A New Book Suggests Your Body Doesn’t Like Diets Any More Than You Do
A compelling look at the science of appetite and metabolism, “Why We Eat (Too Much), by Dr. Andrew Jenkinson explores how the habit of repeatedly dieting tampers with the body’s natural appetite and satiety hormones, ultimately making it harder to control our weight. As a consultant gastrointestinal surgeon who performs gastric baypass surgeries at University College Hospital, Jenkinson’s office is the end of the line for morbidly obese clients. What he has seen in his clinic has convinced him that the standard model for weight loss and maintenance – energy in, energy out – does not stack up.
“Time and again I hear the same thing: I can lose weight, but I can’t keep it off”, says Jenkinson. “I’m seeing one client at the moment who is exercising five times a week with a calorie intake of 1,200 a day, simply to maintain her weight. Most doctors would say “you must be sneaking food”, because there’s not really a widespread understanding that our metabolism can shrink down significantly”, But it can.
Your Set-Point Is King
As a species the human race is getting fatter, that much is undeniable. The average man is six kilos heavier than 30 years ago, and eats on average 500 more calories each day. However, according to the calorie model we should be ballooning even faster than we already are. “We should be gaining four stone a year on average”, says Jenkinson.
The reason we aren’t is due to the clever balancing act performed by our metabolism. “Our basal metabolic rate (the number of calories we burn at rest) can change by as much as 700 calories a day, depending on whether we’re overeating or underrating, to keep us at our individual weight set-point”, explains Jenkinson. Each person’s weight set-point is determined by genetics, but external factors are also at play. “Firstly, the quality of the food. Secondly, stress factors in the environment”, he says.
After we stop dieting the metabolism will stay sluggish, so that when you return to eating in an unrestricted way, not only will hunger hormones (which have been shown to increase by 24 per cent after a six-month period of dieting) work hard to return you to your set-point, they’ll also tuck a little extra way in case there is another “feminine” looming. You have, in fact, reset your set-point, but not in the direction you might hope. “This is why diets work in the short term, but in the long term they are counterproductive”, says Jenkinson.
It’s not just dieting that can edge your weight set-point. Stress will do that to you, too. “The stress hormone cortisol is an anabolic steroid”, explains Jenkinson. “If I treat someone with steroids, for example for an autoimmune disease, tey will gain weight. Being stressed is the equivalent of taking steroids”. Jenkinson notes that those whose issues began in adult life had frequently experienced a significant life event, like starting a demanding new job, at the same time.
The Westernised Diet
The third element of this perfect storm is our unhealthy Western diet. “It is hedonic and addictive with lots of vegetable oils and sugar, which mimic the effect of opioid drugs”, says Jenkinson. Bread, processed within an inch of its life, is one example of a highly addictive food we eat regularly: “High sugar and refined carbohydrate diets lead to higher insulin levels (the hormone that controls sugar), which leads to a higher weight set-point”, he warns.
Less widely recognized, but just as damaging, is the abundance of omega 6 fatty acids in our diets, which can wreak inflammatory havoc. Ideally, and throughout our history, the ration of omega 3 to omega 6 within our bodies would have been between 1:1 and 1:4 (i.e. four times more omega 6 than omega 3). However, the ratio in some Westernised diets nowadays is a staggering 1:50, which can be put down to the fact omega 3s are routinely removed from processed foods, while omega 6s are added to extend products’ shelf line. “This causes inflammation throughout the body, affecting the hypothalamus, or our weight control centre”, says Jenkinson. “In those who are obese, the hormone signals don’t get through, which means famine is always perceived, even in times of excess”.
Fortunately, this can be reserved by changing the quality of our food. A daily omega 3 supplement alone won’t fix the imbalance, but refraining from eating processed food can; although be aware that seemingly innocent nuts and seeds (including all grains), grain-fed chicken and beef are all also high in omega 6.
Jenkinson’s hope is that we will follow his advice instead of looking to “quick-fix” diets. “The diet industry wouldn’t be there without the obesity crisis, and the obesity crisis wouldn’t be there without the obesity crisis, and the obesity crisis wouldn’t be there without the change in the quality of food available to people. If we could stop worrying about calories incessantly, get our omega 6 ratio down and reduce sugar by eating healthier foods, we’d settle at a much healthier weight without dieting”.
How To Reset Your Weight Set-Point
“The whole crux of the bod is that you can alter your weight set-point downwards, by altering the quality of the food you eat and reducing your stress levels”, says Jenkinson. Here are his tips:
Eat food that’s as close to its natural state as possible: “If you can buy it in a greengrocer, butcher or fishmonger, that’s best”, says Jenkinson
Prepare food at home, rather than buying ready-made meals or sauces, which are likely to contain vegetable oils.
Reduce your insulin by cutting out sugar and refined carbs, like white bread, pasta, alcohol and white rice.
Cut out polyunsaturated vegetable oils like sunflower, canola and rapeseed oils. Cook with butter, ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil instead.
