Do not reduce weight per month by more than 3-4 kg. If you managed to lose more than 4 kg in a month, then the weight loss occurred, among other things, due to a decrease in muscle mass. It is important to note that with rapid weight loss in the body, the number of free radicals increases, which negatively affect skin nutrition, reduce skin turgor and elasticity. A proven way to avoid serious health problems is to reduce weight gradually and slowly, no more than 2-5% per month of total body weight.
From the Mayo Clinic:
You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn — or burn fewer calories than you eat. Some people seem to lose weight more quickly and more easily than others. But everyone loses weight by burning more calories than are eaten. The bottom line is calories count. The problem here is that not all calories are the same: see fructose and saturated fat, below.
Conversely, moderate nut consumption appears to have little weight gain effect, as shown below.
Obesity researcher Giles Yeo shows why calories are not created equal. He point out that protein and fiber makes one feel fuller that fats or starches.
The first step in managing obesity is improving lifestyle choices, and while fad diets and quick fixes abound, we all know they are not the right answer. Weight loss supplements are, in general, to be avoided.
Dr. Dan Maggs on why people overeat: Conscious overeating (societal pressure, family celebration), food that is designed to taste good regardless of nutrients, food is perceived as rewarding, compensating for food over-consumption with exercise seldom works, habitual eating, food addiction, emotional eating, stress, sleep deprivation, cultural overeating, festive overeating, being overweight can result in comfort eating, overweight people are often insulin resistant which causes one to be hungry all the time, and dietary guideline emphasize high-carb foods.
A robust circadian oscillation my help with weight control
The circadian clock is important, dysregulation of which can underlie obesity and type 2 diabetes. Circadian dysfunction can mess with ghrelin and leptin. This works via gut microbiota, the Bmal1 clock gene, nocturnin, lipase and leptin. It may promote the creation of beige fat. Circadian changes may be the reason why so many gain weight in the fall. Get to bed on time, no midnight snacks! A fruit fly study found that time-restricted feeding might overcome ill-timed lighting. So: make it dark at night/evening (especially blue light). Blue light at night caused rats to eat more sweets. Enjoy morning (blue) light (opposite if you’re a mouse). Food-induced thermogenesis works best early in the day. This is illustrated by a study of mice. Eating in the evening is an obesity risk due to reduced satiety hormones which lead to increased caloric intake. Eating food in the morning → greater fat oxidation. Don’t be afraid of a little late-day hunger – it’s mostly a mind trick. High-fat (fast food) diets can screw up the circadian rhythm. Exercising lightly in the evening may also help.
Eating good food at the wrong time is akin to eating junk food.
A good night’s sleep, made possible by a strong circadian oscillation, is important for weight control. A lack of sleep makes healthy weight loss impossible.
When the body clocks are aligned: People tend to consume less calories without trying to reduce food intake. Because they are sleeping well, they experience less craving for processed food, and also drink less alcohol.
From WebMD: Ppeople who soak up a few rays in the morning tend to have a lower body-mass index (BMI), or a leaner, slimmer physique, than people who step out in the sun later in the day.
Stress and other factors that throw the body’s “clocks” out of rhythm may contribute to weight gain.
Late meals are obesity promoting. Late meals may result in poor food choices. People who consume most of their calories in the evening tend to consume more of them and have a lower quality diet. Hunger tends to be strongest late in the day, peaking at about 8:00 p.m., after most people have completed the majority of their daily activities.
Intermittent fasting, combined with a sensible diet, is a powerful way to reduce weight along with other significant health benefits. Gin Stephens intermittent fasting story is here.
This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that intermittent fasting was more beneficial in reducing body weight, waist circumference, and fat mass without affecting lean mass compared to the non-intervention diet. Intermittent fasting also effectively improved insulin resistance and blood lipid conditions compared with non-intervention diets.
Diet-induced obesity is modeled in mice by using energy-dense, high-fat diets. When the time window of high-fat food intake is restricted [time-restricted feeding], weight gain is attenuated, but the underlying mechanisms are not resolved.
