Monday, February 13, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Part 1

5 Diets Compared

Studies were done on five different ways of eating. These studies were conducted by various people and he was able to use their results to show us some very interesting concepts. The results were actually very interesting.

1) Calorie-restricted, Low-fat Diet
    Diet consisted of about 57% carbs, 17% fat, 25% protein – 1570 calories
    The goal of this study was to document the psychological response
    to low-cal diets.
    Participants lost about a pound per week.
    They constantly thought about food and complained of being cold.

2) Calorie-restricted, Higher-fat Diet
    Consisted of 25% carbs, 60% fat, 15% protein – 1850 calories
    Lost 1-2 pounds per week
    Never felt hungry

3) Total Starvation Diet
    Consumed water but no food
    Calories burned – 70% from fat cells, 30% from muscle breakdown and glucose
    After a few days – no hunger or food cravings, weight loss

4) Cruise Ship Diet
    Typically about 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein – 4500 calories
    Weight gain
    Eat large meals, frequent hunger

5) Typical American Diet
    Typically about 55% carbs, 30% fat, 15% protein – approx 2500 calories
    Like diet #1 but with more calories
    Typically full of bad carbs and low in good fats, proteins, and fiber
    Typically overweight
    Frequent hunger


Understanding the concepts:

Metabolic rate. When your brain thinks it's starving, one of its first responses is to lower your metabolic rate to burn less calories. This also makes you feel cold. Sometimes your brain thinks you are starving when you are not.

Internal vs external energy source. Food is your external source of energy. Stored fat is your internal source. Your brain tells your body when to use the internal source or makes you hungry when you need an external source. Sometimes your body is unable to access your internal energy.

Calories are not all the same. You would think that eating more (cruise ship diet) would make you less hungry and eating less (starvation diet) would make you more hungry. But your body responds differently to different types of calories – the higher fat-to-carb ratio diet results in less hunger.


In the calorie reduced diet, the metabolism drops and the body is not able to access internal fat stores because of elevated insulin from carbs.

In the higher-fat diet, fat provides satiety (keeps you full longer). Less carbs results in the body accessing stored fat.

The purpose of the starvation diet was used to show the brains response to no food at all. Insulin levels drop, fat cells become accessible and even though you're not eating, you don't get hungry (hunger is a brain response).

The most interesting part of this diet comparison is that the type of “cruise ship diet” that we've all experienced at some point doesn't make you less hungry. You're eating way more than you usually would, but you're just as hungry or more so!
The types of carbs you are eating cause your insulin to shoot through the roof, you're stuck in a persistent fat storing mode and never able to access stored fat, creating frequent hunger.

Bottom line:
Eating more doesn't make you less hungry, eating less isn't what makes you more hungry. It is the kind of foods you eat that determines how much you will need and how long it will keep you full.

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Part 3

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