Understanding Obesity & Natural Weight Loss | Health Newsletter

Date: 05/21/2007    Written by: Jon Barron

Making Sense Of Weight Loss

Obesity is on the march. The numbers are undeniable.

  • 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight.
  • 60 million obese.
  • 9 million severely obese.

And it's not just the United States. The rest of the world is keeping pace pound for pound. As a species, we are getting steadily fatter, day by day, year by year. This is not just a question of vanity. Along with weight gain comes the increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease—not to mention all of those things you don't even think about, such as an increased risk of injury on the job.

What are we to do?

The media reports on all kinds of studies designed to help. Not!

There are studies that rank the various diets (Volumetrics is number one according to Consumer Reports) followed by studies that prove that no diet works. (Those studies say it's healthier to just get slowly fatter and not diet at all.) And then Lose Weight Naturallythere are the studies that say it's not your fault because.

  • It's in your genes.
  • It's your intestinal bacteria.
  • It's a disease.
  • It's the natural state of things. It's thin people who are abnormal. We should embrace the heavy body and accept who we are.
  • It's the result of exposure to toxins in your food and environment.

Of course, clothing manufacturers have a different approach. They just change the definition of sizes. Dress manufacturers have steadily modified sizing to fit larger women into smaller sized clothing. (Are you going to believe what you see in the mirror, or what it says on the label?) Heck, I recently bought a men's medium t-shirt (I've always worn a medium), and I could set up house in this thing. It's equivalent to the extra large size that I grew up with.

Reality check

First of all, enough is enough. Bad genes may have an impact for some, but they are hardly the primary, exclusive cause of weight gain. Obesity is not a disease. It's certainly not normal. None of these things explains the worldwide explosion in obesity that we've seen over the last 30 years. Check out the animated map below from www.weight.com showing the prevalence of obesity in the United States since 1985.

Weight Loss Program
Copyright © 1996 -2004 Michael D. Myers, M.D., Inc. All rights reserved.

It's a simple matter of consuming more calories than you expend day after day. Over the last 30 years, we have taken to eating more and more high calorie fast food and exercising less and less as we sit passively at desks, typing on keyboards, and talking on the phone. And even those of us who still work in manufacturing now do more controlling of heavy equipment by pressing buttons than actual physical labor.

  • As of 2000, the average American took in 300 more calories a day than was the case 15 years earlier. Doesn't sound like much? That translates into one pound gained every eleven days, or 31 extra pounds of body weight…each and every year.
  • A Big Mac, medium Coke and large fries from McDonald's contain a total of 1,340 calories, more than half the recommended daily calories for both men and women. (By the way, if that's not enough for you, McDonald's is now marketing the new, even bigger Third Pounder—for those who believe that too much is not enough.)
  • Then combine that with sedentary work, which by itself translates to an extra 45-65 pounds of weight every year.

The bottom line is that it's calories "in" vs calories "out." We're taking in, on average, an extra 30 pounds of calories each and every year and burning up 45-65 pounds fewer of them. Is it any wonder we're getting fatter? This is not genes. It's not intestinal bacteria. It's not a disease. It's not who we are. Quite simply, it's a self-inflicted disaster.

Thin people are fat

Weight Loss ProgramBut it's even worse than it seems. In our obsession for being thin, we've lost sight of what's healthy. Simply being thin, does not necessarily make you healthier. Just because Kirstie Alley lost 75 lbs on Jenny Craig doesn't "necessarily" mean she's any healthier for it.

As I've frequently pointed out over the years, you can be both anorexic and obese at the same time. You can weigh only 90 lbs, but have 30 lbs of that weight be pure body fat. And now studies confirm it. According to the data, people who maintain their weight through diet rather than exercise are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim. "The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined," said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London and one of the researchers involved with the study. It's not what you see that kills you; it's what you don't see. The internal fat that surrounds vital organs like the heart, liver or pancreas is far more dangerous than the fat you can see under the skin. Obese people who exercise are actually at lower risk of mortality than thin people who are sedentary. For example, as Dr. Bell said, "Despite their ripples of fat, super-sized Sumo wrestlers probably have a better metabolic profile than some of their slim, sedentary spectators. That's because the wrestlers' fat is primarily stored under the skin, not streaking throughout their vital organs and muscles."

Bottom line, merely being thin means nothing (healthwise) if you haven't exercised along with your caloric reduction. You may look "spectacular, " but internally you are an obese walking-diabetic-coronary just waiting to happen.

