MILK 'N HONEY HEALTH FOODS

 

THE PATHWAY TO WEIGHT LOSS

     

       To lose weight means to lose excess body fat while maintaining lean body mass which is primarily bone and muscle.  Since the mid 1970’s to the present, the recommended pathway to losing excess fat has been to greatly reduce the amount of fat we consume in our diets while increasing the consumption of carbohydrates.  Unfortunately, the result of this approach has not been loss of weight but a significant increase in weight for millions of Americans.  Why has this low fat high carbohydrate approach to weight loss been such a failure?  We can answer that question by looking at how our body utilizes carbohydrate. 

       When we eat a meal, the carbohydrates from such meal are broken down in the digestive process and enter the blood stream as the sugar glucose.  The hormone insulin then facilitates the movement of glucose from the blood into the cells where glucose is used to fuel the cells metabolic functions.  For example, the brain, while at rest, uses more than two-thirds of the glucose circulating in the blood at any given time. 

       Glucose that is not immediately used by the body will be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen for use by the body as needed. Glycogen is a complex carbohydrate made up of long strings of glucose molecules tied together like links in a chain.  When there isn’t enough circulating glucose in the blood to meet cellular requirements, glycogen is broken down into individual glucose molecules to meet cellular needs. 

       All vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds and beans contain carbohydrate. Therefore, all products made from these foods will contain carbohydrate.  This includes bakery items such as breads, cookies, donuts, pies and cakes along with cereals and pasta.  Most snack food contains carbohydrates.  

What happens to those extra carbohydrates?

       What happens when we eat more carbohydrate than the body can use?  While excess carbohydrate is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, the storage capacity of the muscles and liver is quite limited.  These tissues can store only so much glycogen.  Once adequate blood levels of glucose are reached and the liver and muscles reach their capacity for holding excess glucose in the form of glycogen, remaining glucose is converted to fats called triglycerides.  Many Americans are consuming much more carbohydrate than the body is able to utilize or store as glycogen.  This excess carbohydrate is being converted to triglycerides which is the common fat seen around the abdominal area, buttocks, thighs, hips and other parts of the body.  Excess carbohydrate consumption results in excess fat accumulation which results in weight gain.    

A key to weight loss:

       The pathway to weight loss is to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates and be very selective as to the type of carbohydrates you eat.  Much of the American diet is made up of foods containing carbohydrates having a high glycemic index. Glycemic index has to do with the rate at which a carbohydrate will break down into glucose.  As a general rule, the more a carbohydrate containing food is refined, the higher will be its glycemic index which means the faster it will break down into glucose. The goal should be to obtain most of our carbohydrate from unrefined, unprocessed or lightly processed foods.  Ideally, most of your carbs should come from fresh vegetables and fruit which generally have a low glycemic index and provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.  To learn what the glycemic index is on a variety of foods, visit www.glycemicindex.com.

       Avoid bakery products and snack food items which generally have a high glycemic index. Such products are often made from refined flour and contain added sugars such as sucrose and fructose.  Fructose used by the food industry is derived from corn syrup and is a blend of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.  The glucose in this blend will quickly enter the blood stream and must be processed by insulin. The fructose in this blend travels to the liver where it is converted to glycogen.  Research shows that fructose converts to fat more readily than any other sugar.  Fructose is found in soft drinks and many snack foods.  If you are serious about losing weight, you must avoid these items.  Fructose found in fruit is present in small amounts and is combined with fiber and a variety of nutrients.  In general, fruits have a low glycemic index. Eating fruit is the preferred way to consume fructose. 

       For additional information on carbohydrate, its role in promoting weight gain and its affect on blood sugar, go to  Dealing with Diabetes from a Nutritional Perspective

Fat calories and weight loss:

       Calories are a measurement of energy potential.  The body uses the energy potential of proteins, carbohydrates and fats for all its metabolic functions. Ones level of mental and physical activity and metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned) will determine the number of calories the body uses at any given time.  If the number of calories consumed is greater than the number of calories used, the excess calories become stored in the body as triglyceride fat.

