How diet foods prevent weight loss and cause obesity

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For decades the diet industry has conned consumers into thinking good diet products are low in fat. This led to a boon in creation of low-fat, high-carbohydrate, and often high-sugar “diet” products that promote fat storage, prevent fat burning, increase cravings, and raise inflammation. Not only can diet foods make you fatter, they can also make you sicker.

Yet another new study shows low-fat diet foods lead to obesity. Rats given high-sugar, low-fat foods that mimic many diet products not only got fatter than the control rats, they also experienced liver damage and brain inflammation.

The sad thing about this study is that the low-fat rats didn’t eat more calories. They consumed the same amount of calories as their counterparts that were fed a balanced diet yet they still ended the study fatter and sicker.

Liver and brain damage from low-fat, high-sugar

The excess fat accumulated around the rats’ livers was similar to the liver damage caused by heavy alcohol use. This study and others similar to it show that brain-inflammation from the high-sugar, low-fat diet also impaired function of the vagus nerve. This is a nerve that runs between the brain and the gut and is vital to both healthy brain and gut function.

Diet foods skew hunger and satiety hormones

The impacts on the vagus nerve and the brain also alter hormone signaling around hunger and satiety. This explains why people on high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diets often feel hungry all the time despite how much they eat.

Dieting signals the body to store fat

The hormones that control hunger and satiety also play a role in fat burning and fat storage. When this system is dysregulated due to a high-sugar diet, this prompts the body to favor fat storing over fat burning.

The best way to reverse this process is to fuel the body with a lower carbohydrate diet that is adequate in proteins and fat, and abundant in vegetables. How many carbohydrates a person needs to consume depends on many factors and varies from person to person. Ask my office for advice.

Dieting makes the body efficient at fat storage

Add a low-calorie diet to the poor performance of mainstream diet products and you have a recipe for lifelong super-powered fat storing abilities. This means a person has to consume fewer and fewer calories simply to avoid gaining weight.

This was best evidenced among former contestants of the popular TV show The Biggest Loser  Although contestants lost weight through a stringent regime of low-calorie dieting and intensive exercise, most contestants piled the weight back on after the show ended. They also had to consume 500–800 fewer calories below maintenance calories simply to avoid gaining weight. This is because the extreme dieting and exercise, though effective, had lowered their resting metabolic rate so that they were burning fewer calories each day compared to before participating in the show.

How to lose weight and stay healthy?

Often people lose weight simply by following a diet that lowers inflammation and removes foods to which they are intolerant, and by stabilizing blood sugar, repairing leaky gut, and addressing chronic inflammation. By focusing on a vegetable-dominant diet you also increase the proportion of gut bacteria that promote fat burning over fat storage.

The key is to gradually switch yourself over to a life-long way of eating you enjoy because it makes you feel better.

For more information on healthy weight loss, contact my office.

Autism often linked to early brain autoimmunity

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Autism spectrum disorder rates have increased by about 80 percent in the last 15 years, and an estimated one in 45 children have autism. While both parents scramble and scientists search for answers, one factor increasingly shows up in research: An immune system gone awry attacking the brain — also called autoimmunity.

Research has shown that some children with autism develop autoimmunity to the brain due to antibodies passed to them from their mothers while in utero. One study found one in 10 mothers of children with autism carry antibodies in their blood that reacts to their children’s brains.

Maternal autoimmunity raises autism risk

A mother who already has ongoing autoimmunity (which often may not have been diagnosed) is at a higher risk for having a child with autism.

Studies show children born to moms with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, are three times more likely to develop autism.

This is because the mother carries antibodies in her bloodstream that are programmed to target human tissue for attack, including brain tissue. These antibodies then get passed to her fetus.

Obesity and diabetes in moms also raises risk

The factors that predispose a person to triggering autoimmunity are another risk mothers can pass onto their kids, the most common being disorders stemming from high blood sugar: obesity, diabetes, and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). This is because excess sugar is highly inflammatory and raises the risk of autoimmunity.

For instance, maternal obesity almost doubles the risk of a child developing autism, while obesity combined with diabetes quadruples the risk. Maternal PCOS  a hormonal disorder caused by high blood sugar, has also been linked with an increased risk of autism in children due to excess testosterone.

Leaky gut and fetal immune health

Another maternal risk factor that can affect fetal brain health is leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. This is a common condition in which the inflamed and damaged gut wall allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other pathogens to escape from the intestines into the bloodstream. These circulating pathogens affect the fetus by stimulating an immune response that may affect the development of the fetal brain.

Many things can cause leaky gut, but the most common is excess sugars and starches, processed foods, and junk foods. Other factors are chronic stress, excess alcohol, antibiotics, NSAIDS, and metabolic imbalances.

Because the gut is the seat of the immune system, a leaky gut triggers a cascade of inflammation that extends beyond the gut and into the brain and body. This raises the risk of brain antibodies developing in the mother and being passed to the fetus.

Immune health affects the developing brain

While some children withstand the assaults of modern life relatively unscathed, the child with autism or whose brain and immune system are predisposed to autism will react to foods, vaccines, viruses, chemicals, or other immune triggers. This imbalance can begin in the womb.

An anti-inflammatory diet is foundational to a healthy immune system and pregnancy. Studies have shown the effectiveness of a gluten-free and dairy-free diet or, more ideally, the immune balancing autoimmune diet.

It’s important to approach conception and pregnancy with immune health in mind. This will not only reduce the risk of autism but also reduce susceptibility to other immune disorders, including asthma, eczema, food intolerances, allergies, and other brain developmental disorders (e.g., Tourette syndromeobsessive-compulsive disorderdepression, ADD/ADHD, etc.)