The Supplement Game

Super FoodsAnd if the latest scientific studies are to be believed, the myriad of supplements sold on the internet, TV, and through MLM companies are a waste of money. (That's if they are to be believed.)

  • According to the studies, ephedra and its fellow stimulants such as bitter orange and caffeine may be effective, but they're dangerous.
  • According to the studies, fat blockers such as chitosan and carb blockers such as white bean extract may be safe, but they are ineffective.
  • Appetite control formulas based on hoodia might work except for the fact that virtually none of the products pitching it actually contain any of the active ingredient in the formula.
  • Cortisol formulas designed to promote weight loss by inhibiting the release of the adrenal hormone cortisol have been attacked by the FTC as unproven.
  • Etc.

The above statements, of course, have elements of truth in them, but are mostly incorrect as you will see in a moment.

Conclusion

Up to this point, you're probably thinking that when it comes to weight loss, it's all hopeless and confusing. You might think Dante was referring to weight loss programs when he said, " Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." Or maybe you were thinking Mick Jagger had failed in a diet program when he said, " What can a poor boy do, except sing in a rock and roll band." (Actually, it's yes to the former and no to the latter.)

In truth, the answer to weight control comes down to two key points (points quite familiar to anyone who has read Lessons from the Miracle Doctors).

  • Don't look for magic bullets
  • Do everything, and do it all at once. We're talking lifestyle change, not just diet change.

And that would include:

Dietary changes

  • Stick to a Mediterranean diet, low in pastas and grains, but rich in nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids, and a regular exercise program.
  • Be careful of allergenic foods that not only cause your body to swell up but also, surprisingly, create cravings for and addictions to those same foods. Chief culprits include wheat, corn, dairy, and soy.
  • At the beginning of the newsletter, I mentioned that the top rated diet according to Consumer Reports is Volumetrics. Well, Volumetrics is essentially a rephrasing of Joel Fuhrman's "nutrient density" concept. In this case, I think something is lost in the translation. Dr. Fuhrman's idea is that you eat foods that contain the greatest concentration of nutrients with the lowest number of calories. The Volumetrics plan rephrases that idea to say that you want to eat food that provides the highest amount of volume with the lowest number of calories. These ideas are close, and overlap in many areas, but are ultimately very different when it comes to day-to-day application. Volumetrics leads you to foods filled with lots of water and fiber—not unhealthy, but...Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan leads you to cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant rich berries. Words matter.

Exercise

There's no getting around it: you may lose weight, but you won't lose the internal fat that marbles your muscle like a piece of aged, corn-fed prime beef without regular exercise. Make sure your exercise program includes:

Supplements

Don't believe everything you read in the studies. Although no supplement will work as a magic bullet by itself (you've still got to make the lifestyle changes), there are definitely supplements that can assist the process.

  • Oolong tea and green coffee bean extract, for example, seem to assist in weight loss..
    • By the way, when it comes to ephedra, it's not particularly dangerous. In studies comparing groups of people who use ephedra products with those who do not, there is virtually no difference in the rate of heart attacks and strokes! Nevertheless, I am not a fan of ephedra because it exhausts the adrenal glands, and I do not use it in any of my formulations—but nonsense is still nonsense.
  • Other supplements such as bacopa, mulungu, ashwagandha, and theanine can help ameliorate many of the causes of stress eating.
  • Hormones
    • Higher levels of free testosterone in the body encourage the body to gain muscle mass and lose fat. Lower levels cause the reverse. Herbs such as nettles, oats, and tribulus terrestris help free up bound testosterone and raise levels of available testosterone—without actually changing the body's overall level of testosterone.
    • Regular use of a men's or women's progesterone crème helps the body balance out estrogen dominance, a major factor in encouraging the body to store fat.
    • 7-Keto supplementation can also help.
  • Herbs such as konjac mannan and nopal cactus can not only help optimize sugar metabolism, but can also substantially assist in reducing the accumulation of internal fat.

Juice Fasting

I'm really big on juice fasting. I think the single best investment you can make in your health is a good juicer. Juce FastingBoth fresh vegetable and fresh fruit juices are great, but I would definitely recommend emphasizing the vegetable juices as they are more alkalinizing and contain less sugar. My basic recommended protocol is:

  • Fast one day a week on juice and one of the super foods (chlorella, spirulina, stabilized rice bran, Aktivated barley, etc.).
  • Every month do a 3 day juice/super food fast.
  • And twice a year, as part of your bi-annual liver detox, do a 5-6 day juice/superfood fast.