       Fat contains 9 calories per gram.  This is true of both saturated and unsaturated fats.  Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.  This is true of simple and complex carbohydrates.  As can be seen, fats contain over twice the amount of calories per gram than carbohydrates.  Therefore, it would appear eating fat is much more the culprit in weight gain than carbohydrate. 

       It must be understood, however, that while carbohydrate is used almost exclusively by the body as a source of fuel, dietary fat, both saturated and unsaturated, is used by the body for many purposes other than a source of fuel. Fat is an important building block of body tissues.  Fats make up cellular membranes.  Our brain is 60% fat. Twenty-five percent of the body's cholesterol fat is found in the brain.  All our steroid hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen are made from cholesterol fat. The very important omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are made from fat.  Some research indicates that the emphasis on dietary fat reduction, including reduction of saturated fat and cholesterol fat, is a causative factor in the spiraling increase in problems related to body tissue systems that depend on fats for their proper function such as the brain and hormonal system.  Some see a correlation between our obsession with eating a low fat diet and the rapid raise in Alzheimer’s disease and erectile dysfunction.

What the research tells us:

       An increasing amount of research is showing that consumption of saturated fat is not the reason for weight gain or heart disease as is commonly believed.  It is consumption of too much carbohydrate that is the problem.  While eating copious amounts of fat can lead to weight gain, all indications are that it is excess carbohydrate in the diet that is the major culprit in weight gain. As discussed above, excess carbohydrates convert to triglyceride fat in the body which results in the storage of fat over and above what the body needs for metabolic functions. 

       A number of studies in recent years have shown that saturated fat, as found in eggs, butter and other animal products, is not what is causing heart disease or obesity.  Two meta-analysis’s have considered the issue of saturated fat and heart disease. A meta-analysis is analyzing the data of a number of studies that deal with a specific issue and then drawing conclusions about that issue based on such analysis.

       In 2010, the Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a meta-analysis of 21 studies which had examined the association between the consumption of saturated fat and heart disease.  The conclusion was that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

       In early 2014, a meta-analysis was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that included 32 observational studies involving 512,420 participants, 17 observational studies involving 25,721 participants and 27 randomized, controlled trials involving 105,085 participants.  This meta-analysis concluded there was no sufficient evidence to support the long-standing recommendations that consumption of saturated fat should be limited to very low amounts in order to lower the risk of heart disease.

       We have been told to avoid saturated fat because it contains LDL cholesterol which is believed to be a contributing cause of heart disease. Research on the relationship between LDL cholesterol and heart disease has demonstrated that the smaller the size of LDL particles in the blood stream the greater the risk for the development of atherosclerosis because these small particles are prone to stick to the walls of the arteries.  When excess dietary carbohydrates are converted by the liver to triglycerides, they enter the blood stream as very small sized LDL. On the other hand, saturated fat produces larger and more buoyant LDL particles that are less likely to stick to the walls of the arteries. This suggests that a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrate puts one at less risk for heart disease.   

       While there are multiple studies showing no sufficient evidence to support the proposition that a low fat diet lowers the risk of heart disease, a number of studies have shown that low carb diets do lower the risk of heart disease and lead to weight loss.       

       A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that people following a low-carb diet had significant benefits in terms of weight loss, decrease in fat mass, reduced waist circumference and improved HDL cholesterol levels (the so-called good cholesterol).  In this study, 73 people were put on a low-fat diet and 75 people were put on a low carb diet for one year.  Those on the low carb diet obtained around 40% of their total daily calories from fat which included doubling their intake of saturated fat calories over what is recommended by the American Heart Association. Those on the low fat diet obtained less than 30 % of their calories from fat and increased their consumption of grain based foods.

       At the end of the year, those on the low-carb diet had lost nearly eight pounds more than those on the low fat diet and their markers for heart disease risk were better than those on the low fat diet.  The low carb group had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low fat group and showed an increase in lean muscle mass while the low fat group showed a decrease in lean muscle mass.  While the low fat group did lose some weight, it appears they lost more muscle weight than fat weight, a result that is to be avoided when on a weight loss program. 

