Have you heard of the new hCG diet? The hormone hCG is actually the hormone that the body makes during pregnancy. The hCG diet is an extremely low calorie diet (500 calories per day for 8 weeks) while taking hCG, either by getting a shot or by taking a homeopathic product, such as oral drops, pellets, or sprays, which you can buy at health food stores. The Bernstein diet is also a very low calorie diet (700-900 calories per day) and they give you B-12 injections. There are tons of diets that supply less than 1000 calories per day but are they good for you?
I am not personally a fan of very low calorie diets (VLCD) as I don’t believe that eating so little calories is successful in the long run. Statistics show that people who follow a very low calorie diet put their weight back on quickly because they go back to eating more calories once (if) they achieve their weight loss goals, and once you start eating more calories, the body wants to store the extra calories simply because it needs it for daily body functions and doesn’t know if you are going to starve yourself again. The body is quite brilliant and resourceful.
We all have what’s called a basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is the amount of calories the body burns AT REST just to operate our bodies. This would include respiration, digestion, elimination etc. My BMR is 2,200 calories due to my weight, amount of muscle and water is in my body. If I eat only 800 calories (or less) then my body is in a deficit of 1,400 calories. This deficit will greatly upset my body as it needs energy to function. This is actually very dangerous to your body because you will not get all the nutrients that you need thus having nutritional deficiencies which will cause a plethora of other health issues.
Look at the “fight or flight” response. When you are facing a life threatening situation you can either run or you can fight. When this happens, some factors come to play. Your pupils dilate (so you can see better), the blood is shunted to your muscles (so you can run) AND your body stores fat because it simply doesn’t know how long you are going to run or fight for. This is an automatic response of the body, which is also why it is difficult for you to lose weight if you are stressed (physically or emotionally).
The same thing happens when you ‘starve’ yourself. Your body will store fat the minute you start eating again because it is simply trying to protect itself for the future. It’s quite amazing really and at the same time, quite frustrating.
Bottom line…don’t starve yourself. It’s not healthy and you will most likely put your weight back on at some point. It’s simply not feasible to eat less than 1000 calories every day forever. Be realistic. Make healthier lifestyle changes including following a healthy low carb diet and walking or some exercise. I wish I had that magic weight loss pill but if I did, I would be somewhere in the Caribbean drinking Mai Tai’s on the beach…
Appetite Control and Leptin
Leptin, the “satiety hormone”, discovered in just 1994 is a hormone made by fat cells that helps to regulate hunger. After you eat, leptin is released into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain telling you to stop eating because you’re full. Without leptin we could continue to eat until we explode. Some people have what’s called leptin resistance where the brain is unable to pick up its signals causing mindless eating and overeating. It’s also a cycle where the more you eat, the more engorged your fat cells, and the greater the risk of worsening your leptin resistance because it is your fat cells that make this hormone. The more you gain, the more sensitive your body becomes to leptin. Leptin resistance is associated with certain other medical conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, and elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream. Leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy balance… the amount of calories we eat and expend, and how much fat we store on our bodies
People with leptin resistance may find that they have frequent or even constant cravings or feelings of hunger. Researchers are still working to fully understand and develop effective treatments for leptin resistance, but for now, controlling cravings is the key to combating the effects of this condition. If you’re eating lots of sugar/carbs, or if you’re very stressed or sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel like you have an appetite you just can’t satisfy. To beat your cravings, protein and fiber are the keys as they both keep you very full for a long time.
Reversing Leptin Resistance: How do you know if you’re leptin resistant? There is no set blood test done to determine leptin levels. The best test to do to determine if you are leptin resistant is to look in the mirror. If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area then you are almost certainly leptin resistant. Leptin resistance occurs years before insulin resistance and full blown diabetes.
So what can we do? The low carb, gluten free diet will help you tremendously!
- Cut out grains, refined sugars and processed foods and replace them with “slow burn” foods like protein and fats so you avoid leptin spikes that cause leptin resistance
- Increase the good fats in your diet including avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, fish oils, butter, ghee and olive oil. Take 2,000mg-3,000mg Omega 3 (fish oils)
- Avoid processed foods
- Increase fiber in your diet. I recommend taking fiber supplements 30 minutes before each meal
- Always have protein with each meal
- Eat 3 meals per day and not snacking all day stabilizes leptin levels and avoids spikes
- Exercise like resistance training increases leptin sensitivity so the signals can reach your brain that you’re full
- Reduce your stress levels and get plenty of sleep
So here is yet another reason to follow a low carb, gluten free lifestyle. Eating real low carb/sugar food, exercising and sleeping well are all lifelong endeavours that require a shift in lifestyle.
How to Choose Low Carb in Restaurants
Do you find you avoid eating out because you are afraid of going off your low carb program? You don’t have to. It’s not so hard eating low carb in restaurants providing you know the right questions to ask, what to look for and what products are absolutely not allowed.
Bread, breading, pasta, rice and potatoes are big No No’s on a low carb diet. Ask your server to substitute these with extra veggies or salad. Watch for breading on chicken and other meats as well as chicken wings. You can order them un-breaded. Order hamburgers without the bun and see if they will wrap it in lettuce, or simply eat it without the bun. Breakfast can be any style of eggs (fried, scrambled, omelette’s etc) with bacon but hold the potatoes and toast. Ask for sliced tomatoes or other veggies instead. Watch sausage as it often has bread fillers. Fast food can be eaten but again hamburgers without the bun. Have a nice salad with chicken breast (not breaded). Bring your own salad dressing which is made up of MCT oil and regular vinegar with spices. Most fast food restaurants offer acceptable meals for low carbers.
As far as drinks, you can have a glass of wine (preferably red as it is lower carb) or any liquor (gin, rum, vodka etc) with club soda and lemon, or water. I am not a fan of diet pop as it is laden with aspartame which is extremely toxic. If you must have pop purchase Zevia which uses stevia for a sweetener instead of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. No beer or cocktails as they are too high in carbs/sugar.
Most restaurants don’t have low carb/sugar desserts so you may want to pack your own if you must have some. Most restaurants won’t mind if you tell them you are on a strict diet. So go out and eat!
Gluten Free and only 2 Net Carbs!!!
Servings: 12 Mini Cups
Author: Angela Coleby
- 1/2 cup (56g) coconut flour
- 1/4 cup Erythritol or sugar substitute
- 1/2 cup 113g butter, unsalted softened
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4oz 112g cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons erythritol or sugar susbtitute
- 2 tablespoons double cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 Fresh strawberries cut into small pieces
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.
- Grease a mini muffin tin well.
- In a bowl, mix the coconut flour, erythritol, baking powder and salt together.
- Add the butter, egg and vanilla and mix into a dough.
- Line a mini muffin tin with 12 cases.
- Roll the dough into 12 balls.
- Press the dough balls into the case making sure that there is a large “well” in the middle and spreading the edges out.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden and firm.
- Remove and set aside to cool.
- Gently remove the shortcake cups from the tin. If they start to crumble, place them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to harden.
- Blend the erythritol, cream cheese, vanilla extract and double cream until smooth.
- Pipe into the shortcake cases. Or spoon it in.
- Decorate with strawberries
- Eat and enjoy
Makes 12 mini cookie cups
Nutritional Info per cup – 134 Calories, 12g Fat, 2g Protein, 4g Total Carbs, 2g Fibre, 2g Net Carbs