Would you like to know more about how to eat and lose weight? Here’s a clue: the secret is to eat in tune with your hormones. By understanding this food/hormone connection you’ll be able to unlock the way to easy and fast weight loss.
For many years, the main message for anyone who wants to shift a few extra pounds has been the same:
Reduce your daily calorie intake.
Basically we’ve all been told to eat less food than we need for our daily energy requirements.
This method will work to a point but it’s far from the whole story. It’s also not the best way to lose weight, it’s not the right way to lose weight.
Worse, when you restrict your daily food intake, your body responds by lowering its metabolic rate.
This makes the task of dieting even more difficult, as you need to repeatedly reduce your daily allowance to maintain any worthwhile weight loss.
Further, as your metabolic rate decreases, it increases your chances of regaining all your lost weight as soon as you return to your normal diet.
This is because the calorie in /calorie out method of dieting makes no sense, and is not in tune with our biology.
The calorie in / calorie out method of dieting is not the best way to lose weight
Calories as a thing have not been around all that long. The entire concept of calories was introduced in about 1819 in Paris by Nicholas Clément in a series of lectures about heat engines.
By 1863, a calorie was defined as the heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water from 0 to 1 degrees C.
The calorie used on food labels comes from an 1887 article on food energy (Century magazine and Farmers’ Bulletin 23 in 1894)
The calorie that we know today was not fully defined until the 20th Century, at which time it became a part of nutritional policy. (1)
So, the calorie, so loved of many nutritionists today, didn’t actually exist in its present meaning until 100 or so years ago.
The thing is, we as humans did not evolve 100 years ago, we were here for a very long time before calories.
Humans have been around for millennia and we evolved at a time when food was scarce and supply was at best intermittent.
We would not have had the need for a biological system that let us know exactly how much we were eating.
We needed to know only that we were eating enough, and if there was any spare incoming fuel that could be saved for harder times.
We actually evolved an amazing system, Autophagy, to make the most of times when we were without food altogether.
For this reason, there is nothing in our biology that is receptive to the idea of a calorie.
Our bodies have no way of recognizing the amount of calories we have just eaten, and nor do they care.
We do not respond to the calories in our food.
The calorie count of our meal is not a factor that the body uses to decide to use the food for energy, or to store it as fat for later on.
Now, there are many who will tell you that by reducing calories you will lose weight.
Of course you will, but in order to do this you will have to eat progressively less food. Have you ever tried to lose weight by cutting calories?
You will have been hungry for most of the time.
If you are particularly strong willed, you will have managed to stay with your calorie restricted diet for a few days or weeks before diving into your fridge like a starving dog.
Even those of you who managed to reach your weight loss goals will have eventually reached a point where you have two choices. Neither of which are good:
- Stay with calorie counting, albeit at a higher daily allowance, forever
- Return to eating until you’re full, and slowly but surely regain all your lost weight.
Sound familiar? You bet. This is the diet that is pushed at us through countless nutritional programs and policies.
It’s plain wrong.
What is the alternative to calorie counting?
If, as already said, your body does not count calories, then what does it respond to?
When you eat something, your body will decide to use that food for immediate energy needs, or if there is excess, to store it as fat.
But how does it do this?
What triggers either the “use immediately” or “store for later” choice?
Your hormone, Insulin
The food you eat is converted into glucose which can be used by your cells for your immediate energy needs.
Insulin is a hormone which is made in the Pancreas. It responds to the amount of glucose it senses in your blood following an intake of food.
Once a raise in blood/glucose levels is registered, Insulin is released into the blood stream to deal with the extra glucose.
It is Insulin that enables the glucose in your blood to be used for energy, or enter the fat cells, muscles and liver where it can be stored for later use.
Without Insulin, the glucose in your blood would not be utilized or stored, and you would very quickly have dangerously high blood/glucose levels.
With Insulin, you are able to use the glucose, or store it as fat if there is more glucose than your body needs at that time.
So, Insulin is the hormone that controls whether or not you gain fat, and this process has nothing to do with calories.
How does understanding Insulin help with weight loss?
Once you understand that everything you eat will cause an Insulin reaction, you are on your way to successful dieting.
When you eat anything, it will be converted into glucose, and Insulin will be produced to deal with this.
However, here’s the important thing:
Not all foods cause the same spike in blood/glucose which means that not all foods cause the same spike in Insulin
When you recall that one of the main jobs of Insulin is to push spare glucose into your cells as fat, you will see why this is important.
If you consistently eat the type of foods that cause a big rise in blood/glucose you will be repeatedly having big spikes in your Insulin levels too.
High levels of Insulin are going to be signaling to your body to store glucose in your cells as fat – and it won’t be too long before you have a problem with your weight.
So, what can you do about this?
You need to tackle this issue by avoiding or minimizing the amount of foods that spike blood/glucose levels and Insulin.
