It’s Not Just What You Eat, It’s What’s Eating You

It’s Not Just What You Eat, It’s What’s Eating You

Source: Florida Atlantic University.

New study provides clues for a longer lifespan.

Restricting how much you eat without starving has been shown to robustly extend lifespan in more than 20 species of animals including primates. How this works is still unclear.

In a new study published in PLOS Genetics, neuroscientists from Florida Atlantic University show that it’s not just what or how much you eat that matters.

Smelling food in addition to consuming calories could influence the aging process.

And, what’s “eating” you or more specifically your cells may provide clues to healthy aging.

Using a tiny worm called C. elegans, these researchers are the first to demonstrate how autophagy, a garbage disposal-like process where cells “eat” debris they produce through basic metabolism, combined with food absorption through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and food smell through olfactory neurons impact the aging process mainly by diet restriction.

This study reveals that autophagy is an essential component in a neuroendocrine pathway that allows sensory neurons and nutrient levels to work together to influence lifespan.

It also reduces the insulin growth factor signaling pathway, part of a complex system that cells use to communicate with their physiologic environment.

These new findings could help to better understand the human aging process, extend lifespan as well as develop treatments for diseases like obesity.

“We found that autophagy works in both the brain and the intestine to mediate communication between the GI tract and the brain and in turn to the GI tract. We were specifically looking for how this interaction influences aging,” said Kailiang Jia, Ph.D., corresponding author of the study, associate professor of biological sciences in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and a member of FAU’s Brain Institute.

Jia and the study’s first author Justin Minnerly, Ph.D., who graduated from FAU in 2017, suspect that both the calorie of food or perhaps the combination of the food together with the smell of the food influences the aging process through diet restriction. Olfaction is simply how a neuron detects the smell of a food.

“When people are on a diet they might say something like ‘I didn’t eat a lot of food,’” said Jia. “Except it’s not only the calories that count, but also the smell of food that can influence the function of the brain and the GI tract.”

Prior research on fruit flies confirms this notion. When they were on restricted diets, the fruit flies lived longer. But when they were allowed to smell the food while on this restricted diet their life expectancy was not as dramatic as it was without smelling the food.

“If you want to extend the lifespan of any animal, after limiting their diet, you have to have functional autophagy in this animal otherwise you won’t see this lifespan extending effect,” said Jia. “This is especially true for autophagy in the olfactory neuron since it appears that it mediates this effect for the smell of food. Autophagy in the GI tract also is required for this lifespan extension mechanism, which indicates that the nutrients we absorb into the GI tract also regulates autophagy and in turn controls the aging process.”

Image shows 2 green worms.

There are a number of hypotheses as to why restricting calories extends lifespan and most physicians and scientists today believe that diet or caloric restrictions adjust the metabolism and physiology of the human body on a cellular level.

“We now know which molecules are responsible for the aging process and autophagy is one of these processes,” said Jia. “So potentially, autophagy in the olfactory neuron, at least in the worm, can sense the food smell and then secrete neuron signals, which in turn influence the aging process.”

Now that Jia and the research team know that autophagy is involved in the aging process they have to figure out which proteins regulate this process. They also plan to establish a protocol to screen a compound library to look for autophagy inhibitors and activators.

They hope ultimately to develop treatments for obesity and other diseases like cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

“Autophagy can be activated and enhanced when you restrict calories and we can actually see the autophagy process activated through caloric restriction,” said Jia. “With disease, when you decrease autophagy the disease process is exacerbated and when you increase it you get the opposite effect.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: The study is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grant number 1R15HD080497-01) and the Ellison Medical Foundation Aging Scholarship awarded to Jia.

Source: Gisele Galoustian – Florida Atlantic University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Florida Atlantic University.
Original Research: Full open access research for “The cell non-autonomous function of ATG-18 is essential for neuroendocrine regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan” by Justin Minnerly, Jiuli Zhang, Thomas Parker, Tiffany Kaul, and Kailiang Jia in PLOS Genetics. Published online May 30 2017 doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006764

Florida Atlantic University “It’s Not Just What You Eat, It’s What’s Eating You.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 2 August 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/worm-longevity-eating-7228/&gt;.

Abstract

The cell non-autonomous function of ATG-18 is essential for neuroendocrine regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan

Dietary restriction (DR) and reduced insulin growth factor (IGF) signaling extend lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans and other eukaryotic organisms. Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, has emerged as a central pathway regulated by various longevity signals including DR and IGF signaling in promoting longevity in a variety of eukaryotic organisms.

However, the mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that the autophagy protein ATG-18 acts cell non-autonomously in neuronal and intestinal tissues to maintain C. elegans wildtype lifespan and to respond to DR and IGF-mediated longevity signaling.

Moreover, ATG-18 activity in chemosensory neurons that are involved in food detection sufficiently mediates the effect of these longevity pathways. Additionally, ATG-18-mediated cell non-autonomous signaling depends on the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides.

Interestingly, our data suggest that neuronal and intestinal ATG-18 acts in parallel and converges on unidentified neurons that secrete neuropeptides to regulate C. elegans lifespan through the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO in response to reduced IGF signaling.

“The cell non-autonomous function of ATG-18 is essential for neuroendocrine regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan” by Justin Minnerly, Jiuli Zhang, Thomas Parker, Tiffany Kaul, and Kailiang Jia in PLOS Genetics. Published online May 30 2017 doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006764

How to end the obesity epidemic?

