The Whole Health Diet: A Transformational Approach to Weight Loss

CHAPTER 3

THE CHEMISTRY THAT GOVERNS CALORIE-BURNING ENERGY

Metabolism

The alluring promise of the fad diet implies that all one has to do to win at the game of losing weight is simply follow a low-calorie eating plan. But the truth is, dieters are not all equal metabolic performers. Some of us seem to gain weight by just looking at food, while others of us seem to be able to eat continuously, yet never gain weight. It’s all about individual metabolism.

Metabolism involves a complex biochemical tapestry of hormones and enzyme catalysts that transform food into fuel. Experts generally agree there are three types of metabolism—slow, balanced, and fast. Slow metabolic types tend to gain weight easily, fast metabolic types struggle to gain weight, and balanced metabolic types usually have efficient metabolisms and fit, healthy bodies.

Our metabolic type is influenced by genetics, age (metabolism slows at the rate of 5 percent per decade after the age of forty), gender (men burn calories more efficiently at rest, for example), ratio of muscle to body mass, thyroid function, type of food consumed, nervous system function, amount of weight carried, and exercise habits. It’s all about creating a balance between energy in, energy stored, and energy out. Eighty percent of our population is made up of slow metabolic types.

Generally speaking, slow metabolic types tend to have round, apple-shaped bodies. They are more likely to be sensitive to cold, have low blood pressure, and be less affected by stress. They often lack energy and are deep sleepers, and a majority of them can be classified as having a type B personality. Slow metabolic types are inclined to struggle with weight loss and to gain weight easily. Thus, more than three out of four individuals in our population find it challenging to lose weight, as they are metabolically slow.

Balanced metabolic types have fit, athletic physiques. They generally have a consistent, even flow of energy, have good stamina and healthy eating habits, and are noted for their adaptability during periods of stress. Balanced metabolic types are inclined to have nervous systems that consistently function on an even keel.

Fast metabolic types have lean, pear-shaped bodies, and, while thin, they tend to carry belly fat. Fast types are generally sensitive to heat, have elevated blood pressure, and are overreactive to stress. They have high energy and are fitful sleepers, and a majority of them are classified as having a type A personality. Fast metabolic types tend to lose weight easily and struggle with gaining weight.

We must keep in mind that beyond the material illusion of cells and tissues, we’re composed of energy. Each one of us represents a unique manifestation of energy, as does each food we consume. Everything is energy, and all energy is sui generis. Some food energies will activate metabolism for some people but not others. For example, blueberries may activate my metabolism, while slowing yours down—and asparagus may activate my metabolism more than blueberries. As we shall see later, the unique energy interactions between food and people are central to the Whole Health philosophy. In order to maximize our weight loss efficiency we must be willing to evolve beyond the energy-devoid, old-world view of metabolism. By narrowing our view of food as being nothing more than a mass of material proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, we limit our ability to optimize metabolism. We will talk more about the energy aspect of weight loss metabolism later in this book.

What Metabolic Type Are You?

The WHD will take you far beyond the circumscribed material approach to mastering metabolism and weight loss. The unparalleled experience that you are about to encounter will empower you to unleash your highest energy potential for maximum metabolism and weight loss. In the ensuing chapters, you will receive detailed instructions on how to electromagnetically test the energy potential of your thyroid gland. You will also learn a number of bioenergetic protocols that will enable you to optimally balance your metabolic output. In addition, the WHD will teach you how to energy-test your thyroid for positive and negative responses to a variety of foods. This will help you to discover which foods best support your thyroid metabolism and thus your calorie-burning efficiency. Before going on to the energy chapters, it’s important that you learn as much about the material aspects of your metabolism as possible. The following questionnaire will help you to decipher your material metabolic type.

The WHD Metabolic Questionnaire

For each question below, circle the response that you feel best describes you.

1. Your physical shape is:

A. Round

B. Well built

C. Thin

2. Your physical constitution is:

A. Weak and inactive

B. Strong and active

C. Depleted and hyperactive

3. Your general health is:

A. Sickly and allergenic

B. Good

C. Run-down

4. Your resting pulse rate is how many BPMs (beats per minute):

A. 50–69

B. 70–89

C. 90–110

5. Your blood pressure is:

A. Low

B. Normal

C. High

6. Your blood sugar is:

A. Low

B. Normal

C. High

7. Your body is:

A. Sensitive to cold and rarely perspires

B. Rarely too hot or too cold

C. Sensitive to heat and perspires easily

8. Your mind is:

A. Underactive

B. Active

C. Overactive

9. Your emotional makeup is:

A. Melancholy and/or depressed

B. Temperate

C. Intemperate and/or anxious

10. Your temperament is:

A. Easygoing and pleasant

B. Self-confident and calm

C. Impatient and easily agitated

11. Your personal drive is:

A. Low

B. Average

C. High

12. Your energy pace is:

A. Slow and deliberate

B. Even and steady

C. Fast and labored

13. Your stress level is:

A. Low

B. Average

C. High

14. When you are stressed, you:

A. Hit a wall

B. Recharge

C. Push through

15. When you first wake up in the morning, you feel:

A. Exhausted

B. Refreshed

C. Unrested and hyper

16. Your energy peaks:

A. When you first wake up

B. At midday

C. In late afternoon or evening

17. Your energy is:

A. Often highest in the evening

B. Steady throughout the day

C. Continually spiking and crashing

18. Your appetite at breakfast is:

A. Weak

B. Average

C. Strong

19. Your appetite at lunch is:

A. Weak

B. Average

C. Strong

20. Your appetite at dinner is:

A. Weak

B. Average

C. Strong

21. You snack in between meals:

A. Occasionally

B. Almost never

C. Frequently

22. Your portion sizes are:

A. Small

B. Medium

C. Large

23. You crave:

A. Sugars and high-starch carbs

B. Rarely any cravings

C. Heavy, fatty, salty foods

24. You gain weight:

A. Even when you reduce your calorie intake

B. Rarely—weight rarely fluctuates

C. Never—weight never fluctuates

25. You lose weight:

A. With great difficulty

B. Very rarely

C. Even though you eat continuously

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you can add up your response totals. If you’ve circled more A answers, you are a slow oxidizer. If you’ve circled a higher number of B answers, you are a balanced oxidizer. And if you’ve circled more C answers, you are a fast oxidizer.

