Any fool can get you rapid weight loss by telling you to starve your body of calories…

Any fool can get rapid weight loss by telling you to starve your body of calories, and do tons of workouts. (And then tell you that it’s your failure of willpower when you eventually regain all the weight).

Not any fool can teach you how to achieve effortless, automatic, and lasting fat loss–without all of the suffering, deprivation, crazy workout routines, and starving your body of calories–while eating tons of carbs and never feeling hungry.

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Effortless fat loss without suffering, starvation, and deprivation is where it’s at. This is the only way it lasts.

Ten pounds that you force off through calorie restriction and crazy workouts will eventually come back, but ten pounds that come off effortlessly will STAY off.

This is what my programs are designed to achieve.

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Here is a little email I got yesterday from someone on my Metabolism Supercharge program:

“Fat loss is good, slow and steady. Pants are loose and having to tighten the belt. Lost 6-7kg already…I think I’m losing 0.75-1kg per week. The belly takes the longest. Face, chest, arms all over the fat is reducing well.

I can accelerate the fat loss (if I force myself to eat less), but I’m very happy to be losing fat while eating loads of carbs and eating to fullness…

Libido is through the roof, I’m able to go everyday, and some days, twice a day. The wife is happy.

So I think for just under 3 months on your program, I’m tracking well.

I don’t feel like an 80 year old man anymore…I feel my age (31).”

Think sugar is the cause of the obesity epidemic? Think again!

If you think sugar is the main reason people get fat, consider this:

Over the last 15-20 years (since it has become common to demonize sugar), the consumption of sugar in the U.S. has actually declined significantly.

However, the incidence of obesity is STILL increasing, as sugar consumption is decreasing.

That’s a bit odd, right?

But perhaps you might argue that sugar was the initial cause (since sugar consumption was increasing during the initial phase of the obesity epidemic) and thus is still a major factor.

Consider the phenomenon known as the Australian Paradox…

What is the Australian Paradox?

It’s the phenomenon that sugar consumption has actually DECREASED during the entire span of the obesity epidemic in Australia.

Here’s a couple of quotes from the research on the subject (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257688/)

“The Australian Paradox: A Substantial Decline in Sugars Intake over the Same Timeframe that Overweight and Obesity Have Increased”

“The findings confirm an “Australian Paradox”–a substantial decline in refined sugars intake over the same timeframe that obesity has increased.

It is possible that less emphasis has been given to disseminating the message of lowering total energy intake, while avoidance of particular nutrients, such as sugars, has been the primary focus… Interestingly, research by WHO found that the Australian energy supply has increased almost exclusively as a result of an increase in intake of fat [32]. … Logic tells us that an inappropriately high intake of any energy source (alcohol, fat, protein, starch or sugar) will result in weight gain.

Indeed, a literal interpretation of our findings would suggest that reductions in sugar intake may have contributed to the rise in obesity. Lowering the sugar content of foods may be counterproductive for weight management if there is replacement of sugars with refined or high glycemic index starches, saturated fats or alcohol.”

The bottom line here is that obesity epidemics (or to make it more personal, whether YOU gain fat) does NOT depend on sugar. It can occur with an increase in EITHER sugar or fat consumption. As is outlined in this review of the scientific literature HERE, the science shows that sugar and fat are roughly equal potent stimulators of fat gain.

Sugar can most certainly be a contributing factor to fat gain (and is a contributing factor in many obesity epidemics around the world). But the causes of fat gain go way beyond just “sugar is making us fat.” As you’ve seen, obesity epidemics can happen even when sugar intake is declining, as a result of increased fat intake.

The bottom line is that you can’t just address one factor and expect to get results. Lasting fat loss requires a comprehensive approach to improving your lifestyle factors–not just blaming a single food group (i.e. sugar or fat), and then eliminating that one food group.

 

 

Reverse the Brain Damage Caused By Overeating?

New study from obesity scientist Stephan Guyenet showing that leptin resistance in the brain (the primary defect associated with obesity) can be reversed in rodents WITHOUT forced calorie restriction by making one simple change: Following a diet of unrefined food.

First step is put the rodents on a high fat diet so they become leptin resistant and obese.

Once they are obese, switch them to a 100% unrefined food diet and simply let them eat as much unrefined food as they want.

Guess what happens?

The obesity and leptin resistance are REVERSED, and the rodents become lean.

Like I say in my book, the single greatest predictor of leanness is the extent to which you eat a diet of whole, unrefined, single-ingredient foods that you prepare at home.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2014/08/can-hypothalamic-inflammation-and.html

Do You Need to Eat Fat to Burn Fat?

One thing that is commonly promoted by low-carb gurus is the notion that
“YOU NEED TO EAT FAT IN ORDER TO BURN FAT”

In other words, in contrast to eating carbs, eating dietary fat “stimulates your body to burn off body fat.”

So where did this idea come from? And is there any truth to it?

To put this really simply:

THEY MADE IT UP.

There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever. It is complete and utter BS that someone just made up one day and has been endlessly promoted by low-carbers since then as if it were a fact, while none of these people promoting it have bothered to look at the research.

First let me acknowledge the part of all this nonsense that’s actually true: Becoming fat-adapted so that you’re burning predominately fat rather than carbohydrate for fuel is actually a real thing.

