Are you watching your cholesterol? Then you might be interested to read this story, describing the American Heart Association’s role in creating mass cholesterol-phobia, including evidence that they actively suppressed information that would have changed the course of medical history.
The epidemic of obesity is also an epidemic of hormone malfunction, including thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, cortisol, and more.
If you eat a Standard American Diet, not only are your fat-burn enzymes likely to be totally blocked (the technical term is downregulated), your hormonal systems fail to communicate properly and the effect is like a kind of accelerated aging. To address the blocked fat burn, many turn to low-carb diets and, lately, the Paleo diet. But some do not stick with these diets strictly enough to rehab their damaged metabolism and switch non-functioning genes back on, and this leads not only to weight regain but also to the continued progression of the underlying hormonal system problems and continued low energy and fatigue.
Many have resorted to hormone supplementation to treat problems like fatigue and weight gain, as well as hormonal imbalances including infertility, thyroid malfunction, andropause, menopause, and so on. But I encourage my patients not to rely on these supplementations programs.
With hormone supplementation, you can boost levels of the hormone(s) you are taking to feel better–for as long as you continue to take the hormones. But hormones weave a tangled web; there is numerous interconnected relationships and often your body doesn’t respond in the way you hoped. With diet, you can enable your body to regulate all of its complex hormone systems more efficiently and, in essence, even rejuvenate your biological clock.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) Can Make Testosterone Levels Drop
Livinlavidalowcarb man Jimmy Moore, who lost 180 pounds following a low-carb diet, recently blogged about his revelation that in spite of his success with weight loss, his reproductive hormone levels were not up to full capacity. Salivary hormone testing had recently picked up a low testosterone level that was not obvious on blood testing done one year before. To treat the newfound problem and hopefully improve his wife’s chances for a successful pregnancy by improving sperm quality, Jimmy’s doctor started him on a very conservative (read “as safe as possible”) course of hormone therapy.
I wrote to Jimmy expressing my belief that, while the hormone therapy may help to improve one of the functions of his glandular system, it will not get to the root of the underlying cause of his complex glandular imbalances. Other factors would need to come into play to get his gonads whipped into shape (ouch! … maybe not the best way to put that, sorry Jimmy!). Always the gracious Southern gent, he invited me to talk about my solution to low testosterone and other hormonal problems live on his show. We discussed:
- If your diet could be blocking hormone systems in ways that lead to weight gain
- Why the solution to overweight is also the solution to many coexisting hormone imbalances
Three Diet Factors Undermine Most People’s Health
The following diet factors damage your metabolism in ways that first cause hormone resistance and then often lead to weight gain:
- Excess carbohydrate, above about 100-150 gm per day (on the high end for men, low end for women)
- Unnatural fat, including hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils falsely promoted as “heart healthy”
- Inadequate fasting, with frequent snacks and grazing preventing the hormones of fasting to do their job
In my twenty-plus years of clinical experience as a Family Medicine physician, I have learned to identify the subtlest, early signs of diet-induced hormonal problems associated with later-in life health problems of easy weight gain, vascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and even diseases associated with aging such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and dementia.
Very often the first symptom to develop will be a need to eat to control ‘hunger’ symptoms like headaches, fatigue, irritability, shakiness and weakness, or nausea. I have also found that many young men and women, often still in their teens, with these symptoms are already on the road to developing diabetes as evidenced by an elevated fasting blood sugar level of 90 mg/dl.