Slow oxidizers should limit their daily intake to:

1,800 calories

50 grams of fat (80 percent monounsaturated)

200 grams of carbohydrates (1 serving of high starch only)

Balanced oxidizers should up their intakes to approximately:

2,100 calories

70 grams of fat

220 grams of carbohydrates

Fast oxidizers, I have a message for you that comes directly from the spirit of my Italian grandmother: mangia!!!

More to the point, increase your intake of higher-density fats and high-starch carbohydrates. I suggest 3 tablespoons of coconut and/or olive oil per day added to three servings of some combination of high-starch carbohydrates like brown rice, brown rice pasta, oatmeal, yeast-free/gluten-free toast, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Our Metabolic Machinery

A calorie represents a unit of food energy. First defined in 1824 by French physicist and chemist Nicolas Clément, “calorie” is derived from the Latin word calor, meaning “heat.” The liver is the metabolic powerhouse of the human body—the energy furnace that generates heat from the dietary intake of calories. It is the liver that governs our metabolic rate via the energy-generating process known as anaerobic glycolysis.

The word “glycolysis” refers to the breakdown of glucose (fuel). This action is engaged by a series of enzyme-driven chemical reactions whereby the liver transforms carbohydrates into glucose, the body’s primary source of energy. During glycolysis, whatever glucose the body doesn’t use is converted into fat. These units of stored fat represent the body’s primary source of fuel reserves. When it comes to the biochemical mechanics of calorie burning, the liver works hand in hand with the thyroid gland.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, energy, growth, and development. Dr. Stephen Langer, former executive director of the world-renowned Broda Barnes Foundation and author of Solved: The Riddle of Illness, tells us that 40 percent of all thyroid disease is presently undiagnosed, resulting in sixty-four common ailments, including atherosclerosis, depression, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes. For our purposes, we will discuss two major classifications of thyroid disease: hypothyroid (underactive) and hyperthyroid (overactive).

When the thyroid gland is underactive, its metabolic hormone production will also be out of balance, causing a wide range of symptoms. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an organic compound present in all living cells that provides energy for the body’s vital metabolic processes. If the thyroid gland is underactive, and there is an imbalance in the production of thyroid hormone, cells are not able to make ATP for their long-term energy supply.

Hypothyroid is often the primary causal route of chronic fatigue, overweight, and obese conditions. The most common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism include exhaustion, joint aches, high cholesterol, chronic constipation, dry skin, sensitivity to cold, impaired metabolism, being overweight, and obesity. Conversely, symptoms most commonly associated with hyperthyroid include anxiety, nervous energy, rapid heart rate, sensitivity to heat, high blood pressure, being underweight, and the inability to gain weight. When it comes to the issue of calorie-burning efficiency, it’s essential for the full complement of thyroid hormones to be in relative balance. The thyroid hormones necessary for a healthy metabolic balance are called T1, T2, T3, T4, and TSH. The two most important of these hormones are T3 and T4. T4 accounts for 80 percent of the thyroid hormone in the body, but most of the thyroid hormone that enters into the cells is T3. There are two forms of T3 and T4: bound and free. Only about 1 percent of T3 and 5 percent of T4 are free. T4’s metabolic effect is slow and long lasting. T3’s effect is fast and short term. Most of the body’s T3 is made in the liver, while T4 is made in the thyroid gland. These two hormones are key agents in the regulation of cellular metabolism. In order for these hormones to operate at optimal levels, the thyroid requires an adequate supply of certain nutrients: B complex, iron, zinc, selenium, and iodine. When it comes to the assimilation of these vital nutrients, diet is of paramount importance.

Those who’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroid and are overweight must be very careful to avoid a classification of foods known as progoitrins. Progoitrins are part of the glucosinolate food family, known to suppress the thyroid’s all-important iodine uptake. These metabolic saboteurs include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, spinach, peanuts, soy, walnuts, horseradish, strawberries, mustard greens, and rapeseed oil (canola oil). It’s important to underscore that the heat from cooking significantly deactivates the progoitrins from these foods. Therefore, it’s imperative that dieters avoid adding any raw progoitrin foods such as broccoli, spinach, or cabbage to their salads. Instead, they should opt for steaming the foods for approximately ten minutes, as the heat destroys goitrogenic compounds. In addition to the issue of progoitrins, those dieters diagnosed with autoimmune disease and/or diseases of the thyroid should bear in mind that mounting evidence indicates that high-gluten grain products such as wheat, barley, and rye should be avoided, as they also place a great deal of stress on thyroid metabolism. Brown rice, amaranth, and quinoa are safer whole-grain options.

The Magnificent Seven Metabolic Hormones

Metabolic hormones are catalysts that regulate virtually every system in the human body. There are anabolic hormones for building and catabolic hormones for breaking things down. Anabolic hormones are responsible for building the body by regulating the ratio of muscle to fat, weight, and general body shape. These hormones are produced by the endocrine system and are intricately orchestrated to play a vital role in determining your body’s day-to-day calorie-burning rate. Anabolic hormones are often referred to as “good hormones” because they regulate the burning of fat and the building of muscle. Catabolic hormones are often referred to as “bad hormones” because they destroy muscle, which encourages the body to store fat. In order to be fit and strong, we need to maintain a higher ratio of good hormones to bad hormones. This may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Metabolic hormone balance is largely influenced by the type of foods we eat. A healthy, balanced diet will keep your magnificent seven metabolic hormones in balance:

1. LEPTIN IS OFTEN DESCRIBED BY EXPERTS AS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT HORMONE IN THE HUMAN BODY. Noted author and researcher Byron Richards devoted an entire book to this “superhormone.” In Mastering Leptin, Richards summarizes the importance of leptin by saying, “Although leptin was not discovered until 1994, what first seemed like a key hormone that regulated the response to starvation soon became the superstar of hormones. Leptin is in control; all other hormones answer up to leptin.”1 Leptin is the energy broker for the body, literally providing the energy currency to make metabolism work. It is secreted by fat cells contained within the body’s white adipose tissue—the unsightly fat that accumulates in all the wrong places like the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Leptin is a messenger molecule that communicates with every cell between the brain and body. Whenever there is a breakdown in this communication process, caused by aging, stress, and/or poor diet, it results in uncontrollable food cravings, addictive and compulsive behavior, and weight gain. When the body becomes biochemically imbalanced, the brain loses its ability to effectively register leptin levels. This ultimately leads to a resistance to the hormone. Once the body has built up a resistance to leptin, it will then tend to overcompensate by producing and absorbing too much of the hormone. This entire leptin resistance quagmire begins with prolonged stress and poor diet. Prolonged stress leads to adrenaline resistance, which causes fat accumulation around the midsection. Poor diet leads to insulin resistance, resulting in general fat storage, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and acute inflammation. As you can plainly see, once leptin resistance sets in, metabolism will spiral out of control. The good news is, no matter how far this cycle of leptin resistance has progressed, it takes only twenty-one days to rebalance. Twenty-one days of fewer total calories, a 4:3 protein-to-high-starch-carbohydrate ratio, no snacks, and an effective commitment to stress management will enable you to regain your all-important leptin balance. By keeping your leptin in balance you’ll be keeping your other magnificent six in balance.