  • Fed Up,” narrated by Katie Couric, investigates the misinformation touted by the processed food industry, and how these fallacies have created (and continue to drive) the global obesity epidemic
  • One widely held belief is that all you have to do to normalize your weight is to eat less and exercise more. But just as the fitness craze exploded across the U.S., so did our waistlines. Between 1980 and 2000, memberships to fitness clubs doubled, and so did the national obesity rate
  • The conventional low-fat, high-carb recommendation created the obesity epidemic. If you struggle with excess weight, stop counting calories, eat real food, increase your dietary fat intake and reduce your net carbs

By Dr. Mercola

“Fed Up,” narrated by Katie Couric, investigates the misinformation touted by the processed food industry, and how these fallacies have created (and continue to drive) the global obesity epidemic. This includes the lies you’ve been told about calories and diet versus exercise, government subsidies that support the junk food industry, and government policies that prop up the processed food industry even though they’re harming public health.

As noted by Couric, obesity has been a topic of discussion for the last 30 years. Entire industries have grown around it. All sorts of diets and exercise programs have promised lasting results. Yet the problem has continued to balloon, seemingly out of control. In 2014, the obesity rate among American adults hit 38 percent — a 3 percent increase from 2012.1 Researchers looking at obesity rates around the world note that for the first time in history, obese people now outnumber those who are underweight.2,3,4,5

One in 5 American deaths is now associated with obesity,6 and the younger you are, the greater obesity’s influence on your mortality. Considering one-third of American children between the ages of 2 and 19 are now overweight or obese, chronic disease and mortality rates will likely climb dramatically in coming decades.

The Energy Balance Myth

While the struggles of obesity were initially featured mostly in magazines and on talk shows, today, obesity has become a genre of entertainment, with reality TV programs detailing the lives and weight loss struggles of the obese. “We get new solutions every day,” Couric says. “Everything in the grocery store is made with less fat and fewer calories, yet our kids keep getting bigger and sicker.”

Could there be a link between the ever-growing obesity problem and the governments dietary guidelines? the film asks. “That got me thinking. What if the solutions weren’t really solutions at all?”Couric says. “What if they were actually making things worse? What if our approach toward this epidemic has been dead wrong?”

One of the most widely held beliefs is that all you have to do to normalize your weight is to eat less and exercise more. This energy balance, “calories in, calories out” theory, originated with a simple observation involving mice, in 1953. Up until that point, exercise was strongly discouraged. Doctors warned it would cause heart attacks and lower sex drive.

In his laboratory, the late nutritionist Jean Mayer noticed that fat mice ate the same amount of food as skinny mice. The difference was their activity level. The fat mice were not nearly as active as the thin ones. The logical conclusion Mayer drew from this observation was that lack of physical activity must be the cause of weight gain. “His finding sparked a fitness revolution,” Couric notes.

Ironically, just as the fitness craze exploded across the U.S., so did our waistlines! Between 1980 and 2000, memberships to fitness clubs doubled. In that same span of time, the national obesity rate also doubled. One decade later, 2 in 3 Americans were either overweight or obese. The same parallel trend is seen in other parts of the world.

So, how is it that the more people exercise, the worse the obesity rates get? In recent years, we’ve also seen a trend of obese toddlers. Seeing how a 6-month-old child cannot exercise (or diet, for that matter), how does one explain this phenomenon? Clearly, something doesn’t add up.

Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

As noted by several obesity experts in this film, calorie counting does not work. The entire premise that losing weight is a matter of expending more calories than you put in is flawed in more than one way. First of all, the average person simply cannot exercise long and hard enough to burn up the calories they eat in a given day.

To offset a single 20-ounce soda, a child would have to bike ride for an hour and 15 minutes. To burn off a single chocolate chip cookie, you’re looking at a 20-minute jog; a medium french fry would require just over an hour and 10 minutes of swimming.

There’s simply not enough time in the day to burn off the calories consumed, let alone burn more than you’re putting in. Modern research has also shown that all calories are not made equal. Some calories are burned far easier than others, and some will stubbornly lodge themselves on your frame in the form of fat. A crucial point that must be understood is that the metabolic effects of nutrients (fats, carbs and proteins) differ.

As an example, when you eat 160 calories’ worth of almonds, the fiber in the nuts slows down absorption, resulting in a slower blood sugar rise and lower insulin release. Contrast that to a glass of soda. Because it has no fiber and contains processed fructose, your liver gets a large, sudden hit of sugar, causing a dramatic rise in blood sugar and insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator.

Moreover, because fructose is metabolized entirely by your liver, nearly all of those calories are turned directly into body fat, opposed to being used up as fuel for energy. After fructose, other sugars and grains are among the most excessively consumed foods that promote weight gain and chronic disease.

Yet the food industry, and especially the soda industry, keeps telling us that “all calories count, no matter where they come from.” This simply isn’t true, and the science is quite clear on this.

Yet another part of the problem is a fundamental error in the understanding of the law of thermodynamics. Energy is actually used up in making nutrients available in your body. In addition to that, your body also self-regulates the amount of activity you engage in, based on the available energy. Zoe Harcombe’s book, “The Obesity Epidemic,” explains this beautifully.

