bearfairie: (Default)
[personal profile] bearfairie
I am reading through the F.A.Q. for a homeopathic based "alternative to weight loss" program. At first I was thinking, yay! Alternative to weight loss! Maybe they're talking some sense?  ...Yeah SO MUCH no.  

Looks like someone took the basic ideas used in the hCG diet and instead of using injectable hCG (or homeopathic, since the FDA is going after all non-prescription and off-label hCG supplies), they have some other homeopathic formula they've created to help suppress appetite and speed up weight loss or some such nonsense.  So I was reading the FAQ and... first of all, it's difficult at best for me to take a health care professional seriously when they can't spell words like "Menstrual" ("menstral"?  seriously?).  It's not that I'm such an intellectual snob, it's just that consistently misspelling a word like "menstrual" indicates to me that you don't know what the word means. Particularly since in the section where the word is used (and misspelled) repeatedly, the dude is talking about hormones and fat loss and basically there's a whole bunch of stuff in there that I think is WRONG scientifically/physiologically speaking. (there's ranting, and then there's writing an entire diatribe about estrogen stored in fat cells, and the part where he claims that over the long haul fat itself is a way bigger risk than having a rapid weight loss plan flood your body with stored hormones, therefore even if you've had breast cancer you should still consider his diet b/c wouldn't you rather have a short term danger like hormone flooding rather than the much more serious long term danger of being fat?  UUUGGGG SO MUCH HATRED).

And then I got to the section on personal health care products. B/c apparently even topically applied fat is going to make you fat. Wait, what?? WHAT???  SERIOUSLY WHAT IS THIS FOOLISHNESS????????? He claims you have to avoid the fats found in skin care products like oil-based foundations and moisturizers, because they might interfere with your weight loss.  OH MY GOD I CAN'T EVEN.  BUT THEN goes on to explain that mineral oil is ok to use.  Here, I have to quote:

"It is our educated guess, the mineral content of the oil binds the negative aspect, whereas petroleum based oil is released into the system as fat."

This is the point where I stopped reading, b/c I realized this jackass doesn't know some seriously basic stuff and also is now making up magical facts.  "Mineral oil" does not contain minerals. Mineral oil is a petroleum product, it's the liquid byproduct of the distillation of petroleum into gasoline.  It's super cheap b/c there's a ton of it left over from petroleum processing. It's also generally regarded as mildly toxic, even topically.  While in the US it's considered "generally safe for human consumption", the World Health Organization classifies it as a Group 1 carcinogen for humans.  Basically, ANY oil used in cosmetics that is not a plant based oil (like jojoba or sesame oil, for example) is by definition a petroleum based oil.  There's only 2 basic sources for the oils used in cosmetics - plant-based sources and petroleum byproduct based sources.  And for the most part, most of the plant based sources are considered safer, less pore-clogging/less likely to cause acne, and less dangerous.  And SERIOUSLY OH MY GOD why would using an external moisturizer cause WEIGHT GAIN or at least PREVENT WEIGHT LOSS???  Does this guy think that folks on his diet are so freaking hungry they're liking their own makeup off in an effort to get more fat in their diet??? I CAN'T EVEN.

Ahhh the hCG diet... seriously on what planet is 500 cal/day for a full grown adult a good idea?? Basal metabolic rate, let me introduce you to the concept. Let's have a basic body systems 101 lecture, shall we? So we all have something called a basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories a body burns while at rest over the course of 24 hours. Calories are units of energy (heat, actually), and our body needs a certain number of calories just to stay alive, just to run basic body functions like your heart beating and your blood circulating, the involuntary muscle movement involved with breathing, that sort of thing.  If you were to lie in a coma for 24 hours, you would still have a set number of calories your body would need, just to stay alive.  That number is your basal metabolic rate. Any additional movement or activity requires additional calories to be burned. So the number of calories you *actually* burn over 24 hours varies quite a bit based on your overall activity level, but your basal metabolic rate is based on how much metabolically active tissue (muscles & organs) that you have.  Yes, we're talking a basic cellular head-count.

With me so far?  Ok so here's the thing. If you eat *below* your basic basal metabolic rate, your body doesn't have enough calories to keep normal body functions running. This is called "starvation".  Your body changes modes - there's a complex series of hormonal changes that will occur, including SLOWING DOWN YOUR THYROID HORMONE PRODUCTION (hypothyroid folks, please take note here!). Your body is going to do whatever it needs to do to try and not die, b/c your body considers starvation to be a life-threatening condition. So what happens? Your appetite levels increase, your blood sugar drops (which can cause crankiness, headache, irritability, etc.), all kinds of other body chemistry changes happen, all geared towards surviving a famine. AND your ability to burn FAT decreases, but you're actually more likely to start burning muscle instead of fat for fuel.  In other words, your fat stores stay about the same (at least for awhile) while your body kills off healthy muscle tissue for fuel.  This is a clever adaptation indeed. Muscle cells are metabolically active - meaning, they are cells that burn calories (ie: they "eat"). Fat cells, however, are metabolically inactive - they just store stuff. Fat is a complex molecule, and you actually need enough regular fuel coming in for your body to have enough energy to actually burn it off.  And you definitely need at least your basal metabolic rate calories in order to burn fat.

