WEIGHT LOSS? CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS OR AUTOIMMUNITY?
TRY THE PALEO / KETO / INTERMITTENT FASTING COMBO
If you look at the top row of my clinic's ONLINE HANDOUT, you'll see that it pertains to diet, with THE ELIMINATION DIET being listed first for good reason (if you have food sensitivities, losing or gaining weight --- whichever is warranted --- can be next to impossible). As amazing as each of the listed methods of eating can be for addressing certain problems, what if you could harness the synergistic effects of combining three --- PALEO, KETO, and IF (INTERMITTENT FASTING)? Actually it's much easier than you might think.
One of the beautiful aspects of the Paleo Diet is that it not only cuts out INFLAMMATORY GRAINS, it controls BLOOD SUGAR while providing adequate protein; a point driven home in an email I received earlier today from an individual who had been making herself sick for nearly two decades on a _ _ _ _ _ diet. And maybe most importantly for many of you (particularly females), it's designed to cut out DIETARY SOURCES OF HORMONES. In other words, a paleo diet is based on consuming sources of protein from grass fed / pasture raised animals raised without hormones (the majority of which are ESTROGENS, which automatically create fat). For the record, my sister lost 100 lbs in seven months, kicked 5 autoimmune diseases to the curb, and got off most of her meds using a strict paleo approach (HERE).
While most people think of ketogenic diets --- diets designed to purposefully generate ketones --- are solely for weight loss, this is simply not true. While keto works almost magically for that purpose (a quick shout out to Kelly C, who as of last week had lost 155 lbs in the previous 16 months), click the earlier link to see how many different health issues this way of eating are helping --- one of the biggest being neurological problems (keto has been the standard of care for EPILEPSY PATIENTS for over a century). While probably not a diet you would want to remain on forever, it's certainly safe for most people. My biggest suggestion here is to make sure that you are combining the paleo principle of CLEAN, HEALTHY FATS with your ketogenic diet. In other words, avoid processed fats (TRANS FATS for example), SOY OR OTHER SIMILAR OILS, and by all means, make sure the fats you are consuming are anti-inflammatory (see "clean" link above for a clear explanation). But what if.....
What if there were a way to make either of these ways of eating (especially the latter) even more metabolically potent? There is, and while I've written about it in the past (see earlier links); adding intermittent fasting to whatever you happen to be doing creates metabolic synergy that allows for faster weight loss while retaining --- or even increasing --- lean body mass (NO, DON'T GIVE ME THAT GARBAGE about weight loss needing to be slow and steady -- OR HERE).
WHY INTERMITTENT FASTING MAKES SENSE
They started by talking about the UNSUSTAINABILITY of their healthcare system --- a system that like ours, is literally being crushed by the proverbial weight of the obesity epidemic (pun intended). In fact, while the authors said that we are spending more on healthcare here in America than in the UK, they predicted that in 30 years 1 in 2 of their citizens will be not just overweight, but full-blown obese. "if trends in obesity continue to increase, it is predicted that by 2050, 50% of the population in the UK could be obese and the total costs in managing obesity could escalate to £50 billion per year." Along with some help from our GOVERNMENT, the MEDICAL COMMUNITY, and of course, BIG PHARMA, this is a problem people have brought on themselves. In fact, these authors went as far as admitting that medical efforts to help Brits get thinner "only achieve small changes in body weight insufficient to have a clinical impact on health."
The authors went on to discuss the various ways that people add fasting to their regime. Although the most common is probably eating all one's daily calories between noon and six pm, there are any number of others. The meat of the study (no pun intended) kicked off with the authors stating, "The potential health benefits and biological processes of IER (intermittent energy restriction) are not well established." While this may be true on some level, the one thing that has been shown over and over again to increase lifespan, improve health, and keep people lean, is calorie restriction.
Calorie Restriction (CR) is a system of eating based on consuming 30 or 40% fewer calories than you would normally eat ad libitum (unrestricted or as desired). For instance, writing for Scientific American, Richard Conniff (The Hunger Gains: Extreme Calorie-Restriction Diet Shows Anti-Aging Results) stated.... (CHERRY PICKED as are many quotes I use)....
"The idea that organisms can live longer, healthier lives by sharply reducing their calorie intake is not exactly new. Laboratory research has repeatedly demonstrated the anti-aging value of calorie restriction, often called CR, in animals from nematodes to rats—with the implication that the same might be true for humans. Two new studies appear to move calorie restriction from the realm of wishful thinking to the brink of practical, and perhaps even tolerable, reality. Writing in Nature Communications, researchers describe one monkey they started on a 30 percent calorie restriction diet when he was 16 years old, late middle age for this type of animal. He is now 43, a longevity record for the species, according to the study, and the equivalent of a human living to 130. In the second study, published this week in Science Translational Medicine, a research team suggests it is possible to gain anti-aging benefits without signing up for a lifetime of hunger. Instead, a 'fasting-mimicking diet,' practiced just five days a month for three months—and repeated at intervals as needed—is 'safe, feasible and effective in reducing risk factors for aging and age-related diseases.'"
