If you enjoy coffee, enjoy your coffee!

Coffee is a weak diuretic at 300 mg caffeine (1) because its similar structure to a natural diuretic produced by the body (2), but moderate coffee is correlated to health benefits for diabetes (3), heart disease (4), Alzheimer’s (5), Parkinson’s (6), and has different effects on different cancer risks (7); for a review of disease risk reduction or increase with coffee see (8). Drink up to 2 cups, at most 3 per day, if you enjoy coffee.

If you enjoy coffee, enjoy your coffee!

Coffee is a weak diuretic at 300 mg caffeine (1) because its similar structure to a natural diuretic produced by the body (2), but moderate coffee is correlated to health benefits for diabetes (3), heart disease (4), Alzheimer’s (5), Parkinson’s (6), and has different effects on different cancer risks (7); for a review of disease risk reduction or increase with coffee see (8). Drink up to 2 cups, at most 3 per day, if you enjoy coffee.

Restriction Contributes to Binging

How much food do you “see” on this plate? The “Deprivation Effect” that contributes to drug addiction also occurs with food, particularly carbohydrate. It all starts rather innocently: we need nutrients to survive so we have a dopamine drive and opioid reward system to keep us eating what we need. If we did not have a brain that responds positively to eating things we need, we would have no clue what to eat. However, if the things we like are concentrated into treats and we eat that instead of natural unprocessed foods, we end up getting used to a lot more calories than the body was designed for.

Under-feeding your exercise eats up muscle

Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in cells, with most of it in our liver and muscle. When glycogen is low (see figure B, from reference 1), there is an increase in adrenalin (to increase fat availability), cortisol (to break down muscle), and an increase in the rate of sugar uptake into cells. The opposites are true when glycogen in muscle is full (figure A). Cortisol and other signaling pathways lead to a loss of about 40 Calories worth of muscle protein during each hour of exercise with low glycogen (reference 2). This implies that working out first thing in the morning without consuming any calories, or not eating right after exercise, or restricting your calories to lose weight when you exercise, will lead to body-fat reduction for only a few weeks or months before it backfires. Muscle tissue is the primary fat burner in the body, so not protecting it by eating enough to recover from you’re your workouts can cause you to lose not only body fat but also your primary fat burner, which will eventually keep you from burning any more body fat. It is ironic that the very exercise you are doing to lose fat can be what keeps you from losing it.

Caloric restriction for increasing lifespan

This is my grandmother Audrey, 92 years old, after my nutrition talk in the community center where she lives in South Bend, Indiana. Her mind is sharper than mine, and she has the most amazingly youthful attitude. Different organ systems obviously age at different rates, which depends on genetics and environmental input such as exercise and nutrition.

Is "under-eating" healthy?

Scientific studies of human caloric needs necessarily assume that we meet our “needs” if body weight does not change. If you lose weight, then you are eating less than your tissues demand (caloric restriction), or you are increasing how much they demand (insulin sensitivity), or both. Depending on what and when you eat, or how much and for how long you restrict your eating, weight loss can shift from reducing mostly body fat to reducing mostly lean tissue. Therefore, weight loss in itself is not a direct indication of health. We know that long-term caloric restriction of 10-40% can improve health as long as there is no malnourishment, but more than 50% caloric restriction ultimately risks organ system failure. Too much of what is good for you, or too little if less is good for you, is not necessarily good for you. We also know that a 100% restriction i.e. fasting, does not lead to immediate death, but is it healthy?

Are we overweight because we eat too much?

Yes, but the types of foods we eat force us to over-eat AND make us fatter even if we did NOT over-eat. In other words, over-eating is not a cause; it is an affect, just like weight gain itself. If we are asking about the causes of weight gain because we want to solve the problem, don’t stop at the superficial answer that only makes weight loss harder to understand and achieve. If simple calorie imbalance were at the heart of our problem, dieting and exercise would work for most people, but it does not. In spite of this, the Institute of Medicine, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health have teamed up to create a 4-part documentary (“The Weight of the Nation”) pushing the same old calorie balance idea that has only made our country fatter over the last half century.

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©2011 Clyde Wilson. All rights reserved.