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Posts tagged ‘metabolism’

Cardio or Lifting Weights, what is better for losing weight?

This is a classic question I always get asked and one where people always get surprised when hearing my answer. Which is that for losing weight I put more emphasis on weight training.

Running is great and something I love to do but I do not run to lose weight. I run for other reasons, like to improve my cardiovascular condition, to disconnect  and to prepare myself for future races. Because, like I have stated various times in my blog, the body is the best machine you will ever have. It is designed for efficiency, meaning that if you do the same thing over and over again, the process will become easier. So, this is good if your aim is to try to win a race but it is not good if your goal is to lose fat. For example, did you know marathon runners spend 30% less energy running a marathon than a normal person (1). Even do you are doing the same distance, the marathon runner is still burning or spending 30% less, how can this be? Well, it could be for various reasons like running technique and weight, but the most important one is that the metabolism has become more EFFICIENT.  So if you run everyday for 40 minutes, your body is going to get more efficient and you are going to burn fewer calories. That is why I sometimes tell people who only run to lose fat that, instead of just slogging away to lose 300 calories, they can just eat 300 fewer calories per day and get the same result.

Weight training is different because, first, you are creating muscle. Muscle will elevate your metabolism, remember, most of the calories we burn throughout the day are not thanks to the sports we do but because of our metabolism. Also, every time we do weight training we create mini-micro tears that need to be repaired. This process requires energy, meaning we are burning calories.  And let us not forget that strength training  is considered anaerobic training because it is high in intensity. Exercises high in intensity have been shown to accelerate metabolism for up to 72 hours after the workout due to the effects of excess post exercise oxygen consumption (2).

In conclusion, running is a great activity and something that I usually recommend people to do and of course it can help in losing weight but, if you ask me, weight training is even better for this task.

 

Hope you liked it.

References

  1. Hargrove T. A guide to better movement.  Better movement 2014. p 22-24.
  2. Heden R, Lox C, Rose P, reid S, Kirk EP. One-set resistance training elevates energy expenditure for 72 h similar to three sets. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;11 (3):477-84.

Now with weight training

I will explain that later but first I want to explain some terms.

Aerobic –  meaning your body gets its energy through the use of oxygen. When you are in aerobic the body´s prefer source of energy is ¨¨. Basically during the whole day we are in ¨aerobic¨, so we are burning fat the whole day. So, technically it is a myth when you hear people say ¨to burn fat you have to run more than 40 minutes¨, because you are burning fat throught out the day.

Anaerobic- without oxygen

 

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How to lose FAT properly

Before I start this blog I first want to explain a couple of terms that are quite important.

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate– this is the amount of energy you burn at rest every day just to maintain normal body functions such as breathing, circulation, digestion and so on. Basal Metabolic Rate usually accounts for the largest part of your total daily calorie expenditure-about two thirds!  This is very important and something people forget!
  2. Lean Body Mass–  Is the total weight of all your body tissues excluding fat. This includes not only muscle but also bone and other fat-free tissues. Since muscle is the largest component of lean body mass, tracking your LBM can tell if you´ve lost or gained muscle. Muscle burns more than fat so if you have a higher lean body mass your basal metabolic rate is going to be higher.
  3. Activity Level– The more active you are, the more calories you burn. If you sit behind a desk all day and relax on the sofa all night, you don´t burn much.
  4. Weight–  The bigger you are, the more calories you require to sustain and move your body.
  5. Age– metabolic rate decreases with age
  6. Gender– Men burn more than women.

TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE– is the total number of calories your body burns in 24 hours, including basal metabolic rate and all activities. To calculate TDDEE you have to add basal metabolic rate + activity level + weight + lean body mass+ age+ gender.

Ok, now that we have cleared up these terms let´s talk about how to lose fat properly. Most people don´t realize there is a great difference between losing fat and losing weight. They are completely different things and while losing fat is usually great, losing weight on the other hand can have horrible consequences if not done properly. I have already established in my other post that, to lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit. So, what people usually do is they go on these horrific diets and create a caloric deficit and lose weight. But the problem is that the body doesn´t know the difference between starvation and diet, it thinks it´s the same thing. So, the body protects itself. First thing it does is it burns muscle because muscle consumes more calories and the body doesn´t want that when in a calorie deficit. In other words, you have lost weight but just ruined your BASAL METABOLIC RATE, which is how you burn most of your calories. On top of that you now weigh less, which you may think is better, but remember the more you weigh the more calories you consume. So once you get off the diet and start eating ¨normal¨ your basal metabolism rate is going to be slower than before. Other horrible things that diets do are:

  1. It can increase hunger – The body wants to protect itself so it is going to tell you the whole day that you are hungry
  2. Diets decrease your energy and work capacity – Less energy, the less you move around, the less calories you are going to burn
  3. Diets can decrease thyroid hormone – Thyroid levels help regulate your metabolic rate, so it is not good if we mess with that
  4. Diets increase cortisol – Cortisol is the stress hormone and is also a catabolic (muscle wasting), big NO NO.

