HIGH on Energy TV Episode #6: Which Diet Works - The Science of Weight Loss
According to the science, what is the most effective diet for weight loss?
Today we dig deep and nerdy into the science of weight loss. What diet is best?
Is it low-carb? Low-fat? Keto?
Plus, what to consider when the scientifically-proven weight loss diet doesn’t work.
Grab your FREE Endless Energy Checklist to get my top 5 non-negotiable strategies for eliminating fatigue: https://go.kendraperry.net/energy-checklistWork with me here: https://bit.ly/2OZ4kxQ
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to another awesome episode of High on Energy TV. This is episode six, and my name is Kendra Perry, for those of you who might just be meeting me for the first time, and you can find out more about me at KendraPerry.net. And today, we are diving into a topic that I know a lot of people love to talk about. We are talking about weight loss, but what we're gonna do is we're gonna get a little bit nerdy today, and we're gonna actually dive in into the science of weight loss, and we're gonna discuss, when it comes to the scientific research, what is the scientific research actually saying about the best diet for weight loss, because there is a lot of bad information out there. There are a lot of fad diets. There's a lot of books that are promising you a lot of really big results.
Hey, [Maryanne 00:00:51], welcome.
They're promising you all kinds of things if you just do this or do that or follow their program, but what does the science actually say, because I think it's a lot less complicated than people think. And then, we're also gonna talk about what to do when the scientifically proven diet for weight loss doesn't actually work because this happens. Just because you are following a specific diet does not guarantee weight loss and this can be really frustrating. I totally get it because I've been there. I've been the person on the healthiest diet of anyone I knew, following that scientifically proven diet for weight loss and not getting results, and that's when we need to dig a little bit deeper and so we're gonna be discussing that as well today.
So welcome, everyone who is on Facebook Live with me right now. Say hi. I know Maryanne's on here. I know we have a few other people. But all I see is just an eyeball and a number sign, so I don't actually know who's here. So if you're here, say hi. Feel free to introduce yourself and say hey, because I love to know who's here.
Okay, awesome. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start by talking about some of the most common theories of weight loss. And probably the one that is known the best is the calories in, calories out theory of weight loss, so let's discuss that. So this theory of weight loss is the one that we're all familiar with. I feel like we're told this most of our lives.
Oh, we've got [Pardese 00:02:29], [Peardese 00:02:30]. I think I'm butchering your name. I hope I said that right. But hi, welcome. I haven't seen you here before and I'm really glad you're here. Okay, so calories in, calories out. I know that I was told this most of my life. I remember in high school reading Cosmo magazine and I knew that I always needed to eat less, and a lot of my high school experience was actually spent trying to lose weight and trying to restrict calories and eat less, which is crazy looking back. I'm sure when you look back at photos of yourself in high school you're like, "I was fit as fuck. Why did I think I needed to lose weight?" But honestly, I think I was just doing it because all my friends were doing it.
And so, basically, the theory of calories in, calories out basically is based on the law of thermodynamics, so it basically means that you need to bring in less energy than you expend in order to lose weight. So, basically, this is the eat less, exercise more model. So you wanna take in less calories and you wanna burn more calories. So the problem with this is that people automatically assume that when they bring in less calories than they consume, they're automatically going to lose weight. But this doesn't usually happen, and let's talk about why.
So let's talk about what the science says about what's actually going on when you actually start to do this method. So typically, if you start restricting calories and exercising more, there is a very good chance that you are gonna lose weight but this weight loss only will happen initially. And then, at some point, something happens. Weight loss comes to a halt. You plateau and then you slowly start to gain it back. And in some cases, you gain back extra weight. Nobody wants that. That sucks.
So why is this? So there's actually three metabolic adaptations that are happening when you decrease your calories consumption, and part of this is due to the fact that your body is always fighting against weight loss. This is an evolutionary thing. In the environment before we had fridges, and 7/11s on every corner and we didn't have access to food when food was a scarcity, our body was always trying to gain weight. It always wanted to prevent yourself from actually losing weight, because if you lost weight you could starve to death. So a lot of physiology, a lot of the information in ourselves is really, really fighting against losing weight.
So let's talk about those three metabolic adaptations that happen when you start restricting calories. So number one, it decreases your thyroid hormone. Now, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland on your neck and it's actually the main regulator of your metabolism. So when your thyroid hormone decreases, ultimately, so does your metabolic rate. So as thyroid hormone becomes less, as your thyroid hormone slows down, your metabolism slows down. So that is one of the three metabolic adaptations that happens when you follow the eat less, exercise more model of weight loss.