Food Industry Lies

Obesity is rooted in inappropriate food choices, not lack of exercise. Unfortunately, the food industry has been permitted to confuse the issue by shifting the focus and discussion to exercise, completely omitting the importance of your specific food choices.

As you can clearly see in this film, every single family struggling with obesity is eating precisely what they shouldn’t — lots of cereal, for example, and low-fat or “diet” foods — thinking they’re doing the right thing. Despite following conventional advice, they just keep getting fatter and, no wonder, because conventional advice is in fact dead wrong.

Whole grains are supposed to help you lose weight. They don’t. Whole grains are just as fattening as other grains. Grains and starches are rapidly converted into glucose (sugar) in your digestive tract, and are among the foods you should eat as little of as possible if you’re struggling with excess weight. Low-fat foods are also supposed to help you lose weight.

They don’t. Low-fat foods are typically very high in sugar, and sugar is what makes you pack on excess weight, and prevents your body from burning body fat. Additionally, nearly all grains, especially whole grains, are high in lectins, which can have very serious adverse metabolic consequences by increasing inflammation and autoimmune conditions.

The ramifications of this high-sugar, low-fat trend are dire. We are now seeing heart attacks and strokes in children as young as 8. We’re seeing 30-year-olds on kidney dialysis after suffering kidney failure. According to the film, the number of cases of type 2 diabetesamong American adolescents in 1980 was zero. Indeed, type 2 diabetes was referred to as adult-onset diabetes and was historically unheard of in children and young adults. In 2010, nearly 57,640 American adolescents were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Why Low-Fat ‘Diet’ Foods Make You Gain Weight

What happened in the 1980s, food-wise to precipitate this rapid increase in type 2 diabetes and obesity? As detailed in the film, the 1977 McGovern Report,7 which warned the U.S. was facing an avalanche of obesity and ill health thanks to excessive consumption of animal fats, cholesterol and sugar, was firmly rejected by food industry lobbyists. And, while the first-ever dietary goals for the U.S. were published, the recommendation to reduce consumption of specific foods were omitted.

Instead, Americans were encouraged to buy leaner meats and foods lower in saturated fats and cholesterol. This spawned a whole new industry of low-fat, “diet” foods. Alas, as fat was removed, sugar was added in. Between 1977 and 2000, Americans doubled their daily sugar intake, and sugar — not saturated fat and cholesterol — is the primary culprit causing weight gain. Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating sugar does.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, who is featured in the film, sugar is a chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin. Today, of the 600,000 food items sold in grocery stores, 80 percent of them contain added sugar. So, far from being relegated to sweet desserts, most everything you eat is loaded with sugar if you’re eating processed foods. A jar of spaghetti sauce, for example, contains 5.5 teaspoons more sugar than a snack-sized pack of M&Ms.

Most all commercial yogurts are also notoriously high in sugar, with some containing upward of 35 grams of sugar in a single-serving — 10 grams over the daily recommended limit for good health.

Sugar also hides under several dozen different names. Some food manufacturers will hide their sugar content even more by listing several different kinds of sugar separately on the list of ingredients. Since ingredients are listed in order of its ratio to the total amount of a serving, this little trick makes it look as though there’s far less sugar in it. Were they to lump all the different sugars together, it might have had to be listed as the No. 1 ingredient.

Many also make the mistake of switching to artificially sweetened “diet” foods and drinks to avoid unnecessary calories. Alas, research has conclusively shown artificial sweeteners add to the obesity problem, and perhaps more so than regular sugar.

Food Addiction Is Real

The film also addresses the very real issue of food addiction, and sugar addiction in particular. Studies have demonstrated that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. The biological mechanisms behind food addiction were clearly spelled out in a previous interview with Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of “The Hunger Fix.”

When babies are fed high-sugar foods from day one, they rapidly grow addicted to sugar. Few parents would consider doing this on purpose. They simply fail to realize that many infant formulas are absolutely loaded with sugar. They’re basically feeding their infant the equivalent of soda, several times a day.

Many also give their children fruit juice rather than water, thinking it’s a healthy drink loaded with vitamins, again failing to realize a glass of fruit juice has as much sugar as a glass of soda. And, as noted in the film, the notion that all you need is the willpower to resist simply doesn’t work when you’re addicted.

The other variable that is rarely if ever addressed in these discussions is the timing of your food. You can eat the same amount of calories but if you eat them in a time-restricted window, as one does in intermittent fasting, then you can help your body to burn fat for fuel and not suffer the metabolic consequences. I have recently increased my daily fast up to 18 to 20 hours and exercise fasting, as I believe that provides me with superior metabolic results.

I’ve found intermittent fasting to be a highly effective tool that helps your body to shift from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel, and with that change, food cravings tend to simply vanish. While intermittent fasting has not been tested specifically for people meeting the criteria of food addiction, if you’re struggling with sugar cravings, I believe it would be worthwhile to give it a try.

Interestingly, I just interviewed Dr. Dale Bredesen for his new book “The End of Alzheimer’s,” coming out August 22, and he shared that the dreaded ApoE 4 allele that is highly predictive of Alzheimer’s is actually designed to give us metabolic flexibility to use fat for fuel and be able to go for long periods without food. So, if you have this gene, it means you MUST intermittently fast unless you want to lose your brain function as you age.

Sugar Industry Recommendations Are a Recipe for Heart Disease and Early Death

In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a technical report on diet and nutrition for the prevention of chronic disease, in which they specifically recommend limiting daily sugar consumption to a maximum of 10 percent of calories to prevent obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Not surprisingly, the report was strongly rejected by the sugar industry, which recommends getting 25 percent of your daily calories from sugar.

