by Heather DeLuca, ND
Calories In, Calories Out: Weight Loss is Not That Simple
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 66% of American adults are overweight, obese, or even morbidly obese. This has sharply increased in the last few decades. National surveys show that obesity in adults increased 15% from 1976 to 2003. Although one of the national health objectives for the year 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15%, current data indicate that the situation is worsening rather than improving.
So what is going on? Why are so many Americans overweight? The U.S. Department of Health states the main contributing factor as the over consumption of calories coupled with a lack of physical activity – in other words that calories in does not equal calories out. Sounds simple, but the truth is more complex. Here are five little known secrets:
1. Not enough “good” fat makes us fat.
Following the low-fat diet craze that began in the 1980’s, which coincides with the sharp increase of obesity, many Americans became fat phobic, depriving themselves of the EFAs (essential fatty acids) the body needs to function properly. It is estimated that 80% of Americans are deficient in EFAs and studies have also shown that EFA deficiency may contribute to weight gain. Adding olive oil, nuts, and omega-3 enriched eggs to your diet may actually help you lose weight.
2. Environmental toxins cause more than cancer.
While it is now widely accepted that man-made toxins cause cancer, it has not been until recent years that scientists have begun researching the link between environmental toxins and obesity. An increase in environmental toxicity parallels the nation’s increase in obesity. Changes in the body’s metabolism may be its way of protecting itself from these toxins of which many come from food and indoor air. When possible, buy organic foods. Use HEPA air filters and natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. Avoid petrochemical laundry products like Tide and Cheer.
3. A healthy liver means a healthy weight.
Eastern cultures have long considered the liver the most vital of human organs. It cleanses the blood by filtering toxins and metabolizes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Obesity and weight gain may indicate a sluggish or congested liver. Give your liver the vitamins and minerals needed to perform its job. Supplement your diet with vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. Consider taking herbs that promote liver function. Milk Thistle has been used as a liver remedy for over 2,000 years.
4. Reduce stress to weigh less.
Stress leads to emotional eating and raises levels of cortisol, a hormone produced when your body is under stress. High levels of cortisol are associated with obesity and the storage of excess fat. Studies have also recently shown higher levels of cortisol in women who constantly diet. Focus on eating for health and avoid severely restricting diets. Be sure to allow yourself eight hours of sleep each night.
Make time for yourself every day whether it’s to journal, meditate or even something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle.
5. Correct insulin resistance to lose fat, especially in the belly.
If you are insulin resistant your body responds to food differently than other people do. Insulin resistance is a biochemical condition that prevents the body from properly absorbing blood sugar or insulin. Symptoms of insulin resistance include excess abdominal fat, (in men this means a 40 inch waist or larger, in women 35 inches) high blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure. Insulin resistance is fully treatable.
About the author
Dr. Heather DeLuca received her Naturopathic Degree and B.S. in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Washington State. Her particular interests include research in the fields of nutrition, diet and nutrient therapies. As a member of Insulite Laboratories’ Medical & Advisory team, she coaches individuals on their insulin-related conditions through the company’s comprehensive outreach program which is available to anyone free of charge.
At her practice, the Naturopathic Wellness Center in Kingston, Pennsylvania, Dr. DeLuca specializes in counseling as well as nutritional, botanical, orthomolecular and physical medicines. Through her Blog, “Ask Dr. Heather” she provides advice and coaching on PCOS, weight loss and fertility:
She says: “One of the goals of Naturopathic Medicine is to find the cause of illness. With the rise of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, along with their many complications, research is revealing one of the main causes to be Insulin Resistance. Although important, it is not enough to just treat the symptoms. You have to treat the cause, too. A balanced, nutritious diet plan and a program of regular exercise are proving to be crucial to help reverse these diseases and allow people to regain control of their health.
“I am very excited to be part of a team that is making a difference in people’s lives by taking a lead role in preventing and reversing Insulin Resistance and its related conditions.”