Friday 31 January 2014

Weight Loss Without Calorie Counting

High protein diets cause weight loss. But are high protein diets really just low carbohydrate diets by another name?

Many believe that weight loss is caused only by cutting calories (‘dieting’) or by through aerobic exercise. This leads many up the garden path, and long term they make no progress. The assumption that to lose weight you must ‘diet’ and ‘exercise’ is so ingrained in the psyche of most people that to questions it results in derision. However, like a moth against the bulb, dieters come back for more. Hoping that this time it’s different, this time they’ll succeed.

The Dieting And Aerobic Exercise Fallacy

Doth dieting and aerobic exercise do cause short-term weight loss. This is well documented scientifically and most have experienced weight loss on such a regimen. However, what is clear is that the weight loss caused by dieting and aerobic exercise is largely skeletal muscle. Muscle loss lowers the resting metabolic rate and as a result less fat is burnt. Over time as appetite rises and resting metabolic rate falls further, even small intakes of food cause rapid body fat gains.

Fat Loss Without Cutting Calories

Is fat loss possible without cutting calories? Yes, absolutely it is. Studies feeding people low carbohydrate diets show that they lose weight and yet they do not forcibly restrict calories. Such diets cause weight loss without the need to restrict energy intake because they remove the source of weight gain and belly fat. Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause the accumulation of fat because they damage the liver and increase the processing of food into body fat.

Are High Protein Diets Really Low Carbohydrate Diets?

High protein diets (here) also cause weight loss without the need for energy restriction. This may result from their beneficial appetite suppressing effects or because of the low conversion rate of protein to body fat. However, high protein diets are also low carbohydrate diets. As high protein diets are also devoid of the sugar and refined carbohydrates that cause weight gain, this may be the real reason they cause weight loss, without the need to count calories.

Traditional Diets Also Cause Fat Loss

Traditional diets have fat burning effect without the need to cut calories (here). This is because traditional diets are also devoid of the sugar and refined carbohydrates that are the source of the metabolic dysfunction that causes weight gain. Studies show that free access to foods in the Mediterranean diet, with no restriction, results in fat loss. In addition studies show that such fat loss is achievable with no increase in energy expenditure from exercise.

Are You STILL Counting Calories?

If you are still trying to lose weight though counting calories you will not succeed in your fat loss journey. Calorie counting, aerobic exercise and weight loss gimmicks don't work and they never have. Many diets are able to cause weight loss without the need for calorie restriction because they are all low in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Removing these items from the diet is the first step in the journey to leanness. If you can't remove sugar from your diet, you must accept your fate.

Thursday 30 January 2014

A Cup of Zen

People love tea. Excluding water, tea is the most commonly drunk beverage in the World. In the West and India people drink mainly varieties of black tea, but green tea and oolong tea are more commonly drunk in the Far East. Tea is popular because it has some very significant energising effects which makes it appealing to humans. These energising effects are due to a combination of the components of the tea that act synergistically to enhance energy flow in the body.

Green Tea Burns Fat

Tea comes in many different forms. However, generally tea is classified into three distinct types. Green tea is made by steaming the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Because the leaves are lightly steamed before drying the green tea decoction maintains the original chemical composition of the tea plant. Of all teas, green tea contains the highest concentration of polyphenols called catechins. These polyphenols synergistically increase the fat burning effects of the caffeine.

Black Tea Burns Fat

Whereas green tea involves steaming the leaves, black tea involves fermenting them. This process chemically alters the tea leaves and converts many of the catechin polyphenols to other chemicals called tannins. These tannins give black tea its characteristic taste and colour. While black tea does not possess the same catechin content as green tea, it still has significant fat burning effects. This is largely because of the caffeine content of the tea which increases metabolic rate.

Oolong Tea Burns Fat

Oolong tea is formed through a partial fermentation of the leaves of the tea plant. Because the fermentation is not as complete as that in black tea, the tannin content is greatly reduced. Therefore compared to black tea, oolong tea contains more of the original catechin polyphenols that are present in green tea. Because oolong tea contains caffeine and catechin polyphenols it increases metabolic rate just like green tea, resulting in a significant fat burning effect.

Green Chi

Chi is what the Chinese believe to be the energy that flows through the body in channels. Ancient medicine claims that green tea increases chi and has a significant energising effect. Science has verified these effect and identified the amino acid L-theanine as being responsible for this action. L-theanine is present in black and oolong tea, but is more concentrated in green tea. L-theanine increases alpha brain wave activity and this provides a calm meditative state of relaxation.

L-Theanine Burns Fat

Experiments on animals shows that L-theanine has anti-obesity effects. These effects are superior to those of catechins and equal to those of the caffeine content. The high concentration of L-theanine in green tea may therefore explain the fat burning effects of green tea. Because L-theanine also has relaxing properties, this may explain the anti-anxiety effect of drinking tea, when compared to coffee.

Relax and Burn Fat

Studies have mostly attributed the weight loss effects of tea to the thermogenic properties of its caffeine and catechin components. However, some of the effects may be due to the relaxing effects of the L-theanine. It is well known that stress is associated with belly fat, weight gain and obesity. By causing relaxation, tea could contribute significantly to weight loss by reducing cortisol, improving metabolic function and increasing energy production.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Go Nuts For Weight Loss

The ‘eat-too-much do-too-little’ theory of weight gain suggests that body fat accumulation is caused by eating too much food and doing too little exercise. Because fat contains lots of calories it is often therefore avoided by ‘dieters’. The assumption is that fat causes weight gain because of its high energy content. By limiting fat, weight gain will therefore follow because people assume it is energy that causes body fat accumulation. However, by limiting fat, some people avoid foods that would be beneficial to their weight loss efforts, including nuts.