Choose meat and fish with higher omega 3 levels: grass-fed beef (check the label carefully), lamb (usually 100 per cent grass-fed), line-caught fish, or canned fish (in brine, not oil).
If you are still struggling to lose weight, cut your carbs to 100 grams a day (most of us eat 300g a day).
Do exercise that makes you sweat at least three times a week for 20-30 minutes.
Get eight hours of sleep a night. Studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to consuming 300 calories extra per day.
Olympea Blossom Be swept away by the new olfactory composition of Olympea Blossom: a floral and fresh composed by Paco Rabanne for a radiant and confident woman. When worn on the skin, its scent bouquet finds the perfect balance between the subtle freshness of rose petals and the fruity accord of sparkling blackcurrant and frosted pear. … Continue reading The Perfect Fragrances For Eid By Paco Rabanne→
This Holy Month, pamper you loved ones by gifting them beauty treasures from Christian Louboutin Beauty. Full of generosity and appreciation, you 2021 Ramadan promises to be unforgettable. For this special moment, the traditional glossy boxes for lips and fragrances will be dressed in a customised red sleeve featuring a crescent moon and a lantern. To fully embrace the spirit of … Continue reading Ramadan Kareem From Christian Louboutin Beauty→
Celebrating the French fragrance maison‘s 60th anniversary, Diptique’s new launch – Eau Rihla – has a special connection to the Middle East. Named after the Arabic word Rihla, meaning journey, the new frageance was inspired by the 14 century globe – trotting merchant, Ibn Battuta and his travels throughout the known world. Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin drew his inspiration directly from … Continue reading Diptyque’s New Fragrance Traces the Path Of An Iconic Arab Explorer→
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well – being. However, some of the health claims associated with these oils are controversial. The article explains all you need to know about essential oils and their health effects. What Are Essential Oils? Essential oils … Continue reading WELLNESS | What Are Essential Oils, And Do They Work?→
The 2021 edition of Arab Fashion Week has been postponed from until March 28 – April 1, following the passing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the UAE’s Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, who died on March 24, it’s been announced. The event was initially set to kick off today and run … Continue reading FASHION | Arab Fashion Weeks 2021 Postponed Until March 28→
Most people consume many different types of sugars from a variety of foods and beverages in their diet. A high intake of sugar is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. But whether some sugars are healthier (or worse) than other remains a question of interest to … Continue reading Are Certain Types Of Sugar Healthier Than Others?→
Singer Jennifer Lopez and former New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriquez were reported on Friday to have split up after almost four years together. Celebrity website TMZ, the New York Post’s Page Six and multiple entertainment websites cited unidentified sources close to the couple as saying the pair had called off their engagement. Representatives … Continue reading CELEBRITY | J.LO And Alex Rodriguez Reportedly Split After Four Years→
Prince Harry says the process of separating from royal life has been very difficult for him and his wife, Meghan. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who had to find her way alone after she and Prince Charles divorced. ‘I’m just really relieved and happy … Continue reading Prince Harry: Split From Royal Life ‘Unbelievably Tough’→
Lady Kitty Spencer as been appointed as the global ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana. It’s no surprise that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana would tap Princess Diana’s niece for a global ambassadorship. The design duo’s infatuation with royalty and aristocracy has been a long defining element in inspiring the rich collections of the Italian fashion house. … Continue reading Lady Kitty Spencer On Being Dolce & Gabbana’s New Global Ambassador→
Choosing a balanced diet is critical to allow the body to function smoothly, feel energetic, and have great skin. Have you noticed any problems with your skin lately? A first step to solving them might be to review your daily diet: what do you eat, do you eat regularly, and do you devote enough time … Continue reading BEAUTY | 4 Skin Signs That You Should Change Your Diet→
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their second child, a spokesperson for the couple said on Sunday. Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, stepped back from royal duties in January 2020 and moved with their son Archie to Southern California to live a more independent life and … Continue reading ROYALS | ‘Overjoyed’ Harry And Meghan Expecting Second Child→
‘Some people are born with sensitive skin; other people have it temporarily‘, explain dermatologist Amy Wechsler of the surge of rough, ruddy complexion during winter. ‘It’s very common due to cold climate, as well as stress, travel, or sleep deprivation‘. No matter which camp you fall in – seasonal or year – round sufferer – if your skin … Continue reading SKIN | The Pro’s Guide To Managing Sensitive Skin This Winter→
Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia is to unveil his Fall/winter 2021 collection via a futuristic video game. The unusual format is the latest alternative to the runway for the Georgian designer during the ongoing Covid -19 pandemic, and a statement from the Spanish fashion house said the main collective will feature solely in Afterworld: The Age … Continue reading FASHION | Balenciaga To Unveil Next Collection Via Futuristic Video Game→
Have you ever wondered what happens when you use expired make – up? I decided to find out. If you are currently using expired beauty products the chances are you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a habit many of us are guilty of. A 2013 study by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that more … Continue reading BEAUTY | This Is What Happens When You Use Expired Make-up→