Lots of people around the world are suffering from obesity who wants to lose those extra pounds around their waists but don't know how to start. There are lots of weight loss regimens that you can actually do and one of them is the personalized program for losing weight. This do-it-yourself weight loss regimen can be done at the convenience and comfort of your home.Too much eating is the usual cause of gaining weight, so in order for you to lose weight your diet should be modified. The best thing for you to do is to turn to healthy diet or organic diet if you really want to win your weight loss battle. Many people are nowadays aware about the essence of having a healthy and fit body. Having a healthy diet is among the best things you should do in order to achieve weight loss. Starting your own DIY healthy diet is simple as most of the ingredients are readily available for you.Diet menus are composed of everything you should and can eat. Experts in the field of health agree that people who are on a weight loss battle should avoid eating oil and calories rich foods, crash diet and fad diet as well as they can do more damage than good benefits to the individual undertaking the diet plan.Through this do-it-yourself healthy diet plan, you can cut your carbohydrates intake by only taking healthier ones and in smaller amounts. Here is how you can achieve this:Select whole grains as they are very important nutrients' source and help check the blood sugar level and appetite keeping them in steady pace.Balancing the bad carbohydrates through eating refined foods such as white bread in combination with foods rich in healthy fat or protein.Eating foods in high-volume that are also rich in fiber and water content but with low calories content is also important in weight loss. Soups that are based on broth and salads are the healthy diet that you should consume. Vegetables and fruits that are composed of almost water, air-filled foods like crackers and cheese, nut mix and dried fruits, fresh fruits such as grapes and strawberries, rice or frozen veggies are all important in weight loss.These organic diet plans are very important thing to consider if you want to win the battle on weight loss. You should also have motivation and confidence by having positive reinforcements to achieve your goal of losing weight.
While most of the population is concerned about being overweight, there are people who are too skinny and face difficulty in gaining weight. Due to a fast metabolism, these people are called "hard gainers." Choosing the right diet plan is important to put on some pounds of muscle to feel confident and attractive. A healthy diet to bulk-up means to opt for quality food that can help gain muscle mass.Build up with ProteinsThe most important element which has to be present in a diet plan is protein, the building block of human muscle. Of the foods that contain whole protein, egg is the recommended one. Eggs are the most efficient source of proteins. It not only provides proteins but also contain vital dietary fats and cholesterol, which are essential requirements to build body mass.Concerned hard gainers should be adding chicken to their diet. Chicken is widely used to bulk up lean muscles as it contains protein sources that help build lean muscle mass. An appropriate choice of healthy proteins, skinless chicken breast is low in dietary fat and highly dense with protein.Get Some Fat on YouSalmon is also another quality food that can help. It contains omega-3s which can boost muscle growth. For lesser fat concerned people, having beef rather than chicken can help bulk up fast too. This is because beef adds up the fat content which facilitates mass gaining. Milk is also a significant source of proteins and fats. Whole milk is better than skimmed milk as the former provides fats to increase testosterone production, accelerating muscle build-up.Fats are essential parts of the diet. While common perception makes a person feel like they should avoid fats at all cost. This is, in fact, a false perception. There are two kinds of fats: animal fats and plant fats. Animal fats may cause coronary problems and cholesterol, thus should be taken in very small and calculated quantities. On the other hand, plant fats and oils and very good for the healthy growth of cells and body tissues. Examples of such fats include plant seed oils and fats contained in fruits and vegetables.Fats are great for building body protoplasm. They are also necessary for keeping the body warm. A layer of fat beneath the skin helps body insulation. This helps keeping the body warm in a cold environment and cool in a hot environment.It is evident that nature has a delicate balance and it is up to humans to maintain that balance in order to have a healthy life. Without a healthy life a person can develop many diseases that will not only decrease the life expectancy but will also make life painful and tough due to many diseases and conditions. Thus, it is beneficial to have a healthy body that is in the best shape.
