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Posts tagged ‘food’

Does eating more frequently help you lose weight?

One day you hear one thing, the next day you hear something completely different.  It got to the point that I didn´t even know what to say to my clients when they asked. So, I decided to do a little investigation to find out for myself what the ¨truth¨ is.

Usually, people who defend that you should have more meals during the day, base their claims on that the ¨furnace is always on¨.  If the furnace is always on it releases more heat. The more heat you release, the more calories you burn. And what do you do to keep the ¨fire¨ on, you put more wood (meals) more frequently. But, the body is not like a furnace and it works kind of differently.

 This ¨furnace¨ is called dietary thermogenesis ( DT) and is the process of energy production in the body caused directly by the metabolizing of food consumed. Dietary thermogenesis is influenced by factors relating to the composition of the food and the physical state of the individual.  So, in simple words, dietary thermogenesis is the energy expended as heat resulting from the digestion of food sources. A 2004 analysis published in “Nutrition and Metabolism” on dietary thermogenesis showed that macronutrients have different thermic effects, with protein causing the greatest energy expenditure and fat the least (interesting). It also showed that the dietary thermogenesis of a typical mixed meal (carbs-fat-proteins) is around 10%(1-2).

So let´s use an example. Imagine you consume per day 1800 calories, if one day you ate 3 meals and each meal contained 600 calories, you would burn 60 calories (10%) per meal due to the DT. 60 x 3 meals equals 180 calories – that would be the total calories burned during the day due to DT. Now let´s say you ate 6 meals instead of 3. Each meal contains 300 calories, 30 would be the calories burned due to DT per meal, we multiply that by 6 and we get 180 calories. In other words, there is no difference and this is what has been demonstrated in different studies(1).

But, what about controlling hunger? It´s said that if you eat more frequently you will have less hunger and eat less. However, research doesn´t support that claim either. I do have to admit there have been a couple of studies that have said it helps but there have been more that have said that it doesn´t (3-6!!

So with all this said, you may be asking what do I do. And the only thing that I can say is, experiment for yourself and see what works best for you. From what I have read, there really isn´t a big difference between eating 3 or 6 meals per day. If you prefer to eat 6 meals per day and it works for you then go right ahead with it!!

Hoped you have enjoyed it.

References:

  1.  Westerterp KB. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab (Lond),2004 Aug 18;1(1):5
  2. Verboeket-van de Venne Wp, Westerterp KR. Influence of the feeding frequency on nutrien utilization in man. Consequences for energy metabolism. Eur J Clin Nutr 1991 Mar; 45(3):161-9.
  3. Ohkawara K, Cornier MA, Kohrt WM, Melanson EL. Effects of increas meal frequency on fat oxidation and perceived hunger. Obesity ( silver Spring). 2013 Feb;21(2):336-43
  4. Stote KS, Baer DJ, Spears K, Paul DR, Harris GK, Rumpler WV, et al. A controlled trial of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction in healthy, normal-weight, middle-aged adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):981-8.
  5. Speechly DP, Rogers GG, Buffenstein R. Acute appetive reduction associated with an increased frequency of eating in obese males. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord.100 Nov;23(11):1151-9
  6. Cameron JD, Cyr MJ, Doucet E. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1098-101.

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Is food addictive part 2?

In our last post we talked about how certain foods can be addictive by producing chemical changes in our brain. We also saw that eating refined fatty meals makes us stop producing Leptin. Leptin is a hormone which signals the body to stop eating, but we also saw that the reverse can also happen. Meaning that if you stop eating the junk food and start eating healthy, the levels of those hormones return to normal, so there is hope. But what is eating healthy?

10,000 years ago, which may sound like a long time but it equals to only 1 percent of human history, most humans lived like hunter-gatherers. Back then we used to eat a lot of meat (this meat, contrary to what we eat now, contained much more protein), fish, fruits, leaves and seeds. We ate more than one hundred species of plant- most rich in vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. Fats and sugar were rare but we developed a craving for them because they contain lots of calories, which was important back then to survive. Thanks to our diet, and because we were always on the move, people were lean but whoever could store fat had an advantage. So we developed a predisposition for carrying fat on our bodies as well as wanting it in our foods. The problem is, back then it was difficult to get too much of these foods, now it´s the complete opposite. So not only do we get ¨addicted¨ to these foods when we eat them, we also have hereditary predisposition for wanting to eat them.

So I guess I´m not saying anything new about what is healthy eating. I think most people know what is healthy and what is un-healthy, the problem is people don´t do it. And now we know some reasons why that is. It´s the same thing with physical activity, most people know they have to move more but they don´t do it. They always use excuses like they don´t have enough time or that something hurts, ironically most of these problems are improved by exercise. Biologically we need exercise, but we don´t have strong instincts to engage in it. Before, physical activity used to occur automatically while trying to catch or find out food, now it´s not like that. Back then no one would just go for a run, that would be wasting precious energy and calories, you needed all the energy and calories you could have. Those extra calories could make the difference between life and death.

