What’s Appetite Correction?

If you’re wondering what appetite correction is all about, please have a look at this video.

If you’d like to learn more about appetite correction, or you’re interested in intermittent fasting and don’t know where or how to start, look for AC: The Power of Appetite Correction on Amazon.com, available now in the Kindle version; a paperback version is coming soon. If you don’t have a Kindle, free Kindle reader apps are available for laptops, desktops, iPhones, iPads and most other tablets and smartphones. You can also use the Kindle cloud reader to read the book on a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc.).

Your Body is an AMAZING Machine

In my new book, AC: The Power of Appetite Correction, I emphasize how remarkably good the human body is at automatically taking care of many of the things it does. Here’s a look at what the best of current technology can do when faced with tasks your body handles with grace and ease. This is what getting around would be like without your autopilot systems working.

Paging Dr. Weil

Dr. Weil, on your site’s weekly bulletin, you have a headline of “How To Gain Bad Belly Fat,” and report that “a new study suggests that skipping meals can add to belly fat – the kind that can set you up for diabetes and heart disease – at least in mice.” You go on to say “The belly fat the one-meal-a-day animals put on was determined to weigh more than the belly fat of the mice who could eat at will,” and “The study’s senior author said the new findings support the notion that small meals throughout the day may be helpful for weight loss, but also suggest that skipping meals to save calories sets you up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose, which can promote unhealthy belly fat.”

I have to ask: Did you read the article or just the press release from Ohio State University? The study started by restricting the food intake of one group of normal-weight (not overweight or obese!) mice for several days. The restricted group reached an average body weight that was 21% lower than their age-matched peers, which, by the way, continued to put on weight throughout the duration of the very short (18 day) study. For a person with a lean body weight of 150 pounds, a similar restriction would put them down to 118.5 pounds.

When these underweight mice were then allowed to eat more, but in a limited time, they gorged. The authors indicate that this arrangement of semi-starvation followed by refeeding is known to promote gorge-feeding in mice, but I’m not sure what other behavior would be expected from animals allowed to eat again after famine conditions inducing so much weight loss. The researchers found that the underweight mice put on more belly fat and had less thermogenesis in their brown fat compared to the mice in the control group. This all makes perfect sense; an animal would conserve both fuel and energy when exposed to starvation conditions and an unreliable food supply. The study did not go on long enough for the underweight group to recover to the same weight as their peers in the control group, so we can’t know whether or not they would have redistributed the belly fat once they recovered their normal body weight. The authors also mention that the feeding schedule may have been in conflict with the circadian rhythm of the mice, since the normally nocturnal mice were limited to daytime feeding.

At no time in the study was an overweight mouse put on time-restricted feeding, so the study does not mimic overweight humans eating on a time-restricted schedule. The study may have some relevance to refeeding an anorexic person, or one who has suffered involuntary starvation conditions, or perhaps a person who has lost weight due to cancer or infectious disease. Weight loss on an intermittent fasting (also known as time-restricted feeding) schedule, despite the senior author’s allegation stated above, was not examined in this study. If it had been, the results would likely have been similar to those discussed here.

Review of Fasting Now Available

The excellent review of fasting written by Valter Longo and Mark Mattson and published in February 2014 has passed its first birthday a while back, so it’s now available to the public at Cell Metabolism (including the PDF) without a subscription. While there’s a lot of scientific lingo, much of the article can be easily understood by an interested reader without specialized education. The article strongly supports the many positive changes that can result from intermittent fasting (fasting one day or less at intervals of less than a week) and periodic fasting (fasting 48 or more consecutive hours at longer intervals than used in IF).

Longo and Mattson start by differentiating fasting and starvation. They define fasting as a 12-hour to three-week period without eating, and starvation as chronic nutritional insufficiency that can result in degeneration and death.

“The ketone bodies, free fatty acids and gluconeogenesis allow the majority of human beings to survive 30 or more days in the absence of any food, and allow certain species, such as Emperor penguins, to survive over five months without food.”

