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Friday, August 21, 2009

The Calorie Hoax

At the gym today I had an interesting revelation. Well, not really. It was not so much a 'revelation' as it was more proof of what I've been telling my patients for almost a decade now and thus, a discussion topic for today's blog.

Please allow me to explain...

Over the last six months or so I've been running into the same four gals at the gym. All women are in their 40's - 50's, wear tight spandex as their exercise garment du jour, and all have pretty decent size tires around their waist. And yes, their 'tire rolls' are very evident given the tight spandex---in other words I can not only see the size but count the number of tire rolls per gal. As I watched these ladies work out I had to really hand it to them for their motivation and dedication. They've been coming to this gym for months doing both cardio and weight training religiously. But as I was pumping away on the stepper machine listening to my Ipod, I was also observing each of these ladies and their intensity and dedication to exercise. I also realized something very important: Their body shape and body composition hadn't changed one bit in the months we've been running into each other. Not one of these gals looked an ounce lighter or thinner in the tire roll department.

The reason?

Because I'll bet each of these gals is operating under the mantra that to lose weight you simply work off more calories than you consume.

Wrong!

In fact, I was at the health store today and I picked up one of the free catalogs. In that catalog it states the following: "The simple formula for weight gain is to consume more calories than you burn. If the calories in food are less than the calories burned then you have weight loss."

Wow! With continued bogus propaganda as this, no wonder why these gals haven't appeared to have lost an ounce of fat in months. And I see it in my clinical practice every day whereby patients will tell me "I swear, I'm eating only 900 calories per day and working out 2 hours per day and I'm gaining weight! My doctor thinks I'm lying to him about what I'm eating." Then comes their stream of tears...

I grab their hand, look into their tears and respond with these words: "I believe you."

And then their stream turns into a flood.....

I believe these patients because I know that the 'calorie in vs calorie out' theory of body fat maintenance is totally debunked in today's day of "Limit Age Syndrome". Because you see, the weight gain associated with the epidemic of "Limit Age Syndrome" has nothing to do with calories---and has everything to do with the metabolism of the food eaten. Read that again and commit that last line to memory. With Limit Age Syndrome, body fat has nothing to do with calories and has everything to do with the metabolism of the food eaten.

Yes, I learned the above during my research and training but I also had to learn it the hard way via my own personal experience.

As many of you know, I love to dance. When I go to a dance it is not uncommon for me to dance non-stop for 4 hours. And btw, I dance mostly fast dancing whereby I cover a lot of turf as well as I enjoy to do some more exotic moves that give my quads a decent work out. At each of these dances there is always a table full of food---yum city! And mostly all chips, cakes, pies, pasta etc.

I don't know what to say but to admit that one Saturday evening I got really stupid and told myself that I could budget out my calories expended at the dance and thus, 'enjoy' that many calories of these oh so awesome dance treats. In other words, I'd be sure to dance up a storm and thus, would burn off the calories I had consumed in my chosen sin.

Not!

Within only one month, four Saturday night dances to be exact, I could no longer fit into any of my pants. That was my only change--succumbing to the Calorie Hoax on Saturday nights.

Obesity associated with Limit Age Syndrome is the body trying to save its own life. Yep, you heard me right. The body is creating obesity to save itself from the risks associated with the fast and heavy influx of glucose into the system. In other words, the body is creating the "tire belly" (aka: V.A.T.) and the long-term health risks associated with V.A.T. in order to reduce the immediate AGE (advanced glycation end-products) damage. Said another way, the body is creating ugly V.A.T. for our short-term benefit (ie: pull sugar from the blood to reduce AGE). Unfortunately, after this goes on for days, weeks, months and years we soon have a decent size V.A.T. and now have to deal with the long-term, hormonal negative consequences of the V.A.T.

Yep, you heard me right. The V.A.T. is an endocrine organ. An endocrine organ is any organ that puts off hormones and chemical messengers. And the V.A.T. does just this. It puts off a long list of inflammatory chemical messengers that only have one goal: make you fatter and more miserable.

And when you add up the weight of your other endocrine organs such as your thyroid, ovaries/testes, adrenals etc and compare it to the weight of your V.A.T., who is dominating your body's endocrine show?

The time has come to realize that the metabolism of food is more complicated than a simple "calorie in vs calorie out" theory. We've been believing a hoax.

As for those four ladies, I'll continue to watch them. But I know if I worked out as hard as them and didn't see a change in my V.A.T. I would soon become discouraged and give up.

If they only knew that the secret to losing their V.A.T. had less to do with their dedication to eating less calories and visiting the gym and and more to do with the 'type of calories' they consumed.

As for me, I've gotta make dinner and eat---because I'm going to a dance in just a bit and I don't want to be tempted by the 'evil dance table'....

I love you all. Stay tuned...