Here's an interesting thought to keep in mind. If all you do is fast just one day a week, it adds up spectacularly. In seven years, you will have fasted for one entire year. For the average person, that represents 1.5 pounds saved every two weeks—39 lbs in body weight at the end of the seven years. What do you think a year of fasting every seven years would do to optimize your health—let alone slow down any weight gain you might otherwise have experienced?

Detoxing

Not only is detoxing beneficial for your overall health, it:

  • Optimizes your absorption of nutrition so you need less food to get the same level of satisfaction and nutrition.
  • Potentially can clean pounds of waste from your colon.
  • Can cause the body to purge pounds of accumulated water stored as an allergic response to the presence of highly toxic waste.
  • Flush fat from the liver and other internal organs—making you internally thin, as well as externally beautiful.

Does all this seem overwhelming? It shouldn't. If you're following the Baseline of Health® Program as outlined in Lessons from the Miracle Doctors, you're doing most of it already.

It takes a village (I couldn't resist)

The city of Somerville, Massachusetts decided that there might be something to Hillary Clinton's catchphrase. In conjunction with Tufts University, they set up a program that changed the lifestyle of every child in the city. They:

  • Modified the school lunch programs.
  • Changed the food in vending machines.
  • Included in-school education on diet and nutrition.
  • Got the local newspaper to include regular columns showing the mayor eating healthy foods around the city.
  • Educated parents and community leaders.
  • Got 21 local restaurants to develop healthy menu options for the kids.

Natural Health AlternativeThe result? On average, the program eliminated approximately one pound of weight gain over eight months for an eight-year-old child. This may seem small for an individual, but on a population level this reduction in weight gain,observed through a decrease in BMI z-score, translates into large numbers of children moving out of the overweight category. Also, keep in mind that children of that age should gain weight; they're growing. You just don't want that weight to be fat, and that's what the one pound of difference represented—one pound of fat. Over time, one pound of fat less every eight months makes a huge difference in body weight and health.

PS:

If you're not motivated to lose weight and improve your body composition for health and vanity reasons, perhaps these reasons will help.

Global Warming

  • The ever increasing weight of airline passengers not only costs huge amounts of money in extra airplane fuel, it dramatically increases the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air as the result of burning that fuel.
  • Likewise, the extra weight takes more gasoline to move your car from point A to point B.
  • And then there is the " unmentionable" increase in greenhouse gases resulting from obesity.

Plane Crashes

And then there is the ultimate connection between greenhouse gasses and obesity.

PPS:

This isn't rocket science. The key to losing and maintaining the proper weight is not a mystery. We all know what to do. There are no excuses. On the other hand, there are no magic bullet pills or diets you can use. You need to change your lifestyle. You need to fundamentally change the way you eat. You need to clean out your system. And you need to exercise.

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    November 14, 2011 - 7:26am

    No it is NOT as simple as taking in less calories or burning more! That is ancient thinking and a cop-out. I have struggled with being overweight since my teens and I am now 60. I have tried low cal, low carb, complex carb, low sugar, low fat, high fat, high fiber, fasting, omitting certain foods, adding certain foods, more water, more exercise, strength training, cleanses, aerobics, supplements of every kind ... you name it I've probably tried it. Yet 10 years post menopause [which I went through without Rx] and I'm still 60lbs overweight by MY standards of health [and I am a 'health nut' and have been for 11 years now]. I refuse to have lap-band surgery or gastric bypass or any of that nonsense. In MY view, excess weight [aside from those who DO eat large supersized amounts] is the crappy, processed, chemical laden, nutrient deficient garbage we call food in the USA. It's quick, it's easy, it's convenient, it's killing us. Anyway, I've spent the last 11 years trying get healthy and fit, get to a 'normal' weight and undo what 40-plus years of consuming garbage has done to me before I woke up and realized it.