2. GHRELIN IS A HORMONAL SIGNALING MOLECULE THAT’S PRODUCED BY SPECIALIZED CELLS IN THE SMALL INTESTINE, STOMACH, PANCREAS, AND THYROID. It tells the brain when the body is hungry, and it has been shown to increase the accumulation of harmful lipids in the tissues of the abdominal wall. You might think of ghrelin as the “belly fat” hormone. There is a close relationship between ghrelin and leptin. When leptin is out of balance, ghrelin also goes out of balance, throwing the brain and the body into a vicious tailspin. Now, instead of merely signaling the brain that the body is hungry when it is really hungry, ghrelin transmits continuous hunger signals by stimulating the hypothalamus to increase levels of a thirty-six-amino-acid endocannabinoid protein called neuropeptide Y. Researchers have recently discovered that high protein intake lowers ghrelin levels and high carbohydrate intake elevates them. By increasing the hormone glucagon, an insulin antagonist protein drives up our calorie-burning energy. On the other hand, high-starch carbs drive up insulin, which tends to increase fat storage.

3. NEUROPEPTIDE Y SENDS HUNGER SIGNALS THROUGHOUT THE BRAIN AND BODY, AND IF IT IS IMBALANCED BY CONFUSING SIGNALS FROM LEPTIN AND GHRELIN, IT WILL DRIVE UP THE BODY’S CRAVINGS FOR FATTY, SALTY, AND SUGARY FOODS. As long as leptin levels are low, ghrelin levels will increase and neuropeptide Y levels will remain high, making it virtually impossible for your brain to turn off the appetite switch. Once again, it all starts with leptin. Follow the leptin dietary suggestions to keep your magnificent seven in balance.

4. INSULIN IS A HORMONE THAT’S RELEASED BY THE PANCREAS TO HELP REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS. Whenever we eat an excess of sugar or high-starch carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes, the body converts the sugar and starch into glucose, which it immediately releases into the bloodstream. Next, insulin release keeps blood glucose from rising too high, by either burning it as fuel or storing it as fat. When more is consumed than can be used, fat stores rise. It’s not too hard to see how vital the proper maintenance of insulin is to weight loss and fitness. It all comes down to insulin—it’s either fueling us for action or downloading us with fat storage.

5. GLUCAGON IS THE INSULIN ANTAGONIST. In order for metabolism to operate at its highest level, insulin and glucagon should be in balance. Where insulin is designed to lower blood sugar levels, glucagon elevates low blood sugar. Glucagon offsets the body’s low blood sugar fuel outages by tapping into the liver’s stored reserves of fat for backup energy. Thus, where insulin stores fat, glucagon incinerates it as fuel. So, in simple terms, the more sugar and high starch we consume, the more insulin we secrete, and the more fat we store. On the other hand, the more protein we eat, the more glucagon we produce, and the more calories we burn. Of course, as we’ve already stated, balance is important. A 4:3 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio will help you to maintain a balanced magnificent seven.

6. CORTISOL IS A PRIMARY STEROID HORMONE PRODUCED BY THE ADRENAL GLANDS DURING PERIODS OF BOTH ACUTE AND CHRONIC STRESS. Without cortisol, our bodies would simply not be able to adapt to the demands of stress. Cortisol supports our self-protective, fight-or-flight mobilization response. It readies us to make the necessary short-term moves with swifter, greater efficiency. Keep in mind: I said short term! The stress state produces a lot of energy, but it also requires a lot of energy. There’s a great deal of biochemical wear and tear here. I once saw a study concluding that the average human body is physiologically designed to adapt to stress for no more than 15 percent of its lifetime. I’m guessing that most of us are running just a wee bit over that mark. So what’s the worst that could happen if we were to find ourselves in a state of stress for more than 15 percent of our lifetime? More to the point, what’s the worst that could happen to our metabolism?

Due to the fact that our bodies are designed to contend with only short-term stress and cortisol production, long-term stress causes problems with blood sugar, blood pressure, and fat storage, giving rise to a condition known as “metabolic syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome results in a high waist-to-hip ratio, with an excessive accumulation of abdominal body fat. Besides increasing risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, asthma, and allergies, metabolic syndrome increases cravings for salt, sugar, and high-starch carbohydrates—all of which contribute to overweight and obesity. I’ve discovered that there’s a very complicated relationship between the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland when it comes to stress. The more stress we experience, the more mobilizing, fight-or-flight hormones like cortisol and adrenaline we produce. The greater the concentrations of fight-or-flight hormones we produce, the more we overwork our thyroid gland. The more we overwork our thyroid gland, the less efficient it is at regulating our metabolism. Anyone who doesn’t overeat, yet has an excess accumulation of abdominal body fat, needs to focus on reducing their stress levels. They might consider meditation, yoga, tai chi, or qigong. Cortisol teaches us that diet alone is not the answer. The stress–cortisol connection reminds us that the body, mind, and spirit are always working together.

7. TESTOSTERONE IS A HORMONE THAT MOST PEOPLE KNOW AT LEAST A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT. But it does much more than merely tune up our sex machine. Testosterone is also our preeminent muscle builder. In order to be firm and strong, with a low fat-to-muscle ratio, our bodies have to be sufficiently supplied with this all-important hormone. According to recent studies, obese men given testosterone shots have lost significant amounts of weight in short periods of time. Testosterone is a superior metabolic activator that has even been shown to strengthen heart function. The most important dietary advice for maintaining healthy testosterone levels is to make sure that our diet is composed of at least 30 percent fat, from healthy, monounsaturated, and medium-chain saturated lipids. Extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and coconut milk are among the best options. Also, be sure to get a minimum of seven and a half hours of sleep each night. Inadequate sleep markedly decreases our body’s production of anabolic hormones like testosterone. Sleep represents our most efficient way to recover from stress. Excessive stress kills metabolism!