So that part is actually true. It is indeed possible to train your body to rely primarily on fat rather than carbs for fuel.
And, it’s actually very simple to do it: All you have to do is eat a low carb, high fat diet–remove carbohydrate calories from your diet and replace them with fat calories.

Then … BOOM! After a few weeks, you are now fat adapted, and your body will primarily rely on fats rather than carbs for fuel.
Now that you’ve switched out a large portion of carbohydrate calories for fat calories and made yourself into a “fat burner,” you can expect lots of fat loss, right?

Wrong.

As long as TOTAL CALORIES haven’t changed, high-carb, low-fat diets and low-carb, high-fat diets cause—get ready for it—absolutely no difference in fat loss. None.

In other words, you’re only burning more fat because you’re EATING more fat–and less carbs. You’re burning the fat you’re EATING, not body fat.

This has been proven over and over again by countless studies.

There is absolutely ZERO science to indicate that eating a higher fat diet makes you lose body fat faster. This whole notion is just utter BS.

P.S. By the way, if you decide to ADD in fat to your normal diet thinking that it will stimulate your body to burn off body fat, you’re in for a little surprise, because the only thing that will happen is you’ll get FATTER.

Is Your Circadian Rhythm Sabotaging Your Fat Loss Efforts?

Many people think of fat loss as a simple matter of “diet and exercise.”

What they often are totally unaware of is the fact that other NON-diet and NON-exercise habits, like N.E.A.T. and especially CIRCADIAN RHYTHM, are just as important–or even more important–than diet and exercise.

And most people aren’t even addressing these factors AT ALL!

We already have research showing that disrupted circadian rhythm will BOTH:

1) Slow your metabolism
2) Disrupt appetite regulation in the brain and cause you to eat more.

The combination of those two things shifts the calories in, calories out equation towards fat storage.

Here’s the kicker: Most people living in the modern world have CHRONICALLY DISRUPTED circadian rhythm!

Even when you are TRYING consciously to eat less and work out, if your circadian rhythm is disrupted, it’s going to alter your body’s calories in, calories out equation to sabotage your body’s fat loss efforts.

What this new study showed is that it actually directly disrupts the body fat set-point mechanism in the brain (causes leptin resistance), which will , over time, RAISE your set-point.

So… if you aren’t adopting strategies to optimize your circadian rhythm (like the foundational strategies in my book, and the advanced strategies in my Metabolism Supercharge program), well, get on it!

Getting your circadian rhythm optimized is incredibly important for being energetic, for health, and for having a beautiful lean body.

Do you have a case of nutrition myopia?

When I encounter someone who is having struggles with their body composition or their health/energy level, 99% of the time, I find that they have a case of nutrition myopia.

They are myopically focused on analyzing their nutrition as THE source of all their problems. Or sometimes, it is nutrition and exercise myopia–just looking at nutrition and their gym workouts–as the source of the difficulty.

Every once in a while, when some people read my book Forever Fat Loss–they will talk about it like it’s just a “diet” and just ignore all the information about circadian rhythm and movement/sitting–even though they are as important as nutrition, and even more important than the type of workout you do.

Like I said, nutrition myopia.

People almost NEVER really look at their movement/sitting habits, their circadian rhythm-related habits, their stress/de-stressing habits, and their hormonal balance (via blood tests).

Very frequently, perhaps in upwards of 75% of the cases that I deal with, their biggest problem is NOT nutrition or exercise. In fact, many of the people I work with have their nutrition and exercise routines dialed in pretty decently. They typically have one or more of those factors–movement/sitting, stress, circadian rhythm, or hormones–that is COMPLETELY out of whack.

In fact, even if your nutrition and exercise is spot on perfect, any ONE of these factors can completely sabotage your fat loss efforts and your efforts to feel energetic and healthy.

* If circadian rhythm is disrupted, it will throw off the appetite regulation center of your brain and slow down your metabolism–shifting the balance of calories in,calories out towards fat gain rather than fat loss.

* If you’re stressed out all the time, it will increase stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and suppress youth hormones (DHEA, progesterone, and thyroid hormone) which are all essential for a fast metabolism and fat loss.

* If you’re sitting for prolonged periods each day of more than 2 hours, multiple times a day, you’re going to cause insulin resistance, you’re going to erase most or all of the benefits of the workouts you’re doing, you’re going to get decreased mitochondria (the cellular energy generators), and your metabolism is going to slow down.

* If you have estrogen dominance and low progesterone, it will decrease thyroid hormone’s ability to enter the cell (even if you have normal levels of thyroid hormone in the blood), and if thyroid hormone isn’t entering your cell, your metabolism is going to slow down. If you have low thyroid hormone, fat loss essentially becomes impossible–no matter how much dieting or exercise you do.
So don’t fall prey to nutrition and exercise myopia!

Any ONE of these factors can COMPLETELY sabotage your efforts at looking and feeling good.

That is true even if your nutrition and workout routine are dialed in perfectly!

Nutrition and exercise are just 2 of the 6 factors. They are most definitely NOT everything when it comes to looking and feeling good.
To get stellar results in improving your health and putting your body into fat loss mode, you really must get all 6 factors dialed in.
Not just diet and exercise, but also circadian rhythm, movement/sitting, de-stressing, and hormones.