That is why diets usually don´t work!! What works is a lifestyle change, meaning you eat more properly and you exercise more.

I´ll finish by giving some tips on how to lose fat:

  • Build muscle or at least don´t lose the muscle you already have
  • If you go in a calorie deficit, eat more protein and fiber
  • Eat natural whole foods
  • Move more
  • Instead of seeing how much weight you have lost, check how much fat you have lost

Seems quite simple, no?

References

Tomiyama JA, Mam T, Vinas D, Huner, M J, DeJager I, Taylor E S. Low calorie diets increase cortisol. PsychosoMed May 2010:72(4):357-64.

Mann T, Tomiyama AI, Lew AM, Westling E, Chatman, Samules B. The search for effective obesity treatment. Should medicare fund diets? American Psychologist 2007; 62:220-33.

Korkeita M, Rissaren A, Kaprio I, Sorensen TI, Koskenuvo M. Weight loss attempts and risk of mayor weight gain: a prospective study in finnish adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999; 70: 965-75

Wadden TA1, Mason G, Foster GD, Stunkard AJ, Prange AJ.Effects of a very low calorie diet on weight, thyroid hormones and mood. Int J Obes. 1990 Mar;14(3):249-58.

 

 

Sugar, the hidden enemy – part 2

In the last blog I talked about what sugar is, what it consist of, and how it is broken down in the body. I also mentioned that High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar are basically the same thing, and that the difference between these two things and other carbohydrates is the molecule fructose. This fructose molecule and the way the body metabolizes it, may make it singularly harmful, at least if consumed in sufficient quantities(1-3).

They have done different studies on animals and have seen that if the fructose hits the liver in sufficient quantity and with sufficient speed, the liver will convert much of it to fat(4). This, according to the studies, will lead to a condition know as Insulin Resistance. So what is Insulin Resistance?

  • INSULIN RESISTANCE – When you eat something ( particular carbohydrates) your body responds by secreting insulin, to keep blood sugar in control after a meal. When your cell´s become resistant to insulin, your pancreas responds to rising blood sugar by pumping out more and more insulin. At the end your pancreas will no longer be able to keep up, this will lead to your blood sugar to rise out of control, and eventually you will probably get type 2 diabetes. Some people who are insulin resistance may NOT get diabetes, as somehow their body will continue to secrete enough insulin to overcome their cell´s resistance. But having elevated insulin levels is also quite bad, as it can lead to heart disease.

So basically the theory goes like this, accumulation of fat in the liver will lead to insulin resistance. You may ask yourself that maybe simply getting fatter leads to a fatty liver? But, this does not explain fatty liver in lean (skinny) people. According to Prof Lustig, the fat in the liver is caused by the fructose found in the SUGAR (5)!! Because the fructose component of sugar is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar is metabolized by every cell in the body. So consuming sugar means more work for the liver. And this has been demonstrated in laboratory rats (6).  Whenever they wanted to create insulin resistance on them, they would just simply feed them diets consisting of pure fructose or sugar.

Now, I don´t want people to panic and think that fructose is horrible. Fructose is horrible if eaten in abundance. The dosages of fructose required to produce negative effects are quite high. Not impossible to reach through dietary means but almost impossible through fruit alone!!  I say this because, as most of us, know fruit is made up of fructose, and some people may think this is bad and the reason why they aren´t losing weight. But this is FALSE. What´s bad for you is the regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and all that sugary food we are always eating. Plus, fruit contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, as well as fiber (7,8). Fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose. The slow absorption minimizes any surge in blood sugar(9).

So how much Fructose should you be eating? According to different clinical trials, 25-40 grams of fructose per day is totally safe. That´s 3-6 bananas, 6-10 cups of strawberries, or 2-3 apples per day(11). But for all those who drink a lot of sugar sweetened beverages or other ¨ junk food¨, I want to give an example so that you guys understand where the problem is really coming from(11).

  • A 20- ounce bottle of soda contains 35 grams of fructose (10,11)!!
  • If you eat a dessert with 50 grams of sugar – remember sugar is made up of 50% glucose, 50 % fructose – you are getting about 25 grams of fructose(11).
  • And let us not forget that HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP is about 55% fructose, 45 % glucose, and this is found in many processed foods, fruit juices, sports-drinks, energy drinks and so on(11).