This 4-month (kind of short-term) study of low-carb vs. (8-hour eating window) fasting found that the greatest weight loss was when combing low-carb with fasting. Only those who’s eating window was early in the day, lost visceral fat. Only those who fasted reduced fasting glucose.
Mice that got (unhealthy) high-fat chow, which normally creates obesity, did not suffer such fate when eating was restricted for 8-9 hours.
The Cleveland Clinic: Intermittent fasting seems to work because the human body evolved to store food as fat to fuel you when food is scarce. Having longer time periods when we don’t eat seems to help our bodies perform their best.
This umbrella review of 11 meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials describing 104 outcomes associated with intermittent fasting on obesity-related health outcomes found beneficial associations of IF with anthropometric and cardiometabolic outcomes supported by moderate to high quality of evidence, which supports the role of IF, especially modified alternate-day fasting, as a weight loss approach for adults with overweight or obesity.
The most common finding here was a decrease in body weight and associated factors (24 studies). Associated factors such as percentage of body fat, body mass index, and waist circumference, were also decreased in many trials.
This six-week intervention in the experimental group of 46 men, age 65–74 years old involved complete abstinence from food intake for 16 h per day, from 08:00 to 12:00 p.m. The fasting lost 1.5 kg while the control group lost .5 kg.
Dr. Mike Hansen explains here an amazing story of significant weight loss and the science behind it:
1. intermittent fasting (16:8 – 8 hour eating window)
2. eat unprocessed food
3. exercise (a five mile walk and high-intensity interval training)
Any one of the above is good, any two will have a synergistic effect, and doing all three puts one at fat burning level 10.
No meds, pills, supplement, fad diets, or calorie counting.
Intermittent fasting works via AMPK. Exercise and ketones rev up AMPK. Ketones happen via intermittent fasting and a very low carb diet. The ketone beta hydroxy butyrate tells the liver mitochondria to make sirtuin-1 when then activates AMPK and inhibits MTOR.
When you are constantly eating, especially simple carbs, you are not allowing your AMPK to turn on for a long enough time. Same thing if you are not exercising.
mTOR determines if a cell will grow, remain stable, or die. mTOR is highly dependent on AMPK. When the AMPK switch is turned on, meaning your mitochondria are burning fuel to make ATP, the mTOR is shut off so there is no growing. This is what happens when you exercise and also when the (glycolisis to ketosis) metabolic switch happens. The autophagy that happens during ketosis prepares the cells for optimal functioning. The sweet spot for ketosis is 16-18 hours. Insulin needs to hit rock bottom for a sustained period of time for the benefits of ketosis.
Intermittent fasting promotes mitophagy via SIRT3.
Hunger due to intermittent fasting is treated in this video by Dr. Mike Hansen.
When combined with resistance training and moderate protein intake, continuous energy restriction and 5:2 intermittent fasting resulted in similar improvements in body composition, muscle quality, and strength.
Horrible, evil, fructose
Fructose consumption has been growing exponentially and, concomitant with this, the increase in the incidence of obesity and associated complications has followed the same behavior. Studies indicate that fructose may be a carbohydrate with greater obesogenic potential than other sugars.
When people eat a diet that is high in calories and high in fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat. Many scientists believe that excess fructose consumption may be a key driver of many of the most serious diseases of today. These include obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
Finger-like projections called villi line the inside of the small intestine. The researchers found that mice fed high-fructose corn syrup for four weeks had villi that were 25-40% longer than those in control mice. They also gained significantly more weight and fat mass.
Mitochondria is important for converting food to energy. Obesity and diabetes are energy disorders. Mitochondria are sensitive to oxidative stress. Fructose will cause oxidatative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. Vitamin C tends to block the obesity-promoting effects of fructose.
From Dr. Zoë Harcombe Ph.D, an expert on obesity: “Food manufacturers may like to argue that all sugar is equal – but, when it comes to enabling fat to be stored, the glucose/fructose combinations are more equal than others. They are particularly fattening. Fresh fruit is way too high in sugar for anyone concerned about their weight. As for dried fruit and fruit juice – don’t even go there.”
Unlike our distant past, fruit are now available all year, adding to the obesity hazard. For those fighting obesity or metabolic issues: fruit is not your friend.