Our “Super” Metabolic Regulators

In 1930, pharmacologist Charles Leib and gynecologist Raphael Kurzrok first identified vital components of human semen called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a group of super, hormonelike cell mediators, derived from fatty acids that perform important functions that have extremely powerful effects on the human body.

When Swedish physiologist Ulf von Euler and researcher M. W. Goldblatt first isolated human prostaglandins from seminal fluid in 1935, the stage was set for the world’s first introduction to a much broader understanding of inflammation as a disease-producing chemistry. Von Euler’s lifelong research in this area earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1970. Around that same time, researchers Sune K. Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson further detailed exactly how fatty acids set up inflammatory pathways in the body. The merger of their prostaglandin research with that of John R. Vane resulted in a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1982.

Today, prostaglandins are referred to as eicosanoids, which are believed to act as superhormones in virtually all body systems. Many experts now think of eicosanoids as the most powerful biochemical agents in the human body. In fact, they are signaling molecules that initiate many of our most vital cellular chains of command and communication. Eicosanoids might be thought of as the field generals of our cells, as they order them on their inflammatory and anti-inflammatory missions throughout the global body network. The importance of this process cannot be overstated and, in fact, eicosanoid programming is a matter of life and death.

Some experts now believe that nearly 75 percent of the 14,199 coded diseases presently known are caused by inflammatory eicosanoid programming. This chronic inflammatory disease process currently affects 130 million Americans. While it may seem hard to believe, this all-important, life-and-death chemistry actually begins with diet.

Foods produce essential fatty acids. All fatty acids produce one of three categories of eicosanoids: neutral, inflammatory, or anti-inflammatory. Fatty acids are the raw materials from which inflammatory eicosanoids are produced. Therefore, you could say that a vast majority of disease is caused by the overconsumption of bad fats. Thus, many biochemically triggered diseases can be successfully modulated by therapeutic diet. Diet-induced inflammation has been causally implicated in cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, among others. In addition, conditions that lead to overweight and obesity are also representative of eicosanoid imbalances. Inflammation assaults the immune system and confuses the metabolism. It is virtually impossible to lose weight and be fit if your body is inflamed.

Hidden food allergens, red meat, dairy products, egg yolks, peanuts, processed sugar products, and high-starch carbohydrates—as well as foods containing omega-6 oils—are among those foods that produce high levels of arachidonic fatty acid, the fatty acid from which all disease-producing inflammatory eicosanoids are manufactured in the body. Anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, on the other hand, are manufactured from the healthy alpha-linolenic acid, commonly found in wild fatty fish, soy products, shelled walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and organic produce. Eat plenty of these foods for super metabolic regulation.

The Six Keys to Resetting Metabolism

Only when our metabolic superhormones are in balance will our calorie-burning potential operate at peak efficiency levels. Here are six important recommendations that will help to reset and balance your metabolic superhormones.

1. INCREASE PROTEIN. For starters, we must maintain a 40:30:30 ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat in our diet. This ratio enables us to produce higher levels of glucagon and lower levels of insulin, thus supporting our body’s efforts to burn fat more efficiently. Overweight, obese people tend to consume a higher starch to-protein dietary ratio.

2. AVOID BEDTIME SNACKING. It is important to leave a twelve-hour gap between our final bite of dinner and our first bite of the next morning’s breakfast. This twelve-hour gap supports our body’s efforts to produce a sufficient supply of leptin for the next day. Remember, when leptin levels go down, insulin levels rise, thus driving up fat storage.

3. AVOID DAYTIME SNACKING. Generally try to avoid appreciable snacking between meals. It takes a significant amount of digestive energy to break food down. If, shortly after completing a meal, we indulge in additional calorie intake, our bodies will be robbed of the required energy to resupply themselves with leptin and glucagon.

4. RELEASE YOUR STRESS ENERGY. Engage in three minutes of deep breathing twice daily. This will serve to curb your body’s production of stress hormones, namely adrenaline, enabling you to reverse adrenaline resistance, the principal saboteur of metabolic superhormones. I’ve been reminding my patients for years that the body and mind have only so much energy to spend. Whatever energy we commit to stress will ultimately take away from what’s required to repair and engage our calorie-burning machinery.

5. GET YOUR SLEEP. Try to get sound, uninterrupted sleep every night. Studies have shown that our bodies require seven hours and twenty minutes of sound sleep every night to recover from the stresses of the day. When you consider that adrenaline resistance is the archenemy of a healthy metabolism, sound sleep recovery from the ravages of daily stress is essential for optimal calorie burning. You won’t lose weight if you don’t sleep. If you suffer from chronic insomnia you might try supplementing with 250 mg of magnesium taurate and 40 drops of passionflower tincture in 3 ounces of water before bedtime.

6. REGULATE YOUR PH. One of our most important metabolic health cycles is that of pH (potential hydrogen). Generally speaking, acidity results from high stress and poor diet and is a basic indicator of poor cellular oxygenation and ill health. Acid pH is most readily determined by urinating on color-coated, .067 calibrated Nitrazine strips. The total pH range is measured in tenths from 5.0–8.0. Healthy pH balance is between 6.4 and 6.8. A score below 6.4 is too acidic, indicating oxygen deficiency. A score over 6.8 is too alkaline, indicating enzyme deficiency. Speaking strictly in terms of calorie-burning potential, all you need to know about pH is that it determines the body’s rate of cellular oxygenation. As I’m sure you know, without sufficient oxygen, you can’t have fire. And so it is with calorie burning—oxygen feeds our calorie-burning fire as well. A blood pH of 7.45 produces 64.9 percent more oxygen than a blood pH of 7.30. If you want to burn calories you have to maintain a urinary pH between 6.4 and 6.8. Acidosis ravages metabolism! The best way to ensure that your lifestyle supports alkalinity is to consume eight servings of vegetables and fruits and a minimum of 40 ounces of pure water per day. Chronically acidic pH may require supplementation with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in 4 ounces of water before bed until corrected.

Turning on Your Metabolic Gene Machinery

There are those who would blame the current chronic weight gain and obesity problems on genetic determinism. Researchers tell us that events and exposures occurring during critical developmental periods of life can act as triggers for metabolic diseases such as obesity.