Good nutrition is essential for your overall health. If you want to have a long life and stay healthy, then you need to eat the right foods. A balanced diet will increase your body's ability to recover, boost your energy and strength, and help you stay in shape. When you are eating nutritious foods, you are giving your body the building blocks it needs. Good nutrition means different things to different people. However, most individuals agree that a healthy diet is one that includes fruits and vegetables, as well as lean meat, fish, grains, and good fats.Here are four key benefits of good nutrition:Increases Your Energy LevelsIf you are always feeling tired, then you might need to change your diet. Instead of relying on caffeine or sweets for a burst of artificial energy, eat healthy foods that boost your energy levels and help your body fight fatigue. When your body doesn't get quality food, it become weak and can not function properly. Optimal energy metabolism requires an abundance of nutrients. Make sure your diet includes lean animal proteins, whole grains, veggies, and fruits.Promotes Weight ControlA healthy diet will provide the protein, carbohydrates, and fatty acids that you need without adding too many calories that can make you gain weight. Instead of trying all sorts of diets that affect your health and weaken your immune system, you should rather make small changes to your daily menu and adopt a balanced lifestyle. Diets are temporary and they often cause hormonal imbalances that may affect your body on long term. If you eat the right foods, you will be able to maintain a constant weight without too much effort.Prevents Chronic DiseasesEating a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Healthy eating helps you avoid nutritional deficiencies and prevent a wide range of diseases. A diet that includes foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, and atherosclerosis. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating foods rich in fiber and low in sugar. People who eat fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are less likely to develop kidney, colon, prostate, or breast cancer.Helps the Body Recover FasterEvery single action performed by your body requires energy. Athletes and active individuals need more nutrients in order to recover from strenuous physical activity and do all the tasks required to maintain life. Good nutrition supports the development of lean muscle mass, promotes the growth and repair of new tissues, and enhances cell regeneration.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is easy when you're cooking for yourself at home, but sometimes while we're working or traveling, we need to eat out. But with the strategies outlined in this article, you can learn how to enjoy yourself while eating out and still keep up a healthy diet.Restaurants can be a challenge for those of us who are trying to eat healthy. The good news is that there are usually healthier options in every restaurant, even at fast-food places.Remember:1. Before you go out to eat, plan ahead and think about what you're going to eat. If you've decided on the healthy choice before you've ordered, it will make the unhealthier choice easier to ignore.2. Don't starve yourself before you go to a restaurant. Arriving hungry will only ensure that you're more likely to overindulge.3. Portions matter. Restaurant portions are often enough to feed two to three people. Order smaller portions, or split your meal with someone else.4. When you travel, and must rely on fast food for every meal, take healthy snacks to bide you over. Dried fruit and nuts are a good choice for light snacks. Remember, flying dehydrates you, so make sure to bring plenty of water..5. Nutrition is ultimately better for you than cheap meals. The extra fat, sodium, calories, and sugars that come with a low price tag often aren't worth the dollar or two you're saving.6. Steamed, baked, broiled, and grilled foods are your allies. Fried, deep-dried and breaded foods, as well as foods served with rich sauce or gravies, should be avoided.7. Reduce your sodium intake not just by ordering foods low in sodium, but also by watching out for high sodium sauces like soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Try to order the "light" versions of these sauces.8. Order as many vegetables as you wish, either as a side dish or as a main course. Avoid mayonnaise and try to reduce the amount of salad dressing, butter, and oils you consume.9. Try to increase you fibre intake. Most restaurants offer whole grain or whole wheat breads. Additionally, wraps, tortilla, or even pizza crust are good alternatives to white breads.10. Maintaining a balanced diet and eating healthy foods should be enjoyable. If you find yourself over-indulging, just plan your diet for the next few days to include healthier choices.11. Choose your drinks wisely. Many drinks offered at a restaurant contain a lot of sugar and even fat. You can seemingly intake a large amount or excess calories with just one drink. Instead choose to drink mineral or sparkling water with a slice of lemon or order some unsweetened ice tea.12. If you know where you'll be dining, check the restaurant's website in advance to see if they have healthy foods, or if you can see which foods contain lower fat and sodium.13. Don't be afraid to bring additions for a meal to a restaurant such as a homemade salad dressing. As long as you're not bringing a whole meal with you, the restaurant shouldn't mind.