Two U.S. Senators, Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and John Breaux (D-La.), asked then Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, to stop the publication of the report as it would devastate the sugar industry. Thompson complied. He flew to Geneva and told WHO that if this report was published, the U.S. would withhold $406 million of funding. The extortion had the desired effect. Moving forward, the sugar recommendation was not included in WHO dietary reports.

What happens when you follow the sugar industry’s recommendation to get 25 percent of your daily calories from sugar? A 2014 study8gave us the answer. It found that 10 percent of Americans consume 25 percent or more of their daily calories in the form of added sugars, as recommended by the sugar industry.

Those who got 21 percent or more of their daily calories from sugar were TWICE as likely to die from heart disease compared to those who got 7 percent or less of their daily calories from added sugar. The risk was nearly TRIPLED among those who consumed 25 percent or more of their calories from sugar.

How First Lady’s Organic Garden Became a Junk Food Campaign

When Barrack Obama became president, first lady Michelle Obama took a strong stance against the food industry, urging them to reformulate foods to reduce sugar and rethink their advertising toward children. The food industry quickly took control of the situation by offering to partner with her, thereby steering her entire wellness program away from concrete change toward a focus on physical exercise and teaching kids about the phony theory known as energy balance.

Her “Let’s Move” campaign was a failure, in terms of making a dent in childhood obesity and related disease. In fact, research shows childhood obesity continued to worsen after the launch of this nationwide program in 2010,9 with severe obesity rising the most. This was entirely predictable, since the campaign didn’t focus on the source of the problem (toxic, high-sugar, processed foods) and recommended solutions that don’t work (just exercise more).

As noted in the film, the food industry has become expert at switching the conversation from talk about real food and cooking, to talk about reengineered processed foods that are lower in calories, and the need for more exercise — both of which obscure the real solution and perpetuate the problem.

Even the name of the campaign, “Let’s Move,” was co-opted and twisted to serve the processed food industry. Originally, the first lady said the name represented a call to action — we need to get moving on this issue of children’s diets — but by the end, it became all about physical activity, and the issue of getting back to real food was lost altogether.

How to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic

The conventional low-fat, high-carb recommendation has without a doubt contributed to the obesity epidemic. If you or your child is struggling with excess weight, some key facts you need to realize are:

  1. Calorie counting does not work because the source of the calories is far more important than the amount, as they are not all metabolized equally. Calories from carbohydrates (think sugars and grains) raise your insulin level and turn to body fat, whereas dietary fats and protein have very little impact on your insulin, and dietary fats are a far more efficient fuel for your body than sugar
  2. You cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet
  3. A poor diet is one that is high in processed foods, added sugars (especially processed fructose), harmful fats (vegetable oils and trans fats, not saturated fats or cholesterol found in whole foods) and artificial ingredients

I am firmly convinced we can turn the obesity epidemic around, but it requires a new base of knowledge. First, we need to return to a diet of real, minimally processed foods. Second, we need to educate people about the importance of eating healthy fats and avoid consistently eating large amounts of net carbs (carbohydrates minus the fiber). Once we are burning fat for fuel we need to cycle healthy carbs back in to feed our gut microbes.

As a general rule, if the fat is found in a whole food, it’s going to be good for you. This includes the fat found in meat, eggs, raw dairy, avocados, nuts, coconuts and more. It’s the fats found in processed foods you need to be leery of, along with vegetable oils for cooking, margarines and vegetable oil spreads.

Last but not least, it would be wise to limit your consumption of protein to just what your body needs, as excess protein also has health implications. Not so much in terms of obesity per se, but certainly in terms of heart disease and cancer. Most people eat far more protein than their body requires, and most of it is low-quality CAFO beef, the nutritional composition of which is compromised by the unnatural way these animals are raised and fed.

In my view, the single most important driver of obesity is consuming over 50 grams of net carbs a day and excessive protein. Once you get net carbs below 50 grams, moderate your protein intake to 0.5 gram per pound of lean body weight, along with higher amounts of high quality fat, your body will start to regain its ability to burn fat as its primary fuel. Once you become an efficient fat burner, it will become virtually impossible to be overweight.

Regaining Your Health, One Meal at a Time

Many end up throwing their hands up in disgust when trying to clean up their diet, complaining that once they start to read labels, they realize there’s “nothing safe to eat.” If this sounds like you, you’re probably still looking at processed foods, trying to figure out which ones are “good” for you, and that’s the problem. If you’re serious about losing weight, you really need to avoid all processed foods and cook from scratch using whole ingredients.

The list of ingredients to avoid is just about endless, starting with all sorts of added sugars, and keeping track of it can be really discouraging. The answer is to create a list of healthy options instead, which is far shorter and easier to remember. The following short list of super-simple, easy-to-remember guidelines will not only improve your nutrition, it will also help you avoid countless chemical exposures that can affect your weight:

Eat REAL FOOD. Buy whole, ideally organic, foods and cook from scratch. First of all, this will automatically reduce your added sugar consumption, which is the root cause of insulin resistance and weight gain.