Nuts Are Associated With Lower Body Weights

Studies show that those people who eat more nuts have lower body weights. Now from this evidence we cannot say that the nuts are the cause of the lower body weights. People who eat nuts for example could eat other things or have other habits that are the cause of the weight loss effects. However, what we can say is that eating nuts obviously doesn't make people fat. And there is good reason why nuts don't make people fat which relates to their nutrient content.

Nuts Contain Fibre

Like all plant material, nuts are composed of many tiny cells. These cells have rigid cell walls that give the tissues structure and shape. The cell walls in nuts are particularly strong, and made up of dietary fibre. This fibre is not digestible by human enzymes, and therefore anything within the cell is inaccessible. When we chew the nuts, some of the cell walls are broken and we digest their contents. However, many of the cells remain intact and their contents are never absorbed. Therefore much of the energy is not available for absorption.

Are Nuts Really High Calorie Foods?

Because we don't absorb much of the energy in nuts, the packaging showing their energy content is disingenuous. While technically nuts may possess high concentrations of energy, that energy may not be fully absorbed. Some of the unbroken cells are digested by gut bacteria in the colon and the lipids within absorbed further down the intestinal tract. However, much of the fat passess out of the body as evidenced by increase fat content in faecal matter following nut consumption.

Nuts Contain Good Fats

Another factor often overlooked by those of calorie counting delusion is that many nuts contain polyunsaturated fats. These are the same fats that are present in the Mediterranean diet in high concentrations. Consumption of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to cause weight loss, without the need to either calorie count or run endlessly on a hamster wheel. Polyunsaturated fats don't cause weight gains because they are preferentially oxidised as fuel rather than being stored.

Nuts Contain Micronutrients

Calorie counters also pay no attention to micronutrients in foods. Many such micronutrients facilitate improved energy turnover and processing. The selenium in nuts for example is required as a cofactor for the enzyme deiodinase that converts the inactive form of thyroid (T4) to the active form (T3). Chromium is required for the correct function of the insulin receptor. Nuts also contain B vitamins that are required in all the major energy production pathways in the body.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Or Just Nuts?

Calorie counters are obsessed with calories. It’s all they think about. Their ‘if you eat it and don't burn it, youll store it’ mantra is pseudoscience at best and the case of nuts proves that what you stuff in your face doesn't necessarily end up in your belly fat. Nuts are healthy foods and when incorporated as part of a healthy diet actually cause weight loss without the need to constantly check a little book for the calorific values of foods. So stop worrying and go nuts once in a while.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Sugar Versus Fruit Juice Versus Honey

Sugar causes metabolic dysfunction because it overloads the liver with energy from fructose. this leads to fatty liver disease (here). If you have hard to shift belly fat, you almost certainly have insulin resistance as a result of fatty liver. The abdominal fat you see is an outward manifestation of an inward metabolic dysfunction. This dysfunction significantly increases you chances of getting cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It also makes you look fat and feel unenergetic.

Fruit Juice Is Just Sugar in Water

Most people consider fruit juice to be healthy, and associate it with vitamins and vitality. This is as a result of clever marketing from the food industry. In reality, the fruit juice you buy in cartons is just sugar in water. Biochemically, the body deals with this sugar in the same way it deals with other sugar. Straight to the liver, straight into fatty acids, and straight into your belly fat. Studies now show that carton fruit juice is just as effective at making fat people as soft drinks like cola.

So Why Is Fruit Ok?

Fruit contains fibre. Fibre is natures way of slowing down the digestion of sugar. Sure, fruit contains fructose, just like sugar. But the fructose is always present with fibre in fruit. Also, how long would it take you to eat six oranges in a row? If you try to do this you’ll see its not easy to get large amounts of sugar from fruit quickly. The same cannot be said for fruit juice. Squeeze six oranges into juice and you can consume the calories in a few seconds.

Ok So I'll Eat Honey

If you switch to honey, you'll get fat all the same. Honey contains fructose, and so is fattening in large amounts. Usually the fructose in honey is surrounded by angry bees and this slows consumption somewhat. Try to eat as much honey as you dare from a hive. How much did you get? None is probably the answer. However, when you remove the bees from honey, just as when you remove the fibre from fruit, the rate of consumption increases. Bang, thats weight gain right there!

Brown Sugar It Is Then?

Brown sugar is like brown bread. Just As bad as white bread but a different colour. Sugar in its natural form is present inside vegetable matter. To get the sugar you must eat the very fibrous stems of cane sugar plants or eat sugar beets. Both contain large amounts of cellulose fibre. This slows consumption because cellulose tastes like wood. Any product that removes the sugar from this fibre, crystallises it and serves it up, brown, white or sky blue pink, it will make you fat.

Sugar Is Sugar Is Sugar

It doesn't matter where it comes from. If it contains fructose, and you eat too much of it too quickly, you will get fat. Studies show that honey is not quite so bad as sugar, but its 90 % of the way there. Of course fruit juice and honey contain other substances that are good for the health. But the weight gain, belly fat, metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance that accompany them outweighs any benefits they provide. If you want to get lean, you MUST avoid all forms of sugar.

Monday 27 January 2014

Thyroid Nightmares

Thyroid hormones are pretty important. Especially if you are interested in being lean. Your thyroid hormones dictate how much fat you burn and and how much muscle you have. Your body can alter the amount of thyroid hormones you produce to change your metabolic rate. Cranking up cellular levels of thyroid hormones tells the cells to use energy. If the cells are fat cells they burn fat. Understanding thyroid levels is therefore important if you want to lose body fat and get lean.

Thyroid Hormone Biology

For thyroid hormones to have an effect they must get into your cells. Only thyroid hormone inside the cells can cause fat burning. Initially the body produces an inactive form of thyroid called T4. This circulates in your blood having little effect until it enters cells. Here it is converted to T3, the active form of thyroid. Only T3 can exert thyroid’s fat burning effects. In order to burn fat you need to make sure that this conversion of T4 to T3 is maintained.

‘Dieting’ Lowers Thyroid Hormones

Calorie counting doesn't work! You can't lose weight through ‘dieting’ because if you try the body will decrease the conversion of the inactive T4 to the active T3. This will lower your metabolic rate and as a result you will stop burning fat, become demotivated, feel cold and have to deal with a  sluggish metabolism. A low metabolic rate also means you are much more likely to regain lost weight. This is because you need less calories and so eating ‘normally’ will now increase body fat.

Boosting Thyroid Hormones

Stress, dieting, and inflammation all decrease the conversion of T4 to T3. The opposite of what we want. Therefore we need to avoid stress, dieting and inflammation if we want to burn fat. It’s no secret that stress makes you fat. Stress causes increased belly fat and it’s very hard to lose weight if you are stressed. Inflammation is caused by stress, and is exacerbated by poor diet. The way to boost levels of active T3 is therefore to avoid stress, eat well and stop calorie counting.

Permanent Thyroid Damage

If you have undertaken periods of dieting previously you will almost certainly have damaged your T4 to T3 conversion rate. Studies suggest that even short periods of calorie restriction can cause damage to thyroid hormones lasting years. Hard to shift fat, feeling cold, fuzzy thinking and low exercise tolerance are signs that you have a damaged thyroid function. In this case continued attempts to lose weight by dieting will likely cause permanent damage. So be warned.

Eating Healthily Boost Thyroid

By having a high T4 to T3 conversion, your fat burning will take care of itself. No need to cut calories. If you have a sluggish T4 to T3 conversion, you need to redress this if you want to burn fat. However, some people will think they know best and try to force weight loss with calorie restriction despite poor thyroid status. If you try this you will have a one way ticket to weight gain on the yo yo diet express. And once the damage is done there are no refunds.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Traditional Diets For Weight Loss

Health is not just the absence of disease. It is the possession of mental and physical vitality. One of the things that health brings is a lean physique that regulates its own calorie intake to maintain its weight. To be healthy we need to eat healthy foods that provide the nutrients the body requires, without ingesting metabolic poisons. If we deviate from a healthy diet, the result is metabolic dysfunction and weight gain. Therefore to stay lean all we need to do is eat a healthy diet and fat burning will take care of itself.

Do Not Believe Proven Liars

Successful long-term weight loss therefore means following a healthy diet. However, not many really understand what this means. The reason for this is because the medical, diet and food industries all have a vested interest in keeping us fat and unhealthy. These industries make huge profits from treating overweight people and there is no incentive for them to solve the problem. Their paid agents in the mainstream media deliberately confuse the public over the definition of a healthy diet. So do not trust them.

So What is A Healthy Diet?

If you have hard to shift belly fat, you almost certainly have metabolic syndrome caused by a poor diet. If you want to turn this around you need to know what to eat. Ask most people what a healthy diet consists of and they will say it involves cutting fat and cholesterol, eating complex carbohydrates and lots of fruit. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Low fat high carbohydrate diets are bad for the health (here) and many traditional diets around the world contain very little fruit, and yet the populations have no incidence of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and are not fat.

Traditional Diets Are Healthy Diets

Traditional diets are historically old diets that are eaten by indigenous populations in particular geographical regions. Traditional diets differ all over the World. The Mediterranean, Okinawan, Huza, Eskimo, Norwegian, Australian aborigine and Masai traditional diets have been well studied. All the diets are different yet they all provide their populations with good health, lean physiques, and an absence of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Studies of these diets reveals commonalities that can be used to define the healthy diet.

Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates Again

No traditional diet contains refined sugar. In fact medical records show that when sugar alone is introduced to native populations eating traditional diets they get fat, real quick. Along with the weight gain and belly fat comes the associated cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Another common feature of the traditional diets is that when grains are present, they are unrefined and high in fibre. Introducing refined white flour to traditional populations causes them to get fat, real quick.

Which Traditional Diet Should I Follow?

The truth is there is no one healthy diet. Many combinations of foods can provide us with a high quality nutrition that can produce health. However, much recent research has highlighted the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in weight loss. Studies looking at the diet show that adhering to the diet causes weight loss without caloric restriction and without exercise. The diet contains meat from fish and fowl, and carbohydrates in their unrefined whole grain form. Green leafy vegetables, nuts and olives are also eaten freely. And best of all, plenty of red wine.

Saturday 25 January 2014

Dandelion: The Toothless Lion of Weight Loss

The diet industry has no interest in making people thin. Their entire model is based on people staying fat and coming back for more. Thin people don't take diet pills or buy expensive diet plans, and so there is no incentive to cause fat loss in their customers. When their pseudoscience diets fail, the diet industry blames the individual for being lazy and unmotivated and tells them to try again. And they come back for more like a battered wife, money in hand.

The Con of Weight Loss

However, the diet industry must maintain a veneer of respectability. It understands that it must produce some weight loss in people to make them think their diets work. Its main tool for this purpose is the use of calorie counting. People cut calories and lose weight for a few weeks. However studies show that most of this weight is muscle. This is detrimental to weight loss, but is enough to convince the customer that the diet works.

The Con of Diuretics

The diet industry also has another trick up its sleeve, diuretics. Diuretics are substances that increase the excretion of water from the body. In layman's terms they make you urinate more than you drink. The result is weight loss that consists totally of water. The diet industry markets a number of weight loss supplements that contains nothing but diuretic herbs. These cause initial weight loss, which convinces the individual they are beneficial.