If fat loss is not happening, I can virtually guarantee you that at least ONE of these factors is completely out of whack.

And I can also guarantee you that if your habits are dialed in on all of the 6 factors, you WILL–virtually 100% of the time–improve your health, and increase your energy level dramatically, and begin to lose fat effortlessly (without calorie restriction).

POTATO DIET for 60 days?

What happens if you go on an all potato diet for 60 days?

Literally, we’re talking about eating NOTHING except potatoes. 20 potatoes a day.

According to the low-carb gurus, this high glycemic starchy vegetable spikes insulin levels and makes you fat. White potatoes are often blamed by some so-called “experts” as a major cause of obesity. It has even been banned in school lunches in the U.S.

So what happens when you eat nothing but potatoes?

Here’s obesity researcher Stephan Guyenet talking about potatoes:

“The evidence (on potatoes) showed that potatoes are non-toxic, filling per calorie, remarkably nutritious, and can be eaten as almost the sole source of nutrition for extended periods of time (though I’m not recommending this). Traditional South American cultures such as the Quechua and Aymara have eaten potatoes as the major source of calories for generations without any apparent ill effects (3). This is particularly interesting since potatoes are one of the highest glycemic and most insulin-stimulating foods known.

Potatoes appear not to cause fat gain, and in fact frequently cause fat loss and improve metabolic health in people who are overweight. The Washington Potato Commissioner Chris Voigt illustrated this in his two month potato-only diet, during which he lost 20 lbs and greatly improved his metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers without feeling hungry.

This year, a fascinating thread appeared in the Mark’s Daily Apple forum. Apparently inspired by an exchange with Ray Cronise, someone decided to go on a potato diet and began losing weight rapidly (6). The thread snowballed as other people joined in and found that they were also losing weight rapidly on the potato diet (potatoes, sometimes with a small amount of added fat). It is worth noting that most of these people were coming from a primal-style low-carbohydrate diet.”

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/…/the-potato-diet.html

I find this endlessly hilarious….

Hardcore Paleo low-carbers going on an all-potato diet to lose weight!
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DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating going on an all potato diet. But if you were to choose a single food to live off, it would probably be the best choice.

The SECRET to Eating All You Want and Still Losing Fat – Part 2

In the last email, I gave you a brief introduction to the concept of “ad libitum” and how if you want fat loss that LASTS (as opposed to going on a diet only to regain everything you initially lost), you need to focus all your efforts on habits that promote fat loss EVEN WHILE eating ad libitum–that is, cause you to lose fat EVEN WHILE eating however much you want.

In this post, I want to ground all of this in a deeper context.

There are many different perspectives on fat loss that abound on the health and fitness forums of the internet today.

  • Some say the secret is all about carbs. “It’s those damn carbs and insulin that make us fat. So the answer is EAT LOW CARB.”
  • Others say that it’s all “just a simple matter of calories in, calories out. Sothe answer is EAT LESS FOOD. You know, just go on a low calorie diet and exercise more (burn more calories)”

Let me first start off by saying that the latter group is right. It is not carbs/insulin that is the determining factor in your body fat levels. It is unquestionably CALORIES that determine whether you gain or lose fat.

Now here’s the big difference between my approach and the approach of almost everyone out there who acknowledges that it’s calories that determine your body fat:

The answer is NOT simply a matter of new conscious decisions around eating less calories and going to the gym more frequently. 

Most people ask you to conscious track and modify your calories, track your macronutrient ratios, or your portion sizes or whatever… and do plenty of workouts to make sure you’re in a state where you’re burning more calories.

Instead of doing that, I make the simple observation that every animal species on the planet–including primates and humans–has existed for millions of years WITHOUT OBESITY, without ever having to consciously keep track of calories or portion sizes.

We simply ate when we were hungry, and stopped when we were full, and we were naturally lean. (Just like modern day hunter gatherers like the Kitavans, Hadza, Kuna, Ewe tribes, and just like every other animal species on the planet that lives in the wild, like deer, wolves, lions, etc.)

None of these animals or humans even know what a calorie is, let alone have to consciously think about how much food they eat in order to stay lean.

So somewhere along the line, we humans did something that got us into the trouble–we did something NON-consciously that changed the way our bodies took in and burned off calories and drove fat gain.

What is that something?

Well if you’ve read my book, then you already know the major players here… Different types of foods in the food supply, decreased NEAT/movement deficiency, disrupted circadian rhythm.

All of these things profoundly changed the way our brains and our bodies regulated the calories in, calories out balance to drive fat gain.

But the answer to this is not simply to say that “it’s all just calories, so just make sure to consciously manipulate your calorie intake.”

And we already know this!

Remember this quote from obesity researcher Stephan Guyenet:

“If there’s one thing that’s consistent in the medical literature, it’s that telling people to eat less calories isn’t a very effective fat loss strategy.”

Why doesn’t conscious calorie manipulation work very well for long-term fat loss?

Because the things that made us fat in the first place were NON-conscious forces acting on our biology.

So rather than the answer to fat loss being “consciously force yourself to eat less calories” I believe that you should address the specific factors that (non-consciously) drove fat gain in the first place!

That way we can get back to being lean while eating however much we want!

FOOD REWARD – The Most Important Factor

Different types of food–depending on how they affect the reward center of our brain–have a massive impact on the overall calories we consume.