If you're interested in a healthy diet to lose weight fast, look no further. This article will show you exactly how to start a healthy diet to burn fat and get that slim body you want.Should You Use Popular Diets or A Diet Program?One thing that many people wonder is that for finding a diet to lose weight should they use a well known diet or some type of system from a professional?While many diets are very useful for dieters and provide lots of useful information, I recommend something else. I recommend that you learn nutrition, how to count calories, what healthy foods are and what unhealthy foods are, and overall learn about how to eat healthy. This type of learning will be much more effective long term as you will learn how to eat right and can carry this over into a lifestyle.So many people look at diets as temporary things when in reality they are permanent and lifestyle changes. To effectively lose weight and keep it off one must change their eating habits and stick with them. When focusing on losing fat, the diet to lose weight fast should cut calories. But after this, the healthy foods should still be eaten.What are Healthy Foods?I won't go into healthy foods to lose weight in this guide as I've gone through this in other articles and it takes a lot of time. What I will do is give you a simple method for finding healthy foods.In general, I eat only foods that are easy to eat if found in nature. What I mean is that if the food you want to eat is easy to eat and doesn't require being processed in a factory or excessive cooking techniques, then it's OK!This simple technique gets rid of a lot of foods that most people eat. I recommend using this tactic small at first when getting started. Only use it on half of your meals of the day, for example. Do this for the first week and the next week add an extra meal. By the end of the month your eating habits will have changed drastically!This is the way to diet. Don't rush into a diet that is completely different than your usual way of eating. This is hard and only the most dedicated and motivated will succeed. Set it up so that even the laziest can succeed!
We all want to be healthy, and to achieve that, we need to follow a healthy diet. But what if the food we need are expensive? This could be the question that Americans may have formed in their minds when they read a recently conducted and published study last week. A study spearheaded by lead researcher and assistant professor from the Department of Epidemiology and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington concluded that the government should assist more consumers to develop the habit of eating healthy foods.Last year, the so-called Food Pyramid of 2010 was released for the public's knowledge and information. In the said pyramid, it was explained that to be healthier, there is a need to consume more foods rich in potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. Lately, however, there were reports though those foods rich in these elements are actually costly. Studies say that the average American household that plan to add more potassium-rich food in their family's his diet will mean adding around $380.00 more a year to their grocery bills.Another study was conducted and published in the Health Journal wherein respondents cited what food they ate, and their responses were analyzed for nutrient content and estimated cost. Random telephone surveys were conducted among 2,000 adults in King Country, Washington followed by a printed questionnaire that was sent back by about 1,300 people.In general, the study had the following results: the more people spend, the more they are able to meet federal guidelines set for potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. In contrast, those who spend less had low intake of the four elements recently cited. At the same time, they had high consumption for foods with saturated fat and added sugar.The findings regarding Americans that have high consumption for foods with saturated fat and added sugar is alarming. It is also alarming because most at this time, younger people become more drawn to eating the said kind of foods.There are reports lately that because of their access to fast-food items, people getting afflicted with obesity are getting younger. In fact there is now a term called childhood obesity and it is becoming an alarming concern. Obesity becomes a major cause of worry because children seem to have access to unhealthy, caloric and sweetened beverages. They get these from school cafeterias, fast food restaurants and mall stalls.When we talk of solutions, we talk of where the solution should start and come from. If charity begins at home, then the cure to obesity should start at home.The first step could actually be setting the right atmosphere for a gradual change in food menus. For parents, before imposing a radical change in the food to be served to the children, a little warming up should be done.Begin by organizing picnics or backyard cook outs. In these locations, the right food can be cooked before the children's eyes so that they can sense that fast food is not really good food. Leave the impression that home cooking is still the best sauce of cooked food.This can be followed by asking the children to help out in the preparation of food ingredients before cooking. Cleaning and slicing fish and poultry, washing vegetables and fruits, are not only useful activities but can also be an entry for introducing the basic food groups found in the pyramid. By such helpful tasks, nutritive value of foods can be explained and the preparation can be compared to the style of food storage and preparation in fast foods. (Frozen chicken can lose the freshness and flavour if stored for periods).Bringing the children or young adults outdoors where they can experience fishing in rivers and streams, harvesting fruits or vegetables and visiting poultries may introduce and orient to the "earthly" quality of food. That artificial and synthetic food ingredient is not only unhealthy but they are also generated from unnatural sources.Parents should practice what they preach. Most of the time, this proves to be a very difficult task. But for parents, teaching children to stay away from junk food or fatty, sweet and calorie-laden foods can be done easily if the parents themselves stay away from these kinds of food too. Some parents practice a double standard when it comes to eating healthy and nutritious foods. They sometimes oblige their children to cut down on sweets but they are seen stealing unhealthy foods into their bedroom or TV room when no one in the house is awake anymore.
As we continue to explore the foods our ancestors relied on during our evolutionary history, and what foods work best for us today, we come to legumes such as beans and lentils. These are controversial foods within the Paleolithic diet community, while the broader nutrition community tends to view legumes as healthy.Beans and lentils have a lot going for them. They're one of the few foods that are simultaneously rich in protein and fiber, making them highly satiating and potentially good for the critters in our colon. They're also relatively nutritious, delivering a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals. The minerals are partially bound by the anti-nutrient phytic acid, but simply soaking and cooking beans and lentils typically degrades 30-70 percent of it, making the minerals more available for absorption (Food Phytates. Reddy and Sathe. 2002). Omitting the soaking step greatly reduces the degradation of phytic acid (Food Phytates. Reddy and Sathe. 2002). The only tangible downside to beans I can think of, from a nutritional standpoint, is that some people have a hard time with the large quantity of fermentable fiber they provide, particularly people who are sensitive to FODMAPs. Thorough soaking prior to cooking can increase the digestibility of the "musical fruit" by activating the sprouting program and leaching out tannins and indigestible saccharides. I soak all beans and lentils for 12-24 hours.The canonical Paleolithic diet approach excludes legumes because they were supposedly not part of our ancestral dietary pattern. I'm going to argue here that there is good evidence of widespread legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and archaic humans, and that beans and lentils are therefore an "ancestral" food that falls within the Paleo diet rubric. Many species of edible legumes are common around the globe, including in Africa, and the high calorie and protein content of legume seeds would have made them prime targets for exploitation by ancestral humans after the development of cooking. Below, I've compiled a few examples of legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and extinct archaic humans. I didn't have to look very hard to find these, and there are probably many other examples available. If you know of any, please share them in the comments.To be clear, I would eat beans and lentils even if they weren't part of ancestral hunter-gatherer diets, because they're inexpensive, nutritious, I like the taste, and they were safely consumed by many traditional agricultural populations probably including my own ancestors.Extensive "bean" consumption by the !Kung San of the Kalahari desertThe !Kung San are a hunter-gatherer group that has been extensively studied by Richard B. Lee and other anthropologists. Dr. Lee published the book The !Kung San, which contains detailed information about the !Kung San diet gleaned over his three years of fieldwork. The !Kung San relied heavily on a legume called the tsin bean, Bauhinia esculenta. Here are two relevant quotes from The !Kung San:The tsin bean is the second most important food of the !Kung in the Southern parts of the Dobe area and in Nyae Nyae [second to the mongongo fruit/nut- SG].A typical day's backload of 5 kg of tsin beans without pods has an edible/waste ratio of 70:30 and provides 3500 g of edible beans. Back in the camp, tsin beans are processed in several ways. Unripe beans may be sun-dried before further processing. A batch of 50 or so beans is roasted in the shell for a few minutes in the hot ashes and sand of the cooking fire. Slight bursts of steam from the roasting beans indicate they are ready for eating. Occasionally a bean explodes, but without much damage. The beans are removed from the ashes, placed on an anvil stone, and opened with a single light tap of a rock or stick. Each bean comes apart easily into halves. Eaten whole, the beans have a rich, strong nutty flavor. Alternatively, the shelled beans may be pounded in the mortar and then mixed with hot water and eaten as a soup or porridge. The tsin bean is an excellent source of protein (31.6 percent), calories, potassium, phosphorous, thiamine, riboflavin, and nicotinic acid.By dry weight, tsin beans are 31.6% protein, 36.1% fat, 23.2% carbohydrate, and 1.0% fiber. They are therefore between a bean and a peanut in nutritional value.Mesquite pod consumption by Southwest Native AmericansMesquite is a leguminous tree that was a major wild food source for Southwest Native Americans. However, these groups ate the starchy pods rather than the seeds, so the analogy to beans and lentils may not hold up very well. Acacia seed consumption by Australian AboriginesAustralian aborigines extensively harvested and ate the seeds and gum of Acacia trees, another legume. Here's a quote from the paper "Acacia in Australia: Ethnobotany and Potential Food Crop" (1):Of the sixty or so species of Acacia in central Australia, Latz (1995) states that some 50% were, or still are, eaten by Aboriginal people and it is not only the seed which is consumed. Several species exude an edible sugary gum from wounds in the stem or branches which supplies a source of energy. Others are fed upon by insects which themselves secrete an edible substance while species such as A. kempeana are the host for various edible grubs often referred to by non-Aboriginal people as witchetty grubs.Legume consumption by NeanderthalsNeanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) were a hominin species closely related to modern humans. They lived as hunter-gatherers in similar environments to some humans, and are thought to have eaten a diet rich in animal foods. However, evidence is accumulating that their diets also featured a variety of plant foods, including wild legumes and grains. Some of the most compelling evidence comes from the analysis of Neanderthal tooth