Dandelion Is A Diuretic

Dandelion is a herb that has diuretic properties in humans. Many ‘weight loss’ supplements contain dandelion. And yes they cause weight loss. The trouble is that that weight is water, and therefore such supplements are useless. Dandelion has no fat burning effects and taking dandelion will not improve body composition in any way. All it does is flushes water from the body, giving the illusion of a beneficial effect.

AdiĆ³s Amigo

If you want to get serious and lose body fat, you need to ditch the gimmicky ‘weight loss’ supplements. Fat loss is not the same as weight loss. By deliberately confusing the two, the diet industry maintains its scam by keeping people fat. You don't need the weight loss industry to lose fat. You don’t need their gimmicky ‘weight loss’ supplements. And you don’t need to count calories. All you need is a high quality diet devoid of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Friday 24 January 2014

I Fish to Be Thin

Many consider fat to be the cause of their weight gain. This is based on the fact that fat contains almost twice the calories as protein or carbohydrate. Many follow low fat diets in the hope that by removing the most calorie dense food from their diets they will lose weight. However, this doesn’t work because fat and overconsumption of energy are not the causes of excessive weight gain. In fact by removing fat from the diet many actually increase their likelihood of weight gain. This is because low fat diets are unhealthy.

Low Fat Diets

Low fat diets are unhealthy for a number of reasons. For example, low fat diets decrease testosterone levels which increases muscle loss and this lowers metabolic rate. This means fewer calories are burnt. Low fat diets also cause deficiencies of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin D. Because vitamin D is associated with weight gain, this is bad. In addition, some fats are actually known to possess weight loss effects. Excluding such fats by eating low fat diets can hinder fat burning and significantly sabotage weight loss efforts.

Fish Oils Increase Insulin Sensitivity

It is well known amongst athletes that fish oils benefit athletic performance. One reason for this is that fish oils increase insulin sensitivity and allow a greater uptake of glucose by skeletal muscle. This causes less of the glucose from carbohydrate to be stored as fat. In addition, this stimulates skeletal muscle growth which increases metabolic rate. And there’s more. By increasing glucose uptake fish oils also increase the glycogen in muscle which improves force output. This allows more intense training which can stimulate muscle growth and raise metabolic rate further.

Fish Or Capsules

Fish oils are present is fatty fish. Fish accumulate oils in the flesh under their skin. Eating fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel can supply enough fish oils to increase fat burning. However, fish is increasingly becoming polluted by industrial waste which is pumped into the waterways of the World. As a result the recommendation is not to consume fish that can provide healthy oils. As a result if you want to take advantage of the benefits of fish oil, supplements should be considered. Fish oil supplements that have had their pollutants removed are recommended.

Thursday 23 January 2014

How To Eat Sugary Foods Without Gaining Weight

Refined carbohydrates and sugar make us fat. In fact, these two foods are the cause of most weight gain. Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause weight gain because they are rapidly absorbed due to their lack of fibre. This causes the liver to become overloaded with energy leading to fatty liver and metabolic dysfunction (here). Both refined carbohydrates and sugar also cause weight gain because they are devoid of the minerals required for their metabolism (here).

Most People Can’t Cut Carbs

Losing weight involves avoiding all the foods that contain refined carbohydrates and sugar. To most this is a grim prospect as this excludes most foods people find appealing. In fact, the reason people fail to lose weight long term is because they cannot avoid these foods. They also make the mistake of cutting calories which makes them hungry. Eventually their temptation gets the better of them and they eat the foods they know they shouldn't. Bang, weight gain and guilt.

Cheat Meals

If you are the sort of persona that cannot do without such sugary or refined foods you're in trouble. However, all is not lost. If you accept you are going to cheat, plan it for a single meal and do it deliberately. This is the concept of the cheat meal. Think of cheat meals as a reward for good behaviour. Cheat meals minimise the damage to your metabolism because the bad foods are limited, and most of the time you eat healthy foods and avoid the bad stuff.

Supercharged Cheat Meals

Cheat meals will hamper your weight loss efforts. However, as long as you only use them occasionally, you can take two steps forward before taking one step back, and you'll still make progress. But what if I told you there was a way to take cheat meals more often, and one that doesn't require taking any steps backwards? This is the concept of the post workout cheat meal. And it allows you to eat almost what you like without having any risk of gaining body fat.

Resistance Training Allows Guilt Free Cheat Meals

High intensity exercise such as sprinting or resistance training causes some pretty neat weight loss effects. In particular, when you perform intense exercise your muscles and your liver become depleted of nutrients. This means they act like a sponge for a period of time following training. There is about a two hour window when the muscles become particularly responsive to nutrients. And we can use this time to fill them with sugar.

Glycogen Not Fat

Following intense exercise muscles and the liver are desperate for sugars. They need sugars because the exercise has depleted the tissues of glycogen. Therefore following exercise, eating sugar actually becomes beneficial. The sugar goes into the liver and skeletal muscle where it reforms the glycogen you burnt during exercise. As a result little of it is converted to fat and no damage is done to your metabolism.

Timing Is Everything

Cheat meals following a workout allow you to eat the foods you know you should almost guilt free. Such a strategy won't affect your ability to burn fat. In fact it might help because postworkout sugar can actually stimulate muscle growth. This will boost your metabolic rate and cause more energy to be burnt as fat. The trick is to train hard then eat within a two hour window. But then as they say, timing is everything.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Why Chromium Is Essential To Fat Loss

Minerals are basically ground up rock in the soil. Some minerals are required by humans for their health. We call these essential dietary minerals. Plants soak up mineral containing water from the soil and when we eat the plants, we take in the minerals. These minerals are used in the body as cofactors for enzymes. That means they are required to allow metabolic pathways to flow. Without them the metabolic pathways stop and we die. Any mineral deficiency will kill over time.

