While eating less overall can be an important first step for someone with obesity, it falls short of being the driving force toward weight loss goals. "Which diet is best?" is a familiar question, since we are continually bombarded with marketing and here-say about the trendiest regimen for shedding pounds. The most truthful answer to this question is that any diet - Atkins, blood-type diet, cabbage soup diet and so forth - will initially shake things up and drop a few numbers on the scale. However; in general, none of these diets work in the long run.
They don't work. They don't work. One more time... diets do not work. Knowledge is power, so let us explore a tidbit of science behind the way our bodies use food as fuel.
We are energy-efficient machines, expending only what is absolutely necessary. An evening on the sofa burns only the calories necessary for this activity. Take a brisk 45-minute walk after dinner, and caloric expenditure is heightened. Our bodies do not differentiate between cutting calories for weight loss and actual starvation. When food intake is reduced, metabolism also plummets. If you eat less, your muscles will burn less, and thus begins the conundrum of ineffective dieting. This also explains why when a dieter falls off the wagon - since restricting calories is not a reasonable long-term behavior - a decreased metabolism causes all the weight, and potentially more, to return.
Eating breakfast is an essential weight loss strategy, because it kick-starts metabolism after an eight-hour slumber. Small, healthy snacks throughout your day are also important keep blood sugar levels stable and metabolism boosted. Although it can seem counterintuitive, eating food (specifically the right amount and quality) can be the best approach to a healthy body weight.
A team of scientists at University of Iowa and Iowa City VA Center have identified a protein called K-ATP (ATP-sensitive channels found in muscle cells) as the mechanism for turning down the heat when food is scarce. Interestingly, they have also found that localized injections of another substance called vivo-morpholino inhibits K-ATP, resulting in a specific muscle burning more calories.
While this research has only been conducted in the muscles of mice, it has implications as therapy for obese persons whose physical activity is limited by health problems, such as heart disease, lung disease and arthritis. For someone who cannot exercise at sufficient intensity, time and consistency to burn enough calories to lose weight, extra weight continues to have negative consequences on their health. Perhaps suppressing the body's natural energy conservation mechanism is a future solution to the obesity epidemic.
The only thing that dieting heightens is grumpiness and feelings of failure. With no miraculous metabolism-boosting injections on the horizon (or even safe or ethical), good nutrition and regular physical activity remain the surefire metabolism-boosting weight loss strategies. Turn your attention away from any trendy diet and instead eat high quality, unprocessed foods in amounts that satisfy your actual hunger, not your cravings. Enjoy breakfast. Enjoy smaller meals interspersed with healthy snacks. And, find ways to be physically active that are fun and fit your schedule.