Number two, it will actually breakdown muscle, and muscle is more biologically active than fat. So that means, when you have less muscle, ultimately, you have less ability to actually burn calories. So the eat less, exercise more model does tend to lead to muscle breakdown.
Number three, it actually causes fatigue. And so, this happens because your thyroid is slowing down and that actually decreases your energy levels. So when you have more fatigue, you slowly start moving less and sometimes this is very gradual, and sometimes this happens without you even realizing it. So we slowly ... our metabolism goes down. We start burning muscle. We start having less ability to burn fat because we have less muscle, and then we are slowly getting more tired, so we are starting to move less, and less and less. And this can be very gradual, and this doesn't happen immediately. This might happen a year or so after you get that initial weight loss, and this is a big reason why there that big fat statistic out there that tells you that 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back, maybe plus more, within a year. And we know that, because if you look at ... if you guys are familiar with the show The Biggest Loser.
Okay, so this is pretty popular TV show. Maybe you know what I'm talking about, but it's basically a TV show where they take overweight people, they put them through an exercise program with a trainer and they restrict calories, and they lose a bunch of weight and then they choose a winner. And I believe that every single contestant of The Biggest Loser, with the exception of I think one, has actually gained all the weight back that they initially lost and sometimes even more.
So that's a pretty big deal, because that is ... The Biggest Loser is the epitome of the calories in, calories out model of weight loss. The other thing that happens, so this is fourth thing. I know we talked about three but there is a fourth thing that happens, is when you start restricting calories your body's like, "Okay, well, we need to get more calories in," so your body actually starts messing with your hormones. It'll increase your hunger hormones and that will actually lead to you craving more food. So as over time, you're slowly exercising less, you are also slowly starting to eat more as well.
So if you guys are on with me live today, say hey. I know there's a few of you out there. And just let me know, give me a thumbs up if you're familiar with this. Have you seen this happen to someone you know? Has this happened to you? Let me know. If I was sitting in the audience right now I would give a thumbs up in the comments because this has happened to me multiple times in high school and in my 20s when I was thinking that this is what I needed to lose weight. It was also what I thought I needed to do to be healthy, because I associated being skinny with being healthy, so I thought by restricting calories I was actually keeping myself healthy. I also was living in the '90s and early 2000s where I was totally afraid of fat. I thought it was really bad and everything I ate was a low-fat processed produce. So I was doing myself a lot of disservices at that time. Totally clueless about nutrition and health. But hey, when you're young, sometimes you just don't know.
So the reason that this approach to weight loss actually fails is because, like I mentioned, the body is actually fighting fat loss. Like I said, this is a very normal thing. Of course, our body wants to fight fat loss, because in the real world, out in nature we wanna carry as much weight as possible because food is scarce. So if we were hunter/gatherers, humans living outside of the industrialized world that we live today, we probably wouldn't be able to be overweight because we wouldn't have that much availability to food.
So why does the body fight against fat loss? Well, it's an evolutionary thing. We talked about that. But there's also this thing called a fat loss setpoint. And so, anyone who's on the cutting edge of weight loss research is talking about the weight loss setpoint.
Okay, so Nicole says, "Hello. Yes, my body crashed after being put on an 800 calorie diet." Oh, my gosh. That is so low. That is crazy. I actually can't believe someone would put you on a diet that low. That's barely enough calories for normal metabolic function, so no wonder you crashed. Totally crazy. There is some really crazy theories out there about what you need to do for weight loss. And if it's restricting calories to that point, it's not a safe thing to do.
Okay, so let's talk about the fat loss set points. So this is biological mechanism that is designed to keep your weight stable over time. So no matter how many calories you burn, your body is always fighting its way back to that setpoint. So that is a big ... the big part of this. So your body has this setpoint, whatever that is, and that can change over time but your body's always fighting to get back towards that. So a big part of weight loss is figuring out, well, how do we lower our weight loss setpoint? And we're gonna talk a little bit about, today, about some of the things that actually interfere with the weight loss setpoint and make it so that that setpoint keeps getting higher.
So when it comes to calories, so if we know that if we restrict calories that we can't lose weight, does that mean that we shouldn't consider calories? Does that mean that calories don't matter? And I think there's two big platforms out there. There's the people that are like, "Calories matter. You absolutely have to restrict them to lose weight." And then, there's the other people who are telling you that calories don't matter, just eat good food.
So what's the truth? Well, the truth is calories actually do matter, but the research shows that if you count them it won't help you lose weight. So this is probably like a WTF moment. You're like, "What the fuck? Kendra, what are you talking about? What do you mean? So I need to ... Calories matter. I need to eat less calories. But if I count them, it's not gonna lead to me losing weight, at least in the longterm? So how does that even work?"
