Obesity and weight loss
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Information in this section is being reconstructed.
It is estimated that about 60% of adult Americans are overweight or obese and this number is estimated to reach 70-75% in the coming years. Americans have never been fatter, which is why weight loss diets remain popular and why many waste money on so called magical weight loss supplements.
The accumulation of excess body fat is not a mystery. Excess body fat is the outcome of eating high calorie foods, exercising too little, or both. A handful of individuals have metabolic problems or severe injuries that can promote weight gain; however, these individuals are few and far between.
The reason we get fat is not complicated. Anyone can get fat if they are undisciplined with their nutrition and exercise habits. Similarly, anyone can lose weight if they are disciplined with their nutritional and movement (exercise) habits. Below are before and after pictures of one gentlemen who lost more than 115 pounds, by adhering to the Deflaming Guidelines and by modestly increasing his activity levels.
It is important to mention that the gentlemen who lost over 115 pounds did so by following the Deflaming Guidelines and walking everyday. However, several months ago he aggravated muscles in his back due to a pre-existing medical condition (Cervical Dystonia) that worsened with aerobic exercise, so he is no longer able to walk long distances. Despite not being able to do any aerobic exercise, he was still able to lose an additional 25 pounds in just 3 months by proper eating alone, and this weight has been maintained to this date. While it is recommended that you exercise, the point to appreciate is that you can still lose a significant amount of weight with proper eating alone.
How overweight are you?
This is easy to figure out. Click on the Body Mass Index (BMI) link below, which will bring you to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) BMI calculator. While BMI is not a perfect estimate of bodyweight, it is a good reference point for the average individual that is not heavily muscled from weight training. When you get to the NIH site, type in your height and weight, and you will find out your BMI. Then type in your desired body weight to see if your BMI would be below 25.
Now you have an idea as to how much weight you need to lose – this serves as your goal. Goals are very important for us humans. Goals keep us focused; without goals we can easily get off track and lost, causing us to fall back into bad habits. Without goals, emotional eating becomes the victor and we suffer.
What foods make us fat?
We get fat by eating too many calories and this is augmented by being sedentary, which leads to fewer calories being burned as energy. Foods with too many calories are easy to spot. Essentially, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fresh fish are LOW calorie foods that are highly nutritious, healthy, and anti-inflammatory. Almost any other food is a high calorie food…it is that simple. So, if you want to lose weight and stay thin for the rest of your life, eat mostly fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fish.
With the above in mind, guess what percentage of calorie intake by the average American is from healthy, low calorie, anti-inflammatory foods as outlined in the Deflaming Guidelines? The answer is maybe 5-10%.
It is estimated that about 72% of our calories come from the following foods: refined sugars (snacks, desserts, soda, etc. [approx 20% of calories]), refined/whole grains (cereals, bread, cake, pasta, etc. [approx 20% of calories]), vegetable oils (deep fried foods, packaged foods, salad dressings, etc. [approx 20% of calories]), dairy products (milk, cream, cheese [approx 10% of calories]), and alcohol (1). All of these foods are high in calories and not very filling because they are deficient in fiber. To help put these sources of calories into perspective, the average American consumes about 150 pounds of refined sugar per year, largely from sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. The average American also consumes about 60 pounds of refined vegetable oil per year, in the form of margarine, shortenings, and salad/cooking oils (1).
What about the other 28% of our calories? You can be sure that the other 28% of calories most likely do NOT come from healthy, anti-inflammatory foods. Much of these calories come from animal products, and the meat we eat is typically not lean and healthy. In fact, most of the meat we eat actually comes from obese, sedentary animals.
Around 1885, cattle raisers discovered how to fatten up a steer to over 1000 pounds by the age of 2 years, a practice that continues today. These cattle are overfed corn/grains and remain sedentary, so they quickly become obese. This means that Americans subsist on obese meat, with extremely high levels of saturated fat, excessive pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, and low levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (1).
Clearly, about 90% or more of our calories come from unhealthy, calorie-rich sugar, grains, vegetable oils, and obese meat. These foods make us fat, and these same foods are pro-inflammatory, so they promote cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic diseases. We need to stop eating these foods!
Diet and regular soda helps make us fat
It is not surprising that sugar-sweetened beverages make us fat. Consider that there are 100 calories in just 8 ounces, which translates into 1600 calories per gallon. Now, wrap your mind around the fact that the average American consumes 56 gallons of soft drinks per year (2), which amounts to 89,600 calories from soda. This means the average American drinks 245 calories per day worth of soda, or about 20 ounces. In contrast, you would need to eat about 2 pounds of romaine lettuce and 1 pound of broccoli to give us 245 calories.
The average reader is not likely to eat this much broccoli or lettuce; however, just imagine if one elected not to drink sugary soda. There are about 3600 calories in a pound of fat, which means we can roughly translate a loss of about 25 pounds in one year by cutting out 90,000 calories worth of soda.
Clearly, sugar-rich soft drinks make us fat, but what about diet soda? Most of us would conclude that 0-calorie drinks would not lead to weight gain; however, recent research suggests otherwise.
