WEIGHT LOSS: How a good diet activates satiety mechanisms and supports our efforts


Symbiosis, endocrine system modulation, natural
selection, metabolism, fat-burning phytonutrients and hormones – there’s a lot more to losing
weight than just bulking up with fibre. Keep watching to find out how! In part 1 we discussed elements of our diet
we are getting too much of that increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. Today we’ll be looking at elements that we
do not get enough of that would reduce the risk, and how they do it. I concluded part 1 by discussing the energy
density concept of food, and indeed energy density is the most intuitive reason to include
plant-based foods in our diet – they tend to be much more calorie-dilute. Filling the stomach activates stretch receptors
that tell the brain we have eaten enough. So if you can activate that signal with a
much smaller number of calories, you can feel satiated without eating a meal that will cause
weight gain. Additionally, calorically-dilute whole foods
can only be eaten so fast, and one can only take in so many calories before these and
other mechanisms signals kick in and tell us we’re full. For example, you can’t take sugar in the form
of whole fruit in fast enough to initiate that disease- and obesity-causing blood glucose
spike and crash that we see with refined sugar. However, as we will see, plant-based dieting
assists us in acquiring and maintaining a healthy weight in so many more ways than just
bulking us up with fibre. Like some of the sweeteners I discussed in
part 1, fibre and resistant starch found in whole plant foods are not utilised for energy
by humans. As a result, they pass through the small intestine
and into the colon where organisms reside that CAN extract energy from them – bacteria. And unlike the dysbiotic bacteria that feed
on sweeteners, animal protein and junk food, the bacteria that consume fibre and resistant
starch are very beneficial for, and in fact a necessary part of our health in addition
to their simply crowding out the bad bacteria. This wonderful example of symbiosis is just
one element of the complex web of benefits dietary fibre and other non-digestible carbohydrates
provide us with, not least of which is their profound effect on our ability to regulate
our body weight. Whole plant foods are essential guys, I can’t
stress this enough! As part of their energy extraction process,
these bacteria break fibre down into short-chain fatty acids such as ethanoate, propionate
and most importantly butyrate. In an amazing example of symbiosis, these
short-chain fatty acids induce signalling pathways in the intestinal epithelium that
lead to immune tolerance of the beneficial bacteria, enhanced mineral absorption, maintenance
of the intestinal wall and as it pertains to our current discussion, release of humoral
mediators that tell us we are full and slow down the rate of stomach emptying, blunting
blood sugar spikes and even telling fat cells to burn fat. In part 1 we discussed the obesity-causing
bacteria that are found more commonly in those eating a standard Western diet. Unsurprisingly it turns out that the bacteria
that feed on fibre and produce short-chain fatty acids all have the opposite effect and
help us acquire and maintain a healthy BMI. This fundamental dependence on fibre to initiate
the most important satiety mechanisms in humans is likely to have evolved as a result of the
huge amount of whole plant material we were eating throughout our evolution as a species
until recently. And remember, we STILL need to get our fibre
from whole plant material – the research is very clear that to get the weight loss, satiety
and all the other benefits from fibre we need to get it from whole plant foods – fibre supplements
simply do not provide the same health benefits. As we have discussed, reducing blood sugar
spikes is key if we are to control hunger, not to mention the myriad of other consequences
of erratic blood sugar. In addition to the gastrotropic and blood
glucose-modulating effects of friendly fibre-eating bacteria, if you consume sugar in the way
nature intended in the form of fruit, it comes pre-packaged with all the fibre and phytonutrients
that prevent these big swings in blood sugar. My favourite example of this is seen in berries
– they contain compounds that actually inhibit glucose transporters – the main way that sugar
is absorbed from the intestine. If you really want to ramp up your fat loss,
consider some whole plant foods that have their own independent fat-burning mechanisms
outside of what we have already discussed. Chillis and other capsinoid-containing foods
don’t just taste hot, they are actually known to increase energy expenditure and fat burning. Other spicy foods like black pepper and ginger
might also share this fat-burning mechanism. Polyphenol phytonutrients, especially flavonoids
and phenolic acids may also help with weight loss and are found in a diverse range of foods
like turmeric, grapes, nuts, pomegranate, berries, cocoa, chocolate and of course the
best-studied source: Green tea. But bear in mind that plant-based diets in
general boost our metabolism through many mechanisms as we have discussed, and eating
a plant-based diet overall will have a much bigger effect on weight than eating any individual
foods. Additionally, there is the added metabolic
energy cost of converting carbohydrate to fat, a cost that is obviously going to be
less in a high-fat standard Western diet and higher on a plant-based diet. This effect is powerful enough to be measured
experimentally – calorie for calorie, dietary fat restriction results in more body fat loss
than carbohydrate restriction in people with obesity – you can eat the same amount of calories,
yet lose more weight! With all these mechanisms in mind, it’s no
wonder that those eating strictly plant-based are the only group to average a normal BMI. With all they have going for them, they should
have no excuse – all these advantages make it super-easy! Trust me, I know – I have dropped significant
weight on both an If It Fits Your Macros standard Western diet and a whole foods, plant-based
diet, and I can tell you there was a lot less pain and suffering with the latter! And on top of all of that, the weight you
lose on a whole foods, plant-based diet is sustainable, even 5 years later. This kind of sustained weight loss of over
half the initial loss is unparallelled in the medical literature – and these patients
were not even eating healthy for weight loss, but to reverse their heart disease. Plant-based diets are in fact among the only
diets shown to be sustainable long-term. This is because eating a healthy diet to lose
weight brings with it so much more than the weight loss – you feel so much better too,
and that feeling is addictive – you won’t want to go back to the old way of eating! You might be wondering how does exercise fit
into all of this? The answer is not very well. The primary focus of weight loss should be
diet because we have far more control over our total calorie budget by modifying what
we eat than how much we exercise. Exercise is only a small part of the weight
loss equation. Yes, it is vitally important for overall health
and wellbeing, but don’t let it be a distraction from the real heavy-hitter for losing weight. Additionally, people tend to grossly overestimate
how many calories they burn through exercise. Don’t fall into that trap! Eat a whole foods, plant-based diet and let the weight loss take care of itself! In summary, centering our diet around whole,
plant foods fills us up to prevent taking in too many calories, fosters the growth of
friendly bacteria that help control our weight, provides nutrients that burn fat, boosts our
metabolism and is easy to stick to long-term. These effects, on top of the displacement
of animal products and processed foods and all the obesity-causing effects they provide,
make a whole foods, plant-based diet our best friend for acquiring and maintaining a healthy weight. That’s why I wanted to make these videos – not
to scare you with data on how obesogenic our modern diets have become or how hopeless it
is to try and lose weight, but to show you that there is a way, that it works, and how
it works, in the hope that it will motivate you to give it a go. Thanks for watching, if you have any questions
or comments leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you. If you found this video informative give us
an old thumbs-up there and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! Sláinte!

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