Some studies have compared administration of glucose to administration of fructose, and found little difference. The problem here is that glucose (sugar is 1/2 fructose and 1/2 glucose), and high-glycemic carbs, will be converted into fructose in the body.
From this video by Dr. Dan Maggs: Animals gorge on fruits in fall to prepare for winter. Fructose slows our metabolism, and causes leptin resistance, so the normal feedback signals that cause us to stop eating is less effective. Fructose causes a low energy state in our cells that mimics starvation, so hunger increases. Some fruits are low in fructose: apricots, nectrines, plums, pineapples; and some are high in fructose: apples, grapes, watermelon, mangos, pears. Finally, fruits are getting sweeter and less fibrous to make them more marketable.
Dr. Richard Johnson is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and is a clinician, educator, and researcher. He is board certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and kidney disease and is the founding editor of Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology, one of the main textbooks on kidney disease. His research is the inspiration for the fructose and uric acid warnings here.
UC Health quoting Dr. Richard Johnson: “Mice given lots of fructose end up turning some of it into uric acid (most famous for causing gout) rather than burning it off. The uric acid then creates oxidative stress in a cell’s mitochondria (energy-factory organelles), which then triggers weight gain that can become harder and harder to reverse as mitochondria get degraded from years of uric-acid baths.”
This study on nine healthy, normal-weight male volunteers showed that even moderate amounts of fructose and sucrose significantly alter hepatic insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism compared with similar amounts of glucose.
Some short-term interventional studies, even those within the range of “normal” fructose consumption, show that fructose can rapidly impair intermediate physiological endpoints like circulating lipids and insulin sensitivity in humans.
Dr. Richard Johnson also urges caution with highly glycemic fruits.
Excess fructose in the liver activates a molecular factor known as carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein, or ChREBP. Fructose initiates a process that causes the liver to keep making glucose and raising blood glucose levels, even as insulin tries to keep glucose production in check. No matter how much insulin the pancreas makes, it can’t override the processes started by this protein, ChREBP, to stimulate glucose production. This can ultimately cause blood sugar and insulin levels to increase, which over time can lead to insulin resistance elsewhere in the body.
Rats fed a high-fructose diet developed hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.
Given that moderate amounts of fructose diminishes insulin sensitivity, insulin will rise to compensate. Indeed, high-fructose feeding readily induces hyperinsulinemia in animal models. Fructose consumption may contribute to the hyperinsulinemic phenotype of adolescent obesity.
When you eat fructose, it tricks the cells into reducing ATP levels. Once the ATP levels are low, it sets off an alarm that says “hey, I wanna gain weight, I wanna store fat, I wanna become insulin resistant, I wanna raise my blood pressure, because my energy levels are dropping. Then, when you eat the food, instead of replacing the ATP, it shunts the food into fat, and only replaces a tiny bit of the ATP, so the your ATP levels stay low, and you keep eating, then finally your ATP approaches normal, but you ate more than you normally would have.
Writing in The Conversation, Richard Johnson states: “Since fructose is made from glucose, production of fructose increases when blood glucose levels are high. This process happens when we eat a lot of rice, cereal, potatoes and white bread; those are carbs that rapidly release glucose into the blood rapidly.”
Normally weight is regulated by a hormone called leptin. Upon consumption of a large amount of fructose, hunger is increased, mitochondrial output is decreased, and resting metabolism decreases. Rats given a high-sugar diet (versus normal chow) became diabetic, got high triglycerides, fatty liver, and were slightly heavier. High fat + high sugar triggers fast weight gain.
From Harvard Health: It’s important to note that fruit juices are not a better option for weight control than sugar-sweetened beverages. Ounce for ounce, fruit juices-even those that are 100 percent fruit juice, with no added sugar- are as high in sugar and calories as sugary sodas. So it’s no surprise that a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, which tracked the diet and lifestyle habits of 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years, found that people who increased their intake of fruit juice gained more weight over time than people who did not.