Epidemiological studies of adults exposed in utero to calorie restriction during the Dutch Hunger Winter during World War II show that they were statistically more likely to become overweight and obese. Epigenetic experts believe that things like in utero calorie restriction, tobacco exposure, nutrient intake, circulating hormones, and environmental pollutants are among the many events and exposures that ultimately play a significant role in gene-expression programming that can lead to obesity.

Researchers have discovered that when human fetuses were exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as dioxin, dioxin-like compounds, DDT, and pharmaceuticals, there were changes in the babies’ genes that altered their metabolic function, predisposing them to obesity.

So, long before we’re born, our gene mapping system is actively responding to its environment. This ultimately has a powerful influence over our metabolic demand for calories as adults. But this developmental plasticity serves as a reminder that genetically we’re really not all that hardwired. We’ve been taught that our genes are immutable, and while it’s true that our genes can’t be altered, their behavior can be. Thus, in utero plasticity influences that can work against us can also be reformatted so as to work in our favor as adults. While it’s obvious that things like in utero calorie restriction, tobacco exposure, and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can program our genes to crave fat, sugar, and a high calorie intake, it’s also been proven that positive influences such as calorie restriction and high antioxidant nutrient intake can help reverse negative gene expression. Science continues to discover a myriad of positive gene expression influences.

In 1995, a team of researchers made a presentation at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sharing the remarkable results of their animal studies showing that fasting had an antiobesity gene expression effect on obese animals.2 Then in 2005, Japanese researchers discovered that antioxidant-rich cocoa has the potential to reverse gene obesity expression in animals.3 In 2007, Chinese scientists discovered the antiobesity effect of an antioxidant nutrient found in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on lipid metabolism and adipokine gene expression.4 Additionally, in 2013 Spanish researchers found that apple polyphenol antioxidants were able to reverse adipocyte gene expression in rats.5

The human body produces a gene for every occasion. We produce taste genes, texture genes, appetite genes, glucose genes, insulin genes—fat genes and thin genes. Unbeknownst to us, we’re continually turning different genes on and off like light switches. Our diets, behaviors, and even our thoughts profoundly influence the on/off buttons of the genes that control much of our weight loss potential.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center recently discovered an important protein that turns genes on and off and plays a vital role in the regulation of metabolism. The protein, called X-box binding protein 1, or Xbp1, is believed to regulate both insulin sensitivity and leptin signaling, making it extremely important for appetite control and blood sugar management.6

The scientists discovered that the enhanced expression of the Xbp1 gene in animals fed a high-fat diet served as protection against the onset of obesity and diabetes. On average, the mice that had the Xbp1 gene turned on were 30 percent thinner than the mice without the gene support, which were fed the same high-fat diet. The researchers noted that the manipulation of this gene increased metabolic function in the hypothalamus gland. It also influenced areas of the brain that control liver glucose production. They reported that the gene sent satiety signals to the hypothalamus, curbing appetite, and to the liver, improving blood sugar efficiency. The recurring story here is that calorie-burning genes can be turned on and calorie-storing genes can be turned off. Ironically, foods are what turn the switches.

High-protein, high-fiber, good-fat, chemical-free foods, and antioxidant-rich spices have been shown—in study after study—to turn on calorie-burning genes, while turning off calorie-storing gene expression. Avocado, salmon, flaxseeds, grapefruit, egg whites, olive oil, chili peppers, and ginger have all demonstrated the potential to turn off “fat genes” and turn on “thin genes.”

Of course, the way we use these foods is also of the utmost importance. Gene expression research has shown that frequent snacking, especially before bed, turns off our thin gene switch. Missing meals—or “gapping”—has also been shown to turn off thin genes, as it is believed to lower leptin levels.

Genes have long been known as powerful agents of change, but we’re now just beginning to understand that there’s a less fixed, more “plastic” side to their behavior that allows us a greater degree of programming access. What we eat, when we eat it, how we think, and how often we think it all influence our metabolic gene expression.

Reprogramming Your Brain for Metabolic Efficiency

Neuroscience has recently discovered that a part of the brain called the lateral hypothalamus is a key regulator of our appetite and feeding patterns. This is largely due to its production of neuronal hormones—like hypocretins, orexins, and dopaminergics—associated with arousal, reward, and stability. This neuronal hormone network projects widely throughout the entire brain, but is most specifically involved with the regulation of the amygdala (stress) and the nucleus accumbens (reward) responses. The hypothalamus controls hunger, thirst, satiety, and stress regulation and is therefore highly relevant to our understanding of the brain’s addiction mechanisms.

This brain network and the neurotransmission pathways it presides over are directly responsible for the recall of negative emotional memories associated with addiction withdrawal and the prompting of positive emotional memories associated with addiction cues. You might say that those among us who are more “lateral hypothalamic/amygdala/nucleus accumbens–brain dominant” are predominantly operating out of our addictive brain centers. The $64,000 question then would be, is it possible to reprogram our brain dominance to beat food addiction and increase our prospects for weight loss? More specifically, the question might be: is it possible to shift from midbrain dominance to pineal gland dominance? And if so, how?

The pineal gland, or epiphysis cerebri, is a pea-sized endocrine gland located directly between the two brain hemispheres. This tiny gland, shaped like a pinecone, works in concert with the hypothalamus to regulate our hunger, thirst, stress, and aging. It has often been referred to as the “third eye,” as it’s believed to represent transformational human visionary potential. René Descartes referred to the pineal gland as “the seat of the soul.”

When the pineal gland is healthy and functioning optimally, it produces melatonin, serotonin, and pinoline hormones to help the brain more efficiently regulate stress, recovery, and addiction. Moreover, many experts are now asserting that the pineal gland holds the key to our potential transcendence of addiction.

Researchers have recently demonstrated a direct connection between a powerful neurochemical agent and a transformative modulator of human consciousness known as dimethyltryptamine (DMT) within the pineal gland. DMT, a substance naturally produced in plants, animals, and humans, is presently being studied for its consciousness-expanding, antiaddiction potential. A growing number of experts now believe that human DMT deficiency, caused by fat-laden diets, fluoride consumption, and stress, have made our brains increasingly susceptible to addiction by shutting down our antiaddictive pineal response. Therefore, it is believed that we can support our brain’s antiaddiction chemistry by enhancing DMT absorption efficiency. The WHD suggests the following recommendations to increase DMT absorption efficiency and reprogram your brain for weight loss:

1.     Lower total fat consumption to 30 percent of total calories, 80 percent of which should be monounsaturated.

2.     Eat only USDA organic products, free-range (responsibly farmed) meats, and wild fish.

3.     Avoid fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Fluoride consumption increases the toxic calcification of the pineal gland.