       It has become evident that the emphasis on eating a low fat, high carb diet as a pathway to weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease is a myth.  The heart disease rate and obesity epidemic in America should be evidence enough that this approach doesn’t work.  Eating foods having saturated fat is not the reason we have an epidemic of heart disease and obesity in America.  It is becoming evident that it is our over consumption of carbs, especially refined carbs, that is the problem. 

       For a discussion of the causes of heart disease and how to lower your risk factors, go to Dealing with Cardiovascular Disease from a Nutritional Perspective

Bad fats and weight management:

       While it has become evident that saturated fat as found in animal products is not the cause of obesity and heart disease, it is striking that the tremendous increase in obesity, heart disease and other health problems in the past sixty years or so closely parallels the shift from using saturated fats such as butter to using refined and hydrogenated polyunsaturated fats in the form of cooking oils. 

       Commonly used cooking oils such as safflower, corn and peanut oil, are highly processed.  Such oils are heated to high temperatures to bleach, deodorize and generally refine the oil.  Because these oils are polyunsaturated, they are by nature unstable and when heated to high temperatures, the molecular structure of their fatty acids is altered and trans-fats are created. Trans-fats encourage fatty deposits in the arteries, liver, and other body organs.  They raise blood levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides and in general create free radicals.  Refined cooking oils are routinely used by Americans in food preparation and used extensively by restaurants and fast food establishments.  

       Hydrogenation and partial hydrogenation is a process used to make unsaturated liquid oil into a more saturated or solid fat. Margarine and Crisco are good examples of hydrogenated oils.  Unfortunately, this process requires high heat which creates trans-fats.  Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats are found in many commercially prepared food products.  Consumption of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats should be eliminated from the diet.  A much healthy approach is to use butter, coconut oil or unrefined olive oil for cooking and baking.  These fats, especially butter and coconut oil, are by nature more saturated which makes them much more stable.  These fats can be heated to high temperatures without the creation of trans-fats.   

       For a discussion on what fats to eat and what fats to avoid, go to Fats: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Diet and weight management:

       Diet is the most critical factor in weight management.  As already noted, eliminating refined carbohydrate products from the diet is your first step toward weight loss.  Refined carbohydrates are calorie dense and nutrition poor. They quickly metabolize into glucose in the body and if not immediately used to fuel the energy making process or stored as glycogen, they are converted to fat.  As already mentioned, try to get most of your carbs from vegetables and a moderate intake of fruit.  Eating nuts and seeds will provide low glycemic carbs while also providing protein and important omega 3 fatty acids.  Be sure to consume 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day.  While fiber is a carbohydrate, it does not digest but instead slows down the digestion and absorption of both dietary fat and carbohydrates.  Fiber can be added to the diet in the form of ground up flax seed, oat bran and psyllium seed husks.      

       Eating unrefined whole grains and beans will provide complex carbohydrate which will break down more slowly and provide a more sustained feed of glucose to the blood stream.  Of the two, beans are a much better choice because they generally have a lower glycemic index than do grains.  While grains have been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years, our modern grains have had their genetics altered through hybridization and genetic modification.  The evidence is building that these modern grains are doing us more harm than good.  This appears to be especially true of wheat and specifically of the wheat protein called gluten.  Many have experienced improved health, including weight loss, by eliminating gluten containing grains from the diet. 

       For more information on the eating of grains and your heath, I recommend reading the books, Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and Grain Brain by Dr, David Perlmutter.  Both these books are available at Milk ‘N Honey.

What can I eat?

       Since grain based carbohydrate foods are the mainstay of many diets, cutting back on such foods raises the question of what can I eat?  You can continue to eat plentiful amounts of vegetables and a prudent amount of fruits.  You can eat more nuts and seeds. You can also increase your consumption of animal products.  You can eat more eggs, bacon and cheese along with fish, poultry and beef. Eating such foods has been common for centuries and historically has not produced the weight gain and heart disease we see evident in the last fifty years.  While eating more animal products will result in the consumption of more fat, more and more research is showing that a diet low in carbohydrate, especially refined carbs, is more effective in producing weight loss than a diet low in fat.

