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Diet – individual differences and others

Content of the article:


Considered topics:

  • What genetic and environmental factors make losing weight more difficult for some people?
  • What is the difference between target and target?
  • What could be the reason for the lack of results and blockage with a combination of intense aerobic activity and very low calorie intake?
  • How do leptin, ghrelin and cortisol affect weight regulation?
  • Metabolic adaptations seem to affect some people more than others, what strategies can be used to reverse these adaptations somehow?

Genetic and environmental factors affecting weight loss

Lyle lists a number of factors that, according to research, have genetic variability from person to person: the amount of leptin produced, the number of fat cells (adipocytes), some genetic variants that determine the values ​​of energy expenditure for rest; but the aspect he stops at the most is NEAT, that is, activity and energy expenditure not related to learning.

In brief also refers to the regulation of body temperature. Here he explains how Western civilization, thanks to technology, clothing and artificial heat sources, always manages to live with a pleasant temperature and avoids prolonged exposure to extreme cold or heat, which can significantly increase energy consumption and activate the processes associated with brown adipose tissue.

Speaking of NEAT, it cites a number of studies and data showing that it can vary by more than 2000 calories per day between people due to factors such as lifestyle, genetic predisposition; Consider a classic example of a hyperactive subject who always stands, who always keeps parts of the body in motion, who works while standing, unlike the subject who always sits, works while sitting, restricts movement to a minimum. But it also takes into account the customs and culture of the place where the person lives; for example, in America (and it is in Texas where he lives) there is a car culture, and people move very little on foot, they take a car for every little movement, while, for example, in New York On average, people walk much more often and in many European countries we find the use of the bicycle as an ingrained culture.

Next, let’s talk about some subjective differences that are often overlooked: some people enjoy physical activity, exercise a lot and burn a lot of calories; instead, there are other people who do not like physical activity at all and do not like to practice it. Certain neurochemical factors that determine everything in the brain have begun to be identified.

People who are genetically predisposed to high activity and have a high NEAT burn a lot more calories in the long run and therefore can lose weight more easily; Thus, they can get the calorie deficit they need through a diet without too much hardship.

Then the question is often misunderstood: are people who were obese at puberty tend to be the same as adults, and if it is true that the number of fat cells cannot increase (adipocyte hyperplasia) during puberty, or if they just become more.

Lyle’s answer is that adipocyte numbers can also increase in adults, but when overweight reaches a high percentage of body fat, then very full adipocytes release some chemical factors that recruit and stimulate adipocyte progenitor cells to develop and maturation of new adipocytes. Once created, these new adipocytes can no longer be removed except through surgery, after which they also replace some compensatory regulatory mechanisms. But they are often freed from fatty acids, leaving a permanently altered metabolic picture. People with more adipocytes lose weight during the harder times due to smaller (and more empty) adipocytes, which are more resistant to the release of fatty acids for oxidation; therefore, more small adipocytes are less beneficial compared to fewer larger adipocytes in the overall fat ratio in terms of weight loss. It has been seen that in areas where fat tends to be localized more (for example, in women in the lower body), there is an increase in adipocytes; on the other hand, in areas where fat is more easily removed (such as the shoulders) when it is fattened, there is an increase in the volume of adipocytes, rather than an increase in their number.

Differences between target value and target value

Lyle explains that setpoint is an internal regulatory mechanism in the body and brain; Meanwhile, the settlement point is a mechanism driven by environmental and lifestyle factors.

Target is the amount of fat the brain perceives to be safe and ideal, and therefore tends to adjust many of the variables governing weight control to keep up with that amount of fat. Some of the regulated factors are: hunger, beware of high-calorie foods, energy expenditure, basal metabolism, NEAT, muscle efficiency and the amount of energy burned per kg of body weight, satiety. All of these mechanisms are inversely regulated if the amount of body fat becomes more or less than the set point .

settling point is the amount of fat in which the body stabilizes due to lifestyle and environmental factors (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc.). .). As long as adequate environmental factors remain, it is possible to keep the amount of fat below the target , even if some variables such as hunger, energy wear, NEAT, etc., are adjusted to promote return. given value .

If environmental factors stop (diet is not followed, training is cut, etc.), there will be a tendency to return to the target .

Blocked weight loss

Next we move on to situations where there appears to be a calorie deficit due to exercise, proper nutrition, and instead, weight loss seems to be blocked.

Lyle argues that the vast majority of these situations are due to miscalculations and miscalculations of people who say they regularly eat less than they actually eat. This is critical, mainly for those people who have a calorie intake and therefore have a lower calorie deficit (women and small men, especially). This is because if a person has a 1000 calorie deficit per day because he is burning a lot of calories and eats 3-400 calories more in his diet than necessary, he will still be significantly deficient, hence weight loss. significant. In contrast, in people who burn little and have a deficit of only 3-400 kcal, if they also consume too much of only 200 kcal, the deficit will be so low that weight loss will be very slow and imperceptible.

This is due to the margin of error for fat measuring devices (DEXA, BIA, Plicometry, etc.), which always have at least n 5% error.