Diet quality is important for weight loss
The Mediterranean diet and the low-fat vegan diet can both promote weight loss: both can be low-calorie diets, depending on the details. Both diets are high in fiber. A ‘green‘ Mediterranean diet is made by adding foods like green tea and protein-rich plants could make it even healthier. This improved diet is especially good a reducing visceral fat.
Dr. Fuhrman: All oils increase visceral fat.
There are various “models” of obesity, such as the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM) and the energy balance model. Both approaches recognize the “causal role of increased availability and marketing of a wide variety of inexpensive, convenient, energy-dense, ultraprocessed foods that are high in portion size, fat, and sugar, and low in protein and fiber.”
Insulin, the fat storage hormone, is a recurring theme above. Hyperinsulinemia increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and decreases health span and life expectancy. Dr. Joel Furhman explains the evils of excessive insulin in this video. Dr. Furhman again explains the evils of simple carbs.
Dr. Ludwig: The fastest way to stabilize blood glucose and lower insulin levels is to reduce carbohydrate.
The Mayo Clinic: A low-carb diet is intended to cause the body to burn stored fat for energy, which leads to weight loss. Animal-based low-carb diets were associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, while plant-based low-carb diets were associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.
Here is a video about beginning a low-carb diet.
Dr. Ludwig is a practicing endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. He holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He points out that the classic “reduce calories and exercise more” paradigm has largely failed to curb the obesity epidemic. He then presents here that calorie burn depends on the kind of calories consumed. Fat-derived calories are burned more readily than carb-derived calories.
Low carb may be great, but going full keto long-term may be inadvisable. Participants with the lowest carbohydrates intake had the highest risk of death overall (32%), cardiovascular disease (50%), cerebrovascular (51%), and cancer (36%) mortality.
The distinction between sugar and starch is largely meaningless from a biological perspective. The key public health challenge today is to reduce intake of all highly processed carbohydrates in favor of whole carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, legumes and minimally processed grains) and healthful fats (like nuts, avocado and olive oil).
From Harvard Health:
Many of the foods that help prevent disease also seem to help with weight control-foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. And many of the foods that increase disease risk-chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks-are also factors in weight gain.
In the Nurses’ Health Study, for example, which followed 42,000 middle-age and older women for eight years, increased consumption of unhealthy fats-trans fats, especially, but also saturated fats-was linked to weight gain, but increased consumption of healthy fats-monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat-was not.
Replacing red and processed meat with nuts, beans, fish, or poultry seems to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. (14,16) And this diet strategy may help with weight control, too, according to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers tracked the diet and lifestyle habits of 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years, looking at how small changes contributed to weight gain over time. (9) People who ate more red and processed meat over the course of the study gained more weight-about a pound extra every four years. People who ate more nuts over the course of the study gained less weight-about a half pound less every four years.
Milled, refined grains and the foods made with them-white rice, white bread, white pasta, processed breakfast cereals, and the like-are rich in rapidly digested carbohydrate. So are potatoes and sugary drinks. The scientific term for this is that they have a high glycemic index and glycemic load. Such foods cause fast and furious increases in blood sugar and insulin that, in the short term, can cause hunger to spike and can lead to overeating-and over the long term, increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. (17–19)
Fast food is known for its large portions, low prices, high palatability, and high sugar content, and there’s evidence from studies in teens and adults that frequent fast-food consumption contributes to overeating and weight gain. (61–66) The CARDIA study, for example, followed 3,000 young adults for 13 years. People who had higher fast-food-intake levels at the start of the study weighed an average of about 13 pounds more than people who had the lowest fast-food-intake levels. They also had larger waist circumferences and greater increases in triglycercides, and double the odds of developing metabolic syndrome. (62)
The major (obesity) culprit is the unrestricted and ubiquitous availability of a mixed diet, offering numerous appetizing foods, often in large portions, in which sugar, and to an even greater extent fat, contribute to raise the energy density.
Adequate protein is important for weight loss
Humans, like many other species, have a stronger appetite for protein than for the main energy-providing nutrients of fats and carbohydrates. That means that if the protein in our diet is diluted with fats and carbohydrates, we will eat more energy to get the protein that our bodies crave.
If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (.73 and 1 grams per pound). Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram (1-1.5 grams per pound) if aiming for weight loss.
