Archive for June, 2011

Obesity is more complex than most people think


Move more, eat less as many experts says then obesity will be solved. If obesity was that simple then how come the numbers of global obesity is constantly rising? Because it is far more complex than most people think. They tend to oversimplify a complex matter without considering every context of the real world application. I’m not a scientist nor a doctor or any expert of any sort; but I’m so curious about the possible cause/s and possible prevention or cure to obesity that’s why I research and I observe what’s going on in the world around me. Based on my observation and as many research shows, the major factor that makes obesity complex is the modern environment that we are living at.

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The industrialized society is forcing our body to work longer hours, work at varying shift work affecting our physiological, mental and social well-being. It is a cause and effect factor. In our modern society, our basic means of survival are now becoming a luxury for some or probably to even many of us. We constantly think about our jobs, our bills to pay, our daily obligations and other unfortuitous everyday demands. We tend to compromise our health meaning we lost the control to many things that are related to our health: what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat(eating pattern), we don’t get enough sleep, we’ve lost a regular sleeping pattern due to stress and modern demands and since we are living in a fast-phased environment, some of us were already too tired to do some exercise or leisure time. These basic needs are very important and so does our mental and social being because it adds quality to our daily lives. Our primary investment which is our health is now becoming deprived from attention. It is doing us so much favor yet we neglect it’s true importance.

If these basic needs are failed to be met, it causes disruption in our system. Our environment has a very strong influence to our behavior. It is so easy for some people especially those who belong to the fitness community to simplify advice such as to eat less and move more while the truth of the reality is, the average people’s lives are slowly becoming off balance. They have no idea to what is going on in the real world scenario. Combine lack of awareness regarding basic nutrition & basic physiology then add a complex non-linear lifestyle equates destruction on the human system.

Let’s take people who works on a rotational shift for example. Since circadian rhythm is very important for any organisms including us(humans) to function properly, people who works on this basis often acquires a disruption on their circadian rhythm therefore the effect on their physiological function is a fluctuation in their hormonal environment. It affects their mood, their appetite/satiety, body temperature, even behavior(that’s why these people aren’t automatically lazy and not making excuses not to exercise) as most of us think.

What we need to address are the reasons why people are eating more and moving less. Many people aren’t aware of effective strategies to effectively adapt to the modern culture.

http://oem.bmj.com/content/58/1/68.extract

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/shiftwrk.html

http://www.jci.org/articles/view/46043

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041104011642.htm

http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v27/n11/full/0802419a.html

Diet psychology: Why many diets fail


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Let’s face it. Many people these days are dieting of some sort. The majority of these diets works up to some level but how many of these diets can actually promote a sustainable amount of weight loss in terms of adherence & maintenance? In my observation, the majority of people who can normally sustain their leanness/ fitness are the ones who are fitness enthusiasts and alike. What about the average population who are not putting exercise nor dieting in their priority list? The reason why these people fail to adhere to their diet is because of thinking incorrectly in a way that they are simply memorizing the facts without critically analyzing the logic.

Let me briefly explain what’s going on. When people are trying to lose weight, they often asks the wrong kind of questions to themselves. This is where they were thinking incorrectly. I will enumerate some of the most frequent incorrect questions most people ask when they are seeking weight loss:

1.) What is the best way to lose weight?
2.) What should I eat on a diet?
3.) What/ How should I make my tummy flat?
4.) What kind of exercise should I do?
5.) What is the fastest way to lose weight?
6.) Which are fattening foods?
7.) How long would it take for me to lose weight?

Etc, etc, etc and so on…

So, you may now be wondering if what’s wrong with those questions above? Those type of questions I listed above are examples of definitive questions which requires definitive answers. Definitive questions should be avoided when seeking weight loss tips because the answer that will be given to you are final limiting answer that are taken out of context thus the validity of those definitive answers are somewhat questionnable since the questions itself are definitive. One good example is when we see someone who was previously overweight then all of a sudden, we saw that person shed several pounds of weight then our initial reaction is to ask them for tips and advice. We often asks these people the same definitive questions that I enumerated above.

Now, let’s talk about the correct questions people should ask from people who have successfully lost weight or the weight loss experts/ gurus. The most powerful question that every person seeking successful long-term weight management is the question “why.” This question is the most powerful because it gives a distinctive answer based on the context of scenario. This question provides the rationale and the logical conclusion of diet strategies. This is also an integral part on determining the validity of certain diet claims/ hype because the person whom we asks will be obliged to provide proof of evidence to support his claims. Anyway, here are some of the correct questions people should ask when they are seeking weight loss/ diet
advice:

1.) Why should I limit my calorie intake?
2.) Why should I eat those and why should I avoid that?
3.) Why should I incorporate a regular exercise routine?
4.) Why should I keep myself active?
5.) Why do I need to know the basics of nutrition science?