plaque, which contains recognizable evidence of plant food consumption (2):Our data show that Neanderthals in both environments included a spectrum of plant foods in their diets, including grass seeds (Triticeae cf. Hordeum), dates (Phoenix), legumes (Faboideae), plant underground storage organs, and other yet-unidentified plants, and that several of the consumed plants had been cooked. The identified plant foods from Shanidar match well with the soil phytoliths and macrobotanical remains found at other Neanderthal sites in the Near East, whereas those from Spy show use of USOs as predicted for European Neanderthals. Neanderthals’ consumption of these starchy plant foods does not contradict data from isotope analysis, because nitrogen isotopes record only the consumption of meat and protein-rich plant foods.Did Neanderthals enjoy wild varieties of peas and fava beans? It certainly appears that they did.Humans are thought to have eaten a more diverse diet than Neanderthals in the Upper Paleolithic, and one that relied more on small game and plant resources than the Neanderthal diet (at least after the "broad-spectrum revolution"). It's hard to imagine that our human ancestors in Europe passed up these plant foods that Neanderthals relied on.ConclusionBeans and lentils appear to be Paleo. Peanuts are probably Paleo too. But I would eat them even if they weren't.As usual, this post is not intended to undermine the Paleo diet concept, but rather to refine a framework that I find useful for thinking about diet and human health.
A new review paper on dietary fatty acids and heart disease risk was just published by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury and colleagues in the Annals of Internal Medicine– one of the top medical journals (1). The goal of the paper is to comprehensively review the studies evaluating the effect of dietary fatty acids on heart (coronary) disease. The review covers observational and intervention studies pertaining to saturated, monounsaturated, trans, omega-6 polyunsaturated, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. The paper is notable for its comprehensiveness (inclusion criteria were very lax).Here is a summary of the results:In observational studies that measured diet, only trans fat was related to cardiovascular risk. Saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats were unrelated to risk.In observational studies that measured circulating concentrations of fatty acids, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA, DPA, EPA, AA) were associated with lower risk. The dairy-fat-derived margaric acid (17:0) was also associated with lower risk. No other fatty acids were related to risk, including trans fatty acids.In controlled trials, supplementation with omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids did not alter risk.The authors conclude:In conclusion, the pattern of findings from this analysis did not yield clearly supportive evidence for current cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of saturated fats. Nutritional guidelines on fatty acids and cardiovascular guidelines may require reappraisal to reflect the current evidence.My viewKey limitations of this meta-analysis are that 1) it lumped together a variety of studies of different design and quality, and 2) it can only be as good as the studies it's based on. Meta-analyses are considered the highest level of evidence, but I remain somewhat skeptical of them for those reasons.This paper contains something to upset just about everyone. Whether you believe saturated, monounsaturated, omega-6, omega-3, or even trans fat influences cardiovascular disease risk, this paper didn't consistently support any of it, instead suggesting that perhaps dietary fat composition isn't where we should be focusing our attention.Does it challenge my own position? Perhaps a little bit, but not very much. After considering new evidence and reviewing old evidence, I've gradually drifted away from the view that omega-6 polyunsaturated fat contributes to cardiovascular disease. I still think it's probably a bad idea to eat a lot of refined seed oils– the lipid equivalent of white sugar– but I don't see much of an argument for avoiding whole nuts and avocados. Recent controlled trials and meta-analyses have also dampened my enthusiasm for the idea that omega-3 fatty acids have a major impact on cardiovascular disease risk. Either the trials weren't long enough to see protection, or omega-3 isn't as powerful as we had hoped.The data on saturated fat are consistent with my long-standing position. If saturated fat consumption impacts cardiovascular disease risk, the effect must be small because it's difficult to detect. However, that doesn't mean it's prudent to eat a bacon and butter diet. These studies reflect typical dietary patterns and have nothing to say about extreme diets. Personally I'm wary of diets very high in saturated fat because we don't have much good quality data on them, and contrary to what is claimed in some circles, it probably does not resemble what our ancestors ate.One of the associations that was identified in this meta-analysis is that circulating margaric acid is associated with lower cardiovascular risk. This is consistent with the findings of my review paper on full-fat dairy, suggesting that the consumption of full-fat dairy is associated with a lower risk of obesity and metabolic dysfunction (2). We don't know whether those results reflect cause and effect. However, we do know that there is little evidence to suggest that dairy fat is harmful to health.Overall, this meta-analysis argues that dietary fat composition may not be a key factor in cardiovascular disease risk. That leaves us with these important but uncontroversial factors: genetics, overall diet quality, body composition, physical fitness, hypertension, and cigarette smoking.