So now you tell me, where is the problem coming from? Why is sugar the hidden enemy? And how can we stop this obesity and diabetes epidemic?

Here is a link to a great video done by Prof. Lustig it has gotten 4 million views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM, it´s 1 hour and 20 minutes but it´s worth it.

References

  1. Wiernsperger N. Hepatic function and the cardiometabolic syndrome. Diabetes Metab Syndro Obes, 2013 Oct 10;6:379-88.
  2. Song M, Schuschke DA, Zhou Z, Chen T, Shi X Zhang J, Zhang X, Pierce WM jr, Johnson WT, Vos MB, McClain CJ. Modest fructose beverage intake causes liver injury and fat accumulation in marginal cooper deficient rats. Obesity (silver Spring). 2013 Aug:21(8):1669-75.
  3. Botezelli JD, Cambri LT, Ghezzi AC, Dalia RA, Voltarelli FA, de Mello Ma. Fructose-rich diet lead to reduced aerobic capacity and to liver injury in rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Jun 19;11:78
  4. de Castro UG, Dos Santos RA, Silva ME, de LIma WG, Campagnole-Santos MJ, Alzamora AC. Age-dependent effects of high-fructose and hig-fat diets on lipid metabolism and lipid accumulation in liver and kidney of rats. Lipids Health Dis.2013 Sep18;12(1):136.
  5. Lustig RH. Fructose: It´s ¨alcohol without the buzz¨. Adv Nutr, 2013 Mar 1; 4(2):226-35.
  6. Lanaspa MA, Ishimoto T, Li N, Cicerchi C, Orlicky DJ, Ruzicky P, Rivard C, Inaba S, Roncal-Jimenez CA, Bales ES, Diggle CP, Asipu A, Petrash JM, Kosugi T, Maruyama S, Sanchez-Lozada LG, McManaman JL, Bonthron DT, Sautin YY, Johnson RJ. Endogenous fructose production and metabolism in the liver contributes to the developmetn of metabolic syndrome. Nat Commun.2013;4:2434
  7. Larsson SC, Virtamo J, Wolk A. Total and specific fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of strok3: a prospective study. Atherosclerosis, 2013 Mar; 227(1):147-52.
  8. Steinmetz KA, Potter JD. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: a review. J Am Diet Assoc.1996 Oct;96(10):1027-39.
  9. Ulrich IH, Albrin MJ. The effect of dietary fiber and other factors on insulin response: role in obesity. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol.1985 Jul;5(6):137-55.
  10. Bray GA, Popkin BM. Calorie-sweetened beverages and fructose: what have we learned 10 years later. Pediatt Obes 2013 Aug;8(4):242-8.
  11. Matthew M. Do Fructose and Fruit Make You Fat and Unhealthy? www.muscleforlife. com April 15,2013.

Metabolism – The myth behind slow and fast metabolism

You always hear people say that they are fat because they have a slow metabolism or that they are skinny because they have a fast metabolism, but research has shown that to be false, unless you have a problem with the thyroid gland or some other medical disorder, which very few people have. Most of the time the person that is overweight is so because either he is eating too much or moving too little and the person that is skinny is so because either he is eating too little or moving too much.

First let´s clear up a couple of confusing terms:

  • Metabolism – is the name for the process your body uses to convert the food you eat into energy.
  • Basal Metabolic Rate – is the energy your body burns when you are not ACTIVE. Basal Metabolic Rate is determined by how much weight and muscle your body has. Muscle burns more calories than fat, approximately in between 6-10 calories per pound (25 calories per kilo), and fat burns around 2 calories per pound. This is also very interesting because people always think (I was one of them) that muscle burns many more calories, but it actually only burns 4 to 6 calories more!! That´s nothing!
  • Basal Metabolic Rate plus the energy required for physical activity make up our TOTAL ENERGY EXPENDITURE. Your total energy needs depend on how active you are.

Often, overweight people believe they eat very little and still put on weight, hence the ‘slow metabolism’ theory, but research has shown people tend to eat more than they think. Also, a very interesting fact is that overweight people usually use more energy to keep their bodies working because they need more energy to keep the blood flowing around their body, meaning their Basal Metabolic Rate is actually higher than skinnier people.

So analyzing all this information, it´s safe to say that people that are overweight are usally so because they are eating more than they are supposed to and moving less than they should, it´s that simple.

Here is a link that BBC did on this Myth. It´s a two part presentation each lasting 9 minutes long. I highly recommend that you all take a look at it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt-qKTaEMIQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTx-D5NJ_kU

My next blog will talk about eating late. People always think that eating something heavy for dinner will make you fat. But is this is really true? We will see that next week, until then, enjoy the weekend!

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