If you buy organic produce, you’ll also cut your exposure to pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients, and in ditching processed foods, you’ll automatically avoid artificial sweeteners and harmful processed fats. For more detailed dietary advice, please see my free Optimized Nutrition Plan and/or my new book, “Fat for Fuel

Opt for AGA certified grass fed meats to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other growth promoting drugs

Opt for glass packaging and storage containers to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals

Reduce net carbs to under 50 grams a day and restrict protein to 0.5 gram/pound of lean body mass. The remaining calories come from high-quality fat sources like avocados, butter, coconut oil, macadamia and pecans

Once you’ve cleaned up your diet, if you’re still struggling you may want to seriously reconsider the timing of your meals. Intermittently fasting can be very effective for helping your body shift from sugar- to fat-burning mode. Also consider increasing your daily physical activity.

Ideally, aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day or even double that if you have the time. Later you can add on a more regimented workout routine, which will really help maximize all the other healthy lifestyle changes you’ve implemented. But for general health and longevity, staying active throughout each day and avoiding sitting takes precedence.

Calories burned per exercise type

Calories burned per exercise type:

Exercise & Calories Burned per Hour
130 lbs
155 lbs
180 lbs
205 lbs
Aerobics, general
384
457
531
605
Aerobics, high impact
413
493
572
651
Aerobics, low impact
295
352
409
465
Aerobics, step aerobics
502
598
695
791
Archery
207
246
286
326
Backpacking, Hiking with pack
413
493
572
651
Badminton
266
317
368
419
Bagging grass, leaves
236
281
327
372
Bakery, light effort
148
176
204
233
Ballet, twist, jazz, tap
266
317
368
419
Ballroom dancing, fast
325
387
449
512
Ballroom dancing, slow
177
211
245
279
Basketball game, competitive
472
563
654
745
Basketball, playing, non game
354
422
490
558
Basketball, shooting baskets
266
317
368
419
Basketball, wheelchair
384
457
531
605
Bathing dog
207
246
286
326
Bird watching
148
176
204
233
Boating, power, speed boat
148
176
204
233
Bowling
177
211
245
279
Boxing, in ring
708
844
981
1117
Boxing, punching bag
354
422
490
558
Boxing, sparring
531
633
735
838
Calisthenics, light, pushups, situps…
207
246
286
326
Calisthenics, fast, pushups, situps…
472
563
654
745
Canoeing, camping trip
236
281
327
372
Canoeing, rowing, light
177
211
245
279
Canoeing, rowing, moderate
413
493
572
651
Canoeing, rowing, vigorous
708
844
981
1117
Carpentry, general
207
246
286
326
Carrying 16 to 24 lbs, upstairs
354
422
490
558
Carrying 25 to 49 lbs, upstairs
472
563
654
745
Carrying heavy loads
472
563
654
745
Carrying infant, level ground
207
246
286
326
Carrying infant, upstairs
295
352
409
465
Carrying moderate loads upstairs
472
563
654
745
Carrying small children
177
211
245
279
Children’s games, hopscotch…
295
352
409
465
Circuit training, minimal rest
472
563
654
745
Cleaning gutters
295
352
409
465
Cleaning, dusting
148
176
204
233
Climbing hills, carrying up to 9 lbs
413
493
572
651
Climbing hills, carrying 10 to 20 lb
443
528
613
698
Climbing hills, carrying 21 to 42 lb
472
563
654
745
Climbing hills, carrying over 42 lb
531
633
735
838
Coaching: football,basketball,soccer
236
281
327
372
Coal mining, general
354
422
490
558
Construction, exterior, remodeling
325
387
449
512
Crew, sculling, rowing, competition
708
844
981
1117
Cricket (batting, bowling)
295
352
409
465
Croquet
148
176
204
233
Cross country snow skiing, slow
413
493
572
651
Cross country skiing, moderate
472
563
654
745
Cross country skiing, racing
826
985
1144
1303
Cross country skiing, uphill
974
1161
1348
1536
Cross country skiing, vigorous
531
633
735
838
Curling
236
281
327
372
Cycling, <10mph, leisure bicycling
236
281
327
372
Cycling, >20mph, racing
944
1126
1308
1489
Cycling, 10-11.9mph, light
354
422
490
558
Cycling, 12-13.9mph, moderate
472
563
654
745
Cycling, 14-15.9mph, vigorous
590
704
817
931
Cycling, 16-19mph, very fast, racing
708
844
981
1117
Cycling, mountain bike, bmx
502
598
695
791
Darts (wall or lawn)
148
176
204
233
Diving, springboard or platform
177
211
245
279
Downhill snow skiing, moderate
354
422
490
558
Downhill snow skiing, racing
472
563
654
745
Electrical work, plumbing
207
246
286
326
Farming, baling hay, cleaning barn
472
563
654
745
Farming, chasing cattle on horseback
236
281
327
372
Farming, feeding horses or cattle
266
317
368
419
Farming, feeding small animals
236
281
327
372
Farming, grooming animals
354
422
490
558
Fencing
354
422
490
558
Fire fighter, climbing ladder, full gear
649
774
899
1024
Fire fighter, hauling hoses on ground
472
563
654
745
Fishing from boat, sitting
148
176
204
233
Fishing from riverbank, standing
207
246
286
326
Fishing from riverbank, walking
236
281
327
372
Fishing in stream, in waders
354
422
490
558
Fishing, general
177
211
245
279
Fishing, ice fishing
118
141
163
186
Flying airplane (pilot)
118
141
163
186
Football or baseball, playing catch
148
176
204
233
Football, competitive
531
633
735
838
Football, touch, flag, general
472
563
654
745
Forestry, ax chopping, fast
1003
1196
1389
1582
Forestry, ax chopping, slow
295
352
409
465
Forestry, carrying logs
649
774
899
1024
Forestry, sawing by hand
413
493
572
651
Forestry, trimming trees
531
633
735
838
Frisbee playing, general
177
211
245
279
Frisbee, ultimate frisbee
472
563
654
745
Gardening, general
236
281
327
372
General cleaning
207
246
286
326
Golf, driving range
177
211
245
279
Golf, general
266
317
368
419
Golf, miniature golf
177
211
245
279
Golf, using power cart
207
246
286
326
Golf, walking and pulling clubs
254
303
351
400
Golf, walking and carrying clubs
266
317
368
419