4.     Supplement with 1 serrapeptase 120,000 unit capsule three times daily on an empty stomach.

5.     Supplement with 1 menaquinone (MK-7) 100 mcg capsule twice daily on an empty stomach.

6.     Practice prayer, meditation, yoga, and/or tai chi regularly.

Trace Minerals for Metabolic Support

There are a number of viable nutritional strategies for optimizing metabolic output, but there are none better than efficient mineral management. “Minerals comprise approximately four percent of our total body weight and include macro and micro elements,” writes Dr. David L. Watts. “The macro-elements are those found in the body in high concentrations, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and sulfur. Micro-elements, or trace elements, are present in low concentrations and include elements such as chromium, vanadium, selenium, lithium, and manganese. Their functions range from providing structural support in the formation of bones and teeth, to maintaining the acid base balance, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and enzyme functions. Some minerals participate in hundreds of biochemical processes, while others participate in only limited functions. Their role in health and disease has just recently been recognized, such as their involvement in the prevention of cancer, immune regulation, chronic degenerative disease, eating, and even emotions. In the words of the late Dr. Henry Schroeder, ‘Minerals are the basic spark plugs in the chemistry of life, on which the exchanges of energy in the combustion of food’s building of living tissue depend.’ This statement emphasizes the extreme importance of essential minerals in biological systems for optimal function and health.”7 This is especially true for optimal metabolic function.

Virtually every food we consume and every thought we think influences our mineral profile, which in turn influences our metabolism. Slow metabolic mineral patterns reveal stored tissue elevations of calcium, magnesium, and copper. Moreover, those who struggle with weight loss are inclined to have a very high calcium-to-potassium ratio. This is especially troubling when you consider that so many of us have been coerced by the medical orthodoxy to freely consume dairy products and to supplement our diets with calcium. On the other hand, fast metabolic mineral patterns reflect very low levels of calcium and magnesium and very elevated levels of sodium and potassium. Fast metabolic types tend to exhibit particularly low calcium-to-potassium ratios.

Our stored mineral ratio profiles are a reflection of both cause and effect. They reveal our constitutional tendencies regarding functions such as calorie burning, but they’re also important keys to changing our calorie-burning potential. In short, if you are overweight and have struggled with weight loss, it’s very likely that your stored tissue calcium and magnesium levels are abnormally high. It’s also likely your calcium-to-potassium ratio is abnormally elevated. If you were to obtain a mineral test to confirm these results, you could then supplement with minerals to correct these imbalances and improve your metabolic function. The WHD highly recommends that the dieter consider obtaining a trace mineral analysis (TMA). This important and affordable test provides people with a detailed account of their minerals and mineral ratios, which can assist you in the management of your minerals for maximum metabolic output.

TMA is a very simple procedure that analyzes human tissue. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and most medical communities worldwide consider human hair to be an acceptable tissue for biological monitoring. It is the perfect medium, as it readily absorbs all trace element minerals. Hair contains seven layers of protein, and the third-innermost layer, or cortex, is mostly made up of carotene and approximately 58 percent carbon. This cortex layer, therefore, serves as a perfect repository for stored minerals. TMA laboratories analyze hair cortex mineral status by means of atomic absorption spectroscopy and plasma emission spectroscopy. This refraction of atomic light through the cortex sample reveals the mineral makeup with great precision. Assuming that your TMA test has confirmed that you have a slow metabolic mineral pattern, you may then want to supplement with nutrients that enable you to balance out your profile and maximize your metabolism for greater weight loss efficiency. Generally speaking, to counteract a slow metabolic mineral pattern, you’d want to increase sodium, potassium, and iron. In addition, you may also want to supplement with vitamin A, vitamin E, and the B complex vitamins, as they are representative of nutrients that will stimulate the body’s metabolic processes. Below is a list of the WHD’s specific supplement recommendations for those interested in balancing their slow metabolic mineral patterns:

Sodium ascorbate: 1,000 mg per day

Liquid potassium citrate: 1 teaspoon (99 mg) twice weekly

Floravital liquid iron: 1 tablespoon per day

Gamma E: 600 IU per day

B complex: 50 mg twice daily

Vitamin A: 10,000 IU per day

TMA can help you better manage your minerals for optimal metabolic output.

NOTE: While this list represents general, safe recommendations, it is advised that one should consult with a qualified health care professional before beginning any nutritional supplement program.

A Key Metabolic Vitamin

According to a joint National Institutes of Health and University of Cincinnati study, recently presented at a meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society, vitamin D treatment alters the brain and brain chemistry in such a way as to improve weight and blood sugar control in obese animals.8

The research team gave the most active potent form of vitamin D, called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, to a control group of obese male rats, through a surgically inserted feeding tube. Both glucose testing and vitamin D monitoring were consistently administered over a twenty-eight-day test period. The rats were split up into two groups, a control group and a vitamin D group. The rats in the group that received vitamin D consumed nearly three times less food and lost 24 percent of their total body weight. The vitamin D group also experienced improved glucose tolerance, revealing an improved efficiency regarding insulin sensitivity and body response to sugar. The research team underscored the fact that vitamin D deficiency tends to commonly occur in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. They were also quick to point out that their study results were in no way intended to minimize the importance of diet and exercise. In order to control weight and blood sugar, vitamin D supplementation should accompany a healthy diet and exercise program.

Similar results were found by researchers at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. “Researchers tapped into a huge international database, accessing the genetic profiles of more than 42,000 people. Scientists noted whether a person harbored any of 12 genetic variants associated with being overweight. Not surprisingly, people with these variants were more likely to be obese than those without them. People with these obesity-associated gene variants were also apt to have low vitamin D levels.”9

Their data further suggested that losing weight could potentially reverse vitamin D deficiency in obese people. These experts theorize that the reason vitamin D seems to play such a significant role in weight gain, obesity, and blood sugar is because vitamin D is fat soluble and appears to sequester within the body’s fat cells.