And specifically whether the appetite center of our brain is able to tell us to eat in accordance with our body’s actual need for energy–rather than getting confused and giving us bad signals to eat all the time even when our body doesn’t need fuel.

I believe that food reward is the single most important factor to address if your goal is fat loss.

  • High reward food–particularly UNNATURALLY rewarding food–drives fat GAIN.
  • Lower reward food drives fat LOSS.

What does it mean to say a food is highly rewarding, or unnaturally rewarding?

Food reward is complex, but a simple and useful way of thinking about this is this:

  • Highly rewarding food = modern industrial processed foods, particularly those that are a concentrated mix of refined sugars and fats together.
    (Think doughnuts, ice cream, pizza, breakfast cereal, candy, fatty meats with sugary sauces, etc).
  • Lower reward food = whole unprocessed foods.
    (Think carrots, potatoes, meat, fish, eggs, milk, rice, quinoa, almonds, etc.)

An important distinction: Processed foods are not inherently fattening–that is, they are not making you fatter mechanistically, like because they have different metabolic or hormonal effects. They make you fat by causing you to EAT MORE total calories.

To make this very simple:

Highly rewarding food –> Increased calorie intake –> FAT GAIN

Lower reward food –> Decreased calorie intake —> FAT LOSS

Again, this happens WITHOUT any conscious effort at manipulating calorie intake.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF HIGH REWARD OR LOW REWARD DIETS?

Well, let’s consider what happens when you give animals/humans access to different types of food without ever asking them to change their calorie intake:

*** THE EFFECTS OF A HIGH REWARD DIET: “The most highly rewarding and palatable rodent diet I know of is the ‘cafeteria diet’, composed of human junk food. This diet is unmatched among solid-food diets in its ability to cause persistent overeating and rapid obesity in rodents, easily surpassing high-fat and high-sugar diets, although these also cause fat gain to a lesser degree. Rodents will voluntarily endure extreme cold or foot shocks to obtain this food, even when regular chow is freely available.” (Note: The same basic effects of this diet are also observed in humans).
It is also important to note that the Western obesity epidemic has pretty much perfectly paralleled the rise of industrial processed foods.
Important note: This effect is NOT driven by sugar or fat (or any other specific nutrient)–it is driven by a high REWARD diet.

*** THE EFFECTS OF A LOW REWARD DIET: “One of the most striking weight loss studies I’ve seen was conducted in 1965 and involved feeding a bland liquid diet through a dispensing straw (12). Lean and obese volunteers were instructed to eat as much of the liquid food as they wanted, but they were permitted no other food. While lean volunteers ate a normal amount of calories and maintained weight, obese volunteers dramatically reduced their spontaneous calorie intake and lost fat rapidly, with one man losing 200 lbs in 255 days without hunger. This is exactly what one would expect if unpalatable/unrewarding food lowered the biologically “defended” level of fat mass. Interestingly, the diet was high in sugar but was otherwise very low in palatability/reward value.”
* “Similarly, diets that reduce major reward factors without deliberately calling for calorie restriction, such as low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets, all cause fat loss even though in some cases the diet changes that are implemented diametrically oppose one another. The further reward is lowered, the more effective the diet is for appetite suppression and weight loss.”
* One study found that just by changing the TYPES of food participants were eating, even while being allowed to eat however much food they want, participants spontaneously decreased their calorie intake from 2,478 to 1,584 calories and lost over 5 pounds of fat in the first 3 weeks alone. Again, that’s while eating however much they want! So this reduction in caloric intake is purely voluntary–which is the key to sustainable fat loss.
* Another study found that simply by changing the types of food eaten, participants spontaneously and voluntarily reduced their caloric intake by hundreds of calories per day, such that they burned over 30,000 calories of their own body fat over the course of the first 12 weeks of eating this way. WHILE ALLOWING PEOPLE TO EAT HOWEVER MUCH THEY WANT.

There are certainly many more keys (besides food reward) to achieving fat loss while eating however much you want. The others that I have identified are:

1) Food reward
2) Food variety
3) Protein
4) Micronutrient density of the diet
5) NEAT
6) Meal timing and nutrient timing
7) Gut microbiome
8) Temperature variation
9) Stress
10) Circadian rhythm

(Note: Many of these are intertwined–like NEAT and meal timing both affect circadian rhythm, and protein affects food reward, etc. But they are largely distinct factors, that all separately impact ad libitum food intake).

But I *DO* believe that food reward is the single most important factor to consider if your goal is to lose fat while eating however much you want.

What does it require to lower the food reward of your diet and achieve fat loss while eating however much you want?

Simple: Eat whole foods. If it doesn’t run, fly, swim, or grow out of the ground, don’t eat it! Buy and eat single-ingredient foods (e.g. carrots, beef, milk, eggs, oatmeal, etc). Eat food in as close to it’s natural state as possible.

Beyond that foundation, you should start addressing the other 6 factors listed above (as I do in my program The Forever Fat Loss Formula) which also have a profound effect on the appetite and metabolism regulating centers of the brain.

That is the foundation for a good fat loss diet. And it is infinitely more important than whether you are eating so and so macronutrient proportions or how often you eat or whether you are a “sugar burner” or “fat burner” and all the other gimmicks you hear from various diet gurus out there.