Metabolism Myths

It’s time you know the burning truths about your metabolism. (Credit: Corbis/C.J. Burton/Yahoo)

Most of us know the basic formula for weight loss: If calories out exceed calories in, the pounds will fall off. But what sounds so simple can actually be a bit complicated when you consider the “calories out” half of the equation.

Obviously, physical activity — whether a workout at the gym or simply walking up stairs — requires energy. But our bodies also use calories to keep the lights on — our heart needs energy to pump, and our lungs need energy to enable us to breathe. This is called our “resting metabolic rate,” and along with the calories we burn through exercise and digesting food, it makes up what most of us refer to simply as our “metabolism.”

Your resting metabolic rate is responsible for about 60 percent of the calories you burn. As a result, “it’s really the main target of both substantiated and unsubstantiated weight loss [strategies],” says Jonathan Mike, PhD, an exercise scientist and strength coach. Yet most of us don’t really know how our metabolism even works — we simply characterize our internal engine as “fast” or “slow,” and if it’s slow, we want to speed it up. The result? We eagerly buy into mainstream myths about metabolism that may do more harm than good.

Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it wakes up your metabolism.

We’ve all heard it before: A substantial breakfast is the key to waking up a sluggish metabolism after a night of sleep. But a giant plate of eggs and bacon may not be all it’s cracked up to be: In a 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dieters who ate breakfast lost no more weight than breakfast-skippers did.

In fact, downing a big breakfast may actually be a bad thing: It may delay your body’s shift from parasympathetic mode — the rest-and-restore half of your nervous system — to the more metabolically active sympathetic mode, says Roy Martina, MD, author of Sleep Your Fat Away. “During the night, the nervous system is in parasympathetic mode,” he explains. “That’s where we digest food and restore our body.” If you start your day with a big breakfast, you divert your body’s attention back to digestion and rest — and as a result, the calories you consume are more likely to be directed to your fat reserves, he says.

His advice? Don’t eat first thing after waking up if you’re not hungry. “Postpone breakfast as long as you can,” Martina tells Yahoo Health. “The reason for that is this: We can store unlimited amounts of fat, but we can only store a certain amount of sugar in our body.” So if you delay consuming carbs, your body will burn through its sugar reserves — then move on to torching fat. Of course, if you’re famished come 7 a.m., you should eat, but try to keep it light. “Just eat enough that you feel OK,” advises Martina.

Myth #2: You need to eat every three hours to boost your metabolism.

You can blame bodybuilders for the six-meals-a-day gospel. “Bodybuilders eat 5,000 calories a day — and most aren’t going to have three meals of 1,500 calories each,” says Mike. “They’ll typically break it up.”

For serious weightlifters — and the rare people who have naturally revved-up metabolisms, who Martina calls “fast burners” — grazing all day makes sense. But for the rest of us — who eat, say, 2,000 calories a day — there’s no metabolic motivation for spreading our calories out over six meals.

Need proof? In a British Journal of Nutrition study, when overweight dieters ate either three or six meals a day, with the same total number of calories, they lost the same amount of weight. “Smaller, more frequent meals do not speed metabolism, compared to the same total calories and macronutrients consumed in larger, less-frequent meals,” Mike says.

Plus, if you’re eating multiple times a day, you may end up overeating, allowing your mini meals to turn into full-size ones, says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Myth #3: Skipping meals reduces your metabolism.

If you don’t eat dinner, will your metabolism take a nosedive? Probably not. In order for your body’s burn to plummet, you need to restrict your calories to the point that you feel deprived, says Martina. And one missed meal isn’t enough to create a serious energy deficit — it’s only when you follow a low-calorie diet for a long time that your body goes into starvation mode, forcing it to use energy more efficiently (i.e. to burn fewer calories), he says. “Skipping one meal will never do that.”

Of course, if you skip a meal, your body won’t experience the small metabolic boost that occurs after eating — but any drop in your burn rate will be so small that it’d be “difficult to detect,” says Jensen. So why are chronic meal-skippers often overweight? “Skipping a meal might make you overly hungry, so you overeat at your next meal,” Jensen says. In other words, it’s a matter of subsequent meal size — not metabolism.

Myth #4: Overweight people have a slow metabolism, and skinny people have a fast one.

It seems obvious: The fatter you are, the more sluggish your metabolism, right? “As a rule, that’s actually not true,” says Jensen. In fact, he adds, “there are as many skinny people as overweight people with low metabolisms.” Sure, there areslim people with lightning-fast metabolisms. “They cannot sit down for a long time — they’re kind of hyperactive,” Martina says. “They burn so much energy that they can eat much more and get away with it.” But more often, slim folks are simply in tune with their bodies — they eat only what they need, and nothing more. If they do overeat at one meal, they tend to naturally compensate at the next one, preventing them from gaining weight.

