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Posts tagged ‘Insulin’

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

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The Real Diet Hack From The 4-Hour Body That You Haven’t Read

Boost Your Fat Loss By Reading The Bonus Chapter

Shortly after the book came out Tim released some material that did not make the final cut here.  One of the bonus chapters was a guest chapter written by Seth Roberts, author of The Shangri-La Diet: No Hunger, Eat Anything, Weight-Loss Plan.  The chapter is title An Alternative to Dieting: The Bodyfat Set Point and Tricking the Hypothalamus.

After the first time I read it I did not try it right away.  Then I started reading Stephan Guyenet’s blog and his hypothesis on obesity is based solely on leptin … what !?!  So I figured I would give it a try.  I had kinda stalled out around 12% body fat and was happy with that but still wanted to cut down, so I did a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning and whenever else I remembered to, which was usually 1-2 times a day.  I didn’t not follow the exact method of having it between ever meal.

Then the whole Gary Tabues VS Stephan Guyenet fight at the Ancestra Health Symposium happened.  I had already listened to the audio book for Taubes book Why We Get Fat so I started reading all the stuff on leptin that I could to see what Guyenet has to say and I re-read the bonus chapter to see how Roberts’ stuff relates to Guyenet’s.

So from my n=1 experiment what was the conclusion?  It works, actually it works so well it is kinda scary.  I am never hungry, I never get hunger pangs … never.  I have to remind myself to eat when lunch time rolls around.  I rarely snack on almonds but more out of boredom than anything.  Actually boredom (or working on something that I didn’t want to be working on) was when I would get most of my cravings, that has totally changed now.

And what about my body fat?  Well you can see from my last photos how much more I have leaned out, and I have stayed the same weight or gained about a pound.

What does this mean?  I think there is some merit to the flavor energy (calorie) connection and how that controls appetite.  How that controls body fat I still don’t quite get.  Do I think it is the cause for our energy imbalance (excess fat), not completely, insulin still plays a large role in that.  Is it the cause of us over eating, binge eating, having cravings?  Yes I am pretty sure that it is for most people.  I also think this explains a few things about “diets” in general and diets that are more bland may be more successful at fat loss.  It also explains a lot about artificial sweeteners and the high flavour with zero calories will really confuse our Endocrine glands.

If anyone has tried this please let me know in the comments.  If anyone is trying to get through a plateau I highly recommend giving this a try.