of friendly bacteria in the gut. Work up to maximizing your vegetable intake over a 7 day period. Work up to having vegetables as 70% of your diet, eating 5 different types of vegetable with different colours for their polyphenol content. Children love “ticking off” the 3 different colours red, green and purple each day. Practicalities are that you should eat the vegetables that you like. Eating them cooked in a frying pan in butter or extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil improves their palatability compared with steaming. Ideally maximize the above the ground vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and minimize the root vegetables like onion as they contain more starch.

    Making vegetable and fruit smoothies has helped me to increase my fibre intake. Frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc are a lot cheaper than their fresh counterpart.

Why have we got this obesity problem?

If you think about the men and women in a cave hundreds of thousands of years ago, they did not have the plentiful supply of food that most of us in the Western world have today. In addition the food supply was intermittent, especially during winter if they lived in a country where it snowed. Because they were hunter gatherers they were active daily. We as a species in the western world do not get enough exercise. Our bodies have evolved to need exercise. When we don't give our bodies enough exercise things go wrong.

Is the problem going to go away?

I’m quite pessimistic about this. If you look at the increasing trend towards obesity, there are few incentives for the person who is becoming obese, to reverse this. There is no additional tax because they are going to be requiring taxpayer dollars to deal with the ill-health that comes with obesity. It costs the same amount of money to travel on a plane or a bus or a train irrespective of your weight . In our politically correct society it is considered rude to discriminate against someone who is obese even if this means that they are slow at doing tasks, they lack physical fitness to do manual labour, in the pro-inflammatory state they are more likely to be depressed and because of their mental state less productive in the workplace.( absence vs presenteeism)

Can't the government do something about it?

People who are obese or on the way to becoming obese are in the majority. Politicians respond to votes. Where is the incentive for the government to do something about it? Certainly governments recognise that they have much larger healthcare bills because of the diseases that result from an obese population, but they are powerless because of our democratic society to make any tough decisions. We cannot even pass legislation to add a tax to the sale of sugary drinks. This tax has had a beneficial effect on the sale of sugary soft drinks in Mexico.

What is our best chance of success?

Weight Loss Success

Smoking was considered acceptable in the 1960s, despite the fact that scientists knew that it was causing cancer. We need to slowly educate, starting in primary schools, and make people aware of the problems associated with obesity. We should make heroes out of people who are able to maintain a non obese state.  I am concerned to see that more and more TV advertisements are now using people who are overweight.

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