  •  
    Submitted by Idit sa'ar on
    November 18, 2011 - 6:43am

    The tip I have for you, will surprise you : Chew a lot ! When you do it, you're prepering the food, to the digestive sistem, you mix it with your saliva - which help too - and believe it or not, you'll be full, faster ! wherth a try ! Every meal must begine with a leafy salad. Eat sloley, and don't drink in the middle of the meal. Try to eat untill you're not hungry anymore, not stuffed ! Before the meal, drink slowley, a glass of plain water - not cold. Idit Sa'ar, Naturopthic Hiller, Israel

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    December 20, 2011 - 8:17am

    Despite daily training for a triathlon, I gained 70 pounds in about 6 months. As it turned out, I have late stage Lyme Disease which can cause weight gain. It was only after all the physical training that my immune system crashed and the Lyme symptoms showed up. I have lost about 50 of the 70 pounds now. The ONLY way I could lose was through the use of HCG because the Lyme bacteria made its way to my hypothalamus in my brain so that's where I had to make the difference. HCG works on your hypothalamus to help you lose weight. And I caution you, it is NOT an easy plan to do. If you decide to go on HCG please do so under a doctors supervision. I tried it on my own and it caused some problems. Maybe if you have been struggling with weight for a long time, it's time to get a lyme test ... Only the western blot works. Don't waste time with the Eliza. Now I am still working on eradicating the Lyme!

  •  
    Submitted by Geoff on
    December 15, 2011 - 10:20pm

    Gary Taubes showed convincingly in "Good Calories, Bad Calories" that the weight loss/gain is due to net calories burned/retained formula is tautologically true, but useless. As we reduce caloric input, the amount we burn tends to adjust -- our metabolism slows down, we move around or fidget less, etc. We cannot just adjust our input and output like a dial on a machine. Jon's overall diet and lifestyle advice is great, but I am a little surprised to see him regurgitate conventional wisdom's canonical "calories in vs. calories" stock phrase.

    Guest: Did you give the low carbs diet a legitimate trial? I have seen many people lose weight quickly when they take that approach, and put it right back on when they deviate. That might challenge the viability of the regimen as a lifelong approach, but is evidence for its basic validity. However, some people I know have had to practice some caloric restriction along with limiting carbohydrate intake in order to lose weight.

    Note that "low carbs" is not the same as "high protein". Too much protein is hard on the kidneys, especially if it comes from cooked animal sources, and -- apropos losing weight -- I understand that once your body's maintenance protein needs are handled the excess protein gets converted to glucose. It is just as if you have eaten more carbs.

    So your diet consists of adequate protein sources, low glycemic vegetables and fruits, while the rest consists of good fats. "Good" means from good sources as well as the fat itself. I am persuaded that once your Omega-3 intake requirements are handled you should focus on saturated fats. Coconut oil is ideal for someone trying to lose weight, for reasons explained by Jon elsewhere, and is almost all saturated fat. Palm oil is almost all saturated and monounsaturated fat -- not as good a fat profile, but it has some remarkable antioxidant properties. Unrefined red palm oil is especially noteworthy, as explained in Dr. Bruce Fife's "The Palm Oil Miracle".

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    December 16, 2011 - 12:36pm

    Good comments, Geoff. But it’s even more nuanced than Gary Taubes allows. For example, were you aware of the studies that have found that food portion size has increased 69% over the last 1,000 years? (http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss/bl100327/health-blog-food-portion-size). Or were you aware of the 2008 study that found that subjects in the US and Europe burned an equivalent number of calories on a daily basis when compared to subjects in non-industrialized, developing countries and even when compared to wild animals – even allowing for fidgeting – and that we are consuming, on average, 523 more calories a day than we did just 30 years ago? (http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss/bl08075/natural-health-blog-overeating-obesity).

    And as for the value of low carb vs high protein, Jon would absolutely agree with you – and in fact, says that’s the primary reason that people receive benefit from the Paleo diet. (http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss/paleo-diet-review-good-bad).

    A more accurate statement of Jon’s position on calories is: weight maintenance is a simple matter of calories "in" versus calories "out" -- give or take some subtleties on how you get there. (http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss/bl080805/health-blog-natural-weight-control)

     

    Hope that helps.

  •  
    Submitted by David Ness on
    July 1, 2012 - 10:32pm

    I want to buy the super shake with activated Barley and other nutritional items in it. I can't find out how to do this. Please send me this information. 

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 2, 2012 - 3:05pm

    Hi David, I sent your information to Baseline Nutritionals.  All of Jon's formulas are sold by them.

  •  
    Submitted by etoh vivienne o on
    August 21, 2012 - 4:40am

    i have been very captivated by your write up on health and alternative medicine.you have seriously enlightened me.i really appreciate them.i have always loved to take preventive measures of sicknesses and diseases other than curative measure cos the former is cheaper than the latter. your write ups support this idea.i am really most grateful for all i have learned and from Dr Miracles Book.thanks a mill.