So this is a bit confusing but we're gonna ... let's dig into this. And I just wanna say hi to Kristy. She says, "Hello. Having PCOS, it's difficult to keep weight in check and get what I need." Yeah, so there are hormones that can fight against this. I know with PCOS there is a big insulin resistance component. Your body typically has a really hard time breaking down glucose, breaking down blood sugar. For some reason, the elevated androgens really push that insulin resistance. And then, in turn, the insulin resistance pushes the elevated androgens that drive the PCOS. And so, we'll definitely talk about that in a later episode because PCOS is a big piece of energy, weight loss. It plays a big role in those various systems of the body. So we're gonna definitely dive into that in a future episode.
So the key to losing weight is to eat in a way that naturally lowers your calories without you actually counting them or trying to lower this. And so, this is actually a really big reason why people tend to lose weight on a low-carb diet. It's not because it's low-carb. It's because naturally, when you tend to eat low-carb, you need to replace the carbs with something. Typically people are going to replace the carbs with protein. So they're actually eating a higher protein diet and that's actually what the research actually says, that the best diet for weight loss is a high protein diet. Why is that? It's because protein is very satiating. It's very energy dense. It raises and lowers your blood sugar more slowly. So actually, pretty important for someone who has PCOS to eat a high protein diet.
So a high protein diet naturally makes you eat less, because it fills you up more and it gives your body a higher nutritional need. So all this big low-carb fad out there that says you need to go low-carb for weight loss actually has nothing to do with it actually being low-carb. It's just because, naturally, when people go low-carb they tend to go higher protein. And when the research actually compares low-carb to low-fat, they get pretty much the same results for weight loss. It's really all about that calorie restriction, that natural, non-counting calorie restriction, but also that higher protein content.
So how much protein should you actually be eating in a day, because this is important. And when I work with women, typically what I'll get them to do is use the free app, My Fitness Pal, and get them to track their protein for a week and see how much protein are they actually eating in a week. And what I see in a lot cases is woman aren't eating nearly enough protein.
So what you wanna do ... So the range for daily protein consumption ranges from about .4 to .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That range really depends on your activity level. If you are a sedentary person, maybe you don't move around in a day, you have an office job like me, or you run an online business, or you're just ... you're not ... you don't have a lot of movement throughout the day, and then you're not doing really intense exercise. Well, probably, you're gonna need protein on the lower end of that. Whereas, if you have a physical job, I used to work in forestry so I was in the bush, running around the forest all day long. And so, in that case I needed higher protein in a day. Or, maybe you're a professional athlete, or your someone who goes to Crossfit every day, or you exercise intensely on a regular basis, well, you're probably gonna need on the higher end of this.
The reason why I tell you to use an app, like My Fitness Pal, [Foodjacate 00:15:20] is another good one as well, is because 100 grams of chicken doesn't have 100 grams of protein. And so, chicken has some fat in it as well, so it's not gonna be just 100% protein and that varies a little bit depending on the type of protein you are consuming. So you do need to track that for about a week and just get an idea of where your protein is at.
Typically, when I recommend protein, I do recommend high-quality, grass-fed, organic, local if possible, animal products because they are significantly higher in protein than vegetarian sources. There are some things out there that have a really good protein profile for vegetarian sources, spirulina is a good example, so is hemp, but it is really hard to meet those protein requirements if you are consuming a plant-based only diet. I'm not saying I don't believe in a plant-based diet. I do believe in a plant-based diet but I do think you need some amount of animal protein in most cases. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and there are some people who do thrive on a vegan diet. I just don't see it very often. So I recommend high-quality animal protein. And what you'll see is that your protein requirement for the day doesn't actually require you to eat a ton of meat, and it probably doesn't require you to eat meat every day. It's just, maybe, a few times a week and then you top that up with the vegetarian sources of protein.
So I talked about, before, that fat loss setpoint. And if you wanna lose weight, the biggest thing, and you wanna lose it for the longterm, you really gotta work on lowering that fat loss setpoint. And so, let's talk about some of the things that cause that setpoint to malfunction. So number one is what's called high reward food. So these are food that are really easy to consume a lot of. They taste really good. They're addictive. They make you wanna eat more. Yet, they have very little nutrition or minerals. So this is that processed food category. So this would be things like chips, or crackers, or ... I'm trying to think, nuts and seeds can be a bit of a high reward. Because typically, when you get nut or a seed, it has a shell and you have to hack that shell open. And so, if you had to hack open a shell of every single nut you ate, you probably wouldn't eat that many nuts. But if they de hauled, so they've got the shell and the haul away from them, you can just consume them, consume them, consume. You could sit there and eat a thousand calories worth of nuts in a 20 minute sitting because they're easy to consume.