EAT WHOLE FOODS.

That is the starting point for everything else when it comes to fat loss. And if you’re not doing that, then you probably shouldn’t be worrying about all the other so-called “advanced” fat loss nutritional strategies.

Food reward is the foundation.

Eating Whole Foods is Unreasonable?

Now, some people are critical of this approach and they say “But in the modern world, it’s unreasonable to expect people to eat whole foods… you know with all the processed goodies around us constantly, it’s inevitable that we’re going to eat a lot of those foods.”

And for some people that is true–they just can’t resist, and to try to eat whole foods feels like suffering and constant deprivation from the foods they love. (For others, like myself and countless other people I know, they have no problem at all eating a near 100% whole foods diet, and it NEVER feels like deprivation to do so. I personally find my diet incredibly delicious and satisfying.)

Yet, some people do find it “extreme” or “undoable” to eat a whole foods diet.

To them, I say this:

First, consider that if you want fat loss, SOMETHING needs to change. You DO have to do SOMETHING differently.
If you see someone selling a program that claims you can lose fat while eating however much you want of whatever kinds of food you want (e.g. “Cheat your way thin–eat all the junk food you want while losing weight”), get ready to be disappointed as you get fatter and fatter trying to follow that program.

If you want to end up like obese people, I suggest going on the “eat all you want of whatever you want” program–because that’s exactly what people do to become obese.

So again, you do have to change SOMETHING differently if you want fat loss.

Now, for those that believe a whole foods diet is too “extreme” or “difficult”, well, let me break down your real choice here…

If you want fat loss, your choice is essentially this:

1) You can either eat a diet of almost entirely whole foods while being able to effortlessly lose fat while eating however much food you want.
2) Or, if you want to be able to indulge in eating whatever kind of processed foods you want, when you want, then get ready to neurotically track your food intake and have to rely on willpower as you forcibly restrict your calorie intake constantly suffering through hunger pangs.

The choice is yours. But let me be clear: If you want fat loss, you do have to make this choice.

And if it isn’t clear by now, I think the former–eating a whole food diet–is far more likely to result in lasting and sustainable fat loss.

Personally, I find being neurotic about calories and suffering through hunger pangs to be a pretty miserable way to live one’s life.
I like smiling and laughing far too much to torture myself with that stuff.

If you want to eat however much food you want while still losing fat, it all starts with one thing: EAT WHOLE FOODS.

The SECRET to Eating All You Want and Still Losing Fat – Part 1

A little thing called “ad libitum” and why it means EVERYTHING if your goal is lasting fat loss…

Ad libitum is an important phrase used in literally tens of thousands of scientific studies on nutrition. It is latin for “at one’s pleasure.”

In the context of nutrition, “ad libitum” means a diet where the subjects (people or rodents or monkeys or whatever the experimental subjects are) are allowed to eat whenever they want and however much they want.

They can eat “at their pleasure,” so to speak.

Now, a NON-ad libitum diet means that the subjects were restricted to eating only a certain amount of food.

When it comes to fat loss, making the distinction of whether a diet is “ad libitum” or not makes a world of difference.

Why?

Well, if you’ve read my book, then you know that forced calorie restriction (non-ad libitum diets)–deliberately forcing yourself to have less food than you want, like in low calorie fat loss diets–is almost completely worthless for those trying to achieve lasting fat loss.

It DOES absolutely work to achieve short-term fat loss. In fact, nothing works better. So if your goal is simply to get ripped for a photoshoot or bodybuilding/physique competition (and you don’t mind blowing back up to your pre-diet body fat percentage after the photoshoot/competition), then you absolutely SHOULD be doing intense forced calorie restriction.

But if your goal is LASTING fat loss–and you want to lose fat, and KEEP IT OFF–then you should probably know that…

Virtually every long-term study ever conducted on forced calorie deprivation shows that it doesn’t work for about 95% of people to achieve lasting fat loss.

Consider this:

*** In reviewing the studies on dieting and weight loss, researcher Traci Mann notes that short-term weight loss from dieting does occur, but “these losses are not maintained… It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate.”

*** Here is what the very wise neurobiologist and renowned obesity researcher, Stephan Guyenet has to say on the matter: “If there’s one thing that’s consistent in the medical literature, it’s that telling people to eat fewer calories does not help them lose weight in the long term.”

*** The Biggest Loser TV show. Here we can clearly see what happens when people implement a diet and exercise program where they have professional guidance from trainers and nutritionists making sure they do things right and stick to their calorie deprivation programs. And without a doubt, it works like a charm—these people often lose 50, 75, or even 100 pounds following this “burn more and eat less” approach. So the problem of fat loss has been forever solved! It’s as simple as eating fewer calories and burning more. Case closed. Or wait, perhaps I spoke a bit too soon…As it turns out, over 90% of Biggest Loser participants regain all the weight they initially lose!

That pretty much sums up the studies on the effectiveness of forced calorie restriction in achieving long-term fat loss. Simply put, it doesn’t work very well.

Now, this does not mean that “calories don’t matter.”

In fact, they do matter! What it means is that conscious and forced calorie deprivation is not very useful if your goal is achieving LASTING fat loss.