This means that we can have an error of an average of 3/4 kg per person weighing 80 kg: a weight loss of 1 kg per week would be incalculable. If we add to this that weight can usually fluctuate due to water retention, at least a couple of kilograms per day for the same person, trying to measure weight loss from week to week becomes almost impossible to use numbers and ultimately is just a source of stress

This brings us to the issue of excessive aerobic activity and a very low calorie diet. These are ultra stress factors that increase levels of cortisol, the classic stress hormone. Even mental and psychological stress raises cortisol levels. This creates a vicious circle. What does cortisol do? Forces water to hold in the most serious cases up to several kilograms. All of this means that there is a feeling that weight never falls or loses weight. This leads people to further decrease calories and increase physical activity, thereby widening the vicious cycle and increasing cortisol levels.

The solution, of course, would be to reduce stress and increase calories at this point to reduce sources of stress. Instead, many people who are obsessed with weight loss don’t want to hear or talk about it. But those who follow these tips improve their results.

Lyle reveals that some people who tolerate the diet better and have better results are temperamentally very calm and relaxed people; while those who are more anxious, stressed and neurotic experience the greatest difficulty and the worst results.

Weight loss is not a linear process, but it is accompanied by ups and downs. There are many cases where people seem to magically wake up after a few days, a couple of pounds less, per night. This is also partly due to the process by which adipocytes freed from fatty acids are filled with water. In fact, you can see that in people who are not dieting or changing their fat percentage, body fat is relatively hard to touch, like steaks. In people who are dieting and losing weight and losing fat, although they appear the same at first glance, the fat becomes softer and softer to the touch because it is filled with water.

Then, at some point, after a few hours, this water is removed and a loss of several kilograms is achieved, apparently out of nowhere.

Leptin, ghrelin and cortisol

Lyle explains below the effects of these 3 hormones on body weight regulation, which can be synthetically summarized as follows:

  • Leptin is produced primarily by adipocytes and tells the brain how much body fat and how many calories you consume regularly. When body fat decreases, leptin levels decrease, and vice versa: when fat increases, leptin increases. Even calorie intake is directly proportional to leptin production and especially in relation to the amount of carbohydrates consumed. In the first week of the diet, there is a sharp decrease in leptin to 15% due to calorie restriction, after which the leptin becomes constant and gradual. Leptin’s particular carbohydrate sensitivity underlies some strategies, such as refeeding or full diet break and usually takes three high-carbohydrate calorie days to raise leptin levels .
  • Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and is the only true hormone found to directly stimulate hunger and, usually due to some obscure mechanism, rises during the day 10 minutes before normal meal times. For this reason, changing the frequency of meals (for example, from 6 to 4) in the early days is very difficult and painful.
  • Cortisol is a stress hormone and plays an important role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. This hormone can cause leptin resistance (the brain becomes less sensitive to leptin) and exacerbates the effects of a drop in leptin. The drop in leptin, in turn, raises cortisol levels and creates a vicious circle. Lyle also cites Robert Sapolsky’s Why Zebras Don’t Develop Ulcers (which I have personally read and recommend to everyone), which clearly talks about stress and explains how the human body works optimally by alternating periods of intense stress with subsequent periods of relaxation to which he adapts. If the stress is chronic, adaptation is not possible, and if it subsides in the long term.

Strategies to mitigate metabolic adaptation of the diet

Lyle argues that there is really nothing that can actually limit metabolic adaptations. What really works is drugs. It is no coincidence that many bodybuilders often use them: among the thyroid gland, cortisol blockers, anabolic steroids, etc., or a bodybuilder with 4% bodybuilding may have a “normal” physiology. While the natural bodybuilder with 4% body fat increases testosterone levels in a castrated person, cortisol seeps through the roof, resulting in a very low thyroid metabolism loss. Medications work very well in this regard and are the only thing that really matters. Even stimulants like ephedrine, caffeine, nicotine, green tea, etc. can, at best, increase energy expenditure by 5%, which can help delay some adaptations, but nothing more.

But the key is NATURAL. The metabolic decline does not affect resting metabolism like NEAT. Eric Helms, in one of his preparatory work for the competition, took into account the number of steps (it refers to walking) that he took in a day: from 15 thousand per day with a normal high-calorie diet to less than 3 thousand. calories in a complete low-calorie diet!

This is a wonderful difference. Lyle argues that this is where a person can really persevere to achieve their weight loss goal.

The number of exercises that can be performed in the gym is always limited; On the other hand, NEAT, which is also the simple fact of standing instead of sitting or walking, can actually ensure that higher caloric expenditure day in and day out also allows you to maintain a fair calorie deficit by consuming more

REFEED – calorie recharge

A final question about the classic calorie supplements used to enhance the impact of the diet. Lyle says the idea stems from the fact that overcharging increases leptin levels. Also 5 hours of charging will increase it. The problem is that the human body is not sensitive to such short periods of time.

It takes 3-4 days of calorie restriction to start negative metabolic adaptation; Likewise, it takes 2-3 days of recharging to charge the positive ones.

Recharging frequency is very important.

An idea from Eric Helms is that diets should consist of alternating one day of calorie restriction and one day of recharge. (even just normal calories) instead of 4-5 days of a strict diet followed by recharges on weekends with the parity of a weekly calorie deficit. This method should in some way limit metabolic adaptations in the beginning, since the first day of deficiency before recharging is not a sufficient period of time to reduce leptin levels and then all other adaptations. Also good for training and relaxation.

People generally believe that in the later stages of a diet, when your body fat is low and if you are close to your goal, overcharging should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, it’s the other way around.

The lower the body fat percentage, the more often you need to reload.

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