Do We Get Enough Minerals?

Doctors tell us we don’t need mineral supplements as we get all the nutrients we need in our foods. In the past this was probably true. However, because minerals are absorbed by plants, over time the amount in soil declines as we eat more of the plants. This is particularly true for heavily farmed soils. Eventually the soils become mineral deficient, the plants become mineral deficient, and then we become mineral deficient.

So What About Chromium?

Chromium is one mineral that is no longer present in the diet in high enough amounts. Over Farming of soils has depleted the crops of chromium. But it’s worse. Refining of the grains we grow on those soils further depletes the food supply of chromium. Most studies now agree that chromium in the human diet is inadequate for good health. In fact in one study even dieticians using healthy foods could not incorporate enough chromium into a human diet.

So How Does This Affect Weight Loss?

Chromium has an important function in humans. It is required for the action of insulin. This is relevant to weight loss, because one of the causes of weight gain is insulin resistance. This means that cells become insensitive to the actions of insulin. As a result glucose in the blood is diverted from being burnt as fuel in muscle to being stored as fat. Chromium deficiency accelerates this process and leads to weight gain and fat accumulation.

Will I Be Getting Enough Chromium?

If you don’t currently supplement with chromium you will almost certainly have an inadequate chromium intake. Supplementation with chromium causes weight loss in those with insulin resistance. If you currently have belly fat, the outward sign of insulin resistance, supplementation with chromium would probably help your weight loss efforts considerably. Chromium picolinate 500 to 1000 micrograms per day is recommended in such cases.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Is Ephedrine the Best Weight Loss Drug?

If there was one substance that could be called the undisputed fat burning champion, it would probably be ephedrine. Ephedrine is a chemical extracted from plants of the Ephedra genus. This plant is known as Ma Huang to the Chinese, and the ephedrine from it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to cause weight loss and increase Chi (what we would call energy). So what makes ephedrine and its herbal equivalents so great at causing weight loss?

Ephedrine Burns Fat

Ephedrine is able to burn fat because it is structurally similar to adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released during exercise or when we become physically aroused. One of adrenaline's jobs is to mobilise energy stores so that fuel is ready for the skeletal muscles to burn. In this regard, adrenaline is a great fat burner. Because ephedrine is similar to adrenaline it causes the same fat burning effects.

Ephedrine Cuts Appetite

Ephedrine is no one trick pony. Oh no, ephedrine has a number of fat burning secrets up its sleeve. As well as burning fat, ephedrine is able to cause a significant decreases in appetite. In fact ephedrine is so good at inhibiting appetite that many claim this is its primary method of causing weight loss. Ephedrine can reduce the appetite because one of the functions of adrenaline is to switch off eating behaviour and to prepare for physical activity.

Ephedrine Increase Workout Intensity

One of the problems of exercise is that its very inefficient at causing weight loss. This is because most people fail to exercise with enough intensity. Aerobic exercise for example is a very poor form of fat burning. One thing ephedrine can do is increase workout intensity. This is much more likely to stimulate muscle growth which in turn will increase the metabolic rate. And as we know a higher metabolic rate burns more fat.

Ephedrine Prevents Muscle Loss

One of the biggest problems with weight loss is that much of the ‘weight’ lost is muscle. This is bad because it lowers the metabolic rate. The offshoot of this is that fewer calories are needed and weight regain is more likely. Ephedrine can prevent reductions in metabolic rate because it reduces the amount of muscle that is lost when weight loss is occurring. This means that the metabolic rate is maintained and that weight regain is much less likely.

So What’s the Downside?

The downside is that you can't easily buy ephedrine any more in the United Kingdom. It used to be that you could walk into any supplement store and buy ephedrine off the shelf as a fat burner. But then they banned ephedrine and only the herbal form was left. Now, even the herbal Ma Huang has been banned. Some cough medicines do still contain ephedrine, but these are not designed for weight loss and so may not be suitable. It’s a shame, because ephedrine worked brilliantly.

Monday 20 January 2014

Is Calcium a Fat Burner?

There are so many substances that are claimed to cause weight loss, it’s often difficult to keep track. These claims can be detrimental because it creates confusion as to what works and what doesn't work. In this confusion, some of the best weight loss tools pass by under the radar unnoticed. Calcium may be one such substance that is often overlooked for its weight loss effects.

Yoghurt Burns Fat

The weight loss ability of calcium is well studied. The ability of calcium to cause weight loss was first noticed in a study looking at osteoporosis. Subjects were fed yoghurt to see if the calcium helped their bones. It didn’t. However, an interesting side effect of the yoghurt was that the subjects lost weight. Because the only difference between the groups was the yoghurt one group ate, the yoghurt must have caused the weight loss effects.

But Yoghurt Contains Other Things, Right?

Sure yoghurt does contain components other than calcium. How do we know these did not cause the weight loss? Well subsequent studies have investigated this question and found that the conjugated linoleic acid in dairy foods can burn fat. So dairy foods are good foods to eat if you're trying to lose weight. However, studies also show that calcium is also involved in body weight regulation. So you may not have to eat yoghurt to get the weight loss benefits seen in the osteoporosis study.

So How Does Calcium Cause Weight Loss?

It’s not exactly clear how calcium works to cause weight loss. However, it may decrease the absorption of fat. When we eat calcium with foods, some of the calcium binds to fat in the intestines and forms what a chemists would call a soap. This soap is insoluble and so is not well absorbed. The net result is that the fat, along with the calcium, are excreted and never absorbed. So calcium might be an effective fat binder.

