Sleep is Important for Your Metabolism
It might not be a shock to hear this, as the importance of sleep has been in the news more frequently, but proper sleep is important for your metabolism. Short sleep makes it harder for you to lose weight, and can increase insulin resistance and cause glucose levels to rise. This week I'll highlight two hormonal changes that occur when you don't get enough sleep - increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin.
Ghrelin and Leptin
Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones discovered since 1994 which have important effects on metabolism. For our discussion, think of leptin as a hormone that signals when you have sufficient energy - caloric intake and fat stores - and works to decrease appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone secreted by the stomach and is known to increase hunger.
In a classic study, researchers studied 12 healthy young men, and found that when they slept 4 hours nightly for 2 nights, compared with sleeping 10 hours, they had decreased...
My father, before he passed away, often said things like "if I only knew then what I know now." He might be giving advice about working with a difficult boss, navigating the dating world, or taking care of his body.
It seems true in life that as we make progress on our journey through life, we make discoveries that would have been exceedingly valuable if we had taken action on them year prior.
You may have heard the adage that starts, "When is the best day to plant a tree?" Answer: 20 years ago. When is the second best day to plant a tree? Today.
This week's thoughts were prompted by a study that showed the rates of 6 obesity-related cancers are on the rise in young adults. Specifically, the rates of multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer, uterine cancer, and pancreatic cancer were increasing in adults ages 25-49 years old. While the exact cause of the increase is not known, one hypothesis is that the rising rates of obesity...
"Success Leaves Clues"
I'm borrowing a quote this week, from personal development speaker Jim Rohn. The long version is “Success leaves clues. Be a better observer of the winners and the losers, those who are doing well and those who are falling behind. Take mental notes and say: ‘I’m going to adjust what I’m doing based on what I see.'"
By studying those who have already gone where you desire to go, you can "shortcut" the process and learn from their success (and their mistakes) so as to speed up your progress.
You may have heard that losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. In fact, there is a whole movement called Health at Every Size that states that we should stop encouraging folks to lose weight and instead focus on health. I do agree with the sentiment that we should not stigmatize overweight, and that people of any size can get healthier through nutrition, movement, and sleep, even if they do not actually lose weight....
The Brain-Behavior Gap
Have you ever had one of those moments where you stop all of a sudden and wonder, "when did I stop doing that?" I know meditation is good for me personally (I tend toward racing thoughts), but the habit of meditation has never been very "sticky" for me. Recently I had a busy week, and somewhere in the midst of it, my meditation habit fizzled out.
Do you have a recent experience like this? If so, let me share some insight from Kyra Bobinet, MD, a researcher at Stanford who I heard discuss behavior change on the Sigma Nutrition Radio podcast.
She tells a story of interviewing a woman in a weight loss program who was excited about the progress she was making, but then said, "I know what I should do and eat, I just don't know why I don't do it." That is a thought I've heard repeated in my clinic over and over through the years. Anyway, this thought motivated Dr. Bobinet to delve deep into what she termed the brain-behavior gap. That is, the gap that...
Nutrition and Energy
In last week's post, we focused on energy production, and one of the points introduced was this:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I received several inquires about omega-3 fatty acids, so let's take a deeper look.
One way to improve your nutrition, and therefore your health, is to simply start thinking about food quality, and looking for ways to "upgrade" what you eat....
I felt like I'd been unplugged
In 2018 I had surgery to repair a damaged leg artery. I was recovering nicely for the first week, and then something changed. It was like I had been unplugged. For 2 days, I could barely get out of bed. It was hard to keep my eyes open. The trip downstairs to the couch was so taxing I'd nap for hours. I recall wondering if I'd ever get back to normal.
To this day, I don't know what happened. After 2 days, my energy improved and I got back to recovering from the surgery. When I think back, I feel gratitude that my energy was restored and
But what if you have fatigue and it's not getting better? What if you're not recovering? I frequently evaluate and treat people for whom fatigue is a daily struggle.
Fatigue is one of the most common complaints that lead people to see a physician. Unfortunately, an explanation for fatigue is not always available, even after thoughtful analysis and testing. If you are experiencing fatigue, I...
What is the Best Diet?
I know, we keep coming back to this question. I get asked this question frequently. I think that's cause lots of people are frustrated with the glut of conflicting information available, and want to know how to get results.
I wish there were a quick answer. I will say, when it comes to healthy lifestyle, I've be come obsessed with helping people understand what will produce the results they want in their own bodies. We all grow tired of the same advice of "just eat less and exercise more." While there is a certain truth to this statement, for most people such advice does not lead to changes that actually produce benefit. Something is missing.
Low-fat vs. Low-carb
Low-carb is an approach that works well for many people. Low-fat diets have fallen out of favor, although traditional low-fat diets are not the same as healthy low-fat diets that don't rely on processed foods (think vegetarian approaches that emphasize plants and whole grains).
"Don't just hork it down"
My kids grew up watching animated movies, and there was a time as a young parent where I think I went several years without watching an actual live action film. To me, Pixar movies are the best. The quote above comes from a great scene in Ratatouille where Remy, the main character, teaches his brother to love food. As his brother tosses a wad of cheese down his gullet, he's scolded, "No, no, no...don't just hork it down."
Remy then proceeds to teach his brother how to eat carefully, enjoying the experience. Sometimes I try to remember this scene, especially when I get my hands on one of those foods (e.g. wife's cinnamon rolls - only allowed to eat on Christmas Day) where I find it hard to control the urge to race through the experience of eating.
I like to believe Remy is an early practitioner of mindful eating.
Mindfulness is a concept which has been gaining in popularity over the last decade. In particular, mindfulness meditation is...
The Brain is Fascinating
When my daughter was about 5 months old, I watched as she figured out how to rotate a toy so she could pass it through the bars on her crib. I realized in that moment that at 5 months old she could solve a problem my 5-year-old dog could not master! I as fascinated by how quickly her brain was developing.
The human brain is fascinating. I thought I'd highlight 2 observations about the brain that have direct relevance to your health, and which you may not have heard.
1. Your Brain is Cleaned When You Sleep
In people who develop Alzheimer's disease (AD), characteristic changes occur in the brain. Substances like beta-amyloid and tau protein, which are present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain, become deposited in the brain. Known as "beta amyloid plaques" and "tau tangles," these changes represent the pathological markers of AD.
When I speak about the 3 components of Optimal Metabolism - Quality Movement, Quality...
The Attention Economy
Apparently Herbert A. Simon is thought to be the first person to write about the attention economy, when in 1969 he wrote:
We live in a world where there is a wealth of information, which created a poverty of attention. Facebook, Google, CNN, Fox News, Instagram and others all compete for your attention (so they can sell it to others) and email, Netflix, and television can take up hours of your time. Add in time devoted to work demands, parenting, friendships, etc. and you...
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