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 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.
PGX is a revolutionary dietary fiber matrix that is backed by over 15 years of research and development along with extensive pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. PGX is 100% natural and non-addictive and safe for consumption, with no serious side effects. Detailed clinical studies have shown PGX to exert the following benefits:
- Reduces appetite and promotes effective weight loss
- Stabilizes blood sugar control
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Reduces the glycemic index of any food, beverage, or meal by 35-50%.
- Lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides
PGX is available in a variety of different forms such as granules, capsules, and part of drink mixes for satiety or meal replacement. Dosage: 2.5 to 5 grams before meals. For more information, go to PGX.com.
Mulberry leaf extract has shown an ability to help to improve blood sugar control and promote weight loss. Dosage: generally equivalent to 3,000 mg of dried mulberry leaves per day. The dosage for a 10:1 extract is 100 mg three times daily before meals. Also, can be taken with PGX.
Green coffee bean extract is rich in chlorogenic acid, a compound that has been shown to improve glucose metabolism, inhibit the accumulation of fat, and decrease the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Only raw green coffee beans contain a significant amount of this health-promoting compound. Dosage: 400 mg three times daily.
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 promote weight loss. However, these compounds are often difficult for humans to absorb efficiently. Green Tea Phytosome® provides a high-quality decaffeinated green tea extract complexed to phosphatidylcholine that is three to five times better absorbed than other green tea products. Dosage: 150 mg twice daily.
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%.