Here's a grotesque metaphor to explain why this is clever, and how it works.  So imagine you had 10 people at the table, all of whom need to eat a set amount of food. So you consistently serve 10 plates; everyone's happy.  Now imagine you start "dieting", and now only 6 plates are served. The contents of the plates cannot be redistributed to feed 10; the amount on one plate is required to feed one eater.  So what happens?  Well, only 6 plates get served. And over time if only 6 plates keep coming out, then 4 of the other eaters are killed and served to the remaining eaters.  So now there's only 6 eaters left.  That's your basic low-calorie diet.   Not enough calories to preserve health as-is, so some healthy metabolically active tissue is killed off and redistributed as fuel for the other cells. 

Now what happens when you start serving enough for 10 eaters again?  Well, there's only 6 eaters left at the table, so you end up with 4 extra plates. So the 4 extra plates are now put into storage.  This is why if you do a radical diet for awhile, then go back to your "normal" eating habits, even if you are not eating more than you were before, you will most likely gain all the weight back *plus 5-10 more pounds*.  The extra weight gain is precisely because you've now reduced your basal metabolic rate by destroying metabolically active tissue.  This is why short term, low calorie diets DO NOT WORK for improving health or maintaining long term weight loss. This is really basic anatomy and physiology, it's not hard concepts to grasp.

All the credible research I've evaluated (and I've been doing this work for 11 years now) indicates to me that simply "weight loss", without evaluating what *kind* of weight loss (ie: what exactly is being lost?) is not *by definition* a healthy thing across the board.  Having a higher body fat to muscle mass percentage (regardless of the number on the scale) increases a person's risk for metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Which actually means that if you lose the wrong kind of weight, not only have you not improved your metabolic risks, you may have actually just made your risks worse.  I'd rather see my clients stay at the same scale weight and convert fat into muscle (by exercising, better managing stress, increasing healthy protein intake, decreasing processed carbs, eating balanced meals at or above their basal metabolic rate calorie-wise, and getting enough sleep) than lose a bunch of muscle weight and mistakenly think they've helped their health. 

There are times when weight loss may be indicated, and if done with health in mind, there are times when this will improve health. However, my take on all this is that if the weight is truly excess weight, the excess weight is most likely a byproduct of a lifestyle imbalance. If you are eating junky and not exercising or taking care of yourself, many things may start going screwy in your body. Your weight may increase. But also you may have other things start to break down for you, health-wise. If you focus on health gain rather than weight loss, often the weight will reduce. Possibly not to fashion magazine thinness, but then the weight loss becomes a side effect of an overall health improvement, as your body repatterns all across the board towards overall health.  The amount of "weight loss" will vary depending on the person's overall health factors.  I am not anti-weight loss, when it's done in healthy and appropriate ways, and when the weight loss just kinda happens along due to healthy lifestyle changes (when the weight loss is a byproduct of overall health improvement), but I am not pro-weight loss either. And I am definitely against folks putting their health and sanity at risk simply for being "smaller", while justifying that body hatred with incorrect pseudo-medical language.

Back to the hCG diet... This diet has been around since the 1950s, and has been shown to be dangerous over and over. Its claims have never been proven, ever. Studies have shown that, just like any other fad crash diet, folks lose a bunch of weight, and then gain it all back plus 5-10 or more. And worse, hCG itself has never been shown to help with weight loss (all the weight loss appears to be from the 500 cal diet; additional "benefits" have never been shown to be anything other than placebo effect), but side effects of hCG include headaches, blood clots, leg cramps, temporary hair thinning, constipation, and breast tenderness. At least one person on record ended up with a pulmonary embolism after receiving hCG injections.  They've done over 14 clinical trials on this diet, and none have shown significant improvement with weight loss or have proven any of the other claims made for hCG.

Uuuuggg. This right here is why fat-phobia is a life-threatening societal issue. Because the fear of being "fat" / the hatred towards "fat" trumps common sense, and causes people to do stupid and dangerous things to their bodies (or pressure other people to do dangerous things). And health care professionals and the diet industry make lots of money off of the fat-panic that causes people to turn off their common sense.  It's unconscionable.

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


bearfairie: (Default)

December 2012

16171819 202122

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 03:53 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios