Monthly Archives: January 2019

How To Lose Weight Forever and KEEP IT OFF – Discover Your Bright Lines

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References: Bright Line Eating,Q J Exp PsycholNat Clin Prat Endo MetEndocrinologyHyman The Blood Sugar SolutionNature,

Did you know that only 0.1% of people who are obese ever make it back to normal and stay there? Horrible!!! Do you feel trapped by your eating habits? Well, here is your salvation. The Key. Susan Pierce Thompson, Ph.D. is a unique American genius researcher who has unpacked and researched the brain chemistry why our modern diet wired our brain to work against us, and how to rewire it to work for us. 
She comes by it honestly. As a very high achieving child destined for top tier schools, she managed to first spiral into multiple drug addictions, and then find her way out. Recognizing the power of that effect, the followed the evidence of her own agony gaining and losing weight to see the pattern of weight gain as a matter of addiction and brain behavior. 
Simply stated, modern food and patterns of eating hijack three critical brain processes making permanent weight loss just about impossible. The first is WILLPOWER. You think of willpower is a personality trait you achieve by moral force or something like that. It’s much more profound and pervasive. Part of it is decision-making capacity, that is depleted if used up on persistent stressors. (Picking up kids, making dinner, supervising homework, paying bills). You run out of steam. How do you restore willpower? Glucose, meditation, friends, sleep, GRATITUDE, prayer. If you are going to lose weight, you better focus on how to restore and maintain willpower. (We’ll get to that.) 
The second brain process is insatiable hunger. Right before our eyes. We get insatiable hunger. Many of us, with modern food we feel as hungry at the end of a meal as we did at the beginning. Why so? In part, because so much of our food is so refined it passes through our stomach with hardly a sense of volume to fill us up. Artificial sweeteners compound the problem by stimulating insulin which drives what glucose you have in your blood into your cells, making you hungrier four hours later. You can prove that in rats: give them yogurt with sugar versus yogurt with artificial sweetener and the sweetener group gains more weight. And instead of expectations about meal times being scheduled, formatted and waited for, we have snacks everywhere to tide us over and assuage our anxiety or stress, and insatiable hunger. We’ve turned into a snacking nation. And that screws up leptin from your hypothalamus. Leptin tells you to stop eating. Without it, you get fat, fatter, fattest. You become LEPTIN resistant, driven by leptin being blocked by high insulin. It does so in your brainstem, your lizard brain – where you can’t resist. It’s like resisting breathing. Can’t. Blocked leptin equals insatiable hunger. Refined food, snacking, blocked leptin all drive insatiable hunger that gets all mixed up with lifestyle behavior. 
The last brain malfunction? Overpowering cravings. This is not insatiable hunger, that’s from brainstem blocking of leptin. The craving function comes from your nucleus acumbens which is further forward in your brain. It is the seat of pleasure. Dopamine motivates you to seek pleasure in ways that sustain life: sex, exercise, eating, whichever order you want. When you see sexually arousing things, you get stimulated. If you see it so much it becomes overwhelming, like porn. Your nucleus acumbuns gets overstimulated, and you down regulate your pleasure neurons. Less pleasure for the same exposure drives you to seek more. Ok, how about Food Porn. Like crystal meth users, it first feels super good, then it fades as dopamine cells are depleted until finally, it becomes a desperate search just to feel normal. The nature of addiction is that first it pleases, then it captures, then it leads to a frantic longing for normal. A little more is never enough. 
We used to get sugar once a year when the beehive was found. Ok, twice. When the raspberries were ripe. Then we discovered sugar and have added it to 80% of our foods. Take peanut butter. Try to resist it. Eat a teaspoon and then try not to eat four more. We’ll talk more about this next week.

WWW: What will work for me. I know I’m a sugar junky, which apparently 30% of us are. I think Susan Pierce Thompson is onto something with her book Bright Line Eating. It is so important I want to learn it in depth so I’m going to write about it and research it more. Next week we will explore the nature of addictions more and then get into her method of cure. I tried one day of no sugar, no flour. One day. And found myself reaching subconsciously for peanut butter, whipping cream and sweeteners for my tea more times than I could count.

