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The missing link to weight loss

The missing link to weight loss ——————————- We all know there are no magic bullets when it comes to losing weight and getting fit and trim. Savvy marketers are constantly trying to pitch you that they have the answer you’ve been looking for, but let’s be real, the majority of these products are just gimmicks. Obtaining a healthy body weight is all about your decisions. The decisions you make with what to eat, whether or not to exercise, sleep, water consumption ,managing stress, and other healthy lifestyle habits. If there was a secret it’s that all these pieces fit together as components in the big picture. You can’t simply watch what you eat but neglect exercise for example. Likewise, there’s a common saying that “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.” Getting to your ideal bodyweight is all about putting together the various factors that regulate fat storage so they work synergistically together. Forget about the next fad diet, pill, or exercise gadget. Stick with the basics and don’t go overboard with trying to follow any routine you can’t live with long-term. Sure there are fat loss strategies like dieting techniques that can be extremely helpful, but they’re all meant to be done in short windows of time. Things like intermittent fasting, low-carb cycling, and the like are great ways to jump start a weight loss program or break through a plateau. But remember, these techniques are simply tools to use, not lifestyle eating plans. That’s why I’m such a proponent of Metabolic typing , or better phrased, “way of eating.” Metabolic Typing is really not a diet but rather a philosophy on how to eat for optimal health and leanness. I’ll be straight up with you, I’m not 100% Primal. I’ll still eat the occasional side of pasta or bread at dinner, but it’s the exception and not the norm. When I’m trying to lean up I simply get more aggressive at pulling out the grains and starches. There’s a lot to be said with the simplicity of a Metabolic typing diet. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the idea is to center your diet on natural whole foods like our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have consumed. Things like lean proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, greens, and healthy fats make up the bulk of the diet. What’s missing is the large amounts of grains and starch carbohydrates that make up the majority of the standard Western diet. Gone also are the processed and refined sugars and carbs that we all know serve no beneficial role in our diet. There are no complicated formulas to follow and no counting of calories, points, etc. You simply eat from these foods whenever you’re hungry and only enough until you’re no longer hungry….not stuffed full! There is a big difference here obviously. People who transition to a Metabolic typing way of eating will frequently report that they have strong sugar cravings, they’re hungry all the time, and suffer from irritability. It’s important to understand this is a natural part of the process of weaning yourself off all the starches and sugars. Your body will adjust to fueling off of fats and natural sugars like fructose and glucose but it simply takes time. You have to train your body on the inside just like you do outside with exercise. Think about it for a second…you can’t transition from bagels, fruit juices, muffins, and the like without experiencing some withdrawal systems. Stick with it for a few weeks though and a magical thing happens… You all of sudden don’t experience the sugar cravings, your appetite levels out, your energy increases, and you start to feel really good! The point is there will always be discomfort before comfort when making a major shift in your diet. Expect it going in and know its part of the process. The problem is most people throw in the towel too soon and go back to their old way of eating because it gives them false sense of feeling better. The “Missing Link” My reason for bringing up the Metabolic Typing , which you’ve probably heard me preach on before, is to preface the discussion today on “the missing link” in our diets. Before I give you what the “missing link” is, I want you to ponder the following. Imagine eating 10 pounds of food or more a day and still staying lean and healthy. Sounds impossible right? Think again. It may sound crazy but researchers have concluded that’s exactly what our hunter-gather ancestors may have eaten, and surprisingly they showed almost no signs of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Of course I wouldn’t advise anyone today to eat 10 pounds of food in day because the food in our society lacks one major ingredient that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate in abundance. What is it? The missing link is FIBER! Now before I get into the numerous benefits of eating more fiber in your diet along with making a recommendation on how much, let’s look closer at the history of fiber. Skeptics will often cite we don’t live as hunter-gather’s any more so how can you come to the conclusion these people were healthier? The reality is there are still places on earth where people live as hunter-gatherers. The African bushmen are a perfect example. Dr. Dennis Burkitt, a famous English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and their “civilized” western counterparts. Dr. Burkitt found that the average bushman had a stool weight of almost 2 pounds and the “civilized” men had an average stool weight of only 4 ounces. That’s 87% smaller! Not to be gross, but this is a big deal. The difference came down to the amount of fiber in their diet. Today, the average American eats about 8 grams a fiber a day. Any coincidence that we also have epidemic levels of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative disease? I would say not. Compare that to the bushmen, the closest thing to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who ate upwards of 70 grams or more fiber a day from roots, berries, leaves, and plant foods. Does that mean we have to eat huge amounts of fiber like this to be healthy and lean? Of course not, but you could certainly benefit a ton from increasing your intake. Let’s look at just how valuable fiber is. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that fiber along with omega-3 fatty acids (both severely lacking in our diets) are two of the most important things we could consume to help avoid degenerative disease. The reason is fiber slows the rate at which foods enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits the body through the digestive tract. That keeps blood sugar and cholesterol in the right balance and quickly eliminates toxins from your gut. The fiber is also very helpful in reducing your appetite. Research on fiber has shown some very positive impacts on reducing the risk of disease. In one study I read they found butyrate made from gut bacteria from certain types of fiber acts as a “switching molecule” that turns on an anticancer gene. How much fiber should you consume daily? A good rule of thumb is to aim for somewhere between 30 to 50 grams of fiber daily. It may seem like a lot but it’s very doable with a healthy diet and some additional help with a fiber supplement, which we’ll talk about in a minute. What kind of fiber you consume is definitely important. There are two categories for fiber…insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber- think of this as fiber that combines with water to make a gel like substance in your GAstro- intestinal tract. Foods with the best sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some grains like oatmeal and oatbran. The bacteria in your gut metabolizes the soluble fiber in these foods and helps create a healthy GI tract. Insoluble fiber- think of this as fiber that serves as sort of a scouring pad to clean out the walls of your intestines and colon. Insoluble fiber is what helps with constipation. Foods with the best sources of insoluble fiber include wheat, corn, nuts, flaxseed, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables. Truth be told most grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, have a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both are beneficial but the soluble fiber is what does most to improve GI tract health. Inside scoop on some fiber trickery being used by food manufacturers… You may not hear this little secret being talked about very often so pay attention. Food manufacturers have been quick to pick up on the public’s awareness on the health benefits of fiber. And since the majority of these foods are processed and refined they have very little if any natural fiber. They’ve found a sneaky little work-around to this problem though. What is it? Inulin. Pick up just about any product in the supermarket that isn’t a whole food but yet claims to be “high in fiber” and chances are you’ll find inulin on the ingredients list. Inulin can be extracted from food (usually from chicory root), or it can be created synthetically. Food makers use inulin to replace fats, flours and sugars, slashing calories and carbohydrates from their products. Since we don’t have the enzymes to break it down, inulin is “classified” as dietary fiber. And because inulin is such a fine, white, powder-like substance, it’s easily incorporated into a wide range of foods and beverages, quickly cranking up their fiber counts. But if you’re looking for that appetite-squelching, belly-filling effect that you get with typical fiber-rich foods, you won’t find it with inulin. It’s different from natural soluble fiber that swells in your stomach and keeps you feeling full. It also doesn’t have the ability to lower blood sugar levels or reduce cholesterol like natural fiber can. Bottom line…you’re being duped! I wanted to share this bit of insight with you so you wouldn’t be fooled by products containing inulin being pitched as high in fiber. On a related note, the new type of “clear” fiber supplements out on the market today mostly contain inulin. That’s why it dissolves so easily in water. Did you really think it would give you the same benefits of the fiber that gels up and is thicker when added to water? It’s not, save your money and invest in a high quality fiber supplement. A good high quality fiber supplement will have both a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. You want to avoid the ones that contain a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners. The standard orange flavored Metamucil and new clear products are not really worth using in my opinion since the servings are very low in total fiber grams (like 2-5 grams per dose). I personally look for a fiber supplement that contains around 9-10 grams of fiber per serving. This is the amount that will produce the most benefit and help you get closer to your 30-50 grams for the day. My two favorites are as follows: Advocare Fiber Drink My first choice and personal favorite. The Advocare Fiber drink (citrus or peaches and cream flavor) tastes the best out of any high fiber supplements I’ve tested. One pouch of this fiber drink contains 10 grams of fiber. As an added benefit it also contains a digestive enzyme complex (lipase, cellulose, protease), along with probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum). I typically drink one packet first thing in the morning upon awakening or sometimes use my second option listed below. Trader Joes “Secrets Of The Pysllium” Fiber While not as pleasing to the taste buds as the Advocare fiber drink, the Trader Joe’s product contains blond Egyptian psyllium seed husks with 9 grams of fiber with the 2 tablespoon serving. An excellent fiber supplement product that uses high quality psyllium seed husk. It’s also very low in sugar. Fiber powder supplements versus capsules… For those who want to get around drinking their fiber supplement and think they can take fiber capsules instead, you’ll want to reconsider. I don’t recommend fiber capsules. The reason is the capsules contain gelatin which has the potential to gum up and cause blockage in your guts, especially when you’re not drinking enough water. My advice, suck it up and drink down your fiber in water. Here’s a quick tip…when you mix your fiber supplement in water remember it’s going to gel up pretty quickly so don’t dilly-dally around with drinking it. The longer you wait, the more sludge like and thick it’s going to get. Personally, I put my fiber powder in large glass of water and pound it down. If you’re gagging trying to get down your fiber drink it’s because you didn’t use enough water or you’ve waited too long and let the fiber gel up. A possible “super –fiber?” While I’ve not personally tested, I’ve seen some interesting research on glucomannan. This fiber is soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous. It comes from the root of the elephant yam also known as konjac. Dr. Oz is a big proponent of this fiber and that certainly has got my attention to research further. Final word of caution on fiber consumption… A lot of people shy away from adding fiber to their diet because they’re afraid they’ll be running to the bathroom all day. If this happens it’s a pretty good sign your digestive tract is fouled up. It should be all the more reason to work slowly on increasing fiber along with getting serious about cleaning up your diet. If you’ve not been eating a lot of natural, whole foods you’ll want to slowly increase your levels of fiber to give your GI tract time to cleanse itself out and heal. The most common side effects of consuming too much fiber too soon is gas and bloating. I’ll remind you though; this is not a problem when your GI tract is functioning properly. All I can tell you is it’s definitely worth it to get serious about increasing fiber in your diet. If you’re looking to lose weight it can be one of the most useful tools in your arsenal. Gary Jasmin is a CHEK Coack and Practitioner , Posturologist , Naturopath and Metabolic Typist. For further interesting reading on Health , Fitness and Wellness feel free to browse through his Newsletters at

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