       As already discussed, when eating carbohydrate containing foods, eat foods with a low glycemic index.  The carbohydrates from such foods will release glucose more slowly which will result in better blood sugar control.  Avoid eating refined carbohydrate foods.  Avoid the bakery department at your grocery store and make eating at a fast food establishment a rare event.  Fast food establishments are a haven for refined carbohydrate products made with refined cooking oils.  Be moderate as to the consumption of alcoholic beverages and eliminate soda waters from the diet. 

Juicing and weight management: 

       Many health conscious people use a juicer to extract the juice from fruits and vegetables in order to concentrate the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients present in such foods.  Unfortunately juicing also concentrates the sugars from such foods resulting in the consumption of high levels of carbohydrate resulting in elevated glucose levels.  This problem can be somewhat diminished by using a mixer rather than a juice extractor.  A mixer, such as the “Vita-Mix,” doesn’t extract the juice but grinds up the entire fruit and vegetable into a juice.  This allows for the fiber from the foods you are juicing to remain in the juice.  As discussed above, fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that slows down the absorption of glucose.      

Ketones and weight loss:

       When blood glucose and glycogen levels become depleted, the body will use stored fat as a source of energy.  Hormones will increase the breakdown of fatty acids from your stored fat and move them to the liver where enzymes break them down into what are called ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are released into the bloodstream and travel to body tissues where they are used for fuel to create energy.  When the diet is higher in fat and lower in carbohydrate, the liver tends to produce more ketones from stored fat.  Reduced carbohydrate consumption accompanied by increased consumption of fats in the diet will create the conditions necessary for the body to utilize stored fat for energy.  This will lead to loss of stored fat and an overall reduction in body weight.  This is sometimes referred as a ketogenic diet.  

       It should be noted that excessive ketones in the blood can lead to increased blood levels of uric acid which can lead to gout and other inflammatory problems. I caution against extremely low carb diets that result in excessive ketosis where the body mainly uses fat to produce energy.  A mild ketogenic effect can be accomplished by simply eliminating bakery products, cereals, grain based snacks and soft drinks from the diet which will often be enough to reduce carbohydrate consumption to the point where the body has to use stored fat as a source of energy.  Under this approach, your carbohydrates should mainly come from eating vegetables along with moderate amounts of fruit, nuts and seeds and some beans.  This dietary approach is virtually guaranteed to produce loss of body fat while avoiding the negative effects of extreme carbohydrate reduction.    

Calorie counting:

       People trying to lose weight will often count the calories in the foods they are eating in an effort to reduce calorie intake which it is believed will result in weight loss.  While reducing calorie consumption will reduce or stop the gaining of additional weight, it often does little to reduce existing weight if carbohydrates remain your primary source of calories. If sufficient carbohydrate is being consumed, the body will use the calories from such carbohydrate as fuel and existing fat will not be burned.  The body will only turn to using fat as a fuel source when there isn’t sufficient carbohydrate available.  Therefore, carbohydrate reduction is the pathway to weight loss because it makes the body use stored fat for energy.

The leptin factor:

       Leptin is a hormone produced by our fat cells that regulates appetite.  When levels of leptin are high it signals the hypothalamus gland in our brain that we are full and the hypothalamus releases hormones that reduce our appetite.  When leptin levels are low, the hypothalamus signals that we are hungry and appetite increases.  In addition to appetite control, leptin also plays a role in regulating overall metabolism which means it regulates the rate at which calories are burned, especially calories connected with thermogenesis, the process by which so called brown fat is burned to produce body heat.  

       The fatter you are the more leptin you have.  Higher leptin levels should result in more thermogenesis and a higher sustained level of appetite reduction.  Appetite reduction should result in reduced food consumption and reduced food consumption should reduce calorie intake which should lead to weight loss. Unfortunately, this is not what happens. 