Pop Quiz

  1. What percent of people lose weight and keep it off from obese range to normal? (Obese BMI of 30 down to 25. Calculate your BMI by taking your weight in pounds, divided by your height in inches, divided by your height in inches, multiplied by 706)) Answer: 0.1%
  2. Will power is all you need to lose weight. T or F Answer: Much more nuanced than that. Will power is about decision making and decision fatigue is a real phenomenon. Stress, many mental processes, loneliness all degrade decision making, leaving to will power fading.
  3. Insatiable eating comes from what? Answer. Our modern food supply gives us the wrong food that stimulates insulin with all of its purified, processed stuff, and that blocks leptin, our satiety hormone. Your lizard brain says you are hungry and you have to eat. Can’t resist it. You feel as hungry at the end of a meal as you did when you started.
  4. Overpowering cravings is Susan Thompson’s last malfunctioning process that drives you to overeat. What’s that about? Answer: The addicting quality of food. You eat a little and you have to have more. The more you eat, the less satisfying it is. You look at the last Orio as you finish off the package and you don’t feel any better about yourself. You don’t feel full. You didn’t even enjoy the last bite.
  5. Through most of human history we came upon sugar in what context? Answer: ripe fruit in its season, or rare honey. Sugar cane from New Guinea was grown by the Chinese, turned into sugar in 1500 India, transported to Venice and the Europeans and we were all off to the races. It is now 8-10% of our calories and added to 80% of our food.

How Much Meat Should We Eat – The Lancet Report

References: LancetScience DailyChatelaine,

The headlines were all about the recommended huge reduction in red meat because that is what is startling about this report. You heard it everywhere this week. A very broad and acknowledge group of nutrition experts (Walter Willet from Harvard was chair) looked over the whole nutrition scene and concluded they had to do more than just a narrow interpretation of what’s good for you, personally. Your personal health merges and also connects to the health of your ecosystem, the planet. 
What is the reduction recommended? Well, how about down to one hamburger a week. And throw in two servings of fish and a daily dairy serving. One dairy serving. Get that. One. (This is Wisconsin!) And don’t forget the eggs, two of those…..a week. If meat goes down that much, what goes up. Vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, and fruits. It also recommends cutting sugar to 8 teaspoons a day or 38 grams. That’s it on the sugar so that also is a 70-80% reduction. Finally, lose all those starchy vegetables like potatoes. This is a big nudge against the idea of the keto diet until you remember that if you shift mostly to green vegetables, you are eating stealth keto because those veges turn into beta-hydroxybutyrate in your colon.

But that’s not the biggest change in this report. Really! The biggest change is the recognition that what we do individually aggregates up to a planetary impact on the ecosystem that we live in. The production of red meat is no innocent affair. At the best guess we now can make, planet earth will have 10 billion of us in another 30 years. How we eat drives how we produce food, and that drives the fertilizers we use, the carbon we release, the methane our animals make in meat production. Each of those drivers pushes the boundaries of what this precious blue planet can tolerate. Earth only has so many molecules of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon to go around, and the demands we humans put on that system make for boundaries that eventually are exceeded. 

What I am finding most interesting is the confluence of the two. In fact, eating lots of red meat, sugar, and starch is the engine that drives our diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease epidemics. So, it’s not so bad for you to think about how this report actually is good for you in the overall sum of things.

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WWW. What will work for me. It’s all about change management. What can you do to make you feel good about changing? One little step at a time, building on something you already like is what works for me. I like roasted vegetables. This weekend I’ve added green beans to the mix. I bought two pounds of them and in 10 minutes with the broiler and 2 T of olive oil, some salt and pepper, I had a great batch of yummy green beans. They didn’t make it till supper. Now, Trader Joes and Pick and Save both have packages of pre-prepared cauliflour. The rack in my oven is already set on “grill” so I’m doing cauliflower this afternoon and that will be our dinner salad. If I make it this morning, it won’t make it till dinner.

Pop Quiz

  1. How many people will planet earth have in another 30 years? Answer: 30% more or 10 billion.
  2. How much more oxygen, water, and phosphate will be on planet earth in 30 years? Answer: We are a closed system of chemistry and will not change much (well, exclude the tiny bit of space dust and meteorites hitting us every day)
  3. What’s wrong with growing red meat? Answer: High environmental cost. Surprisingly large amounts of methane comes out of cows’ guts adding to the global burden for climate change. Not to mention TMAO in your arteries driving heart disease.
  4. Cutting down on sugar? Can you do it? Answer: No, I like it too much. Seriously, it’s in everything, everywhere in all sorts of secret names. That takes real focus and work. Peanut butter is my downfall. And can’t have ice cream in the house as it seems to auto-levitate after 8 pm.
  5. Two eggs a week? Can you do it? I used to eat 4 eggs a day when I was trying the animal based keto diet. My A1c when up. I now have the TMAO Cleveland Heart Lab kits in my office and I’m winding up to start ordering them. In the meantime, I’m down on eggs, not because of cholesterol, but because of animal protein and TMAO. Right now I have just finished a delicious bowl of roasted Brussel’s sprouts with olive oil for breakfast.