Glucagon is a hormone that plays an important role in blood glucose control. Like insulin, it's secreted by the pancreas, though it's secreted by a different cell population than insulin (alpha vs. beta cells). In some ways, glucagon opposes insulin. However, the role of glucagon in metabolism is frequently misunderstood in diet-health circles. The liver normally stores glucose in the form of glycogen and releases it into the bloodstream as needed. It can also manufacture glucose from glycerol, lactate, and certain amino acids. Glucagon's main job is to keep blood glucose from dipping too low by making sure the liver releases enough glucose. There are a few situations where this is particularly important:Hypoglycemia. When blood sugar drops below a certain threshold, for example if a diabetic injects too much insulin, the brain senses it and initiates a response (the counterregulatory response) to bring glucose back up and prevent unconsciousness and death. Glucagon release is an important part of this response.Fasting. Glucagon helps support blood glucose levels during fasting, when glucose intake is zero, by stimulating the production and release of glucose by the liver. This sustains the brain, which has an absolute requirement for glucose (though it can derive some energy from ketones).High-protein meals. Protein stimulates insulin release as much as carbohydrate does (because one of insulin's jobs is to send amino acids into lean tissues such as muscle), but protein doesn't supply rapid glucose like carbohydrate does. If this process went unchecked, eating a high-protein meal would cause hypoglycemia because insulin release would suppress blood glucose too much. Glucagon release counterbalances insulin, preventing hypoglycemia when we eat a high-protein meal.This post will discuss the third scenario. If we're looking to reduce circulating insulin levels using diet, which is ostensibly the goal of certain low-carbohydrate diet strategies, reducing carbohydrate intake is only half the story. If we really want to eat low-insulin foods, the first thing to do is look up which foods actually elevate insulin following a meal. The data, published in a paper titled "An Insulin Index of Foods", may surprise you. This paper is free access.What we see right away is that high-protein foods frequently stimulate insulin to a similar, sometimes even greater, degree than high-carbohydrate foods, calorie for calorie. Beef and fish release as much insulin as brown rice. Pasta (white or brown) and porridge release less insulin per calorie than cheese, beef and fish. Donuts are only 25 percent higher than fish. According to the paper, the five lowest-insulin foods tested were (from lowest to highest) peanuts, eggs, bran cereal, white or brown pasta, and grain porridge. Doesn't sound very low carb, does it?People frequently cite glucagon to resolve this problem. The idea goes like this: glucagon is the opposite of insulin, and if they're released together, as they are when you eat a high-protein meal, then their effects on blood sugar, on hunger, and on fat metabolism cancel one another out in a way that they would not following a carbohydrate-heavy meal. If we're talking about blood glucose, this is correct. Glucagon does more or less cancel out insulin's effect on blood glucose, and eating protein in isolation does not lead to major changes in blood glucose. Regarding hunger, glucagon is often suggested to oppose the hunger-inducing effects of insulin. However, contrary to popular claims, insulin doesn't increase hunger or food intake in humans unless it causes frank hypoglycemia, so there is nothing to oppose (1, 2, 3, 4)*. Nevertheless, glucagon probably does play a role in satiety, independently of insulin. So that claim is partially true. If we consider the claim that glucagon promotes fat release from fat tissue, suddenly we're on shaky ground! When researchers put high doses of glucagon on fat cells in a petri dish, or give very high doses of glucagon to animals or humans, it stimulates the release of fat (lipolysis). So the idea that glucagon counterbalances insulin's effects on lipolysis does have some basis in reality. But giving humans realistic doses of glucagon, doses that approximate what would occur naturally in the human body following a high-protein meal, does not increase lipolysis (5, 6). Also, blocking glucagon action in dogs does not reduce lipolysis, suggesting that baseline glucagon levels are unrelated to lipolysis (7). The glucagon receptor knockout mouse is actually lean and resistant to diet-induced obesity, contrary to what these claims would predict (8, 9)**. That's why modern reviews, such as Keith Frayn's textbook Metabolic Regulation, make statements such as these:Glucagon has a potent effect in isolated fat cells in the laboratory, but appears not to affect fat mobilization in humans in vivo.Glucagon probably does play a role in satiety (fullness). As with many other satiety peptides released by the digestive tract and pancreas, glucagon is sensed by nerve terminals that send impulses up the vagus nerve, and