In yet another study, published in April 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that vitamin D may be associated with weight loss in postmenopausal women. A research team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center evaluated the results of vitamin D supplementation administered to overweight women ages fifty to seventy-five with a low vitamin D baseline. The study matched up twelve months of vitamin D supplementation (2,000 IU per day) compared with placebos on changes in body weight and composition—as well as metabolic markers such as insulin—during a supervised dietary period. Those women with higher vitamin D levels showed greater improvements in body composition compared with women of lower vitamin D levels. Those women with the highest vitamin D levels lost an average of nineteen pounds during the twelve months, and the placebo group lost an average of twelve pounds during that same period.10

The WHD advises that those who are interested in losing weight consider having their vitamin D levels checked by their provider and replenished if needed.

A Fat That Stimulates Metabolic Fat Burning

After years of relative obscurity, an adipose tissue known as “brown fat” is suddenly garnishing a great deal of attention in the nutritional world. Research has shown that leaner, fitter bodies tend to have more brown fat. Overweight and obese bodies, on the other hand, typically have a higher concentration of “white fat.” White fat represents the undesirable stored energy that most of the world is trying to lose. Some researchers believe that brown fat is actually more like muscle than fat, as it actually burns the bad white fat when metabolically stimulated.

Nature’s plan was for brown fat to keep the human body warm. Scientists have discovered that people who live in colder climates produce more brown fat during the winter months. Experts believe that taking cold showers and sleeping with the window open on cold winter nights are among the best ways to increase brown fat production in the body and step up calorie-burning potential.

Unfortunately, of the twenty to forty pounds of total fat in the average human body, only two to three ounces of it is brown fat. However, that minuscule amount of brown fat has the potential to incinerate up to 500 calories a day! That’s exactly why researchers are currently in search of new drugs to stimulate our production of brown fat.

Most of the body’s brown fat is strategically located near the heart, around the neck and chest, between the shoulder blades, and in the retroperitoneal region behind the kidneys. These zones allow the brown fat direct access to the body’s most active circulation centers, enabling it to convert its energy into metabolic heat. It’s this thermogenic effect that accounts for the calorie-burning dynamic of brown fat.

Physical movement, playfulness, and stimulating environments, in addition to exposure to cold, have been shown to increase the production of brown fat in animal studies. In fact, after only one month of being in a stimulating environment, animals had significantly less visceral fat when compared to animals in a less stimulating, controlled environment. It seems that when their minds were creatively excited by a diversely enriched environment, their brain production of a protein called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor—shown to dramatically accelerate brown fat production and white fat incineration—was also increased.

A number of recent studies have demonstrated that brown fat has a profound influence not only on weight loss but on general health. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston discovered that brown fat supports blood sugar function, insulin sensitivity, and optimal metabolism, as well as the incineration of arterial fat stores. These scientists showed that mild exposure to cold for periods of five to eight hours elevated body energy, increased eradication of excess sugar from the bloodstream, and enhanced insulin sensitivity in tissue stores—supporting the theory that brown fat may act as an antidiabetic agent in the human body.11

Ten Pharmaceutical Medicines That Can Sabotage Metabolism

If you’re serious about losing weight the WHD way and you’re presently on medication, you may want to have a conversation with your doctor. Here’s a list of ten common medications that have been shown to interfere with weight loss:

1. ALLEGRA. A study performed in 2010 established that those subjects taking prescription antihistamines such as Allegra were up to 55 percent more likely to be overweight than those not taking the drugs.12Some experts believe that histamine can disrupt an important metabolic enzyme in the brain that regulates appetite.

2. DEPAKOTE. According to an epilepsy study performed in 2007, 24 percent of men and 44 percent of women who took Depakote for one year gained eleven or more pounds.13

3. PAXIL. Paxil is one of the more effective anxiety medicines, but if you’ve gained weight while using it, you should talk with your doctor about switching to a more weight-loss-friendly SSRI. Experts appear uncertain as to why, but Paxil does appear to interfere with metabolism and weight loss for some patients.

4. PROZAC. Recent studies have shown that over time Prozac may cause weight gain for some. Many experts theorize that the reason for this is that the drug may slow metabolism and increase appetite. Some physicians who suspect this problem often switch their patients to Wellbutrin, which has been associated with weight loss.

5. REMERON. Due to its antihistamine effect, this antidepressant is suspected to significantly increase appetite and weight gain.

6. ZYPREXA. According to a 2005 study, 30 percent of the subjects who were put on this atypical antipsychotic drug gained 7 percent of their body weight in eighteen months. Once again, the antihistamine activity is suspected to cause weight gain for some.

7. PREDNISONE. Long-term use of both oral and inhaled forms of steroids have long been known as weight gain triggers. A number of studies attempting to discover weight gain strategies for severely underweight HIV patients and burn victims were among the first to make this connection. Researchers have discovered that steroids work in much the same way as antithyroid medications.

8. THORAZINE. Medical experts have known since as far back as the mid-1950s that this antipsychotic drug has a proclivity to cause weight gain.

9. ELAVIL. This most popular TCA (tricyclic antidepressant) medication on the market today, primarily prescribed for migraine headaches, depression, and anxiety disorders, has become associated with marked weight gain. In fact it’s been estimated that as many as 50 percent of its users discontinue treatment solely due to its weight gain side effects.

10. NEXIUM AND PREVACID. Heartburn medicines such as Nexium and Prevacid have been shown to cause weight gain. Before recommending these medications, a growing number of physicians are now advising their patients to adjust their diets accordingly.

NOTE: If you’re presently taking any of these medications, the WHD urges you not to discontinue! Instead, you’re advised to have a conversation with your doctor so that you can express your weight loss concerns.

Common Household Toxins That Are Bad for Your Metabolism

Chances are good that your home environment is riddled with sources of toxic chemicals capable of seriously impairing your thyroid function. Experts estimate the average American is routinely exposed to more than six thousand toxic chemicals, many of which are endocrine disrupters that can create thyroid havoc. It seems as though there’s no stopping the chemicals that are at last stopping us. As an old Monsanto commercial once put it, “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible.”14

For starters, nearly all of our homes are saturated with flame-retardant organobromine compounds, called polybromated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PBDEs emit vaporous toxins that are released from sources such as motor vehicle upholstery, electronics, plastics, carpets, textiles, building insulation, and polyurethane foam in furnishings.