The Number One Miracle Food is FIBER

 References: LancetBBC NewsUSDAScience DirectInstitute of Medicine,

This is such a boring topic, you would think it would put you to sleep. Gads. But it’s not and the pieces are falling into place to explain why it is so central to what we should eat to be well. 
First of all, the epidemiology. This week in the journal Lancet is a massive studylooking at 185 studies and 58 clinical trials that covered 135 million person-years of data. Combining all that data results in the conclusion that you can reduce all-cause mortality by about 30% when you take the lowest fiber consumption groups and push them up to the highest groups. Said another way, for every 1000 people who do that, you will see 13 fewer deaths and 6 fewer heart attacks PER YEAR. Said yet another way, this might be just about the most significant strategy to improve your health you can do on a daily basis, aside from intermittent fast mimicking and daily exercise.

What are the quantities they are talking about? Let’s put it in context. In America, the average suburban middle-class person eats about 16-18 grams a day and poorer folks eat much, much less with some studies showing as low as 6 grams of fiber a day. Considering that french fries, lettuce, and ketchup are the most consumed vegetables in America (fast food), you can understand why. 

And what should we be eating? According to America’s Institute of Medicine, adult men should get 38 grams a day, and women 25 grams. So, we are a long way short. If you look at other data, some studies show that when you hit 45 grams a day, you really hit it out of the park with even more benefits.

Other benefits? You bet. Less weight, less colon cancer, less breast cancer, less diabetes….. to knock off just about the top most common diseases in our society. Which suggests that the all the lesser diseases will decrease too. 
The origin of the fiber hypothesis is very interesting. An English surgeon by the name of Burkitt, hired by the East Africa Railway company over 100 years ago to provide health care for the local men working on the railway, was bored to tears. None of the “natives” got sick with the diseases of England he was used to caring for. In his typical English way, he studied the men and the only thing he had to measure was the volume of their voluminous stools. He went about weighing their poop after noticing that he had never seen such voluminous quantities before. Sounds gross. Turns out to be the first data on fiber in the world. So, this idea isn’t new. He became known as the “King of Fiber”. And he was right! 
Now, here is the twist that catches my eye. We now know the astoundingly important qualities of our gut bacteria in relationship to our health. And we know that gut bacteria turn high fiber vegetables into ketones. We know that gorillas, eating 15 pounds a day of green leaves end up with 70% of their calories being from beta-hydroxybutyrate, our principle ketone. We know our brain is aching to run on ketones and throw off its dependence on glucose as its sole food.

So, Voila! You want a healthy diet? You bet. How do you get it? Emphatically not with an animal based high protein diet (what we thought the ketogenic diet should be) but rather with a high fiber, gut soothing, bacteria feeding, poop making diet. If your daily stool is soft, voluminous and urgent to pass, you probably are close. If you are constipated, bound up, strain to poop, you are probably too low. The British have a good page on how to increase fiber. That means the real, ketogenic diet is one based on high fiber that nourishes your gut bacteria first. They make the ketones. You stay well. Whether you find the ketogenic production from resistant starches, vegetables, nuts, whole grains is all up to you. But now we have a common pathway that draws many lines of evidence into a “unified theory” of fiber and ketones.

Now, just skip a meal here and there.

WWW: What will work for me? I’ve swapped out eggs for breakfast with a nice, warm spinach and onion curry every morning. After doing it for a month, I’m used to it. I just finished roasting 4 pounds of brussels sprouts with lemon flavored olive oil, salt, and pepper. Now, I just have to wait for 135 million years to see if it helps me. So far, no colon cancer, heart disease or diabetes. My blood sugar went up on a keto diet based on animal. For me, that just doesn’t work. My ambition for today is to learn how to make a Jerusalem artichoke Turkish dip that I had for dinner at a friend’s house. It was yummy and Jerusalem artichoke is a champion of fiber. Never had it before so I want to learn something new..

