Coz Being Ageless Is Priceless

Posts tagged ‘obesity’

Toxins Are Making You Fat…

Excess adipose tissue around a male's mid-section.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s that time of the year again when people make New Year’s resolutions (that they can hopefully stick with until the motivation goes south). Perhaps, the best thing to do is to plan ahead but take things a day at a time. If things don’t go your way or to put it another way, if you blow it, just forget about it and go back on your merry way. No use crying over spilt milk, as the old saying goes.

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. It’s not as easy as it used to be when simply cutting down caloric intake could do the trick. Nowadays, one has to consider the role that toxicity, stress, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, food sensitivities, and yes, even chronic pathogens, play in people’s health problems, including that of obesity.

Let’s first discuss the role of toxins in the obesity epidemic. Toxins are natural or man-made products that could wreak havoc on our physiology. With well-functioning organs of elimination, it’s not usually a problem. However, since we’re dealing with so many toxins in our food, air and water, it’s important that we assist these organs of detoxification and elimination in any way we can. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies are among the things we could use to facilitate that. Other activities that could help include exercise, fasting, massage, dry skin brushing, enemas/colon hydrotherapy, and Ayurverdic practices such as pranayama and abhyanga.

Toxins, if not metabolized and excreted, could accumulate and affect every system in the body. The once thought to be impenetrable blood-brain-barrier (protecting the brain) could actually be “infiltrated” by circulating toxins.

One popular theory behind the accumulation of fat in certain areas of the body is that these fat cells are actually trying to protect vital organs from these toxins. It’s a adaptive mechanism, if I may put it that way. Toxins are basically stored in fatty tissues. These toxins are subsequently released during a weight loss program. This explains why most people feel bad in an unsupervised, non-holistic weight management program. A holistic approach would consider adding a liver support protocol, among other things. It’s also wise to have someone’s baseline body composition measured prior to starting a program. Doing this initially and at regular intervals during the program guarantees that a person is losing fat and not muscle tissue.

Anyway, a natural result of detoxifying the body is fat loss. Therefore, anyone considering losing weight should begin with getting rid of junk internally (from their bodies) and from their environment (basic clean food, air and water).

Telomeres: What Is It And Does It Influence Aging?

Static thumb frame of Animation of the structu...

Image via Wikipedia

Besides looking at the mirror, another objective way of telling how fast a person is aging is through telomere testing. Before anything else, what are telomeres? Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serves as a cap to your genetic material. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere will become shorter. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter life span for the cell.

What effect does telomere length have on my health and wellness? Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.

Does diet have any effect on telomere length and repair? An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress will shorten telomeres faster. This would include refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with large amount and variety of antioxidants that improve oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables , mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish and high quality vegetable proteins can prevent premature shortening. In addition, caloric restriction is advised combined with an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week may also be protective.

What lifestyle modifications are likely to be helpful? One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22% for women and less than 16% for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, discontinuation of all tobacco products and bioidentical hormone therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

How do you measure telomere length? The Patient Telomere Score is calculated based on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This is the average compared to telomere length on lymphocytes from a sample of the American population in the same age range. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells. A Telomere Score that is above the average line is desirable.

What can I do to reduce my rate of telomere loss? Shorter telomeres have been associated with metabolic abnormalities, obesity, and several degenerative diseases including cancer, dementia, and cardiovascular disease. In vitro studies have shown that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which will shorten telomere length and enhance cellular aging. Minimizing associated risk factors that are linked to shortened telomere activity is recommended and include:

Reduce oxidative stress

Correct micronutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin D

Change sedentary lifestyle, increase physical activity

Avoid weight gain or obesity

Correct insulin resistance

Smart Fat Loss

My Weight Loss Coach

Image via Wikipedia

What is smart fat loss? Fat loss is the process of losing excess body fat. It is a better term to use (rather than weight loss) because weight loss could be unhealthy esp. if a person is losing muscle mass rather than excess body fat. I think that relying on just 1 pill alone for weight loss is “the opposite of smart.” There are a lot of factors that contribute to obesity. A smart weight management program should look into all these issues. What I don’t comprehend is how drugs used for treating obesity are being reserved for those who are obese (BMI greater than 30) or those who have co-morbid conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. People with complex medical problems don’t need another drug to complicate their life further. In fact, an article on CNN dares to ask the question: “Three New Weight Loss Drugs: Will They Work?” Apparently, prescription weight loss remedies have a spotty history. The article stated that, “some have proved to have a relatively modest effect, while others have been downright dangerous.” A lot of the potential danger lies in the fact that people who take these drugs use it for the long term. Without making dietary and lifestyle changes, it’s bound to create further problems down the road. Anyway, for those who have weight issues, some dietary changes that one could easily incorporate are: eliminating refined carbs, eliminating grains altogether (for some people), staying away from “low-fat” meals (they’re usually laden with sugar; sugar turns into fat; and fat is what tells our satiety centers that we’re full), eating naturally as possible (staying away from foods that have artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives, although “natural” may not mean a thing anymore), drinking pure water (more on fluoride issues later), chewing our food well and eating like the French (slow food instead of “inhaling” food like some people who eat on the go do). I’ll discuss about dietary supplements, exercise and perhaps, correcting hormonal imbalances to achieve weight loss in future blog entries. In the meantime, let the fat loss begin….