Experts say PBDEs are likely present in the bloodstreams of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, at levels twenty times higher than in people in Europe. Studies have found that a tenfold increase in PBDEs is capable of depressing thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by nearly 17 percent, significantly increasing the risk for hyperthyroid disease. When low TSH levels appear alongside normal T4 levels, it is an indication of hyperthyroidism, an endocrine condition that is especially problematic during pregnancy.

Also, a recent seven-year epidemiological study of nearly four thousand people, performed at the University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School, has linked thyroid disease to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure. PFOA is a toxic chemical typically found in nonstick cookware, stain- and water-resistant fabric, and carpet coatings. The analytical data produced by the researchers showed a direct statistical link between high serum concentrations of PFOAs and thyroid disease.15

The World Health Organization recently presented some very troubling landmark study results revealing that the average American is commonly exposed to a class of chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can lead to thyroid cancer and obesity. EDCs are most commonly found in products containing bisphenol A (BPA), like plastic water bottles, plastic milk containers, plastic microwave ovenware, and the lining of canned foods. Similar endocrine results were recently found by a University of Michigan epidemiological study of 1,346 adults and 329 adolescents. Generally, higher concentrations of BPAs were associated with a higher likelihood of thyroid disruption.16

The WHD Metabolic Detox Protocol

The WHD holds that if we want our thyroid to burn calories efficiently, then we need to cleanse it of its metabolic toxins at least once a year. We must remember that toxic exposures are accumulative, so it is most important that we occasionally cleanse our calorie-burning machinery.

There are many and varied forms of nutritional detoxification. There are a variety of intestine, liver, lymph, and blood detoxification programs that are all designed to cleanse the body in order to bring it back to some semblance of homeostasis. The WHD Five-Day Metabolic Detox Diet and Supplement Plan is a five-day cleansing program designed to rid the body of some of the chemical toxins that disrupt metabolism.

Detoxification is the metabolic process of removing unwanted compounds from the body, such as environmental contaminants, inflammatory hormones, endotoxins, and single-cell bacteria. The blood and lymph systems are extremely important detox transport pathways, but the predominant detox organs are the liver, intestines, and kidneys. These all-important pathways and organs follow a sequence called Phase 1, 2, and 3. These three phases are representative of powerful enzyme systems that keep the vital organ pathways active and clear during detoxification.

Phase 1 enzymes break toxins down into chemicals that can be metabolized by Phase 2 enzymes. It’s accurate to say that Phase 1 sets up Phase 2. Phase 2 enzymes are then able to attach the toxins to water-soluble sites in order to prepare them for the next phase of transiting and release. Finally, Phase 3 enzymes deliver the toxins to cells that, in turn, transport them to bile or urine for excretion.

As the body sequences through each separate enzyme phase of detoxification, it is important to supplement with specific nutrients capable of supporting each organ system. For an effective metabolic detox, a specially designed nutritional supplement protocol should accompany a metabolic diet.

The WHD Five-Day Metabolic Detox Diet and Supplement Plan

Repeat the following recommendations for five consecutive days.

Breakfast

MORNING SMOOTHIE

§  Blend together:

½ cup berries of any kind

2 tablespooons ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon ProFibe

1 tablespoon ProGreens

12 ounces pure water

Supplement with:

Barberry root tincture: 20 drops in 4 ounces water

N-acetyl cysteine: 500 mg capsule

Alpha-lipoic acid: 100 mg capsule

Citrus bioflavonoid complex: 500 mg tablet

Jarro-Dophilus EPS probiotic: 1 capsule

Jarrow Curcumin 95: 500 mg capsule

Midmorning Snack

2 sour apples

2 mugs rosemary tea

Lunch

§  1 cup of any of the following beans in any combination:

Adzuki, black, great northern, pinto

§  2 cups of any of the following, steamed:

Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, endive, escarole, parsley, scallion, spinach, summer squash, zucchini

§  Repeat breakfast supplement recommendations.

Midafternoon Snack

§  Repeat breakfast smoothie but omit supplements.

Dinner

§  Repeat lunch and breakfast supplements.

Evening

2 mugs rosemary tea

The WHD Five-Day Metabolic Detox Diet and Supplement Plan is designed to cleanse the body of free-radical by-products, heavy metals, potentially harmful fat-soluble compounds, toxic hormones, allergens, and acute inflammatory agents.

Now that your metabolism has been given every imaginable advantage to function at its highest possible level, you’re ready to move on to the WHD nutrition primer.

Stimulating Metabolism with Physical Exercise

Let’s make one important point right off the bat. Studies have clearly shown that successful weight loss can be attained by following a program of proper dieting without exercise. While scientifically factual, this sends a bad message. Nature intended our bodies to engage in movement, endurance, strength building, balance, and flexibility. Each of us is the natural genetic by-product of millions of years of running, jumping, climbing, and swimming. Physical exercise is vital to our overall health and metabolic function. A strong body is vital to our holistic balance.

There are four major types of physical exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Endurance exercise includes running, jogging, brisk walking, hiking, biking, and rowing. Yard work in virtually any capacity also increases the heart rate.

Strength exercise includes weight lifting, Nautilus training, resistance band exercises, and nearly any form of physical activity that increases the delivery of oxygen and blood to muscles.

Balance and flexibility exercise includes martial arts, tai chi, qigong, and yoga.

Where the mantra of the Whole Health Diet program is balance, it is advised that one engage in a combination of all the aforementioned exercises. That said, there are a few key points regarding exercise that are of great importance to the issue of weight loss.

One common misconception about metabolism is that by simply engaging in vigorous aerobic exercise, our bodies will burn the maximum amount of calories. Every time I go to the gym, I see overweight exercisers on treadmills determined to sweat off the pounds. Though they’re clearly well intentioned, the concept of muscle building for the purposes of boosting metabolism and burning calories seems to elude them. By increasing heart rate with aerobic exercise, one will absolutely increase metabolism, but only in the short term. Weight training and muscle building will burn fewer calories in the short term, but it’s been shown to increase metabolic efficiency and calorie-burning output in the long term. Each pound of muscle burns 40 calories per day, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories. Increased muscle mass means you can consume more food and gain less weight. Much more about food later, but for now the important point is if you want to support your metabolism in the most efficient manner, it’s important that you make a commitment to a balanced exercise program.

The WHD program recommends alternating forty-minute sessions of aerobic exercise, thirty-minute sessions of weight/resistance training, and some form of mind-body exercise (tai chi, yoga, martial arts) as your schedule allows.