       Sustained high levels of leptin leads to leptin resistance just like sustained high levels of insulin leads to insulin resistance.  When leptin levels are consistently high as a result of having too much body fat, the hypothalamus becomes insensitive to leptin and fails to send signaling hormones into the blood stream to tell us we are full and should stop eating.  This also reduces thermogenesis. 

       Moreover, a study published in November of 2008 in the American Journal of Physiology showed that a diet high in fructose impaired the ability of leptin to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the hypothalamus.  It should also be noted that some research indicates that lectins (not to be confused with leptins) interfere with the failure of leptins to bind to leptin receptor sites in the hypothalamus.   Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins found in all plants and animals but are especially prevalent in grains, especially wheat. Given our high grain (especially wheat) containing diet, it is suspected that leptin resistance may in part be caused by our high consumption of grain based products.   

       Resistance to leptin by the hypothalamus can be reduced by gradually reducing body fat.  Slow but steady reduction in body fat will produce slow but steady reduction of leptin levels.  By lowering leptin levels slowly, the body adjusts to the new levels and continues to use leptin to produce normal levels of appetite control.  Avoid crash diets that produce rapid weight loss but also reduce leptin levels too fast which results in poor appetite control.  Poor appetite control leads to overeating and regaining the weight that was lost on the crash diet.

       Remember, the goal here is to reduce the resistance to leptin by leptin receptor sites on the hypothalamus gland. Too much body fat produces too much leptin resulting in leptin resistance by the hypothalamus.  Therefore, reducing body fat is critical to increasing leptin receptor sensitivity.  Since fructose has been shown to interfere with leptin receptor sensitivity, avoid fructose.  As discussed earlier, fructose appears to be a primary culprit in weight gain.  Fructose is ubiquitous in the American diet.  Be sure to read labels on the foods you buy.  Since lectins may interfere with leptin receptor sensitivity, keep the eating of grain based products at an absolute minimum.  Eat more omega 3 containing foods.  Research has demonstrated that a diet high in omega 3 increases sensitivity to leptin.

Exercise and weight loss:

       Many look upon exercise as a means of burning extra calories in order to better manage their weight.  Is exercise the pathway to weight loss?  The average pound of stored fat in the body is equal to 3,600 calories of stored energy.  Running an eight minute mile will burn up approximately 100 calories.  Dancing for twenty minutes, bicycling two and one-half miles in nine minutes or walking one mile in twenty minutes will do the same.  To put it another way, you would have to run thirty six miles at eight minutes a mile to lose one pound of stored fat.  You can readily see that exercise, in and of itself, is not a quick pathway to weight loss.    

       What exercise does do is provides for a greater oxygen supply to the tissues of the body and therefore allows for a more efficient burning of fuel.  This results in a more complete breakdown of sugars and fats.  While exercise will not burn a lot of calories during the time you are exercising, such exercise will raise your basic metabolic rate and keep it elevated for hours after you have finished exercising.  This results in an increase in the rate at which calories are burned over a period of hours, even after you have discontinued your exercise.  This can help to reduce weight through more efficient metabolism.  For example, walking one hour per day with no increase in daily calorie intake could result in the loss of thirty pounds in one year.

        Exercise will also increase the burning of brown fat, which is felt to be a primary factor in weight management.  Brown fat is a metabolically active fat that is found close to the skeleton and is responsible for the production of body heat. Overweight individuals are often found to poorly utilize brown fat.  Additionally, regular vigorous exercise increases the activity of the enzyme AMPK which is found in every cell of the body.  This enzyme facilitates the movement of fat and sugar into the mitochondria of the cell where these nutrients are burned as fuel to produce energy.  AMPK also increases the number of mitochondria in our cells thus allowing for greater fuel consumption.  