Germs can make you fat!

That’s a strong statement! Well, it’s only one of the possible reasons behind getting fat besides overeating and being lazy (c’mon, let’s call a spade a spade rather using the PC term, sedentary lifestyle). According to studies, germs such as viruses and bacteria could actually make you gain weight. One study implicated the role of viruses in causing obesity, thus making it contagious. This study was mentioned in the January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiology Society. Another study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that the human adenovirus Ad-37 causes obesity in chicken. Then, there’s another study mentioned in an article on Newsweek magazine. This time, it’s a “bacteria-made-me-fat” idea that Jeffrey Gordon and colleagues of Washington University reported in Nature magazine stating that obese and slim mice have different populations of gut bacteria. These germs are the “fat-causing” Firmicutes and the “slimming” Bacteroidetes. The article mentions how each of these bacteria can also be found in humans causing a person to lose weight or gain weight, depending on which one is the predominant gut bacteria. Interesting, huh? Anyway, this is still a relatively new concept behind (an infectious source) the causes of obesity. If you think about it however, 15-20 years ago, people would never think of an infectious cause of ulcers (H. pylori) but now, it’s a well-accepted fact. Same thing with C. sanguineum causing calcifications and other organisms causing “non-infectious” diseases. Anyway, as one researcher put it succinctly, “Eat right, exercise, wash you hands.” I toast to that!

Shut Your Pie Hole!

Veggie burger eating competition, Slovakia.

Image via Wikipedia

Excuse my French. But that’s one of the only ways we can take care of the obesity epidemic in the US and around the world. Many people consume excess calories beyond what their body needs to function optimally. When I first came to the US 17 years ago, I was surprised by the huge servings of food they serve at most, if not all, restaurants (fast food or slow food ones) that I visited. I remember as a kid, my mom would always tell me to finish the food on my plate. But I won’t coz I was a picky eater and besides, she would finish eating the rest of my food anyway. Perhaps, at a young age, I thought intuitively that eating when you’re already satisfied is not right. Good thing, even though I ate junk food during my residency training, I somehow didn’t overeat or gain weight. Ideally, the only time to eat is when we’re hungry. Emotional reasons for eating should be addressed properly. Like when a person’s depressed, they tend to eat carbs to lift their spirits. A better option would be to inhale therapeutic-grade peppermint oil when you feel down because this oil uplifts, works as a digestive aid and also suppresses appetite according to a research study conducted by Dr. Hirsh, a board-certified neurologist from Chicago, who happened to be one of the attending physicians at the hospital where I did my residency training. A good rule of thumb when eating is to eat the amount of food that you could fit in the palm of your hand. Of course, you gotta eat whole foods that’s organic, in season, and sustainably produced. Avoid CRAP (conventional, refined, adulterated produce) foods if possible coz it makes you gain weight too.

Let Them Eat Cake….

A chocolate cake decorated with icing, strawbe...

Image via Wikipedia

Not! Is it my sweet tooth talking or what? Anyway, do you know how many tablespoons of sugar there are in 1 slice of cake? It may surprise you like it surprised me back then. You’re talking about 8-16 tablespoons of sugar per slice. That’s a lot! But we never, ever think about it esp. when we’re enjoying that temporary high. However, people tend to get those sugar blues (feeling low/depressed) once their blood sugar goes down (due to insulin spikes). One of my mentors always stated that sugar is poison (white, refined sugar that’s devoid of nutrients) and it’s true indeed. We’re seeing an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, not just here in the US but around the world as we see more cultures adopting the Western diet. Do you know that there are so-called fat farms in Japan where obese kids are sent to help them lose weight. A good resource on how diet affects our over-all health is a book called “The China Study.” This excellent book should be on everyone’s book shelves or e-book library (for those techies out there). Anyway, for those who can’t do away with their desserts, they may try raw desserts like the ones I have at Cafe Gratitude. They have a “raw cookbook” available for sale and you’ll be amazed at how creative you can get with preparing a plant-based meal. It’s actually tasty too. Now, you don’t have to just have a boring plate of salad!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: