Why Diets Fail

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

(or “Your Brain is a Dumbass!)
One of the fundamental building blocks of the Bright Side Philosophy is the notion of simplicity. As Albert Einstein said, “everything should be made as simple as possible…”. Einstein also said “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and so is a lot!” . It’s very easy to get carried away with the minutia and specifics and the nanoscopic details of the human body, and its biology and chemistry and that’s why this whole health and healing business seems so complicated. When it comes to weight loss there are 8 zillion strategies and formulas and programs and pills that you can take to lose weight and I’m sure that some of them work. But in the interests of keeping Professor Einstein happy and making things as simple as possible, I’m going to give you my take, the Bright Side take, the simple take on weight loss, which will carve pounds off of off the large majority of people who want to lose weight. If you want to do Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or Nutragenics or Slimgenics whatever, have at it, but you don’t need to.

OK, so the major focal points when it comes to weight loss is body fat, and that’s what we’re really need to be talking about when we talk about weight loss.
In other words, we don’t need to be focusing so much on the numbers on the scale as much as how much extra body fat we’re carrying. The reason that’s important is because fat is produced via biochemical reactions and once we start looking in this direction, now we can start to target some biochemistry.

The old way of looking at weight loss is called “Calories IN and Calories OUT”. And I want everyone to understand something Calories IN and Calories OUT is just bad science. A calorie is a measurement of heat, a unit of heat. The Calories In and Calories Out theory says if you put heat in the body it will get burned and what does not get burned will get stored as fat. The problem with this theory is that it does not take into account the different biochemical mechanism that is involved in turning something into fat. The Calories IN Calories OUT was first developed in the late 19th century and it’s based on steam engine science where you but fuel in and it get’s burnt. It’s very primitive, crude science. Today we know there are key hormone players in this whole weight loss game. And by addressing these hormonal players and their biochemical correlates we can really start to address body weight and more importantly body fat.

Perhaps the most important role is played by the hormone insulin. One of the cool things about looking for elevated insulin is that an increase in the levels of this vital hormone always announces itself. Insulin is a loud-mouth and when insulin chemistry is off, you will know it. And, the classic sign of elevated insulin levels is body fat. Anyone interested in this whole insulin body fat connection should read a book by Gary Taubes called “Good Calories Bad Calories”. He has another book called “Why We Get Fat”. In both of these books he breaks down in a simple layman’s term way (he’s a not a chemist he’s a sociologist) this whole insulin body fat thing down really well. Taubes presents clear and compelling evidence that THE key to dropping weight/body fat is lowering insulin.

Why Diets FailSo, how do you lower insulin? Well, it’s the simplest thing in the world to do, but it’s also the hardest. You know why that is? It’s because we all have mental problems. I kind of kidding, but I’m not. Because weight problems may not be caused by mental problems in the traditional sense, but they are caused by are brain problems. That’s right. Body fat, weight gain issues begin in the brain this is the most important thing to recognize if we are going to get control over our Great Weight State. Now what do I mean by a brain problem? You see, the brain is programmed to keep the body surviving, and that’s it in a nutshell. Our brain is operating under survival conditions. As if our survival is somehow at stake. As if calories are scarce and as if a famine is ion the way.

In terms of body weight the brain is programmed to put on pounds and keep the body eating if it thinks the body’s starving. It is constantly reading the blood to see what the situation is in the rest of the body. And one of the things it’s reading is protein, specifically it’s reading for the levels of the amino acid tryptophan. When the brain senses there is not enough protein (via tryptophan), it will send the owner out for food, and specifically high energy food like fat and sugar. In fact you can’t eat enough fat and sugar if you’re brain thinks you’re starving. Here’s another problem with the brain. You know how silly people look when they dress like it was two or three decade as before, like really old hippies that still think it’s the sixties? Well, you’re brain is kind of like those silly old hippies with the bald heads except for a ratty little pony-tail in the back, except your brain isn’t living 40 or 50 years in the past. Your cranial computer is actually living 50-100 thousand years in the past. It thinks from a biological standpoint that you are in the great grasslands of Africa with abundant or not-so-abundant game that you can eat and that can eat you. Now, leaving aside the fact for a moment that this kind of mentality doesn’t seem a very nice place to live from, the real salient issue is that this kind of mentality is wreaking havoc on our health in general and or weight in specific.

Under conditions of (perceived) nutrient deficiency, your brain will be sending you on a one pointed hunt for sugar and fat. And then you know what it does? It STORES it and because the brain thinks its Africa and you’re starving or that there is a famine on the way.

So, what does this have to with insulin? Well, insulin is a fat storage hormone and a sugar storage hormone. The more insulin that’s around the more sugar will get turned into fat and the more cells will store fat and the fatter you will be. So the brain makes you eat; it especially compels you eat sugar and fat, and today our sources of sugar and fat are endless and everywhere, another factoid the brain is blissfully unaware of.

OK, so you can see here this brain problem first, WHICH IS WHY DIETS FAIL!!! You have to override the brain’s survival mechanism, which is really a shortcut. The brain doesn’t process things with choice if it doesn’t have to. Just another reason why the brain is a dumbass.

How do you override the brains anti-starvation, Must Eat signaling? Well, stay tuned. We’re gonna save that info for our next post!

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health