The authors point out that the state of being hungry, which is the associated with the presence of certain neuroendocrine (brain- and nerve-related) hormones, may be essential to the benefits of fasting and intermittent fasting (IF) in animals. The authors also discuss an intriguing phenomenon called differential stress resistance and sensitization (DSR/DSS), which describes why fasting can be protective to normal cells during chemotherapy for cancer. Normal cells can deal with the additional mild stress of fasting on top the poison-like effects of chemotherapy, but the rapidly-dividing cancer cells, growing in a glucose-rich environment, can lose this adaptability, so the cancer cells are more prone to die than the normal ones. The take home lesson is that fasting plus chemotherapy may do a lot better job of treating cancer than chemotherapy (or fasting) alone and have a reduced side effect profile. Studies of these effects are underway.

The authors go on to review the data regarding fasting’s effect on disease models and aging in animals, followed by a summary of the information available on similar effects in humans. After reviewing data indicating that fasting triggers reductions of many biomarkers of aging, neurodegeneration and inflammation, the authors indicate directions for further study and suggest caution in any therapeutic application, especially in individuals of at the extremes of age.


Keep Moving at Work

Articles dating back to the 90s disclose some of the difference between those who gain weight after overeating versus those who don’t. One of the big differences is how much non-exercise activity a person does. In one study, people who overate as much as the others but didn’t gain nearly as much weight felt compelled to move and fidgeted away the energy.

With all the screen time most people have at work, plus everyday texting/calling on smartphones plus home entertainment and internet browsing, it adds up to a lot of sedentary time, and workers tied to phones don’t have much leeway in movement (wireless headsets may or may not be an option depending on the workplace.) It’s not just sedentary time—it’s very sedentary. The human-machine interface, namely the mouse, takes very little energy, less than typing. Mashable’s Kathleen Wong posted an article about seven good ways to move more at work. Remembering to move is the first step, but once you think about it, you have the items on her list you can do plus lots more. Here are eight things that go beyond Mashable’s suggestions.

squeezeball1) Keep a squeezable stress ball or two at your desk and squeeze one whenever you can. Squeeze hard to give your muscles some work. If you take Ms. Wong’s suggestion of walking at lunch, take two squeeze balls along with you so you can work out your hand and forearm muscles while you walk. If a squeeze ball isn’t available as company swag, it ought to be. You can find them at Amazon.
Adjustable hand grip exercisers are a bit larger, but can work your grip through a broader range of motion.

2) Every bit of activity adds up, so little things like repeatedly raising your heels as you sit can help.

3) When you’re standing, particularly when you’re on the phone, balance on one foot or the other. Balancing automatically activates large muscles in your legs and trunk to keep you steady. You don’t have to look like a flamingo with one foot high off the ground—just lifting one foot a millimeter off the floor will require balance activity. You can also rest one foot on the other (shoes permitting) or hold one foot behind the opposite ankle.

4) Adjust your mouse sensitivity on your computer so you have to move the mouse more than a few millimeters to get from one side of the screen to the other. Mouse pads may limit your range of motion, but most optical mice will work without a mouse pad.

5) When you’re on hold or it’s otherwise convenient, take your body through a tense-relax session starting at your feet and working up. Tense your left calf, then right, then both, then do the same with your thighs, belly, pectorals, arms and neck. If you’re still on hold, work your way back down to your feet.

6) You can run your body through range of motion exercises just as with the tense-relax routine described above. Start by curling your toes, then moving your ankles and work your way up, moving each joint, including your back, waist and neck as much as your situation allows. For joints that move in multiple directions, such as the waist, shoulders, wrists, neck and fingers, be sure to move them in all directions.

7) Ms. Wong mentioned standing meetings; if you have a 2- or 3-person meeting and can do without a whiteboard and other equipment for a few minutes, you can have a walking meeting.

8) If you work in a building with more than one floor, when you go to the restroom, go to the one up or down one floor (or two). You may be able to do the same for coffee, water, etc. Make the stair climbing action part of your everyday routine.

9) None of these items will do much good if you overeat by more than a few calories. This book is all about getting your appetite right so you don’t.

Do you have other techniques for keeping your body in motion at work? Share what works for you!