This blog just gets worse and worse, not only do we have a hereditary predisposition for wanting to eat foods with lots of calories, but once we eat them we get addicted to them – and to top that off I just said that we don´t have strong instincts to engage in sports!!! No wonder we are loosing against obesity and getting fatter and fatter every day. But there is hope, I have seen it, even done it!! You can fight back …… I won´t tell you what you have to do because I want to keep the secret to myself but I´ll give you a hint: It has to do with eating and moving.

In my next blog, we will continue with the third part of ¨is food addictive¨ by mentioning some interesting facts that most people don´t know. Until next time I leave you with the second part of ¨The men who made us fat¨ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owekbSp7wU0.

Is food addictive?

Today in age people are getting fatter and fatter. Obesity is now a world wide epidemic. In the USA in 1995 two-thirds of Americans were overweight and obesity was killing 300,000 people a year, sickening millions and costing $99 billion annually. 10 years later and the Americans (the studies I have are from Americans but I bet in Europe it is the same thing) were eating 50 percent more fast food meals and five more pounds of sugar a year. US obesity related health costs have risen to $117 billion!!!(1) So what´s wrong? Why do we keep eating and getting fatter? We know it´s bad for us but we still don´t do anything about it. Are we just plain stupid? Or is there something more complicated that we still don´t understand? Can food be addictive……..

 

There is growing evidence that sugary foods can trigger changes in the same brain chemicals affected by addictive drugs. Researchers at Princeton have shown that natural opioids are released when rats eat a large amount of sugar and that they are thrown into a state of anxiety when the sugar is removed. Biologist are also finding that overeating on refined fatty meals triggers similar physiological changes. Leptin is a hormone which signals the body to stop eating after a certain point when consuming natural foods (2). Well, researchers at Albert Einstein Medical College saw that when they fed rats unnaturally fatty meals, the rats would loss all of their ability to respond to leptin. They just kept eating!!! The reverse effect happened when they were taken off the high fat for a while. There was also a study at Rockefeller University that showed that a high fat diet reconfigures the body´s hormonal system to want yet more fat. Galanin, a brain peptide that increases eating and slows energy expenditure, rises in rats on a high fat diet (3). In fact, it only takes 1 high fat meal to stimulate galanin release and the craving for fat. So we are beginning to see that food can actually be addictive, but we can also stop this addiction by eating properly. But what is eating properly? Before I answer this question I want to try to clear some terms that I think are important:

  • Refined: We always hear this word but few people really know what it means. When ¨refining¨ flour, sugar or other foods, it means it is removing the hull and fiber, often even the cell wall of plant structures, leaving only simple carbohydrate or clear oil. Farming refines our food all the time. A recent study of nutrients in food found that, in the second half of the last century (1900-2000), fruits and vegetables suffered significant decreases in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2 and vitamin C.
  • Insulin: When we eat simple carbohydrates, glucose levels soar in the bloodstream. In the short term, our bodies release INSULIN to store the glucose as fat. Repeated surges in blood sugar make the pancreas work harder and can contribute to insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk for type 2 DIABETES, in which blood sugar levels remain elevated, causing damage to our kidneys, eyes and immune system (4).
  • Trans Fats- ¨are produced by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of catalysts and hydrogen. This gives them a different shape from the original oil or the natural saturated fats found in meat. They don´t fit properly with cell membranes or with enzyme designed to digest fats. Trans fats cause a significant drop in HDL (good) cholesterol and a significant increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, they make the veins and arteries more rigid, they cause major clogging of arteries and they contribute to the risk of death from heart disease. Because trans fats contain abundant calories without providing the beneficial fats found in natural vegetable oil, they lead to overeating with under nutrition. Trans fats now make up much of the fat in CANDY, COMMERCIAL COOKIES and cakes, and the oils in which FAST_FOOD CHAINS FRY FOOD¨  (*Taken from Waistland by Deirdre Barrett pg 34)

 

 

In my next post I will talk about what eating properly is and how we are doing right now the complete opposite. But in the meantime I would love for you guys to take a look at this link. It´s a series BBC did on obesity and it´s called THE MEN WHO MADE US FAT. It consists of 3 parts and each last 55 minutes but it´s very interesting. Here goes the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6nGlLUBkOQ.

 

References

 

Barrett D. Waistland, The (R)Evolutionary Science behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis.Norton & Company.2007

 

Egan S. Making the Case for Eating Fruit. New York Times. July 2013.

 

Colantuoni C. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.Obesity Research 10,6 (2002):478-88.

 

Martindale D. Burgers on the Brain:Can you really get addicted to fast food?, ¨New Scientist, February 1,2003.

 

Wang J. Overfeeding Rapidly Induces Leptin and Insulin Resistance. Diabetes 50(2001):2786-91.

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