New Year’s Weight Loss Challenge: Nutrients & Tips for Weight Loss GoalsIt’s the New Year and for many of us that means rising up to meet your New Year’s weight loss challenge. What is considered overweight? Defining overweight is a sensitive topic. The Centers for Disease Control use these guidelines: For adults, a body mass index:
- Over 30 is considered obese.
- Between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
- Between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a healthy BMI.
- Under 18.5 is consider underweight.
The Role Insulin Plays in Your BodyEvery time you eat a carbohydrate, such as a piece of bread, plate of pasta, a baked potato, or even a piece of fruit (which is 50% fructose), your digestive system converts it into glucose, a simple sugar. The blood stream then absorbs the glucose. In response to the rise in blood sugar, insulin is produced and secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas—a glandular organ deep in your abdominal cavity, behind the stomach.
As insulin travels through the circulatory system, it regulates the metabolism, storage and level of blood sugar. Then, this master hormone of metabolism converts some glucose into glycogen, a sugar-polymer (long chain of sugar molecules) the liver and muscle tissues store. Glycogen acts as storage fuel like a spare gallon of gasoline for your car, and can be converted back into glucose quickly and easily on an as-needed basis. Then, the remaining glucose circulates in the bloodstream to be used for energy. When the pancreas secretes the right amount of insulin, it regulates appetite, growth hormone, cholesterol and fluid levels. Consequently, your metabolic system keeps everything in balance.
Obesity and Excess InsulinIf you’re overweight, chances are that you crave carbohydrates. This is actually a physiological craving resulting from the way your body chemistry overreacts to eating sweets and carbohydrates. If excess glucose remains in circulation, high insulin levels will stimulate lipogenesis (fat production and storage). After that, to compound the problem, there is evidence that high insulin levels trigger the hypothalamus (the master gland) to send out hunger signals.1 Insulin regulates carbohydrate metabolism by controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Stress and poor eating habits, including over consumption of carbohydrates, can create an insulin imbalance. During a meal, the insulin level is a determining factor in signaling the brain that your body is full. But low insulin levels will elevate glucose and cause you to eat more, and consequently gain weight. It becomes a vicious cycle, because overweight people burn sugar less effectively than those with normal weight do. Ultimately, the more carbohydrates you eat, the hungrier you may become.2 Even if you eat as few as 800 calories a day, if you are sugar sensitive and those calories are from carbohydrates, you may find that you still gain weight.3
If You’re Serious About Winning the Weight Game…You need to learn how to take control of your health by giving your body what it needs on a daily basis. Overall, It’s about making a commitment to eat a healthy diet, and to exercise. This can be as simple as walking 30 minutes 5 times a week. That’s sounds easy and high and mighty, but how do you do it? You can restrict your intake of carbohydrates including sugar, starch, and grains … that’s the popular low-carbohydrate diet and that’s okay but there is more to it than that. Executing a long-term, healthy weight control program consists of:
- Limited-carbohydrate diet
- Reduction in caloric intake
- Regular exercise
- Support in the form of high-quality nutritional supplements to help reduce insulin levels, and increase thermogenesis (an increase in metabolism that results in fat burning)
Recommended Natural Herbs and Supplements
1. Green Coffee Bean ExtractGreen coffee beans contain a proven weight loss trigger called chlorogenic acid. When the beans are in the roasting process, the removal of chlorogenic occurs. So, unfortunately, your cup of Joe will not help you lose weight. How does chlorogenic acid work? Chlorogenic acid, or CGA, is a compound in small amounts in sunflower seeds, apples, pears, tomatoes, and blueberries. But green coffee beans contains a high amount of the powerful antioxidant that inhibits the release of glucose into the body. Glucose is a monosaccharide, a type of sugar, that your body uses for energy. If your body isn’t using glucose for fuel it has to rely on other sources of energy—namely, your stored fat cells. When your body uses fat cells for energy, you lose the fat, and the weight.
CGA in green coffee helps your body utilize insulin making it easier to convert glucose into energy. In addition, CGA helps you lose weight by: boosting metabolism, slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating, and by helping your body burn fat. A recent analysis of 13 studies on the effect of green coffee extract on obesity revealed a significant reduction in body mass index and weight (BMI), especially in individuals with a starting BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m.4 But like coffee, green coffee beans contain some caffeine, so if you have high blood pressure or are very sensitive to caffeine, go slow and experiment with the dosage to see how you feel. To play it safe, check with your health practitioner first before taking green coffee bean extract to meet your New Year’s weight loss challenge.
2. Green Tea ExtractHow does green tea extract work? Tea polyphenols inhibit the activity of amylase, a starch-digesting enzyme found in saliva and in the intestines. Starch breaks down more slowly, and the rise in serum glucose is decreases, so that you don’t crave sweets and other snack foods after eating a meal.5 Since insulin is our most fattening hormone and, with cortisol, our most pro-aging hormone, if you take green tea in the form of a nutritional supplement, you gain a wide range of benefits that accompany calorie and insulin control.
Green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine. For example a six-ounce cup of green tea contains about 30 mg of caffeine, while there are about 100 mg of caffeine in six ounces of coffee. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Taiwan examined the effect and safety of high-dose green tea extract on obese women. In conclusion, after 12 weeks of treatment there was a significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference, and a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL (lousy cholesterol) without any side effects.5