The reason why it doesn’t work is that although we humans can fight against our biology for a period of time, ultimately our biology is going to win out. Our willpower to forcibly deprive ourselves and suffer through hunger pangs eventually wears down. The simple truth is that we can only sustain a period of forced calorie deprivation for a period of days, weeks, or a few months, before we give in to our body’s demands to eat how much it is telling us it needs.

Eventually, we ALL end up eating an AD LIBITUM diet!

In essence, pretty much everyone–outside of people in their short-term diet phases–is eating an ad libitum diet. We’re ALL eating “at one’s pleasure.”

Eating ad libitum is the normal and natural state for all animals–they don’t have to force themselves to eat this or not eat that, they simply eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.

Whether we like it or not, eventually we all end up eating ad libitum.

So what matters is NOT whether a particular approach causes fat loss in the context of NON-ad libitum (i.e. forced low calorie) diets.

The only thing that matters is if a particular approach causes fat loss EVEN WHEN EATING AD LIBITUM!

Forced low calorie diets and crazy exercise routines (a la The Biggest Loser) work phenomenally well in the context of people who are competing in a competition for SHORT-TERM fat loss, while they have trainers and nutritionists looking over their shoulder, watching their every move and making sure that they stick to their diet and exercise routine every day. This is a NON-ad libitum environment. And in this environment, low calorie diets and crazy workout regimens work amazingly well.

But, as we already know, over 95% of people who adopt this same approach FAIL to achieve lasting fat loss when they are in ad libitum environments–which we all are in most of the time.

But this does NOT mean that all approaches to fat loss fail in the context of an ad libitum environment! No no!

In fact, we have numerous studies that have shown absolutely remarkable amounts of fat loss even when people are not forced to eat a low calorie diet and are allowed to eat however much they want!

*** One study found that just by changing the TYPES of food participants were eating, even while being allowed to eat however much food they want, participants spontaneously decreased their calorie intake from 2,478 to 1,584 calories and lost over 5 pounds of fat in the first 3 weeks alone. Again, that’s while eating however much they want! So this reduction in caloric intake is purely voluntary–which is the key to sustainable fat loss.

*** Another study found that simply by changing the types of food eaten, participants spontaneously and voluntarily reduced their caloric intake by hundreds of calories per day, such that they burned over 30,000 calories of their own body fat over the course of the first 12 weeks of eating this way.

*** Another study found that when eating a specific type of liquid diet, overweight people people eating ad libitum had absolutely remarkable amounts of fat loss (one very obese man lost 200 pounds in 255 days without hunger).

Of course, we also know that certain types of diets like the “cafeteria diet” promotes an increase of calorie intake by hundreds of calories per day and rapid fat gain.

And there are dozens more studies illustrating how simply altering the types of food one eats can dramatically increase calorie intake (and cause fat gain) or decrease calorie intake (and cause fat loss) without ever asking someone to consciously alter their calorie intake.

This is important because no one ever consciously decides to eat more calories and get fatter. It happens completely outside of awareness, right? When the obesity epidemic started 50 years ago, and people started eating 400 more calories per day than they had been in decades prior to that, it was not a conscious decision. We didn’t all wake up one day and decide to just start eating several hundred calories more each day.

It happened NON-consciously as a result of different types of foods being introduced into the food supply (and several other lifestyle factors). As these new foods were introduced into our diet, we simply started to unconsciously consume more total calories, and we got fatter. Again, all of this was happening outside of our conscious awareness due to our biology being affected differently by these new types of food–the ability of our brains to regulate our appetite in accordance with our biological need for food was disrupted and we started overconsuming calories.

Just as fat gain happens effortlessly when you eat certain kinds of foods, so too does fat loss happen effortlessly—without conscious willpower or forced deprivation or suffering–when we simply eat the right kinds of food.

And it is specifically this kind of fat loss–and ONLY this kind of fat loss–that lasts.

So, there is a hugely important distinction to be made here: There is a big difference between fat loss that comes from forced calorie restriction (non-ad libitum diets) and voluntary and non-conscious calorie restriction on ad libitum diets.

Think of it like this:

Forced calorie deprivation >>> Short-term fat loss >>> Metabolism Slowdown + Fatigue >>> FAT REGAIN

Voluntary/non-conscious decrease in calorie intake on ad libitum diet >>> No metabolism slowdown >>> LASTING FAT LOSS

Whether or not an approach causes fat loss while still allowing you to eat however much you want is the mark of an approach that works WITH YOUR BIOLOGY, rather than against it.

So if your goal is LASTING fat loss, forget about trying to lose fat by forcibly starving the body of calories, and JUST SAY NO to all the low calorie, low carb and juice fast “rapid fat loss” diets out there that rely on forced calorie restriction. That’s just a recipe for spinning your wheels, suffering through deprivation, and slowing your metabolism, only to ultimately pile all the fat back on.

For lasting fat loss, always remember that the key thing we’re after is fat loss in the context of ad libitum diets.

What are those factors that allow us to lose fat while eating however much we want? Stay tuned for the next installment to find out!

