Why is My Diet Not Working – aka – Why can’t I Lose Weight

November 30, 2015

Why is My Diet Not Working – aka – Why Can’t I Lose Weigh

 Reference: Zeevi Cell Nov 2015 

 Eating like a bird and still not losing weight?   Hmm. Your dietician, your doctor, your family all say, “Must be cheating and is just in denial!”. You might even be tempted to say that about yourself.   But maybe not.   It may not be you that’s cheating. It may be your gut biome. Maybe the bacteria in your colon are configured in a way to confound whatever you do. 

 How do we know that? Well, Zeevi and Segal in this month’s Cell Journal detail the blood sugar responses of 800 people every 5 minutes to some 47,000 meals. By collecting blood glucose every 5 minutes, they could tell the blood sugar rise to different foods. A rise in blood sugar inspires your pancreas to put out insulin. Insulin forces your fat cells to go into “storage mode” instead of “sharing mode”. In storage mode, the fat cell can only import energy. 

To lose weight from fat, you have to be in “sharing mode”. That only happens when your insulin is below 5-7. Better yet, 2-3.   (It’s not a sudden cliff.) Otherwise, the only calories your body will give up are from your meager glycogen stores (1500 calories or less), or muscle. (Bad idea- they are precious.)   Exercise is a potent “anti-insulin” effect on fat cells, as is pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone HCG opens up fat cells so that the fetus gets food, regardless of the mother having morning sickness or not.   The problem with pregnancy and exercise is you soon develop a voracious appetite to catch up. It turns out that different folks have quite different configurations of foods to which they have blood sugar spikes. 

That’s the key. Some folks spike to Sushi (white rice) but not to glucose. Some folks spike to tomatoes! And the criteria by which they spike is partially what they eat, yes, processed carbs wreak havoc most of the time, but also how much and how well they sleep, exercise, eat fiber and…..the biome of bacteria in their gut.

 Now Zeevi is being quite coy in his article. He talks about how he developed a personalized algorithm that successfully predicted how one’s sugar will rise, and thereby stress your system out, making you gain weight, develop heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. His predictions were based on what your gut biome has in it, in addition to how you make lifestyle and dietary choices.   But he doesn’t share the details of his algorithm. To me, that means he is coming out with a commercial product that can help you determine what your diet should be to avoid blood glucose rises, and thereby weight gain. There is money to be made in the weight loss world with helping folks understand how to make their own metabolism work better. If I can tell you how to predict your blood glucose spikes after a meal, I can reliably tell you how to lose weight. 

 But his real and valuable contribution is to identify the fact that you really do vary in your blood sugar responses to different foods. The knowledge of just what bacteria you need to have in your gut is becoming more clear. Without using his “secret algorithm”, can you fix your gut and adjust your diet? Probably.   

Here are 5 steps to heal your gut, mature your biome – and thereby lose weight, avoid heart disease and cancer.   One, cut down on sugar and simple carbs.  They switch your biome 

Two: Eat more fiber: more dense, coarse, unprocessed foods. (Think flax seed, Brussel’s sprouts, broccoli (green vegetables) Your goal, 30 grams a day for starters, more if you can.   

Three: reduce stress. Your gut, brain and immune system are one functioning triad of integrated systems. If you feel stressed, your gut feels it, your immune system feels it. Your biome gets it in the teeth. 

Four: Drink more water.   Soda and coffee don’t count. Half your weight in pounds, in ounces per day of pure, clean, unchlorinated or fluorinated water.   

Five: consider adding a good probiotic. Live cultures, kept in the fridge.   Florigen is one you can get from many pharmacies. Aim for 40 billion colonies a day. If you are constipated, have IBS, have heartburn or gas, you need to do it.   

 WWW. What will work for me? American food is all carbs with some protein or fat. The fat is usually awful. I’m working on more butter, less sugar. When I travel, I don’t succeed as well as I do when I’m at home.   The simplest formula that works foe me is eggs for breakfast and lunch. Put some butter on them.   

 Pop Quiz   

  1. My blood sugar response to food determines if I gain or lose weight from any given food. T or F                  Answer:   True
  1. A bowl of rice makes everyone’s blood sugar rise.   T or F                  Answer:  False. As a general rule, yes, but not everyone.
  1. Lifestyle choices like sleep, exercise, processed carbs, fat in my diet all affect the biome in my gut? T or F                              Answer:  Bingo
  1. The blood glucose rise after a meal determines my gaining or losing weight. T or F.    Answer:    Exactly
  1. A high fat meal has little effect on insulin. T or F                         Answer:   True, if the high fat meal has no carbs in it, and only modest protein.   High fat means HIGH FAT. (70%)
  1. I should aim to eat at least 15 grams a day of fiber. T or F                      Answer:  Trick question. Of course at least 15, But don’t stop there. Go for 35-45.