Obesity is defined as a state of being more than twenty percent above “normal” weight, or having a body-fat percentage greater than thirty percent for women and twenty-five percent for men. Another measurement of obesity is having a body mass index greater than 30.
What causes Obesity?
Theories of the underlying causes of obesity are tied to genetics, low brain serotonin levels, impaired diet-induced thermogenesis (heat production), and the inner workings of fat cells. All of these models support the notion that obesity is not just a matter of overeating. They explain why some people can eat large quantities of food and not increase their weight substantially, while for others, just the reverse is true. For example, a certain amount of the food we consume is converted immediately to heat, which is known as diet-induced thermogenesis. Diet-induced thermogenesis is the method by which the body “wastes” calories. There is evidence that the level of diet-induced thermogenesis is what determines whether an individual is likely to be overweight. In lean individuals, a meal may stimulate up to a 40% increase in heat production. In contrast, overweight individuals often display only a 10% or less increase in heat production. The food energy is stored as fat instead of being converted to heat.
What dietary factors are important in Obesity?
There are literally hundreds of diets and diet programs that claim to be the answer to obesity. However, the basic equation for losing weight never changes. In order for an individual to lose weight, energy intake must be less than energy expenditure. This goal can be achieved by decreasing caloric intake (dieting), and/or by increasing the rate at which calories are burned (exercising). Most individuals will begin to lose weight if they decrease their caloric intake below 1,500 calories per day and do aerobic exercise for 15-to-20 minutes 3-to-4 times per week. Starvation and crash diets usually result in rapid weight loss (largely muscle and water), but cause rebound weight gain. The most successful approach to weight loss is gradual weight reduction (0.5 to 1 lb per week) through adopting long-term dietary and lifestyle modifications.
What nutritional supplements should I take for Obesity?
Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 3,000 mg/day.
SlimStyles is a program and a family of products from Natural Factors that is based upon breakthroughs in the understanding of human appetite regulation and methods to improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin. SlimStyles works because it is based upon achieving five key goals:
- Effectively decreasing appetite leading to a reduction of calories consumed.
- Improvement in the sensitivity of body cells to the hormone insulin.
- Increasing metabolism and the burning of fat without the use of harsh stimulants.
- Resetting the mechanisms that control fat cell size and body weight.
The secret to the success of the SlimStyles Slim for Life Program is a revolutionary new fiber supplement known as PGX
PGX (PolyGlycopleX) – a unique matrix of highly viscous soluble fiber that has a higher level of viscosity and expansion with water than any other fiber available. Taking PGX with or before each meal every day in conjunction with healthy eating habits and moderate exercise leads to effective and permanent weight loss. PGX is available in capsules, granules, and powdered drink mixes with protein. For example, it is the key ingredient in the SlimStyles Meal Replacement Drink Mix with PGX – a sophisticated, low carbohydrate, very low glycemic index meal replacement drink that also contains undenatured whey protein, natural flavors and sweeteners along with vitamins and minerals. For more information, go to www.PGX.com. Dosage: 2.5 to 5 grams before meals.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is converted in the brain to serotonin. Low serotonin levels trigger appetite especially sugar cravings. As far back as 1975, researchers demonstrated that administering 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to rats that were bred to overeat and be obese resulted in significant reduction in food intake. It turns out that these rats have decreased activity of the enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5-HTP and subsequently to serotonin. There is much circumstantial evidence that many humans are genetically predisposed to obesity via the same mechanism. A series of four human clinical studies of overweight women, conducted at the University of Rome, have shown that 5-HTP is an effective weight loss aid. The recommended dosage is 50 to 100 mg twenty minutes before meals.
Green tea extracts concentrated for catechins (polyphenol flavonoids) safely enhance the metabolic rate and diet-induced thermogenesis. I recommend the Green Tea Phytosome, a highly bioavailable form for the best results. Dosage: 100 mg before meals.
Berberine – An alkaloid from goldenseal, barberry bark, and Oregon grape root has shown impressive results in supporting blood sugar control, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. It has also been shown to promote weight loss. Dosage: 500 mg two to three times daily before meals.
The successful program for obesity is consistent with the four cornerstones of good health: a positive mental attitude, a healthy lifestyle (especially important is regular exercise), a health-promoting diet, and supplementary measures. All of these components are interrelated, and no single component is more important than the other. Improvement in one facet (cornerstone) may be enough to result in some.
One seemingly simple recommendation that I have for promoting weight loss is to turn off the television. This recommendation is especially important in children you are obese. Good scientific studies have shown that there is a dose-related effect with TV viewing and obesity (i.e., the more TV one watches, the greater the degree of obesity). TV viewing leads to reduced physical activity and the actual lowering of resting (basal) metabolic rate to a level similar to that experienced during trance-like states. In addition to television lowering basal metabolic rate, exercise levels tend to be lower in people who watch a lot of TV. Exercise is critical for achieving effective weight loss for the following reasons:
- When weight loss is achieved by dieting without exercise, a substantial portion of the total weight loss comes from the lean tissue primarily as water loss.
- When exercise is included in a weight-loss program, there is usually an improvement in body composition due to a gain in lean body weight because of an increase in muscle mass and an accompanying decrease in body fat.
- Exercise helps to counter the reduction in basal metabolic rate that usually accompanies calorie restriction alone.
- Exercise increases the basal metabolic rate for an extended period of time following the exercise session. Thus, extra calories are consumed for many hours after each exercise session.
- Moderate to intense exercise may have an appetite suppressant effect.
- Individuals who exercise during and after weight reduction are better able to maintain the weight loss than those who do not exercise.
- Exercise helps diminish anxiety and it reduces depression- two major factors that often lead to stress-induced eating to find a sense of comfort.
How do I know if the recommendations are working?
When you jump on the scales, you are looking at your total weight, not the relationship of fat to muscle or body composition. While being overweight is a risk factor for heart attacks, storkes, and type 2 diabetes, it is not the critical risk factor. Correctly stated it is increased body fat that is associated with these diseases, not increased body weight. To more accurately determine body composition I recommend using a scale that utilizes a safe, low level amount of electricity to determine body fat percentage known as bioelectrical impedence. Since fat does not conduct much bioelectricity, a higher degree of impedence of the electrical charge is associated with higher body fat percentage. The most popular scales of this sort are manufactured by Tanita (see www.tanita.com) and range in cost from $55 to $200 depending upon desired features. Ideally, women should strive to keep their body fat percentage below 25% and men 20%.