Pop Quiz

  1. What is fiber? Answer: We should all know this. The stuff in food you can’t digest, but the bacteria in your colon can. Increases the volume of happy bacteria in your gut that affects your metabolism, your blood vessel contentedness, your brain function and,….
  2. What is its principal effect? Answer: the bacteria in your gut make beta-hydroxybutyrate from it. The more they make, the happier your colon cells are, your brain cells are, your fat cells are, your diabetes cells are
  3. How much do I need to get a day? Answer: based on gender, probably at least twice what you are getting now. Women, at least 25 grams a day. Men 35. 45 is better. How not to get it: fast food. Pure white bread, with meat, cheese, sauce and french fries with sugared soda. Total fiber: about 2 grams.
  4. How do I know I’m getting enough? Answer: ok, this is gross but, large, bulky, soft stools with lots of volume. And waiting till you don’t die from a heart attack, colon cancer, diabetes…..
  5. Name for me a couple of foods very high in fiber. Answer: Ground flax seed might be first. Green vegetables, nuts, lentils, whole grains each add their own kind. The more you have to chew might be a good clue. Odd things like Jerusalem artichokes are pretty good too.

ChronoNutrition – What you eat is as important as WHEN you eat it!

References: The Big Breakfast StudyCenter for Health ResearchWhat to Eat When by Roizen , FASEBInt Jr Obesity,

It’s the first of the year. You have resolved to do a little better this year and lose weight. Humpf! Good luck! Nice try! You’ve done this before. Well, here is another piece of science to put in your pipe and think about. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer for the Cleveland Clinic and Dr Oz show advisor and frequent guest has a book to help you while you are at it. Just published this week. 
Here’s the skinny you want to know. First, basic physiology of how you work. At 7 in the morning your cortisol surges by about 7-10 fold from a level of 2 at 4 in the morning to a level of 18-20 at 8. Cortisol helps you mobilize energy and makes your brain feel alert and awake. It’s your natural wake up, git up and git hormone. You can get stuff done when you have cortisol surging. If you don’t have it, you can’t. Under circumstances of high stress, you can stimulate yourself to put out more cortisol. Sweaty exercise stimulates you to put out more cortisol. Hot saunas alternating with freezing showers does the same. Cortisol last 5-6 hours and with a great sauna or a good run, you feel pumped up, alert and alive for the next 4-6 hours.

In the evening, your cortisol falls off, your melatonin starts to rise as it gets dark. Your body temperature falls off. Your immune response weakens and allows your fever to rise. You are slowing down and cooling off. You can’t burn energy as easily. The only thing that feels good is lots of extra carbohydrates as that raises your blood glucose, and also turns on fat production. (Just look at night shift workers. The easiest way to deal with night shift is to eat all night. Doing that gets you through the night, but at the cost of storing half the calories as fat.) 
What did nature design us to do? For most of human history, we didn’t have light bulbs and electricity, much less ipads, TVs, computers or even books and magazines. We ate when the sun was up and went to bed when it got dark to stay warm. 
Now, all of this biological clock stuff is managed by this tiny little 20,000 cell area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that mediates more than just your cortisol. It also impacts your sensitivity to insulin, which rises and falls with the day as well. You are naturally more sensitive to insulin in the morning and some fat cells show 50% difference in insulin sensitivity between noon and 8 pm. 
The exact same pattern has been shown with experimental mice. Given carbs during their normal inactive time, they get fat and eat more (just like humans on night shift). What you eat, when really matters. In fact, it might be argued that it’s the whole ball game. We are pretty certain you can lose weight when you compress your calories down to under 10 hours a day. That’s true. And we are pretty sure you need to get away from sugar. That’s true. And we are pretty sure that vegetables are, in fact, a back door ketosis food (just ask the gorillas) because your gut bacteria turns the cell walls of green veges into beta-hydroxybutyrate.

So now, think about timing your eating and what you eat when. Read Roizen’s book and think about training yourself for a hearty breakfast, during sunlight hours and a smaller dinner.

WWW: What will work for me. Well, I’m gradually prying myself off any eating after 6 pm. I know it’s dark at 5 now but I don’t get home till then anyway. I’m pretty good with the sugar and the vegetables. I’m having bigger spinach breakfasts of late. Hope I can stick with that. I want to see if other folks can make Roisin’s ideas work for them. I think there is truth to it.

Pop Quiz

  1. Your biology runs on a clock driven by….what? Answer: Light affecting your brain.
  2. What part of your brain registers that? Answer: Ok, this is an honors answer – the suprachiasmatic nucleus with it’s teeny little 20,000 cells.
  3. What hormone surges the most at 7 am? Answer: That would be cortisol.
  4. What hormone has its sensitivity altered throughout the day, with a peak at noon and a 50% drop by 8 pm? Answer: Insulin
  5. Is chononutrition easy to understand? Answer: Not yet. It’s a new idea that needs to settle in with more research. But what promise it has!