       For more information on the role of exercise and weight loss, go to Healthy Cell Concept: Part Four

Weight loss supplements:

       While diet and exercise are the primary dynamics associated with weight management, there are some supplements that can be helpful in accomplishing weight loss.  It must be emphasized, however, that while these supplements can help with weight loss, they will be of little value if one ignores the dietary guidelines discussed above.  Weight loss supplements are not a substitute for implementing the dietary changes that will reduce calories and prevent the conversion of carbohydrates to fats.  Here are a few weight loss supplements we carry at Milk ‘N Honey that have shown to help with weight loss.  

Garcinia Cambogia:

       Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that looks like a small pumpkin and is generally green in color.  The research done on Garcinia indicates that a substance in the rind (peel) of the fruit called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is helpful in facilitating weight loss. 

       HCA appears to work in several ways.  It has been shown to suppress the appetite by increasing levels of the hormone serotonin.  Serotonin is a hormone produced in the brain and appears to have some regulatory effect on appetite.  Secondly, HCA inhibits the enzyme ATP citrate lyase which is a key enzyme in the process of de novo lipogenesis (DNL).  DNL is the process of converting excess carbohydrates into lipids (fats) for storage.  

       One study involved 60 overweight individuals who were given 440 mg of HCA three times per day for eight weeks.  This was a placebo controlled double blind study where half the individuals received the HCA and half received a placebo (dummy pill) with neither group knowing what they were getting.   This study showed significant weight loss for those receiving the HCA as opposed to those receiving the placebo (Thom E. Hydroxycitrate (HCA) in the treatment of obesity [abstract]. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996; 20 (suppl 4):75). 

       As covered above, weight gain is largely associated with the conversion of excess carbohydrate to fat.  Supplementing with Garcinia Cambogia may help reduce the conversion of carbohydrate to fat. For more detailed information on Garcinia, go to Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss.

       Garcinia Cambogia has also been shown to interfere with the production of a protein called perilipin.  Perilipin is a protein that coats droplets of fat in fat storing cells which prevents the fat being broken down by the digestive enzyme lipase. By limiting the production of perilipin, more fatty acids can be broken down and utilized by the body for energy rather than remained stored by the body's fatty tissue. At Milk 'N Honey we carry a product called "Slimit"which contains a compound called Meretrim.  Meretrim is a combination of Garcinia Cambogia and another perilipin limiting herb called sphasranthus indicus. Research has shown this combination to be effective in weight loss.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):

       CLA is a conjugated form of omega-6 linoleic acid.  Conjugation refers to the particular way the molecules that make up this fatty acid are arranged. This form of linoleic acid was once prevalent in beef from grass fed cattle.  Because of a shift from grass fed to grain fed cattle, this important fatty acid is now largely missing in the beef we eat and consequently we no longer are receiving its benefits.         

       Human studies have shown CLA to help lower body fat. It appears to do this by increasing basal metabolic rate.  Animal research has shown CLA to produce significant improvements in both reducing body fat and in increasing lean body mass. Studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took 3.2 grams of CLA a day had a drop in fat mass of about 0.2 pounds a week (that’s about one pound a month) compared to those given a placebo.

       There has been a substantial amount of research done with CLA.  Indications are that its primary value in weight loss is that it promotes muscle growth. Since muscle burns calories at a faster rate than fat, increased muscle mass leads to increased burning of calories which leads to weight loss.  For more information on CLA, go to Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Green Coffee Bean Extract:

       An ingredient in coffee called chlorogenic acid has been identified as responsible for lowering blood sugar. Chlorogenic acid interferes with glucose synthesis and release in the body.  It appears to do this by inhibiting the pathway of glucose-6-phosphatase, an enzyme that regulates production of glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates and glycogen released by the liver. The result is lowered glucose in the blood with the additional result of insulin activity being reduced which helps reduce the potential for fat storage.  Green coffee bean extracts provide concentrations of chlorogenic acid that are much higher than what can be obtained by drinking coffee.

       For more information on coffee and your health, go to Coffee and your Health.