Researchers say a breakfast with sufficient protein can help prevent overeating the rest of the day.
Nuts pack a lot of calories into a small package and are high in fat, so they were once considered taboo for dieters. As it turns out, studies find that eating nuts does not lead to weight gain and may instead help with weight control, perhaps because nuts are rich in protein and fiber, both of which may help people feel fuller and less hungry. (9,23–25). People who ate almonds had improved levels of appetite-regulating hormones compared to those consuming a carbohydrate-rich snack bar.
People who consumed almonds – as opposed to an energy-equivalent carbohydrate snack – lowered their energy intake by 300 kilojoules (most of which came from junk food) at the subsequent meal.
While there are many benefits to dietary protein, there are four main areas that have direct effects on weight loss:
- Lean mass
- Thermic effect of food
- Storage as body fat
- Protein keeps you satisfied between meals.
- Protein keeps blood sugar balanced.
High salt intake activates the aldose reductase–fructokinase pathway in the liver and hypothalamus, leading to the production of endogenous fructose and the development of leptin resistance. “We show that salt, despite the fact that it does not provide any calories, can in fact stimulate appetite via the endogenous production and metabolism of sugar.
The salt➝ fructose ➝ obesity connection was also shown in this eye-opening video.
Increasing intakes of sodium (salt) obligatorily produce a progressive increase in thirst. The progressive increase in the average intake of salt explains the observed concomitant increase in the intake of beverages which, in turn, has caused a marked net increase in the intake of calories during the same period in the United States.
Dr. Furhman: Salt is hidden inside french fries to stimulate appetite. If salt was on the outside, it would taste too salty. Salt is added to Coca cola for the same reason.
Dr. Brad Stanfield and Dr. Michael Albert MD explain here that the various diets work by tricking the mind into eating less calories. They also note that eating earlier in the day is helpful for weight loss. When cutting back on calories, protein intake is important for preserving lean muscle mass: 1.2 – 1.5 gram per kilogram of body weight. Exercise helps with weight control: combine resistance training (weight lifting) with aerobic exercise, as both benefits are complementary.
Dr. Brad Stanfield, in this video, explains that GLP-1 agonist medications can do wonders for those struggling with obesity. Examples are Semaglutide (Wegovy) and Tirzepatide (mounjaro) – both are FDA approved for weight loss. Here is another success story about Semaglutide. Here is Dr. Eric Topol’s analysis of semaglutide is here. Dr. Topol points out that Semaglutide is very expensive, ~$1500 per month, and not covered by Medicare.
WebMD tells us which beverages are best and worst for weight loss.
Medical News Today tells us which foods are worst for weight loss: Sugary beverages, baked foods, french fries, restaurant hamburgers, crackers and chips, white pasta and bread, white rice, energy and granola bars, candied dried fruits, sweetened yogurt, ice cream, processed meat, alcohol, and candy bars.
Initial weight loss is usually easier than sustaining weight loss. Dieting does not work because diets have an end where one typically backslides. When we eat less, our body compensates and burns fewer calories, which makes losing weight harder.
The solution to dieting is to seek to improve your health by altering your food consumption, opt for strategies that focus on including healthy foods in your diet, and focus specifically on those healthy foods that you really enjoy eating.
This study found that vitamins D, folate, magnesium and potassium showed a negative relationship to BMI.
Exercise alone is not a good weight loss strategy, though some exercises are better than others. This compendium of 60+ studies show, again, that exercise alone in the non-fasted state will not work to lose weight. This overview of 12 systematic reviews and 149 studies showed that no difference in weight, fat, and visceral loss was found between aerobic and high-intensity interval training as long as energy expenditure was equal. Resistance training reduced lean mass loss during weight loss. No significant effect of exercise was found on weight maintenance.
Here it again from this expert.
The problem with exercise alone is that the basal metabolic rate tends to decrease when one exercises more, this partially cancelling out the imagined calories “burned”. This is especially true for those who are already obese.
A study of multiple hunter-gatherer tribes revealed that human bodies are set to expend a set number of calories via exercise daily. Those who exercise more end up compensating to make up the difference.`You need to diet to lose weight, you need to exercise for everything else.
