Making diet and fitness fun and easy

Posts tagged ‘Cortisol’

Does Obesity Have a Single Cause?

Could multiple hypothesis all be right?

I recently starting listening to another podcast hosted by Sean Croxton which you can find here http://undergroundwellness.com/.  His podcast is usually guest interviews and on this episode he was interviewing Russell Farris, author of The Pot Belly Syndrome.  Russell has an interesting hypothesis on obesity that stress (and the hormonal response from it) is the cause of obesity.  That got me to thinking, Gary Taubes and the Low Carb community blame carbs and insulin, Stephan Guyenet and few others blame reward and leptin.  Who is wrong and who is right?  What if none of them are wrong and all three of the are right?

I will admit that my knowledge of endocrinology is very limited, but it does not take much to realize that our hormones feedback loops have many entry points which could be a cause.  Determine what is cause and what is affect in our endocrine system seems to be very difficult.

Studies have been done which show the effect sleep has on leptin “Leptin Levels Are Dependent on Sleep Duration: Relationships with Sympathovagal Balance, Carbohydrate Regulation, Cortisol, and Thyrotropin” A couple interesting points from this study:

  • Mean levels, maximal levels, and rhythm amplitude of leptin were decreased (−19%, −26%, and −20%, respectively) during sleep restriction compared with sleep extension.
  • In conclusion, sleep modulates a major component of the neuroendocrine control of appetite.

Another study titled “Evidence for a novel peripheral action of leptin as a metabolic signal to the adrenal gland: leptin inhibits cortisol release directly.”  This test was done on mice which were injected with leptin.  Their conclusion was:

These data clearly demonstrate that leptin inhibits cortisol production in adrenocortical cells and therefore appears to be a metabolic signal that directly acts on the adrenal gland.

So cortisol affects leptin, but leptin also affects cortisol?

My hypothesis, they are all right.  This is why I think some people can go on a low carb/insulin controlling diet and not have success, while others can.  You can just isolate controlling and fixing one hormone when they are all so closely related.  You need to address all of them.

Although these people disagree on some thing there are a few things they all seem to agree on.  First that altering body composition by controlling energy input and output (calorie counting) is not required or as effective as controlling the endocrine system.  Also that eating industrial processed foods is not a good thing.

From reading and listening to Stephan Guyenet I have learned a lot about leptin.  From reading and listening to Gary Tabues I have learned a lot about insulin.  From reading and listening the TS Wiley and Russell Farris I have learned a lot about cortisol.  Putting all these together I have the following recommendations.

  1. Cortisol:
    Get good quality and quantity of sleep.
    Especially in the winter months.
    Try to get to bed at least 2 hours after dark.
    Keep lights dim and below eye level after dark if possible.
    Avoid flashing lights like TVs and computers after dark.
    Sleep in a pitch black room.
  2. Insulin:
    If you have a lot of fat to lose keep carbs and exercise low.  If you are exercising keep carbs in line with your performance needs.
    Use high quality carbs like veggies and fruit.
    Eat lots of fat and get your body adjusted to using fat for fuel, and will keep you satiated.
  3. Leptin:
    Keep food bland.
    Avoid all industrially processed/engineered food that is highly rewarding
    Avoid processed sweeteners, both natural and artificial.
    Avoid liquid calories.
    Try to eat food as a single ingredient and cook food gently

References

A great post from The Whole9 http://whole9life.com/2011/10/theres-more-to-the-story-a-leptin-primer/

Stephan Guyenet’s Blog http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/06/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity_28.html

Stephan Guyenet Interview: http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-10

Gary Tuabes’ Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Gary Taubes’ Books: http://amzn.com/1400033462?tag=myfohobodi-20 http://amzn.com/0307272702?tag=myfohobodi-20

Gary Taubes’ Interviews: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/03/18/good-calories-bad-calories-with-gary-taubes http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/2403/the-return-of-gary-taubes-episode-401/ http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/03/the-paleo-solution-episode-78/

TS Wiley’s Book: http://amzn.com/0671038680?tag=myfohobodi-20

TS Wiley’s Interview: http://undergroundwellness.com/tag/ts-wiley/

Russell Farris’ Site: http://www.potbellysyndrome.com/

Russell Farris’ Book: http://amzn.com/159120058X?tag=myfohobodi-20

Russell Farris’ Interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2011/07/29/the-potbelly-syndrome-with-russell-farris

Advertisements