  •  
    Submitted by Terri on
    February 18, 2013 - 8:50am

    Would like input on best juicer. Thanks.

  •  
    Submitted by David on
    March 17, 2013 - 3:56pm

    @Terri I just received a fantastic juicer from my son. It is an Omega brand. It juices everything even wheat and barley grasses. It cleans up in just a few minutes, very easy and very fast. I even use it to make bread out of pre-sprouted grain. Just put the hydrated grain in the top and out the end comes dough. I have made several batches with NO flour. Or you can put dough in and extrude pasta.

  •  
    Submitted by Gisela on
    June 2, 2013 - 4:51pm

    which Omega juicer is it that makes bread also I have not heard of one? can you share

  •  
    Submitted by Linda Wilhelm on
    November 14, 2013 - 8:20am

    I have also found that a program like Weight Watchers gave me support with the meetings while losing weight. I followed the program using many of Jon Barron's guidelines, but incorporated it into the Weight Watcher program without much difficulty.

    I did not do the fasting, but that is now on my list!

    Incidentally, I lost over 60 pounds, never more than 2 pounds a week.

    PS - I am not a Weight Watchers employee, and I do take a few of Jon's supplements

  •  
    Submitted by Jennifer Symonds on
    March 6, 2014 - 7:04am

    I used to be incredibly overweight & on a load of "chemical wallpaper" from my GP (mostly anti-depressants & painkillers:both of which could obtain for free on NHS owing to being on uber low income), I gave up the chemical cocktail with the aid of acupuncture &, later, acupressure; the weight & of course key to natural good health, I realised would be down to I complete change in eating & nutritional habits. Only detox I knew of at time (about 7 yrs ago) was the 14 day rice one (from my macrobiotic book "You Are All Sanpaku") which I did do, I must the withdrawal symptom from the junk & the NHS pills 'n' potions drove me nuts I had more migrains then than I had before!. Eventually settled for lots of raw vegies, ground seeds, bit of fish, (occasionally I do a naughty sticky bun or bit of Thorntons choc!!! followed by a detox!!) Have been col, flu migraine free for 6 years & weight is 11st + a half.How's that for progress?

  •  
    Submitted by fay on
    July 8, 2015 - 3:35am
    Indiana , Indiana

    Dear Dr. Jon Barron,
    I would like to thank you for all of the valuable health information you have in your web site, I am one of your fans I love reading everything you have placed in your web site, I am interested in your articles and the supplements, I am around 50 years old and even though I am looking after what I eat or use I started gaining weight in belly , I use to have beautiful hair now my hair became very thin especially in the fort which really I am very bothered and paied a lot of money to buy the natural product such as if you heard of the cream you us in the rest but nothing changed yes I read about the HGH ,SHBG,and DHG from your news, before I order I would like to know the following:
     Do they have side effects
     After how long you can see the effects on the restoration of hair and the reduction of fat, so I can feel better about IT myself
    I would appreciated very highly if you could help and advise me what to do.
    Kind Regards
    Fay

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 8, 2015 - 7:11pm

    Keep in mind that there can be many reasons for thinning hair in women. Although the primary ones are hormonal--especially as estrogen levels drop as women age--others included genetics, stress,  medications, thyroid disorders and heart disease,  diet, and hair products that dry the scalp. As for the women’s formula:

    • Side effects are minimal and not common, but everybody is different.
    • As the article mentioned, once hormone levels reestablish themselves in about 7-10 days, the first effect that women may notice is a return of that joie de vivre that often fades with age.
    • Any effect on the hair takes much longer because new hair doesn’t just “happen.” Hair has a growing cycle. Benefits in this regard may take 4-6 months to become apparent.
    • As for weight, it depends. Rebalancing the hormones reestablishes the body’s preference for building muscle as opposed to storing fat. It simply means that if you exercise, you’re more likely to see the benefits—like when you were younger. If you don’t exercise, you’re less likely to see them.
  •  
    Submitted by Junior on
    September 17, 2015 - 3:01pm
    San Francisco , California

    i don't get what the problem is with all these fat people. Stop eating at McDonalds.

  •  
    Submitted by sonja on
    June 6, 2016 - 8:56am

    Not every one who is overweight is eating at McDonalds! I never do.. My downfall was/is lack of excercise.. after severe knee problems and now a torn tendon I find it hard to get around..
    I make my own meals from scratch... I started putting on the pounds when I got pregnant and never lost the weight, despite climbing 3 flights of stairs several times a day and doing a fair bit of walking...

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