Here is a chart that shows how much calories are burned due to purposeful exercise (not much).
Professor Daneil Lieberman points out that mild aerobic exercise may actually be better for weight loss and weight stabilization than is often assumed. This is because all of the relevant studies were of short duration, not over, for instance, 5 years where small amounts of weight loss would be more apparent.
It may be best to exercise to be healthy and to have fun, not to be slim. Some exercises, though, are better than others for losing weight. High intensity exercise may be the most effective. Intense workout regimens may boost levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin.
Leucine may attenuate adiposity and promote weight loss during energy restriction [6,7]. These effects are, in part, mediated by Sirt1-dependent pathways and associated with stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and increased oxygen consumption .
Exercise, combined with heightened levels of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)(opens in new tab) and an appropriate diet, can help you achieve a calorie maintenance or calorie deficit(opens in new tab), preventing or reversing symptoms of overweight and obesity.
Exercise sometimes induces negative energy balance and sometimes does not ((50)).
If you’re looking to reduce body fat percentage, fasted cardio may be beneficial. When you exercise after eating, your body uses the calories you’ve just consumed as energy to fuel your workout. When you’re in a fasted state, your body doesn’t have any quick carbohydrates or other calories that it can easily use as fuel. Instead, it has to turn to glycogen, which is how carbohydrates get stored away long-term in the muscles and liver. Once your glycogen stores are tapped out, the body turns to fat stores for fuel. The result? You burn more fat.
A study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that those who did cardio in the morning in a fasted state (i.e. before eating) burned a whopping 20 percent more fat than those who ate a meal beforehand.
Exercising during a fasting state increases lipolysis in adipose tissue while also stimulating peripheral fat oxidation, resulting in increased fat utilization and weight loss.
From WebMD: Working out on an empty stomach actually helps you get better results from exercise. Prebreakfast sweat sessions can help you burn more of your body’s fat for fuel.
Dr. Mike Hansen, in this (referenced) video says: Less than 30 grams of carbs per day combined with intermittent fasting and exercise will result in weight loss. This will activate beta hydroxybutyrate with awesome health results.
Soda is bad news:
Soda is sweetened either artificially (“diet soda”) for with high-fructose corn syrup. See the above section on fructose.
Dr. Mike Hansen explains why artificially sweetened soft drinks cause weight gain, insulin resistance and, perhaps, leaky gut.
A study of mice found that dietary sugar alters the gut microbiome, setting off a chain of events that leads to metabolic disease, pre-diabetes, and weight gain.
Simple carbs like sugar do not cause one to feel full the way complex carbs and protein will.
Insulin causes weight gain. Dr. Dan Maggs tells us how to lower insulin: A low-carb diet, intermittent fasting, exercise, reduce stress, quality sleep.
Artificial sweeteners are safe to use, and will help one lose weight.
Participants consuming the morning loaded diet reported significantly lower hunger later in the day. This may make cutting back on calories after breakfast easier.
Late eating increased hunger and altered appetite-regulating hormones, increasing waketime and 24-h ghrelin:leptin ratio. Furthermore, late eating decreased waketime energy expenditure and 24-h core body temperature. Adipose tissue gene expression analyses showed that late eating altered pathways involved in lipid metabolism, e.g., p38 MAPK signaling, TGF-β signaling, modulation of receptor tyrosine kinases, and autophagy, in a direction consistent with decreased lipolysis/increased adipogenesis (increased body weight).
Multiple types of stressors may be risk factors for obesity, and cumulative exposure to these stressors may increase the odds of obesity. Chronic stress can disrupt the circadian (sleep-wake) cycle which can then lead to weight gain.
Saturated FAs (SFAs) have been shown to result in higher rates of weight gain,10, 11 whereas polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) did not induce obesity in mice and rats.12, 13 In humans, Doucet et al.14 showed that waist circumference, as a measure of central adiposity, is increased in individuals with a higher total, saturated and monounsaturated fat content in their diets compared with PUFAs. Likewise, these mice got fat on (saturated) palm oil. Saturated fat causes weight gain in mice, even without fructose.