Should I Take Calcium?

If you're trying to lose weight taking calcium supplements with meals might be an effective way to inhibit the absorption of some fat. This may cause a small amount of weight loss. Alternatively if you like yoghurt, eating it everyday should cause weight loss as it did in the osteoporosis study participants. Just makes sure that the yoghurt is natural and contains live cultures. Also makes sure the yoghurt isn't a gimmicky low fat one, as we know low fat foods are grow fat foods (here).

Sunday 19 January 2014

Sugar: Metabolic Poison

Sugar is a carbohydrate food. Because it is a carbohydrate, its has the same number of calories as all other carbohydrates. To those who count calories, the 3.75 calories per gram of sugar would be equal to the 3.75 calories per gram found in the carbohydrate contained in beans. However, substituting the sugar in a normal diet for beans causes weight loss without the need to go on a diet. So what’s so special about sugar? Why does cutting sugar intake cause weight loss?

Glucose Is The Good Guy

Sugar is made up of one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule. Glucose is fairly benign, and eating glucose containing foods is a great way to fuel the body. Your brain and skeletal muscles in particular like glucose and use up huge amounts of it every day. Even in sleep the liver must supply the brain with glucose to keep it ticking over through the night. Starches are chains of glucose, so we get glucose from the complex carbohydrates we eat.

Fructose Is The Bad Guy

Think of fructose as the evil half brother of glucose. Fructose is a metabolic poison. Only the liver can process fructose, your brain and skeletal muscles can’t deal with it. As a result high intakes of fructose oversupply the liver with energy. Faced with deluge of fructose heading its way, the liver diverts the fructose to produce fatty acids. These fatty acids build up in the liver where they cause the development of fatty liver disease.

Do I Want Fatty Liver Disease?

In a word no. Fatty liver causes all sorts of metabolic abnormalities that make it difficult to process other nutrients correctly. Blood sugar levels rise, hunger signals go awry and cholesterol goes through the roof. But even worse, you start to put on fat around your organs and waist. This belly fat is a sure sign that you have developed metabolic syndrome. Also called syndrome X, belly fat is a sign of insulin resistance, which means you have a one way ticket to diabetesville.

So What Is The Solution?

If you want to get rid of the belly fat you need to reverse the damage to your liver. This can only be done by reducing sugar intake. Cutting calories but maintaining an intake of sugar won't work because the metabolic damage will remain and you won't be able to efficiently process energy. Because sugar is present in the gimmicky low fat foods sold in supermarkets, you must ditch these metabolic poisons if you want your body to efficiently to burn fat.

But Fructose Is In Fruit, Right?

Absolutely, fructose is right there in fruit. And guess what. If you over eat fruit you'll get fat. However, nature in her wisdom put lots of fibre in most natural sources of fructose. The fibre slows the digestion of the fructose and this prevents the fructose overloading the liver. This means the liver can more easily deal with the fructose in fruit. Only one source of fructose in nature is fibre free. That is honey. And while it may not contain fibre, it is protected by ferocious bees.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Is Alcohol A Fat Burner?

Alcohol has a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss. In fact most people think that drinking makes you fat. Much of this stems from the old calorie counting mantra that shows that alcohol contains 7.1 calories per gram, compared to the 4.1 in protein, the 3.75 in carbohydrate and the 9 in fat. The assumption that alcohol causes weight gain is based therefore primarily on assuming that energy from alcohol is treated in the same way a carbohydrate, protein or fat.

Alcohol and Weight: The Science

The science is quite clear on alcohol. Those who drink more have lower body weights. Most studies looking at alcohol have generally concluded that alcohol consumption is associated with a lower body weight. But an association is only a link between two factors. It doesn't mean the alcohol is the cause of the lower body weights. However, alcohol is metabolised is a quite different way to other nutrients which may explain why drinkers have lower body weights.

Can Alcohol Burn Fat?

Alcohol is strange because it can only be processed by the liver. To cope with the alcohol we throw at it, the liver has few tricks that it can use to increase the rate it deals with the alcohol. One of these tricks is to use a system of enzymes to burn the alcohol. This is the MEOS system located in the endoplasmic reticulum. When this alternative enzyme system is used the energy in alcohol is turned to heat. This means the alcohol is less likely to be stored as fat.

How Does This Help With Weight Loss?

It is unsure how alcohol may cause weight loss. However, the heat producing effect of alcohol is well documented. Ever felt hot after a night's drinking? That’s your body burning the alcohol and producing heat. One possible explanation for the effect of alcohol on body weight is that the regular consumption of alcohol causes a reduction in consumption of other foods, particularly carbohydrates. If this reduces sugar intake, then fat loss will follow.

Can I drink and Lose Weight?

Yes you can. Consumption of wine and spirits should do no harm to any weight loss programme and might even help. Hold back on the beer though as many contain high amounts of carbohydrates. In addition, studies looking at alcohol intakes show clear benefits for moderate drinking. In particular drinking alcohol reduces the risk of a heart attack for the following 24 hours. Red wine is particularly beneficial because it also contains lots of antioxidants.

Friday 17 January 2014

The Real Reason Fasting Causes Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting is going through a bit of a revival at the moment. The internet is full of information about its benefits. Celebrities are endorsing fasting and every other nutrition blog has an article on why you should fast. There are variations on this theme, but most intermittent fasting diets involve a period of normal eating followed by no food at all. There are some pretty outrageous claims made by some, but on the whole fasting seems to work in the short term.

We Cut Calories, We Lose Weight, Right?

