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The Skinny on Weight Loss

by Dr. Bruce J. Grandstaff
| December 8, 2010 8:00 PM

As attested to by the many ads in the media, we are a nation of dieters. According to the Surgeon General of the United States, "The greatest threat to our country isn't terrorism, it's obesity."

Perhaps more of us should be thinking about losing the unhealthy extra weight we've accumulated. But losing weight is physiologically unnatural. Many of you who have tried can attest to that and that's why 95 percent of people who have successfully lost weight will gain it back.

We all know people who have gained 60 pounds or more over their normal, healthy weight. But how many people do we know who have lost 60 pounds from their normal, healthy weight? This only occurs with serious diseases, emotional trauma, starvation or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Yes, I'm afraid that our physiology is designed to favor fat storage more than fat loss. It only takes one enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) to store blood sugar as fat in adipocytes (fat cells). However, two enzymes are needed (hormone sensitive lipase, HSL, and the recently discovered enzyme adipose-triglyceride lipase, ATGL) to release this fat to be burned as fuel.

A typical "diet" will allow us to lose weight by reducing calories relative to the calories we burn, and yes we can often see health changes such as lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and lowered blood sugar as a result. But, what have we really lost and will these changes last? What we really lose is muscle and lean muscle, organ tissue and hormones which are converted to fuel (by a process known as gluconeogenesis) once we burn up all our blood sugar and glycogen (stored in the liver and muscles). When we gain the weight back it is generally all fat. This is why yo-yo dieting is so unhealthy.

You see, the carbs we consume are converted to easily available fuel in the form of glucose and glycogen (our "checking account"). Once we've spent everything in our "checking account" we reach into our "savings account" which consists of fat and lean tissues such as muscle, organ tissue and hormones. Once lean tissues are being consumed our metabolism slows down for several months. Losing muscle also reduces the ability to burn as much glucose (as this happens in the muscle cells), thereby causing the excess glucose, directed by insulin to be stored as fat.

The mere act of losing weight coupled with excess insulin (caused by too many carbs, refined foods, diet soda, etc.) increases lipoprotein lipase activity (remember, that's the hormone that allows fat storage).

To safely overcome this dilemma one must consume enough protein to spare the lean tissues (a minimum of half a gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass per day). Also, monitoring weekly with a bioimpedence device will establish your beginning lean muscle mass and show whether you are you are burning just fat or are losing muscle as well. You must also take nutritional supplements to make up for the nutrients and electrolytes you're not getting when you decrease your food intake.

The Ideal Protein weight loss protocol accomplishes this. Our clinic uses the BC 1 Body Composition Analyzer by Stayhealthy (which is used in over 150 research hospitals) to monitor our weight loss patients to ensure their weight loss experience with the Ideal Protein protocol is safe and effective. To learn why their diet/treatment is the last one they will ever need, watch for my next editorial or call our office at (208) 772-6015 for a free consultation or attend our next free class. Come on Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint, let's lose weight and get healthy together.

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