______________________________________________________

REFERENCES:

Dokken, B. B., & Tsao, T-S. (2007). The physiology of body weight regulation: are we too efficient for our own good? Diabetes Spectrum, 20(3), 166-170.
Johannsen, D. L., Knuth, N. D., Huizenga, R., Rood, J. C., Ravussin, E. & Hall, K. D. (2012). Metabolic slowing with massive weigh loss despite preservation of fat-free mass. J of Clin Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(7). doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1444
Keesey, R. E., & Hirvonen, M. D. (1997). Body weight set-points: determination and adjustment. J Nutr, 127(9), 91875S-1883S.
Freedhoff, Y. (2012, April 26). The biggest loser destroys participant’s metabolism. Weighty Matters. Retrieved from http://www.weightymatters.ca/2012/04/biggest-loser-destroys-participants.html
Freedhoff, Y. (2013, January 23). When science met the biggest loser. Health. Retrieved fromhttp://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/01/23/when-science-met-the-biggest-loser
Dulloo, A. G., & Girardier, L. (1990). Adaptive changes in energy expenditure during refeeding following low-calorie intake: evidence for a specific metabolic component favoring fat storage. Am J Clin Nutr, 52(3), 415-420.
Garner D.M., & Wooley, S. C. (1991). Confronting the failure of behavioral and dietary treatments for obesity. Clinical Psychology, 11, 729–780. doi: 10.1016/0272-7358(91)90128-H.
MacLean, P. S., Bergouignan, A., Cornier, M-A., & Jackman, M. R. (2011). Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. Am J Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 301, R581-R600. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00755.2010
MacLean, P. S., Higgins, J. A., Jackman, M. R., Johnson, G.C., Fleming-Elder, B. K., Wyatt, H. R., … Melanson, E.L. (2006). Peripheral metabolic responses to prolonged weight reduction that promote rapid, efficient regain in obesity-prone rats. Am J Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 29, R1577-R1588. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00810.2005
Mutch, D. M., Pers, T. H., Temanni, M. R., Pelloux, V., Marquez-Quinones, A., Holst, C., Martinez, J. A., Babalis, D. (2011). A distinct adipose tissue gene expression response to caloric restriction predicts 6-mo weight maintenance in obese subjects1-3. J Clin Nutr, 94(6), 1399-1409. doi: ajcn.110.006858v194/6/1399
Sumithran P., & Proietto J. (2013). The defense of body weight: a physiological basis for weight regain after weight loss. Clin Sci (Lond), 124(4), 231-241. doi: 10.1042/CS20120223.
Garner DM, Wooley SC. Confronting the failure of behavioral and dietary treatments for obesity. Clin Psychol Rev. 1991;11:729–780. doi: 10.1016/0272-7358(91)90128-H.
Guyenet, S. (2010, January 31). The body fat setpoint, part iv: Changing the setpoint. Retrieved from http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/01/body-fat-setpoint-part-iv-changing.html
Johannsen, D. L., Knuth, N. D., Huizenga, R., Rood, J. C., Ravussin, E. & Hall, K. D. (2012). Metabolic slowing with massive weigh loss despite preservation of fat-free mass. J of Clin Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(7). doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1444.
Dulloo, A.G & Girardier, L. (1990). Adaptive changes in energy expenditure during refeeding following low-calorie intake: evidence for a specific metabolic component favoring fat storage. Am J Clin Nutr. 52(3), 415-420.
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/09/humans-on-cafeteria-diet.html
http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v62/n5/abs/1602790a.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=17583796&dopt=AbstractPlus
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5216999

The TRUTH about Low-Carb vs. High-Carb, High-Fat vs. Low-Fat

What happens when you compare the weight loss effectiveness of all the different diets out there?

  • Low-fat vs. Low-carb
  • High-carb vs. High-fat
  • Ultra low carb diets like the Atkins diet vs. vegan ultra high-carb diets like Ornish?

As a matter of fact, that study was recently done!

Here’s what they found:

“Significant weight loss was observed with any low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet. Weight loss differences between individual named diets were small. This supports the practice of recommending any diet that a patient will adhere to in order to lose weight.” [http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1900510]

Simply put, fat loss is not meaningfully related to the diet’s composition of macronutrients (carbohydrates vs. fats). And we know this from countless studies–and the gold standard of scientific evidence, literature reviews. Consider this:

  • “In a 4-year prospective study, weight gain was not significantly influenced by dietary composition but rather by total energy intake.” [http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/4/834S.full]
  • This study reviewed the literature on the weight loss effectiveness most popular diets and concluded: “Review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of diet composition. Energy restriction is the key variable associated with weight reduction in the short term.”[ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11320946]
  • One of the few long-term studies comparing the weight loss effects of low-carb and low-fat diets concluded: “There were no differences in weight, body composition, or bone mineral density between the groups at any time point.” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949959/]
  • A 2014 meta-analysis comparing the weight loss effects of various named diets (Atkins, Ornish, Zone, South Beach, etc) concluded: “Significant weight loss was observed with any low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet. Weight loss differences between individual named diets were small.”[ http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1900510]

In other words, the low-fat vs. low-carb macronutrient wars over the last 3 decades are a big heaping pile of B.S.!

We know that the crux of lasting fat loss is long-term dietary compliance and sustainability–not what the macronutrient content of the diet is.

As researcher George Bray states very plainly and directly “Weight loss is related to adherence to the diet, not to its macronutrient composition.”