This latter type of fasting is known as ADF or Alternate Day Fasting, and can be done in an almost endless variety of combinations or ratios of fasting days to non-fasting days. Does it work? Just three short months ago, Cell Metabolism published a study called Metabolic Slowing and Reduced Oxidative Damage with Sustained Caloric Restriction Support the Rate of Living and Oxidative Damage Theories of Aging, which concluded, "Findings from this 2-year CR trial in healthy, non-obese humans provide new evidence of persistent metabolic slowing accompanied by reduced oxidative stress, which supports the rate of living and oxidative damage theories of mammalian aging." In other words, if you want to have less cancer-casing, age-inducing damage from FREE RADICALS, eat less.
But it's not as if these were new findings. Echoing conclusions of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Calorie Restriction and Aging: Review of the Literature and Implications for Studies in Humans), whose authors listed a few of the many potential benefits; "CR reduces metabolic rate and oxidative stress, improves insulin sensitivity, and alters neuroendocrine and sympathetic nervous system function," as well as about 25 others. I've already shown you how important halting oxidative stress from free radicals is, but just as important is CR's uncanny ability to help people become more sensitive to insulin (the opposite of our epidemic of "INSULIN RESISTANCE"). And as for SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE; if this can be regulated by eating less (which increases parasympathetic tone), all I can say is wow! But let's be brutally honest with each other for a minute --- (I'm whispering now while looking over both shoulders) who really wants to eat less? That's why there's a trick to this whole fasting and Caloric Restriction thing.
Face it; many of us would rather have shards of bamboo driven under our fingernails than to have to restrict calories the rest of our lives (which doesn't even begin to address the fact that counting calories is an exercise in futility --- HERE). The secret is to know how to get the metabolic benefits of fasting / CR, while not having to go through the pain of fasting / CR. When I say pain, please note that I am not talking about physical pain. The truth is, when I fast (I have done many 5-10 day rounds of the MASTER'S CLEANSE over the past 12-15 years); within a couple of days the aches and pains of old injuries and life dramatically lessen (or go away altogether). It's pretty crazy amazing, and many of my patients (yo Loren) report the same thing. The pain I am talking about is the pain of doing whatever it takes to break addictions to food; addictions that usually come in the form of HEAVILY PROCESSED CARBS OR SUGAR, or excitotoxins such as MSG / ASPARTAME. Anyway, back to our original study.
Out of the 400 individuals looked at in this study (this number would have been far bigger if the studies analyzed pertained to studies of people who were heavily overweight, people with serious health problems such as DIABETES, or people with a history of a serious health issue such as CANCER --- none of which were counted), the authors determined that...
"No serious adverse events were reported across studies. Based on current evidence, the primary results of the meta-analysis revealed that IER is as effective as CER (continuous energy restriction) for short term weight loss, both leading to a comparable and substantial weight loss. There was a significant intervention effect of IER on waist circumference and body fat, in comparison to current CER. Raised waist circumference was the best anthropometric predictor of visceral fat, and signals both high BMI and central fat distribution. These results are promising as reductions in waist circumference or central fat distribution reduce cardiovascular risk. The reduction in waist circumference may partially explain the decrease in fasting insulin. High attrition rates were evident in the IER intervention. Intermittent energy restriction may be an effective strategy for the treatment of overweight and obesity. Intermittent energy restriction was comparable to continuous energy restriction for short term weight loss in overweight and obese adults."
What does all this mean and what does it mean to your struggle to lose weight --- PARTICULARLY BELLY FAT? Honestly, I think it means you need to try these approaches for yourself (with your doctor's blessings of course) because while safe, not everyone is going to respond the same way (be sure to look at my previous links to IF because frankly, there was a lot of rather amazing research that was ignored by these researchers because it failed to meet their criteria). Furthermore, if you have serious underlying health problems, losing weight might be a pipe dream without first addressing them (GUT HEALTH ISSUES such as LEAKY GUT or DYSBIOSIS immediately come to mind).
However, I still stand by my assertion that THE FREE INFORMATION IN THIS POST has the potential to help the majority of you with your health and weight --- the potential to help you turn your life around. The rest of you might require some individualized testing by someone well versed in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE. One other quick suggestion (besides making sure to check out our FACEBOOK PAGE); be sure to watch the keto video by Pitt's Dr. Seyfried at the bottom of my FASCIA & CANCER post, as it may just knock your socks off.