the signal is transmitted to the brain where satiety is perceived (10). In the case of glucagon, the relevant receptors are located in the liver, where glucagon mediates the majority of its effects***. Injecting glucagon decreases food intake, and blocking glucagon action increases food intake, though the evidence has not always been consistent (11). Protein, and to a lesser extent alcohol and fat, but not carbohydrate, lead to increased glucagon secretion following a meal (12, 13, 14). Increased glucagon secretion may be one reason why high-protein diets lead to reduced food intake and body fatness in overweight people, although other convincing mechanisms have been proposed****. The body's response to food is so complex that it's tough to predict large-scale (and long-term) physiological changes by measuring a single hormone, but it seems likely that glucagon plays a role. Whatever the mechanism, protein remains the most satiating macronutrient, and it does help with fat loss. In fact, recent evidence suggests that the ability of low-carbohydrate diets to promote fat loss and maintenance (relative to low-fat diets) may have more to do with increased protein than decreased carbohydrate (15), at least at a moderate level of carbohydrate restriction. It is known that high-protein, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets are effective for fat loss, and this diet stimulates a large amount of insulin release (16, 17). In one particularly interesting study, increasing protein intake at the expense of fat (with no change in carbohydrate percentage) led to a spontaneously reduced calorie intake and substantial fat loss that was comparable or superior to what is typically observed in low-carbohydrate diet studies (18), particularly considering that the participants were only modestly overweight at baseline and were not even trying to lose weight. Both fasting and post-meal insulin levels remained unchanged throughout the intervention. None of these effects seem to involve the supposed influence of glucagon on fat cells, or anything related to insulin, although they could relate to the effects of glucagon on satiety. Together, this paints a complex picture, suggesting that the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets for fat loss in overweight people:Depends at least in part on increased protein consumption.Probably does not require a reduction of insulin secretion, but may involve an increase of glucagon.Probably does not involve direct effects of glucagon on fat cells, but could relate to glucagon's effects on satiety, and perhaps other effects in the brain.Beyond the metabolic/hormonal effects of low-carbohydrate or high-protein diets, these diets may also be effective because of changes in the reward and palatability value of the diet (and food variety, a related factor). Getting rid of pastries, donuts, soda, fries, and pizza goes a long way, and taking one or more items off the table (e.g. bread) tends to reduce total food intake even if everything else remains the same. The potato-only diet is a good example of this (19, 20). Over on Mark Sisson's forum, a number of people have been repeating Chris Voigt's experiment of eating nothing but potatoes, with similar weight loss results (21). To be clear, I'm not recommending this approach, but it certainly illustrates the power of a monotonous diet. Interestingly, besides being extremely filling per calorie, potatoes are also one of the most insulin-stimulating foods, according to the paper cited above.* I am aware of one older study where increasing insulin did lead to hunger and increased food intake independently of hypoglycemia. That paper had the least convincing study design, but I included it for completeness. It's the last of the four references I provided.** They also have much higher levels of GLP-1, which may be a compensatory adaptation, and probably plays a role in the overall phenotype. GLP-1 is an incretin hormone as well as a satiety hormone. Incretins are a group of peptides that stimulate insulin secretion. This is the problem with knockout mice in general– when you get rid of something completely from birth, it can trigger compensatory adaptations that make the resulting phenotype difficult to interpret. *** When glucagon is secreted, it goes to the liver first. Glucagon concentrations are much higher in the hepatic circulation than in the general circulation, which is one of the reasons why it's thought to act primarily in the liver. However, Dr. Tony Lam's lab has shown that it also acts directly in the brain to regulate blood glucose.**** The amino acid leucine, increased on high-protein diets, acts in the hypothalamus on mTOR and AMPK pathways, which regulate energy homeostasis (21). AMPK and mTOR are the cell's primary energy sensing pathways, sort of like leptin and insulin are the primary energy sensors on the organism level. This mechanism seems to be at least partially responsible for the ability of high-protein diets to improve body composition (lower food intake, lower fat mass, and higher muscle mass) in rodent models.