[ http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/bray-review-of-gcbc.pdf]

This was the conclusion from the latest meta-analysis (review of the scientific studies) on the subject just published just a few weeks ago: “There is probably little or no difference in weight loss and changes in cardiovascular risk factors up to two years of follow-up when overweight and obese adults, with or without type 2 diabetes, are randomized to low CHO (low-carb) diets and Isoenergetic balance (higher carb diets that are equal in calories).”

In other words, looking at all these different studies that compared people on low-carb and higher carb diets, they were not able to detect any difference whatsoever in either health measures or fat loss.

This has been verified by countless studies and meta-analyses.

You can indeed become a “fat burner” by eating a low carb, high fat diet. Just don’t expect to lose any more BODY fat because of that!

Contrary to popular belief, burning fat for fuel is not some mystical state of physiology that scientists are still trying to figure out how to induce. Fat burning isn’t exactly some mysterious phenomenon that requires magical “fat burning” supplements and diets, or top secret “fat burning” exercises. Putting your body into chronic “fat burning” dominance is actually quite easy to do and is very straightforward. We can show you how to be a “fat burner” quite easily. Here is the amazing, secret recipe for becoming a fat burning machine:

Becoming a “fat burner” is as simple as getting rid of the carbohydrates in your diet and replacing them with fat calories.

So now you’re a “fat burner.” So what? What does that actually mean as far as benefits you can expect?

Precisely nothing!

You’ll just be burning the fat you’re eating—not burning off body fat—but you at least get the benefit of referring to yourself as a “fat burning machine”!

The simple fact is that for regular people, there is no scientific evidence that being a “fat burner” is superior for virtually anything.

  • Not health
  • Not vitality
  • Not energy levels
  • Not hormonal health
  • Not metabolic rate
  • Not endurance
  • Not high intensity physical activity
  • Not fat loss

As I outlined in my book “The Low Carb Myth,” there is simply no scientific evidence to suggest that low-carb diets are superior to higher carb diets of equal calories and protein content. The scientific evidence actually shows us that well-designed higher carbohydrate diets are as effective, and typically MORE effective, in every area from health to athletic performance to fat loss.

So yeah, you can make yourself into a “fat burner” by eating a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Just don’t expect to notice any health, performance, or fat loss benefits from doing so. If you’re like most people, all you’ll notice is that you feel run down, tired, anxious, and irritable most of the time, while your performance in exercise and athletics suffers.

The bottom line is this: Do not confuse “fat burning” with “body fat burning”—they are totally different things. Being a “carb burner” or “fat burner” has no relevance to how much body fat you lose.

We know that the crux of lasting fat loss is long-term dietary compliance and sustainability–not what the macronutrient content of the diet is.

If the goal is long-term, lasting, sustainable improvements in health or fat loss, it’s critically important to recognize that the more extreme the diet (the more it is heavily restrictive of one food group or another), the poorer compliance (i.e. sustainability) tends to be.

This means that any extreme low-fat or extreme low-carb diet initiative to combat obesity is laughable, since any similarly extreme dietary pattern that jettisons an entire macronutrient is simply unsustainable for the majority of people.

As obesity researcher Dr. Yoni Freedhoff states about low-carb diets: “Ultimately the issue I have got with this style of diet — the issue with all low-carb diets — is not that they can’t work or help but for the majority of people who go on them, it’s not sustainable.”

[ http://www.vox.com/2014/12/19/7416939/bulletproof-coffee]

For example, even in the major area where we do have good evidence of the effectiveness of very low carb ketogenic diets–with seizures–many people fail to sustain a ketogenic diet. (I also have heard from numerous clients with children who have epilepsy that I have suggested they try a ketogenic diet, and most report back that they were not able to adequately sustain it with one woman calling it a “nightmare” to even try to get her child to stick to it.) Other research has verified the low compliance rates on ketogenic diets:

  • “For this reason the ketogenic diet represents an interesting option but unfortunately suffers from a low compliance.”[ http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/112]
  • “The ketogenic diet, a treatment for intractable epilepsy, is rarely initiated because it requires strict compliance with a diet that is perceived to be unpalatable.”[ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7592151]
  • According to WebMD: “Some parents of children with epilepsy are skeptical of the ketogenic diet when they first hear about it. A diet that can control epilepsy and stop seizures without any medication? It almost sounds like a scam. But the ketogenic diet is real and legitimate. It works very well in many people. The catch is that it’s extremely demanding and difficult to follow. In fact, it is so difficult to follow that most doctors recommend it only for people who haven’t been able to control their seizures with medicine.” [http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/the-ketogenic-diet]
  • “Studies investigating the effectiveness of ketogenic diets are all observational based and focus on the patients that were compliant with the diet; however, most of these studies have large dropout rates. In the above meta-analysis, about half of the patients dropped out. Families primarily discontinued the diet due to the lack of improvement in seizure control.” [http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/263139/]

Because we know that sustainability–rather than some magical macronutrient ratio–is the crux of lasting fat loss, any dietary pattern that is found to be so unpleasant that it suffers very low compliance can be immediately ruled out as a real option for fat loss for the vast majority of people.

In the words of Freedhoff,

“Ultimately the best diet for you is the one you actually enjoy enough to keep living with, as merely tolerable diets won’t last.”

[ http://www.weightymatters.ca/2014/09/what-i-learned-by-actually-reading-that.html]