This will reduce the chances of your body storing glucose as fat, as your Insulin levels will be low.
This will work without counting calories.
All you need to do is to eat the right foods until you’re full. Avoid snacking and never over eat.
Which foods will cause blood/glucose levels and Insulin to spike?
Some foods are much more able to quickly raise blood/glucose and Insulin levels.
These are carbohydrate heavy foods.
Carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex carbohydrates.
Both should be limited, but the simple carbohydrates should be avoided altogether.
Simple carbohydrates quickly raise blood/glucose levels, and will spike Insulin.
Further, simple carbohydrates often offer very little in the way of nutritional benefit. It’s pushing a point to refer to them as “foods” at all.
Examples of simple carbohydrates which you should avoid include:
- Sugar. 100% carb and zero nutritional benefit. Avoid it like the plague.
- Sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice
- Cakes, cookies
- Bread and other baked goods containing wheat flour
- Breakfast Cereals
- Ice Cream
Complex carbohydrates contain starch and are slower to spike glucose and Insulin.
However, you should still limit these in your diet.
The Keto Diet is an example of a very low carbohydrate diet that is very effective for weight loss for that reason.
Some examples of complex carbohydrates to limit include:
- Below ground vegetables such as Potatoes, carrots and turnips.
- Whole Grains
- Whole Wheat Bread
What can you eat to be in tune with your hormones and lose weight fast?
Base your diet on foods which contain very few carbohydrates, and are nutritionally dense.
Examples of these foods include:
- Berries (other fruits are too high in carbohydrates)
- Above ground vegetables especially broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, cabbage, avocado and spinach. For a full list of low carb veggies see
- Meat. All meat such as pork, chicken, lamb and game
- Seafood. All seafood, especially salmon, mackerel, Tuna and sardines.
- Eggs. Super nutritional and low carb
- Butter, olive oil, ghee, cream, lard and tallow
- High fat cheese, especially hard cheeses such as cheddar.
What will happen when you eat a limited supply of low carbohydrate foods
First up, when you reduce carbohydrates you will stabilize your blood/glucose levels. Without spikes in glucose, your insulin levels will remain steady.
This will result in you feeling much less hungry than normal. You will also experience a more stable mood, and less desire to eat overall.
If you follow the keto diet, you will limit your carbohydrate intake to 20g net carbs each day.
This is an ultra low carb diet, and has multiple weight loss and health gains.
It is known for its ability to reverse type 2 diabetes and to reduce your risk of getting a number of other diseases.
Above 20g net carbs, and you will be eating a low carb diet, but not ketogenic. However, a low carb diet will still minimize your body’s ability to store fat.
With a low carb diet you will see a good, steady weight loss, as well as benefit from all the health benefits which come with being within your recommended weight range.
Also, you will not only be losing weight, you will be able to keep this weight off, due to the fact that low carb diets do not cause your metabolic rate to drop.
Moreover, there is a lot of evidence that by cutting out simple carbs, you will find that any cravings you had for sweet foods will reduce over time.
There is overwhelming evidence that carbohydrate rich diets are the cause of weight gain.
When you find that you have some weight that you’d like to lose, it makes sense to reduce your carbohydrates rather than attempt to reduce your calories.
This is because calorie reduced diets are notoriously difficult to stick with for any length of time.
They result in uncomfortable levels of hunger, and do nothing to address the reasons for why you’re getting so hungry in the first place.
Worse, a calorie deficit results in your body reducing your metabolic rate which results in more weight gain.
Importantly, calorie reduced diets do not prevent surges in Insulin after eating carbohydrate heavy foods.
As Insulin in the body’s storage signal, you will continue to store glucose as fat.
There is also every chance that you will regain all your hard lost weight once you discontinue the diet.
With low carb or keto dieting, you address the main issue which is causing your weight gain: high blood/glucose levels and Insulin.
Prevent Too many Insulin Spikes Too Often
When you address Insulin spikes through low carb eating, you will automatically reduce your body’s ability to store glucose in your cells.
You will also increase your ability to burn fat for fuel.
You will be reducing your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes – both are conditions that are becoming diagnosed at higher rates than ever before.
A low carb or keto diet will steady your blood/glucose levels resulting in feeling more energetic, and less hungry.
Further, it will reduce the chances of you needing to snack, and will give you a strong and steady weight loss.
You will not experience the dreaded regain of weight, as low carb diets do not reduce metabolic rates.
There has been far too much emphasis on the old calorie in / calorie out method of weight loss. The result is an epidemic in the rates of over weight and obesity.
By following a low carb approach to your dieting, you will soon reach your weight loss goals.
You will also be benefiting from the multiple health benefits that come from being within a healthy weight range for your age and height.
In fact, by drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake you will be maximizing not just your weight loss, but your chances of living a long and healthy life.