People assume that fasting works because of calorie counting. Cut the amount of calories you eat and the body must lose weight because it calls on its fat reserves to fuel activity. To most, fasting is the extreme versions of this ideology that takes the concept further. Cut all calories through fasting and your body will have to burn fat to function and so weight loss will follow. And it’s true, fasting does cause weight loss, so these people must be right hey?

Fasting Isn't About Calorie Restriction

It is still unfortunate that so many people are trapped in the old paradigm of calorie counting and restrictive energy diets. Most people think that diets work because they limit calories. You cut your energy intake, you lose weight. Ask most people and they think the word diet to means ‘energy restriction’. However, caloric restriction is not why fasting causes weight loss. In fact fasting works for the same reason that all ‘diets’ work. And it has nothing to do with counting calories.

Fasting Limits Sugar Intake

The reason fasting works, is the same reason most ‘diets’ work. Because they limit the intake sugar. Sugar is the main driver of weight gain, and so ANY diet that limits its intake will cause weight loss. Sugar is a metabolic poison when ingested in high amounts, and this causes liver dysfunction and insulin resistance. The end result is a sluggish metabolism and a situation that your body becomes reluctant to burn fat or perform activity.

Calorie Restriction Does Not Cause Fat Loss

However, cutting calories is counter productive to weight loss. If you cut calories you get hungry. This hunger builds up over a number of weeks or months and then, bang. You eat and the weight goes back on again. Most people assume that we get fat because we eat too much. But this is probably not true, In fact, we get fat not because we eat too much, but because we eat the wrong foods. And that means too much sugar and too many sugar containing foods.

Should I Try Fasting?

Weight loss diets are all very different. We have high proteins diets, high fat diets, low fat diets, isocaloric diets, high carbohydrate diets, the grapefruit diet, the South Beach diet. You name it, someone has turned it into a diet. Generally most people have some short term success on most of these diets. The reason is they all limit sugar. Fasting in no exception. If you want to try fasting by all means go ahead. But you'll get just as good results from eating healthy foods and cutting out sugar, without the need to count calories.

Thursday 16 January 2014

The Three Biggest Mistakes In Weight Loss

Trial and error is all well and good. We need to learn from our own experiences as this is how we developed as humans. However, with fat loss, trial and error is a long process and sometimes we want results fast. For this reason it’s sometime good to have a little advice to keep us on the right path. Therefore I have put together what I consider to be three of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight. Address these problems and you should be rewarded with faster fat burning.

1. Cutting Calories Forcibly

Your brain is a pretty stubborn thing. It kind of knows what it wants and doesn't like advice. In this regard trying to force it to take less energy than it thinks is needed is a bad idea. Guess who always wins? I’ll give you a clue, it’s not you. The way to lose weight is to eat healthy foods. When the body gets the nutrition it requires it naturally increases energy expenditure, burns fat and lowers appetite. This produces effortless weight loss without the need to cut calories.

2. Eating Low Fat Foods

Low fat foods are grow fat foods (here). If you want to seriously dampen your fat burning efforts you would be hard pushed to find a better way than by eating low fat foods. Low fat foods contain sugar, and sugar is a metabolic poison that damages your liver. The byproduct of this damage is a faulty metabolism and energy that gets trapped in the fat stores around your waist. If you want to lose fat you must cut sugar. This means ditching the gimmicky low fat foods.

3. Performing Aerobic Exercise

Most people instantly turn to aerobic exercise when they want to lose weight. This is a big mistake. Aerobic exercise can get rid of the fat we have under our skin, but it can't shift the fat we have around our waists. Only eating healthy food will remove belly fat. Aerobic exercise is also very inefficient at removing fat and can lower your metabolic rate. Save the aerobic exercise for fine tuning your physique when you're looking buff.

So What Should I Do?

Cutting calories, eating low fat foods and performing aerobic exercise are common mistakes. And they are some of the biggest reasons for failure. Find anyone trying to lose weight and you can almost guarantee they will be doing at least two of these things. If you want to avoid the pitfalls of weight loss, you must not count calories, eat low fat gimmicky foods or perform hour after hour of pointless aerobic exercise. To be successful you must eat healthy foods until you feel full. If you must exercise, perform high intensity work like resistance training or sprinting.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

High Protein Diets For Weight Loss

The high protein diet is a popular weight loss tool. The origins of the high protein diet go back many decades and it was popularised originally by bodybuilders and other strength trainers. In fact much of the experimentation with the diet was done by these early athletic pioneers. More recently the high protein diet has gone mainstream and many people now use it as an effective aid to weight loss. So why is it so effective and is it worth trying?

High Protein Diets Reduce Appetite

One of the reasons for the popularity of the high protein diet is the fact that it curbs appetite. Getting hungry is a big problem for most people trying to lose weight. Managing appetite is paramount in effective weight loss, and high protein diets do this better than any diet. Protein reduces appetite because undigested protein in the intestine signals the body to keep food in the stomach for longer. This means the stomach remains full, and as a result you feel full more quickly.

High Protein Diets Increase Muscle Mass

Remember I said high protein diets were popular with bodybuilders? Well the reason for this is that protein is required for muscle growth. Low protein diets decrease the ability of the body to maintains its skeletal muscle. If you lose muscle your metabolic rate falls and fat burning stops. Eating a high protein diet prevents this happening and maintains a higher metabolic rate. This means you burn more fat and lose more weight.

High Protein Diets Reduce Fat Storage

You can easily convert fat and carbohydrate to unsightly body fat. After you eat, any carbohydrate and fat is shuttled quickly to your waist where it sits and taunts you. However, protein is not so easy for the body to store. In fact the chances of dietary protein ending up as body fat are much less that carbohydrate or fat. That’s because the body needs to use a lot of energy to break down the amino acids in protein. The more protein you eat, the more energy is required for this process.

High Protein Diets Are Low Sugar Diets

The fact is that most high protein foods do not contain sugar. Because sugar is a primary driver of weight gain, high protein diets indirectly limit the cause of the problem. In addition, most convenience foods are low protein foods. So by switching to a high protein diet, you significantly reduce the amount of low quality junk food you consume. This is probably one of the most significant contributors to the success of high protein diets, but the most overlooked.

Should I Try A High Protein Diet?

If you haven't tried a high protein diet before, you should give it a try. Most people find some success with them over the long term. Scientific studies also show that they are more successful than either high fat or high carbohydrate diets at causing weight loss. A little trick is to make sure you eat the protein component of any meal off your plate first. This way the protein will reach the intestine and cut your appetite before you eat too much.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Burn Fat By Eating More: The Dieter's Paradox

Most people find ‘dieting’ difficult. This generally stems from their inability to maintain a restrictive low calorie diet. After a few weeks, their appetites get the better of them and they ‘fall off the wagon’. When this happens, the foods they eat tend to be the foods that are bad. Sugary, high fat treats that go straight to the waistline and undo all the hard work. The result is weight gain and an associated feeling of guilt and failure that can lower motivation.

Forget Appetite Control

Therefore the first thing you need to accept if you wish to be successful in weight loss, is that appetite cannot be controlled. If you are hungry YOU WILL EAT! It’s as simple as that. Don’t kid yourself that you can go on forever feeling hungry. You can’t, nobody can, nobody ever has. The more you try to restrict calorie intake the more your brain will find ways to persuade you to eat. And your brain always always wins. Always!

Calorie Counting Doesn't Cause Weight Loss

This is why calorie counting doesn't work. Low calorie diets make you hungry and this means you will at some point start eating again. Sure you might maintain the diet for six weeks and lose weight. But after that time, you get hungry and the weight goes back on, plus more! Many people claim that ‘diets don’t fail, people fail’. But this isn't true. People don't fail, the diets they follow suck. If you want to lose weight long term, and keep it off, you have to stop counting calories.

So What Is The Trick To Weight Loss?

The trick to losing fat is to make sure you don’t get hungry. Curb your appetite and it becomes very easy to lose weight. Think of your appetite as a wild tiger. The more you starve it, the more chance you have of it turning round and biting you where it hurts. But feed it regularly and all it will want to do is sleep. This should be your number one rule for weight loss. ‘Never get hungry’. Remind yourself every day. Make it your mantra.

But Won’t I Get Fat?

You may think that eating regularly to stop yourself getting hungry is lame advice. ‘This is what made me put on weight in the first place’ you say. But you’re wrong. This is a fallacy held by most dieters. Eating too much food doesn't make you fat, eating the wrong foods makes you fat! And being hungry makes it more likely you will eat these bad foods. So eat healthy foods before you get hungry, and the chances of you eating junk food goes down considerably.

Eating More Burns Fat

So if you eat healthy foods before you get hungry you are much less likely to eat treat foods that make you fat. This will considerably increase your ability to lose body fat. But there is another benefit. Eating more can actually increase your metabolic rate. You see when you eat, your body releases the hormone adrenaline, which actually stimulates fat burning. So eating regularly, before you get hungry can actually cause weight loss. Let’s call it the dieter's paradox.

Monday 13 January 2014

Supermarket Foods That Burn Fat

Fat loss can be a slow process. Most people will lose less than a pound a week even if they make good progress. Therefore it’s always welcome to have a little help along the way. If you take a look in any health food shop you will see all maner of supplements that claim to burn fat. Some of these are pretty expensive. But what if you could buy cheap foods in the supermarket that could burn fat. Are you interested? Then read on.

Green Tea Burns Fat

The undisputed champion of supermarket fat burning foods is green tea. Study after study attest to the fat burning properties of the methylxanthines is contains. Black tea and coffee also burn fat because they contain similar methylxanthines. However, green tea isn't a one trick pony like coffee and black tea. Green tea also contains other substances including polyphenols that have been shown to cause weight loss.

Cayenne Pepper Burns Fat

If green tea is the champion of fat burning, cayenne pepper runs it a close second. Peppers contain substances called capsaicinoids that gives them their ferociously hot taste. However, as well as burning your mouth capsaicinoids also burn fat. That heat you feel after eating hot peppers is the body burning calories. If you don't like cayenne pepper, you can also put chillies in your food or eat jalapenos for the same effect.

Ginger Burns Fat

Ginger doesn't have the same thermogenic properties as green tea or cayenne pepper. Bit it’s still an effective fat burning tool. Ginger works to burn fat because it increases the heat produced after eating a meal. The more heat you produce after eating, the less calories there are to store as fat. Ginger is also a useful weight loss food because it decreases appetite and increases satiety. Fresh ginger or powdered ginger both work well.

Garlic Burns Fat

Garlic is another supermarket food that can burn fat. The chemistry of garlic is very complex and scientists don't fully understand the chemicals it contains. However garlic increases the body's ability to burn fat and causes weight loss. Garlic may also increase muscle mass which can increase resting metabolic rate. However, whole garlic is better than processed garlic. This is because the chemicals it contains degrade quickly once crushed. So buy it fresh and eat it quick.

So Which Food Should I Take To Burn Fat?

The answer is all of them. While individually they have all been proven to be good fat burners, when combined their effects should be magnified. The reason they will work better together is because they all have slightly different mechanisms of action. When you put them together the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts, and they produce some serious heat. Just make sure they don’t burn a hole in your shopping bag.