Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Th New “Thrifty” Gene and Obesity

Article first published as The New “Thrifty” Gene And Obesity on Technorati.

thriftygene Th New Thrifty Gene and Obesity

Scientists recently discovered another “thrifty” gene called CRTC3 that affects obesity.  The concept of thrifty genes was first explored in the 60s. These genes are believed to slow down the body’s fat-burning process, and once helped our ancestors survive famines.

Mice bred without CRTC3 stayed lean irrespective of diet. Studies also showed that some humans have more potent variants of CRTC3 which makes it extra hard to lose weight, but only among certain ethnic groups. For example, Mexican-Americans with the variant-gene have greater rates of obesity, but non-Hispanic whites with the variant-gene do not.

While “thrifty” genes were once useful, they haven’t evolved at the same pace as society; they persist in making us retain excess fat though famines are unlikely in our current world.

So what can we do about these pesky genes?

Since “breeding” humans without them isn’t a viable option, and pharmaceutical companies will take time to develop a drug that turns CRTC3 and other similar genes “off”, we currently have only one choice. Consume fewer calories than we expend.

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The Only Diet that Works

Constant diet-discoveries have made us chronic dieters, fickly abandoning one fad diet for the next, in our pursuit of lipid-blasting. So as we struggle into jeans that the washing machine has shrunk yet again, we wonder: What will actually WORK for me long-term?

Only one thing does. And it’s not even a diet.

It’s the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. It allows all foods, is simple, healthy and can be maintained long-term.

Here’s how you follow it:

Step 1: Record your InCal or the calories you consume per day(most packaged foods provide the calorie information per serving, others you can look up on http://www.thecaloriecounter.com

Step 2: Calculate your basic metabolic rate(BMR), ie., the calories you burn just to breathe, digest food etc.
If you’re female, use the formula 655+(4.3 x weight in pounds)+(4.7 x height in inches)-(4.7 x age in years).
If you’re male, use the formula 66+(6.3 x weight in pounds)+(12.9 x height in inches)-(6.8 x age in years).

Step 3: Record your OutCal or the calories you burn per day through physical activity. Most cardio exercise machines display calories burned. You can estimate calories burned for other activities (Ladies, think shopping. Gentlemen, think cleaning out the garage :-)) using http://www.www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

Step 4: Calculate your Calorie-Deficit(CD)using this formula: BMR+OutCal-InCal. For example: If your InCal is 1600 calories, your BMR is 1500 and your OutCal is 600, your CD will be 500. Now, you need a CD of 3500 to lose 1 pound. So in this example, you can lose 1 pound every week.

I lost 43 of my 50 pregnancy pounds following this approach. But then I got greedy, wanted to lose the last sticky, sticky seven pounds in a minute. I tried the fad diets, lost some flab, gave up the disgusting meal-plan (whether Cabbage Soup, Starvation or Eat-All-Animals-You-Can-Find), regained the flab.

But I’m back on track this week with the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. If I succumb and eat half a bar of chocolate at dusk (Tragic Fact of Life: junk food doesn’t nourish, but has calories. So if you substitute nutritious food with junk, you’re substituting ONLY calories and may feel hungry (read nutrition-deprived) when you try to stay within your InCal allowance), I make up by eating a mound of greens for dinner.

And I’ve already lost a pound. Woohoo!

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