And, the truth is, body weight is actually a pretty poor predictor of metabolism — body composition (i.e. how much muscle you have, versus fat) is much more important. “If you have two people, both 180 pounds, and one has 20 pounds of fat and one has 50 pounds of fat, the person with less fat, i.e. more muscle, is going to burn more calories,” says Jensen.

As a general rule, however, overweight people — especially those with some amount of muscle — torch more calories per day than skinny folks, since bigger bodies require more calories for everyday functioning. So why are heavy people still carrying extra baggage if they burn so much energy? Simple: Overweight people may unknowingly consume way more calories than they torch. “Your typical normal-weight person underestimates how much they’ve taken in that day by 20 to 30 percent. Obese people will typically underestimate by as much as 50 percent,” says Jensen. “Someone with a serious weight problem may truly believe they’re taking in a very limited amount of food.”

Related: 5 Vegetables That Make You Fat

Myth #5: Some people must eat fewer than 1,000 calories a day to lose weight.

Unless you have a sluggish thyroid, you probably don’t need to drop down to the 1,000-calorie mark in order to lose weight, says Martina. In fact, “the only people I’ve seen who burn that little are people with long-standing anorexia, who weigh about 70 or 80 pounds,” Jensen says. So why do some dieters insist severe calorie-cutting is the only way to move the scale? Because they expect rapid results. “You’d probably lose weight if you cut back to 1,200 or 1,400 calories, but it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be consistent,” he says. Read: Your weight will drop even if don’t crash diet — but the number on the scale may stay the same for days at a time, leading you to believe the diet isn’t working.

Myth #6: Yo-yo dieting will destroy your metabolism.

Constantly gaining and losing has been linked to a number of health problems (including some serious ones, likeendometrial cancer). But ruining your body’s ability to burn calories isn’t one of them. Although it may create temporary metabolic drops, “yo-yo dieting won’t permanently wreck your metabolism,” says Mike. Case in point: In a 2013 study in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that severe weight cyclers — people who’d lost 20-plus pounds on three or more occasions — were able to lose weight, shed body fat, and gain lean muscle just as easily as people with fewer fluctuations.

So why do yo-yo’ers find losing weight to be such a struggle? “They’ve lost and gained, lost and gained, and each time, they give up sooner,” says Jensen. “Since they always regain, it seems harder each time, and they give up easier each time.” Read: Each time they try to diet, they feel frustrated faster — and assume their lack of weight loss is because their metabolism has stalled out.

Myth #7: You have no control over your metabolism.

Yes, there’s a genetic component to your body’s burning power. “Even if you match up people with the same amount of lean tissue, you have some who burn 400, 500 calories less,” says Jensen. “And that seems to be heritable.” But that doesn’t mean you’re locked into your metabolic rate for life, says Martina. “You can change your metabolism — for example, by packing more muscle onto your frame.”

In fact, gaining muscle through resistance training is one of the best ways to offset the small decline in metabolism that naturally occurs with age, says Mike. “Typically, from age 30 to about age 80, you lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass,” he says. “You can offset that if you start lifting. The earlier you start, the better off you’re going to be as you get older.”

Myth #8: The right diet — lots of green tea and chili peppers! — will boost your metabolism.

As much as we’d all like to believe the right foods can work a metabolic miracle, the calorie-burning jolt some foods provide isn’t enough to affect your weight, says Jensen. “If I was eating nothing but chili peppers, I might not eat that much — because my mouth would be hot all the time,” he jokes. “But you’re not going to lose weight because of the metabolism effect.”

As Mike explains, metabolism-revving foods really only boost your burn by 4 to 5 percent — and for a very brief time. “You might see a slight increase [in metabolism], but it’s mainly due to a slight elevation in body temperature and sympathetic nervous system activity,” he says.

Don’t call obesity a disease, a comment by Dr David Katz

There is a certain irony in the nearly immediate juxtaposition of the rare introduction of a new FDA-approved drug for weight loss (Belviq) to the marketplace, and the recognition of obesity as a “disease” by the AMA. A line from the movie Jerry MaGuire comes to mind: “you complete me!” Drugs need diseases; diseases need drugs.

And that’s part of what has me completely worried. The notion that obesity is a disease will inevitably invite a reliance on pharmacotherapy and surgery to fix what is best addressed through improvements in the use of our feet and forks, and in our Farm Bill.

Why is the medicalization of obesity concerning? Cost is an obvious factor. If obesity is a disease, some 80% of adults in the US have it or its precursor, overweight. Legions of kids have it as well. Do we all need pharmacotherapy, and if so, for life? We might be inclined to say no, but wouldn’t we then be leaving a “disease” untreated? Is that even ethical?

On the other hand, if we are thinking lifelong pharmacotherapy for all, is that really the solution to such problems as food deserts? We know that poverty, and limited access to high quality food, are associated with increased obesity rates. So, do we skip right past concerns about access to produce and just make sure everyone has access to a pharmacy? Instead of helping people on SNAP find and afford broccoli, do we just pay for their Belviq and bariatric surgery?

