There are seven myths many of us believe that confuse, confound, and thwart our efforts to lose weight. These beliefs are impediments to success. According to my research, here they are:
MYTH #1: EAT LESS + EXERCISE MORE = WEIGHT LOSS
Restricting calories turns on ancient mechanisms that prevent starvation. These slow your metabolism to conserve energy and trigger a cascade of molecules in the blood so you receive hunger signals that are too strong to ignore—all leading to weight gain.
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MYTH #2: YOU CAN CONTROL WEIGHT BY COUNTING CALORIES.
All calories are not created equal. Food that enters your blood stream quickly promotes weight gain; food that enters slowly promotes weight loss. For example, sugar from soda enters your blood very rapidly; the calories you aren’t using is stored as fat. The same amount of sugar from kidney beans enters your blood slowly. Because your body has a greater chance to make use of the calories over time, more is burned and less stored.
MYTH #3: EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT
We have been brainwashed to believe that if we eat fat, we will get fat. There’s one problem—science does not support this myth. In the last 40 years, our national fat consumption has decreased from 43 percent to 34 percent of our total calories. Eating less fat than ever, we are growing fatter. The reason? Low-fat diets are often rich in starchy or sugary carbohydrates, which raise insulin levels and promote weight gain.
MYTH #4: EATING NO-CARB OR LOW-CARB WILL MAKE YOU THIN. Carbohydrates are actually the single most important food in your diet for long-term health.
As with calories and fats, there are different types of carbs that interact with your genes, leading to remarkably different effects. Human beings have not evolved to metabolize the highly processed and refined carbohydrates we eat that contribute to the major diseases: diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancer. Happily, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans are also carbs, good carbs.
MYTH #5: SKIPPING MEALS HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT
One of the reasons that Americans are getting to be as big as Sumo wrestlers is because we actually eat like them. The Sumo diet causes ordinary people to gain extraordinary amounts of weight. They skip breakfast, train for five hours (working up an appetite), eat a huge meal, nap for several hours, eat dinner, and go to sleep. Does skipping breakfast and eating a large meal just before sleep sound familiar? It should. It’s the American Way!
MYTH #6: THE FRENCH PARADOX MEETS THE AMERICAN PARADOX
The French have a reputation as a culture that knows about food, what to do with it, and how to eat healthy. The French eat more fat, drink more wine, and yet suffer less heart disease and are less obese than Americans, right? That’s only part of the story. The truth is that the French eat real (fresh, full of nutrients, and minimally processed) food, they eat less food, they eat food more slowly than Americans do, and they walk more than we do.
Myth #7: FOOD POLITICS: GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY ARE THE GUARDIANS OF OUR HEALTH
An obese America is big business for the food and pharmaceutical industries. The food industry spends more than $33 billion annually on marketing; 70 percent of those dollars go to pushing fast food, convenience foods, candy, snacks, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and dessert. Only 2.2 percent is spent on advertising for fruits, vegetables, grains, or beans. The main classes of drugs available for treating high cholesterol are among the biggest selling in history. Our government can’t find money to fund public health campaigns to promote the scientific principles of good nutrition, but it can increase agricultural subsidies from $18 billion in 1996 to $28 billion in 2000, to supply a glut of soybeans and corn that is transformed in the laboratory into toxic food additives, super sugars, and super fats known as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil.
THE SEVEN KEYS TO THE NEW SCIENCE OF WEIGHT LOSS
Now, there are seven keys to weight loss, and all of them work together to open the door to vitality, health, and successful long-term weight loss. They are the keys to reversing disease, being set free of chronic symptoms, and creating optimal health.
KEY #1: CONTROL YOUR APPETITE.
The first key is to understand how your brain, gut, and fat cells communicate with each other through hormones and brain messenger chemicals to tell you whether or not you need food and compel you to eat. When they are working properly, they are an elegant machine pinpointing when you need energy and asking you to consume calories to obtain that energy. When they go haywire—and there are many ways for them to go haywire in our current eating climate—they cause you to eat when you don’t need to, contributing to weight gain and almost every other health problem we face.
KEY#2: SUBDUE STRESS.
The second key is to understand how stress makes you fat and how to overcome its effects. Under any physical or psychological stress, the body is designed to protect itself. It stores calories and conserves weight (you might need that energy reserve to run from a predator). It pumps hormones into your system that increase blood fats, sugar, and insulin to prepare you for fight or flight. Without eating more or exercising less, stress alone will cause weight gain.
KEY #3: COOL THE FIRE OF INFLAMMATION.
The third key is controlling inflammation, a hidden force behind weight gain and disease. Being overweight promotes inflammation, and inflammation promotes obesity in a terrible, vicious cycle. More than half of Americans are inflamed, and most of them don’t know it.
KEY #4: PREVENT RUST OR OXIDATIVE STRESS.
The fourth key is preventing cellular “rust” that interferes with metabolism,
contributes to weight gain and aging, and causes inflammation. Free radicals are
oxygen molecules that run around your body stealing electrons from other molecules. The molecule that loses an electron is damaged, or oxidized. Oxidized tissues and cells don’t function normally. The process results in damaged DNA, damaged cell membranes, stiff arteries that look like rusted pipes, and wrinkles.
KEY #5: TURN CALORIES INTO ENERGY.
The fifth key is learning how to turbocharge your metabolic engine to more efficiently turn calories into energy. Your ability to burn calories is dependent on the health, number, and efficiency of your mitochondria, the little powerhouses that produce energy in every cell. You can reverse the damage that’s been done to your mitochondria and turn up your metabolic fire if you know how.
KEY #6: FORTIFY YOUR THYROID.
The sixth key is making sure your thyroid, the master metabolism hormone, is working optimally. Twenty percent of all women and about 10 percent of men have a sluggish thyroid, slowing their metabolism; half of them are undiagnosed. Many of those who are diagnosed are not treated optimally, making matters worse.
KEY #7: LOVE YOUR LIVER.
The seventh key is detoxifying your liver so it will properly metabolize sugars and fats. Toxins from within our bodies and toxins from our environment both contribute to obesity. Getting rid of toxins and boosting your natural detoxification system is an essential component of long-term weight loss and a healthy metabolism.
In addition, have you ever seen an apple with a label, or a fish with an ingredient list? Whole foods generally don’t come in packages, boxes, and/or cans with labels. Recently, health food companies are producing more packaged foods with labels and ingredients that are an improvement from the past. But even many of these foods lack the vitality of fresh, whole food. Also, two of the most dangerous chemicals found in our diet are found on foods with labels. These foods cause or contribute to every known chronic disease – and obesity. They are high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated or trans fats. Next time you are in a grocery store, see how difficult it is to buy something that doesn’t contain one or both of these ingredients.
Other diets may address one specific underlying cause of obesity: the relationship between insulin and sugar in Atkins and South Beach, meal composition in the Zone, or meal timing in the 3-Hour Diet. None address all of the known and the latest advances in understanding weight and metabolism.
Ultrametabolism is the first science-based approach that considers all the causes of weight gain and impaired metabolism. By responding to each cause, the yo-yo problems of weight on/weight off stop and people live longer, healthier lives.