In my previous blog on how to solve obesity, I mentioned there that the first process of combating obesity is through awareness. Awareness doesn’t necessarily mean memorizing the facts or those that we read from the fitness magazines or in the internet. Awareness includes logical analization of the complexity of those facts that we read if how we can apply those strategies in our own everyday life. In short, many people fail to adhere to their diet simply because of incomplete thought as a result of incorrect way of thinking.

The battle of meal frequency


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In the fitness community, one of the most debatable topic is meal frequency. Meal frequency simply refers to a type of eating pattern(not a diet) which determines the amount of meals eaten per day. Depending on who you ask if which particular diet religion a person or an expert belong, depending on what type of diet or service they are trying to sell you, they’d often tell you that one is better than the other or vice-versa. So, the question is, which is actually better? The answer is of course the ever popular it depends answer. While many minimalist will give you a simplified answer that meal frequency doesn’t matter, depending on a specific context of scenario, meal frequency does matter. My purpose of writing this blog is for you guys to be able to identify if which eating pattern might be optimal for your preference, and or your specific goal. Now, I will try to compare a typical 3x a day eating pattern versus 6x a day multiple meal frequency eating pattern.

Let the tournament begin:

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*3x a day eating pattern

Pros:
1.) It allows you to eat bigger portions of meals – this can be quite handy for people who are on a reduced calorie diet who requires little amount of calories to maintain their body weight.

2.) Probably more convenient – this especially applies to people who have busy lifestyle who would rather do other things than worrying about eating every 2 or 3 hrs. Folks who are using Intermittent fasting diet typically uses this approach.

3.) Potential advantage of a no-brainer fat loss – on a simplified explanation, try to limit the amount of meals eaten per day, depending on which foods make up a person’s diet, this may lead to an unconscious calorie restriction. I’m not saying that 3x a day meal frequency would automatically be better than 6x a day meal frequency, for people who does not track their calorie intake, it just may have an advantage on restricting calories especially to some people who consumes the bulk of their diet from low-calorie, nutrient-dense food sources(clean eating type).

4.) Psychological benefit – especially to people who are already eating a very low calorie diet, eating big may get rid of the feeling of “diet deprivation.”

Cons:

1.) Not everyone like eating huge portions

2.) People seeking weight gain who are not big eaters may have a harder time consuming adequate amount of calories to promote weight gain unless he/ she would focus on eating calorie-dense food sources such as fast foods and alike.

3.) In the context of nutrient timing, a person who eats less frequently a day may have to drive his/ her meals as close as possible to his/ her workout in order to take advantage of nutrient partitioning and, or ergogenic benefits.

4.) People who have insulin problems might experience an insulin crash and spiking problems.

5.) People who doesn’t watch how much and what they eat may end up consuming too many calories which can be contradicting if their goal is fat loss.

*6x a day(multiple meals) eating pattern

Pros:

1.) Folks who are not big eaters may perform/ feel better on frequent meal nibbling. People who have problems maintaining their blood glucose levels may be better off using this approach in order for them to maintain a constant glucose/ insulin supply rather than crashing and spiking insulin back up.

2.) Potential advantage on early satiety therefore may have potential benefit on preventing overeating too many calories. These people normally eat 3 small meals and 3 small snacks.

3.) Advantage on timing nutrient. Since these people eats more frequently, these people doesn’t have to worry about timing their meals as close as possible to their training bouts.

4.) Potential advantage on easier digestion. These applies especially to people with gastric problems.

5.) People who are trying to gain weight who likes eating small meals may have the advantage to meet their caloric requirements to gain weight.

Cons:

1.) Some people especially those who are dieting down for fat loss yet enjoys eating bigger meals may feel deprived on this eating pattern.

2.) If calories aren’t controlled, this type of eating pattern may lead to overconsumption of too many calories if the goal is fat loss.

3.) It may be inconvenient to some people. Since these people eats more frequently, they spend more time preparing their foods in food containers. Some people who works long-hr shifts who have hectic schedule may find eating multiple meals inconvenient and not practical.

In the end, what matters more is the amount of total calories and proper macronutrient distribution to meet a specific goal. I enumerated some points of interest above in order for you guys to identify if which type of eating may suit your lifestyle or preference. The truth is that it’s the irregular meal frequency that causes negative effects such as lowered postprandial energy expenditure than of regular meal frequency thus irregular meal frequency have shown to cause a degree of insulin resistance and higher fasting lipid profiles.

Share and enjoy.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15220950

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15085170