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Weight Loss and Sleep


Weight loss: are you getting enough sleep?   It’s a serious question..Take a look at this:

It’s 2004 (6 December 2004) and the headline reads:

“Sleep loss, appetite and weight gain”

Did you see it?  The article goes on to confirm  that researchers at the University of Chicago  have found that partial sleep deprivation alters the circulating levels of the hormones that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite and a preference for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

So this study (published in the 7 Dec. 2004 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine), gives us a mechanism linking sleep loss to the current epidemic of obesity.

In the experiment, research subjects (who slept only four hours a night for two nights) had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain there is no need for more food, and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger.

The study volunteers, all healthy young men, reported a 24 percent increase in appetite, with a surge in desire for sweets, such as candy and cookies, salty foods such as chips and nuts, and starchy foods such as bread and pasta.  Aha!

“This is the first study to show that sleep is a major regulator of these two hormones and to correlate the extent of the hormonal changes with the magnitude of the hunger change,” said Professor-Eve-Van-CauterEve Van Cauter, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “It provides biochemical evidence connecting the trend toward chronic sleep curtailment to obesity and its consequences, including metabolic syndrome and diabetes.”

Need more convincing?  Take a look at this study on 5 and 6 year old children that concluded the prevalence of obesity was increased as sleep amount decreased, independently of other factors..Or this study of sleep deprived animals that showed a strong preference for a high- carbohydrate diet.  Scientists have known for years that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity: are you getting enough?

“Our modern industrial society seems to have forgotten the importance of sleep,” Van Cauter said. “We are all under pressure to perform, in school, at work, in social and professional settings, and tempted by multiple diversions. There is a sense that you can pack in more of life by skimping on sleep. But we are finding that people tend to replace reduced sleep with added calories, and that’s not a healthy trade.”

It could explain why so many of us who are chronically sleep-deprived also are overweight. And it could be part of the reason sleepy new parents, stay-up-late college students and shift workers pile on the pounds.

Sound familiar?  Does pressure of work and limited “down time” make you want to trade in your sleep time for more TV?  It’s a small change to your routine but the pay-off can be spectacular in terms of cravings and hunger..try it and see!

Weight loss and sleep, tell us how it’s working for you?  Sharing is fun!

Eat Less Exercise More: Does It Work?


'Healthy Eating' means weight gain.

Eat less and exercise more.  How is this working for you?  The fact is that when you restrict calories (eat less) you get hungry!  Have you tried it?  What happens?  If you’re like most people you can probably manage your hunger for a couple of weeks even months but it then becomes a test of endurance and we can tell you who will win out in the end…..Hunger will make sticking to your new regime almost impossible and not only that, hormonal imbalance will drive “overeating and weight gain” once the restriction has gone. Why?

Our bodies have built in something we call a ‘set point weight’.  This is a survival instinct brought about during periods of limited resource, stress or starvation.  during these times the body does all it can to maintain what it had set as your ‘set weight point’ . If you force the body beyond this point it remembers where it was before you put it under stress, when your dieting stops the body stores as much fat as it can to return the known set point. However the bodies set point weight only works in one direction, this is up, it has no limit on gaining weight and is quite happy to to store more and more fat for future periods of lack.

Both calorie restriction along with willpower and exercise cause stress which is not good.  You are far more likely to succeed and achieve the weight loss you desire when you are not stressed. When stressed the Adrenal glands produce cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol result in the body going into preserve mode and weight loss stalls. In addition stress hormones are produced which in turn increases glucose levels, which leads to increased insulin production, weight gain and a whole host of other potential health related issues, including diabetes, syndrome x, heart disease Etcetera. The evidence against using exercise as a weight loss tool is huge, one should not be used to enable or enhance the other, always address excess weight issues before fitness. Remember diet is the key to your weight loss goals and exercise is a fitness tool.

“Reduced fat and calorie intake and frequent use of low calorie food products have been associated with a paradoxial increase in the prevalence of obesity” – Drs Heini & Weinsier

Let’s take another look at the Minnesota Experiment.  This study was conducted 60 years ago and was an effort to assess the effects of starvation on the human body as well as how best to re-nourish it.  Sound familiar?  It should do because this is what you are doing to your body every time you embark on anther fad diet or weight loss programme…In the final phase of this 56 week long experiment, the 36 male volunteers were given an unrestricted rehabilitation period lasting 8 weeks for re-nourishment following a programme of restricted eating.  What happened?  Left to their own devices they ate huge quantities of food!  Eating more than 4000 calories a day for several weeks driven by a strong desire to overeat…The experiment noted that the “extreme” eating was directly related to the extent of weight lost: the more weight an individual lost, the more the drive to over eat and to such an extent that by the time eating returned to normal, fat levels were 75% higher than at the start of the study.

So why do we keep doing it?  If your aim is to lose weight and to keep it off in the long-term you must embrace a way of eating that keeps you satisfied and that can keep your hunger at bay. Think diet not dieting and what Paleo will do for you! You must place your emphasis on eating nutrient dense truly satisfying food and become familiar with those foods that will do this for you….and here’s a clue, it’s not carbohydrates!

Beef-ragoutStay tuned over the next few days as we update you and discuss how each food group effects your hunger and give you pointers toward the most satiating foods to eat in your diet.

As for eat less and exercise more? The evidence suggests you’re probably flogging a dead horse.Paleo-works-how-to-diet

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