Researchers recently concluded that whether it was diet or regular soda, consumption of 1 soft drink per day was associated with increased odds of developing obesity, increased waist circumference, impaired fasting glucose, higher blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL – the good cholesterol), and the metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) (3).
The mechanism by which diet soda makes us fat is not directly related to calories. The caramel of soda is a source of advanced glycation end products, which are pro-inflammatory and may lead to insulin resistance, which is associated with higher levels of insulin, greater fat synthesis, and less fat breakdown (3).
Additionally, the lifestyle choices of regular soda drinkers is characterized by a greater intake of calories, saturated fats, trans fats, and a sedentary lifestyle. Fiber consumption is also low among regular soda drinkers, which translates into low intakes of fruits and vegetables (3). Sadly, soft drinks supply up to 20-24% of calories for 2- to 19-year olds (2), which helps to explain the epidemic growth in childhood obesity.
What beverages don’t make us fat?
The simple fact is that, if our goal is to be a lean person with lots of energy, we are going to have to learn to drink unsweetened beverages. Water needs to be our primary beverage. Many people say, “I don’t like how water tastes.” In fact, water doesn’t have a taste, which means that people don’t like the “non-taste” of water.
If we wish to be free of excess body fat and being controlled by our taste buds, learning to love the “non-taste” of water is highly beneficial from a behavioral perspective. This is because we will be training ourselves to be less controlled by sweet tastes.
For some, the thought of never drinking soda again is a bit unrealistic. If this is the case for you, make it your goal to have soda only on occasion – drink a diet soda 1-2 days per week. Iced tea is also calorie free. Learn to drink unsweetened tea instead of soda.
There is a beverage that actually helps to promote fat burning, and that beverage is green tea. Researchers found that during a 6-week study, subjects who consumed green tea extracts had a 4% increase in 24 hour energy expenditure, as measured in a respiratory chamber (4). In other words, energy expenditure was increased by 4% by merely consuming green tea; there was no change in diet or exercise habits.
Green tea is also well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, which extend to the liver, joints, heart, brain, and most other tissues that have been studied. Research suggests that green tea can help prevent the expression of many diseases. For example, the two cancers that are most common in men and women are prostate and breast cancer, respectively, and research suggests that green tea may have a preventive role (5). Green tea contains a special group of bioflavonoids known as catechins (which are also found in dark chocolate and red wine).
I drink 1-2 quarts of green tea per day. At night, I heat up 2 quarts of water and then let 6 bags of green tea steep for about 30 minutes. I take the tea bags out and let the tea sit overnight. In the morning I fill two quart-size water bottles with green tea. It is easy to learn to like the taste of green tea, especially when its health benefits are kept in mind. It is best to use organic green tea if you can get it. I have found that the least expense organic green tea is available, believe it or not, at Sam’s Club.
So why are Americans fat or obese?
This question is being asked to emphasize what was written above. We get fat because we consume excessive amounts of soda, refined sugar, refined vegetable/seed oils, dairy/cheese, alcohol, and obese meat, all of which are pro-inflammatory foods.
If you are overweight or obese, it is not because you eat too much broccoli, salad, fresh fish, lean meat, and fresh fruit. We all need to stop eating these pro-inflammatory foods now!
What foods make us thin?
The foods that make us thin include fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and lean meat. As mentioned above, these foods are low in calories, highly nutritious, and rich in fiber. In particular, fruits and vegetables contain the wide variety of nutrients known to prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and most other chronic diseases. Fruits are low in calories and green vegetables are particularly low in calories, which means that we can literally eat pounds of green vegetables, with no risk whatsoever of gaining weight – for example, 2 pounds of romaine lettuce contains only 165 calories.
Fruits and vegetables also contain the most fiber of any food on a calorie basis. Fiber helps to maintain normal bowel function, but more importantly from a weight loss perspective, fiber makes us feel full. When we feel full or don’t feel hungry, we naturally eat less.
In the box below is a link to the Deflaming Guidelines and associated MP3 audio recordings. Therein you will find more details about the anti-inflammatory foods that make us healthy and lean.
Important Anti-inflammatory Educational Information
“Deflaming” is the term we coined to describe the process of inflammation reduction. We can deflame with both diet and supplements.
Click here for the Deflaming Guidelines, which will open as a PDF document that you can print. The Deflaming Guidelines provide the important details about how to reduce inflammation (deflame) with diet and nutritional supplements.
We also have an MP3 audio version of the Deflaming Guidelines available.
More about lean meat
Meat from wild game is about 2-4% fat by weight. In contrast, meat from feedlot, domestic, grain-fed animals is 20-25% fat by weight (6). Whenever you buy meat from a grocery store or at a restaurant, rest assured, you are eating obese meat. And beware, the higher the grade of meat, the more marbled with fat it will be, which means we pay more to eat obese meat.
If you think I am kidding about our consumption of obese meat, I am not. Below are images of meat that conform to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) grading system for our meat (Prime, Choice, Select). Click here if you wish to read more about meat from the USDA itself.
Prime is considered the most tender and tasty because it is heavily marbled with fat. Choice is less marbled and Select is the least marbled of the three grades; however, select still has too much fat compared to lean meats. Readers should be aware that you can buy lean meat [not pictured below] with as little as 4 grams of fat per serving – make sure to read the labels carefully.