Intermittent fasting, exercise, and being cold will (in the absence of chronic inflammation) turn white fat into brown fat, raising one’s metabolic rate. Brown fat is especially beneficial in cool temperatures.
High meat intake, especially organ meats, can raise uric acid via purines. Excessive uric acid causes oxidative stress in the mitochondria (the cell’s energy factory) and that stimulates fat synthesis and blocks fat degradation. Also, uric acid activates aldose reductase and the polyol pathway for endogenous fructose and fat production.
A whole-food, unprocessed, plant-based diet (PBD)
One particularly healthful approach to weight control without dieting is a whole-food, unprocessed, plant–based (vegan) diet. This works via various phytochemicals. This diet beat out all other free-living interventions at 6 and 12 months. The fiber found naturally in fruits and veggies will help with satiety, and raise metabolism via a healthy gut microbiome.
A quality plant-based diet works by many mechanisms. One is that of low energy density, resulting in one feeling full despite consuming less calories. The most widely accepted theory is that plants have low-calorie density (the number of kilocalories (kcal) per unit weight of food) and reduced fat content (19) with high micronutrient density. Low-calorie-dense foods are more beneficial for weight loss than smaller portion sizes (19). In addition, some calories are trapped within indigestible cell walls when obtaining macronutrients from structurally intact plant foods, which reduce the bioavailable food energy compared to the results of “available” energy measured with a bomb calorimeter.
Several compounds found in plants have been identified as potentially beneficial to weight loss (37, 38). These anti-obesity compounds include polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and alkaloids. Consumption of a diet high in active anti-obesity natural compounds is a promising strategy for suppressing lipid accumulation and adipogenesis (37). Curcumin is another compound found in the rhizome of Curcuma longa L., one of the many plants that may act as an anti-obesity agent (39). The key components of PBD are lower calorie density and lower fat intake. The combination of these two factors is the likely rationale for the effectiveness of this weight-control approach (19).
Eating a plant-based diet decreases inflammatory dietary advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) by 79%, compared to a 15% reduction for a diet that contains meat and dairy products. An average weight reduction of 14 pounds and better insulin sensitivity was linked to the drop in AGEs.
This systematic review of 19 studies found that ” All studies reported weight reductions, of which seven revealed significant differences”.
Switching to a low fat, plant-based diet could boost the body’s metabolism enough to burn excess weight and fat.
Avoid weight rebound
Obesity is perhaps best thought of as a chronic relapsing condition. People with obesity need lifelong access to treatment and support. Rather than dismissing effective treatment options because of weight regain, we should be honest with people about what treatments can achieve and the likelihood of needing ongoing support. After all, chronic conditions require chronic treatments.
Continuous monitoring and goal setting, driven by sustained motivation and encouraging experiences, while resisting ever present challenges and enduring discouraging experience encapsulates the experience of sustained, substantial weight loss.
This study in mice revealed that species of Lactobacillus and their metabolites were shown to increase in the guts of the animals once their fasting ended and they were reintroduced to a less restricted diet. That microbiome change, the researchers discovered, assisted the intestinal tissues in absorbing more fat. A high-protein diet restricted the growth of Lactobacillus, thus limiting the amount of fat that was accumulated.
Losing weight in middle age and beyond
Cutting back on food intake might put one at risk of protein deficiency. Older people need more protein. Consider supplementing with protein powder, as suggested by WebMD.
WebMD on losing weight after 40.
From Health.gov: Older adults generally have lower calorie needs, but similar or even increased nutrient needs compared to younger adults. This is often due to less physical activity, changes in metabolism, or age-related loss of bone and muscle mass.
From nidirect.gov.uk: As you get older it’s natural to start eating less because you will become less physically active and so your body will adapt and adjust your overall food intake.
Limit restaurant meals.
Strength training will really help control weight.
Given the difficulty that older people have losing weight, the Nutritarian diet may be a good choice for losing weight and for staying healthy. Note that this nutrient-dense diet does not include wheat or meat.
Those who are retired may find that following a circadian-friendly lifestyle (see above) is easier, with multiple benefits besides weight loss.