I often receive requests from people asking for my overall perspective on fat loss and health. I share my opinions here, but they're scattered throughout hundreds of posts, there's a lot I haven't had a chance to write about, and I rarely give practical recommendations. However, I knew I'd eventually put everything together into a cohesive fat loss program– it was only a matter of finding the right opportunity.That opportunity presented itself in 2011 when I met Dan Pardi, a researcher whose work focuses on sleep and food intake, and the CEO of a company called Dan's Plan. I was immediately impressed by Dan because he stood out as someone with a high level of expertise in sleep and physical activity, as well as someone who has successfully lost a substantial amount of fat and kept it off for several years. Dan and his team had developed a set of unique and engaging tools for tracking weight, sleep, and physical activity to help people maintain daily mindfulness over the simple fundamentals of health. These tools are 100 percent free and incredibly easy to use, particularly if you sync them with an electronic scale and step counter. When synced with these devices, the Dan's Plan website automatically uploads and displays your weight, sleep, and physical activity score, as well as integrating them all into a single user-friendly Health Zone Score that lets you know your overall performance at a glance. Even if you have no interest in fat loss, I highly recommend using the free tracking tools on the Dan's Plan site– I do.In early 2012, Dan approached me about creating a fat loss program for Dan's Plan that incorporates their unique tracking tools. This struck me as an excellent opportunity to create a diet and lifestyle program that combines sound science with exciting new technology. Dan and I both brought science to the table, and Dan also brought the perspective gained from working with others to help them lose fat, as well as his own successful fat loss experience. Dan and I have been working hard on this project, and we're finally ready to launch.I'm happy to announce the Ideal Weight Program, an effective new system for fat loss and maintenance.What is the Ideal Weight Program?The Ideal Weight Program is a unique system for fat loss and maintenance that draws from the latest science on diet, physical activity, sleep, and behavior modification, and pairs it with engaging tools that help you define your goals and meet them. It keeps you consistently focused on the everyday factors that really matter for fat loss, and gives you the skills you need to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes. Based on your own goals and priorities, you can choose one of two diet strategies for the initial fat loss phase:The Fat Loss and Sustainable Health (FLASH) diet, an intensive high-protein diet for rapid fat loss.The Simple Food Diet, a more flexible diet based on whole, natural foods specifically selected for fat loss. One important goal of this diet is to teach healthy cooking skills, using recipes and tips provided.These diets are designed to naturally promote a lower calorie intake and fat loss, without requiring calorie counting. The Ideal Weight Program also includes important physical activity and sleep components, and explains why these are so critical for fat loss and health. Dan and I discussed some of the principles underlying the Ideal Weight Program on Chris Kresser's podcast recently.Here's what you get when you sign up:Detailed documents that walk you through the programWeight, sleep, and physical activity tracking tools tailored for fat lossSimple recipes and cooking tips that work with almost anything in your fridgeVideos that explain the key concepts behind fat loss and maintenanceAn e-book explaining the scientific rationale behind the programSigning up for the Ideal Weight Program gives you lifetime access to everything. We've discounted the initial price, because we want to hear your feedback so that we can continue to improve the program over time. If you follow the link below, first you'll be prompted to sign up for a basic Dan's Plan account, and once you have your account set up, you'll be able to purchase the Ideal Weight Program:Ideal Weight ProgramFinancial disclosure: I will receive a portion of the revenue from the sale of the Ideal Weight Program. I do not receive revenue from the sale of other products associated with Dan's Plan or the Ideal Weight Program (such as the Fitbit, cooking tools, and other programs).