African Mango:

       An extract from the seeds of the African Mango fruit has shown good results in increasing leptin sensitivity in overweight people and thus facilitating better metabolism of stored triglycerides and appetite suppression.  As discussed above, leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that sends signals to the brain that we have eaten enough. It also facilitates the breakdown of stored triglycerides.  Overweight people tend to lose sensitivity to leptin and thus the breakdown of stored triglycerides and appetite suppression is compromised. 

       In a double-blind study involving overweight but otherwise healthy individuals who supplemented with an African Mango extract, the average weight loss was 28 pounds over the course of 10 weeks. Body fat percentage and waist circumference decreased and metabolic parameters such as cholesterol levels and fasting blood sugar levels improved.

FücoTHIN:

       FücoTHIN is a weight loss product containing an extract from brown marine seaweeds called fucoxanthin combined with pomegranate seed oil.  Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid similar to beta carotene and has been clinically shown to have a thermogenic effect.  Thermogenesis is a process where the metabolic rate is increased in association with the burning of stored body fat, especially in the belly area.  In a human clinical trial, the metabolic rate with FücoTHIN was 18.2% higher than with diet alone.  Three softgels of FücoTHIN, which is the recommended daily serving, contains 15 mg of fucoxanthin.  FücoTHIN contains a minimum 5% concentration of fucoxanthin. 

       Preliminary results from a 2007 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of FücoTHIN involving 140 overweight female subjects showed that after 16 weeks there was a significant reduction in visceral fat and body weight.  Study participants lost an average of 14.5 pounds of body weight, 11.5 pounds more than the placebo group.  Body fat loss was 11.8 pounds in the fucoxanthin group, compared to just 2.8 pounds in the placebo group.  The research on FücoTHIN was done in conjunction with an 1800 calorie meal plan. 

AMPK Activator:

       AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) is an enzyme found in all cells of the body and plays an important role in the burning of glucose and fats.  Research demonstrates that increasing the activity of this enzyme leads to weight loss.  While vigorous exercise is a primary way to boost the activity of this enzyme, an extract of the plant Gynostemma pentophyllum in combination with Trans-tiltroside, from botanicals such as rose hips, has been shown to increase the activity of AMPK.   A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 80 obese participants, showed those supplementing with Gynostemma pentophyllum experienced loss of more than an inch in waist circumference and half an inch in hip circumference in twelve weeks.  Both the botanicals mentioned above are available at Milk ‘N Honey in a single formula called AMPK Activator.    

Summery:

       I want to again emphasize that weight loss supplements are not a substitute for the dietary changes discussed above. These supplements are adjuncts to a sound and consistent dietary regimen involving carbohydrate reduction, prudent consumption of fats and proteins and predominantly eating a nutrition dense diet rather than a calorie dense diet.  A nutrition dense diet provides a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fatty acids, enzymes and fiber without providing high amounts of calories.  Vegetables and fruits, along with nuts and seeds are your most nutrition dense foods while providing moderate amounts of calories.  Unrefined grains and beans will also provide a variety of nutrients but will be higher in calories because of higher carbohydrate levels.  Animal products do not provide carbohydrates but will be higher in calories due to being higher in fat.  Animal products are rich in proteins and provide a number of important fats that serve as building blocks of body tissues and hormone production. 

       To facilitate weight loss, you must eliminate refined carbohydrate products from your diet.  Fast foods, snack foods, soft drinks and most bakery products must be kept to a minimum.  These foods are high in calories, low in nutrition and rapidly increase glucose levels which, as discussed above, results in the production of triglyceride fat in the body.  By eliminating refined carbohydrates and lowering overall carbohydrate consumption, you will lose weight.  You don’t need to count calories or keep track of grams of fat consumed in the diet.  Calories will be automatically reduced when avoiding refined carbs, reducing over all carbs and eating a prudent amount of fats and proteins.  Don’t forget exercise.  As discussed above, exercise is a critical dynamic in reaching and maintaining proper weight along with overall good health. 

       I am confident that you will not only experience better weight management but will also experience better overall health by following the recommendations discussed above.