If so, this, presumably, requires that everyone also have access to someone qualified to write a prescription or wield a scalpel in the first place, and insurance coverage to pay for it. We can’t expect people who can’t afford broccoli to buy their own Belviq, clearly.

There is, of course, some potential upside to the recognition of obesity as a disease. Diseases get respect in our society, unlike syndromes, which are all-too-readily blamed on the quirks of any given patient, and other conditions attributed to aspects of character. Historically, obesity has been in that latter character, inviting castigation of willpower and personal responsibility, and invocation of gluttony, sloth, or the combination. Respecting obesity as a disease is much better.

And, as a disease, obesity will warrant more consistent attention by health professionals, including doctors. This, in turn, may motivate more doctors to learn how to address this challenge constructively, and compassionately.

But overall, I see more liabilities than benefits in designating obesity a disease. For starters, there is the simple fact that obesity, per se, isn’t a disease. Some people are healthy at almost any given BMI. BMI correlates with disease, certainly, but far from perfectly.

The urge to label obesity a disease, and embrace the liabilities attached to doing so, seems to be a price the medical profession is willing to pay to legitimize the condition. It may also be an attempt to own it (and the profits that come along with treating it), whereas that right and responsibility should really redound to our entire culture. Is it necessary for obesity to be a disease for it to be medically legitimate? I think not.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is medically legitimate, but it is not a disease- and there’s a good reason for that. It is poisoning, so the fault lies not with our lungs, but with what is being drawn into them. Your lungs can be working just fine, and carbon monoxide can kill you just the same. Perfectly healthy, disease-free bodies can be poisoned.

None would contest the medical legitimacy of drowning. If you drown, assuming you are found in time, you will receive urgent medical care-no matter your ability to pay for it. If you have insurance, your insurance will certainly pay for that care.

But drowning is not a disease. Perfectly healthy bodies can drown. Drowning is a result of a human body spending a bit too much time in an environment- under water- to which it is poorly adapted.

And so is obesity. Our bodies, physiologies, and genes are much the same as they ever were. Certainly these have not changed much in the decades over which obesity went from rare to pandemic. What has changed is the environment.

We are awash in highly processed, hyper-palatable, glow-in-the-dark foods. We are afloat in constant currents of aggressive food marketing. We are deluged with ever more labor-saving technological advances, while opportunities for daily physical activity dry up.

We are drowning in calories. And that’s how, in my opinion, we should make obesity medically legitimate: as a form of drowning, not as a disease.

With drowning, we don’t rely on advances from pharmaceutical companies. No one is expecting a drug to ‘fix’ our capacity to drown. Our capacity to drown is part of the normal physiology of terrestrial species.

Our capacity to get fat is also part of normal physiology. Obesity begins with the accumulation of body fat, and that in turn begins with the conversion of a surplus of daily calories into an energy reserve. That’s exactly what a healthy body is supposed to do with today’s surplus calories: store them against the advent of a rainy (i.e., hungry) day tomorrow. The problem that leads to obesity is that the surplus of calories extends to every day, and tomorrow never comes.

Thinking of obesity as a form of drowning offers valuable analogies for treatment. We don’t wait for people to drown and devote our focus to resuscitation; we do everything we can to prevent drowning in the first place. We put fences around pools; station lifeguards at the beaches; get our kids to swimming lessons at the first opportunity; and keep a close eye on one another. People still do drown, and so we need medical intervention as well. But that is a last resort, far less good than prevention, and applied far less commonly.

There is an exact, corresponding array of approaches to obesity prevention and control; I have spelled them out before.

Disease is when the body malfunctions. Bodies functioning normally asphyxiate when breathing carbon monoxide, drown when under water for too long, and convert surplus daily calories into body fat. Perfectly healthy bodies can get obese. They may not remain healthy when they do so, but that is a tale of effects, not causes.

The most important reasons for rampant obesity are dysfunction not within our individual bodies, but at the level of the body politic. We do need medicine to treat obesity, but more often than not, it is lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle is the best medicine we’ve got- but it is cultural medicine, not clinical.

That’s where our attention and corrective actions should be directed. If calling obesity a disease makes us treat the condition with more respect, and those who have it with more compassion, and if it directs more resources to the provision of skill-power to adults and kids alike- it’s all for the good. But if, as I predict, it causes us to think more about pharmacotherapy, and less about opportunities to make better use of our feet and our forks, it will do net harm. If we look more to clinics and less to culture for definitive remedies, it will do net harm. If we fail to consider the power we each have over our own medical destiny, and wait for salvation at the cutting edge of biomedical advance-it will do net harm.

Long before labeling obesity a disease, the AMA lent the full measure of its support to the Hippocratic Oath and medicine’s prime directive: first, do no harm. Obesity is much more like drowning than a disease. Calling it a disease has potential in my opinion to do harm. And so it is that I vote: no.

-fin

Dr. David L. Katz; http://www.davidkatzmd.com/

www.turnthetidefoundation.org

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Connie: Let us start our fight against obesity with our own bodies and share what we have learned along the way:
1. with a colon cleanse of fiber rich foods, alkaline water, enzymes from fruit such as fresh papaya and pineapple, probiotics, seeds, senna tea.
2. And then, we add nutrients from whole foods such as brown rice, greens, beans, nuts, fish, eggs with no hormones.
3. We can all do it, start an organic garden, use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as your salad dressing, make more soups with herbs and spices,
4. and love your body.