As mentioned earlier, around 1885, cattlemen learned how to fatten up a steer to over 1000 pounds by the age of two. In contrast, it takes up to 5 years to get a steer to that size by traditional grazing methods, in which the cattle move around and eat grass (1). Grass-fed cattle have lean muscles, a low amount of saturated fat, and relatively high levels of monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.
Interestingly, the fat in grass-fed cattle and wild game is found largely beneath the skin, such that when we eat the muscle, we get very little fat. However, modern feedlot, grain fed, sedentary cattle concentrate fat within the muscle/meat, so that we get an abundance of fat, most of which is saturated.
Clearly, our goal should be to acquire grass-fed meat or wild game. If this is not an option for you, the modern alternative to wild game is the next best choice, which includes skinless poultry, fish, omega-3 eggs, lean chop meat, and lean cuts of red meat with the visible fat trimmed (6).
There are also metabolic advantages to eating lean meat, which is beneficial for those who are trying to lose body fat. Diets high in lean protein can improve cholesterol and lipid profiles, especially if care is taken to trim any visible fat from the meats and to allow the fat to drain when cooking. Lean animal protein eaten at regular intervals (with each meal) improves satiety levels, increases dietary thermogenesis (fat burning), improves insulin sensitivity, and thereby facilitates weight loss and overall health, while providing many essential nutrients (6).
What nutritional supplements make us thin?
NO supplement to date has demonstrated an ability to make us thin. Stop wasting your money on weight-loss supplements immediately!
If you want to take supplements, take the Basic 4 supplements offered at deflame.com which include AVED-Multi (multivitamin/mineral), Mega-Magnesium, Concentrated Omega-3, and Mega-D 1000IU (Vitamin D). The nutrients in these supplements support the body’s biochemical pathways and reduce inflammation.
Can you cheat?
Of course you can cheat; however, you do not want to make cheating a daily and excessive event. If 85% of your calories are from anti-inflammatory foods, you will be thin…thinness will be unavoidable. Wouldn’t that be great?!?!
Is it really this simple? Will it work for you?
Yes, it really is this simple and it will work for you. Look at the before and after pictures above. What did this gentleman do? He merely stopped eating pro-inflammatory foods, he stopped overeating, and he did a little exercise. As you can see, it is not a complicated endeavor. Without question, you can do it too!!
After you deflame and become lean, will you get fat again?
Humans are supposed to eat fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fish, the foods outlined in the Deflaming Guidelines. As long as you eat these foods you will remain lean. Deflaming is a way of life; it should NOT be viewed as a temporary detour from fast food restaurants. Virtually no one can stay thin if their calories come from foods other than fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and the other foods discussed in the Deflaming Guidelines.
Excess body fat = inflammation
As this site is about deflaming, you might be curious as to whether there is a relationship between excess body fat and inflammation. In fact, excess body fat serves as a reservoir of ongoing inflammation that creates a constant inflammatory state within the body.
At one time we thought that adipose tissue was only a storage site for unused calories, but then researchers discovered that excess body fat creates a pro-inflammatory state. It turns out that adipose tissue attracts immune cells and together they promote inflammatory activity. For example, adipose tissue is a significant source of inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6). The liver is stimulated by IL-6 to produce a substance called C-reactive protein, which is a general marker of the degree of ongoing inflammation.
In years past, CRP was only elevated when there was a significant injury or infection. However, in recent years, a more sensitive CRP measurement as been developed, called high sensitivity CRP (hsCRP). With the new hsCRP, a normal value is below 1 mg/L, and values of 1-3 mg/L are thought to represent moderate risk for developing heart disease. Unfortunately, research has demonstrated that approximately 25% of the US population has levels of CRP greater than 3 mg/L, the cut point for high risk (7). Readers should beware that hsCRP is thought to be a more accurate predictor of heart disease than LDL cholesterol levels (7).
In addition to predicting and being elevated in heart disease, CRP is also elevated in and may be predictive for other diseases such as osteoarthritis, cancer, periodontal disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, the metabolic syndrome X, and diabetes (9-14).
Numerous lifestyle factors are associated with elevated CRP. Making appropriate modifications can bring CRP back into normal range for many people. Not surprisingly, and in line with the topic of the obesity, research indicates that weight loss [fat loss] and exercise can reduce CRP. (8,15,16). Certain specific dietary factors have also been identified as helpful for reducing CRP such as increasing dietary fiber (17,18), omega-3 fatty acids (19), magnesium (20) and reducing trans-fats found in margerine, deep fried foods and most packaged goods (21). There is also some evidence that taking a multivitamin (22) and improving sleep (23) may help to reduce CRP.
Type 2 diabetes and its predecessor, the metabolic syndrome X, are known to be complex inflammatory states, and each is associated with increased CRP (24,25). Not surprisingly the recommended lifestyle modifications for type 2 diabetes and syndrome X are the same as those for obesity.
Essentially the best evidence suggests that nutritional deflaming and regular exercise are the best ways to reduce reduce obesity, lose body fat, and reduce CRP.
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