So these high reward foods have been processed, so they have a lot of the minerals and nutritional components stripped of them. The thing that's left is the really digestible and consumable and addictive carbohydrates. So a bag of chips is really to consume. You could probably eat three bags of chips. But if you actually had a potato, how many potatoes would you actually be able to eat? Maybe you'd be able to eat one, maybe two potatoes and then you'd be super full because there's starch in that. There are minerals. There are nutrients. There's all these different things in a potato that makes it really hard to eat potatoes for an hour straight, but I bet you could eat chips for an hour straight. So those high reward foods actually do mess with the weight setpoint. And this is a big reason why processed foods need to be removed. Any healthy diet removes these type of foods.
The other thing that messes with weight setpoint is high food variety. So this is eating tons of different foods at once. So think of, you go out for a fancy dinner. Maybe you have bread to start, and then you have an appetizer, and then you have a main course, and then you have a dessert, and then you have a cocktail in there, or something like that. And so, that's a ton of food variety. You've got fats, carbs, proteins. You have multiple different food ingredients. That is a lot for the body to handle and that's for a body to digest. And doing that can actually really mess with your setpoint. So simplicity really wins when it comes to a good weight loss diet. So you wanna stick to simple foods. And when you look at traditional foods, typically, they're eating the same food over, and over and over again and it's just ... it falls into just a few categories.
I'm not telling you to eat the same food over, and over and over again, because that might make you really bored. But you really wanna be sticking to those simple foods. Have you animal protein, your small little bit of animal protein, like chicken, pork, beef, whatever it is. If you're a vegetarian, maybe that's some tempeh. And then, you're gonna have some veggies and you're gonna have some fats, and maybe you're gonna include some legumes, or maybe some gluten-free grains in there. That would be a very simple meal and that would be a very good diet for weight loss.
The third thing that really messes, number three, with that weight loss setpoint is circadian rhythm disruption. So this has nothing to do with diet, but it's really important. This is pretty clear in the research. So if you're not getting enough sleep, this is a big thing. So not getting enough sleep in the night can actually make you quite insulin resistant and that is gonna cause you to gain weight.
So if you want to lose weight, and you wanna maintain a healthy weight, you need to get to bed at a decent time, and I would say no later than 10:30. You need to sleep seven to eight hours every single night. Things that can mess with your circadian rhythm is not getting enough sunlight, a light deficiency, malillumination, just like malnutrition, is a thing.
So if you're not getting enough sunlight, this is probably a big reason why people in the Northern Hemisphere gain weight in the winter, because you don't get sun for a bunch of months out of the year. So I do recommend, for those people, it might be worth it to get a vitamin D lamp. The one I recommend is call Sperti, S-P-E-R-T-I. It's a really good vitamin D lamp if you do live in a northern place and you don't get a lot of light for half the year. You can use a red infrared light. I have a, do I have it next to me, I usually have it right here, but I have a little red light which helps me get more light. And then, of course trying to get outside and getting unfiltered sunscreen-free natural light, and how much you need really depends on your skin tone. I have Italian heritage. I need to get a lot of sun. I'm one of those people who never burns. I get super dark and I actually need a lot more unfiltered sun exposure than my boyfriend who is a ginger, and he probably needs 10 to 15 minutes and he's good. So that will depend on your skin tone.
And then, of course, too much blue light after the sun goes down. So screens, computers, cellphones, these are a really big culprit for blue light and the big thing is because the light, the rising and the setting sun actually sets our circadian rhythm and that blue light mimics the sun of a rising sun, or the light of a rising run. So if you are looking at screens, if you're watching Netflix, if you have really bright lights in your house, you on your tablet, this can mess with your circadian rhythm. So I do recommend avoiding these types of lights in a couple hours leading up to bedtime. If you do need to use them, get those really sexy blue light blocking sunglasses. They are the orange sunglasses and they work really well.
Other things that can mess with circadian rhythm, and of course I'm bringing it back to minerals because you know I love talking about minerals, but magnesium deficiency can mess with your circadian rhythm, copper toxicity is a big one because copper stimulates adrenaline and that can keep you up at night, sodium excess, and then zinc deficiency. All these things can actually mess with your circadian rhythm. So ultimately, if you're following this perfect scientifically proven diet for weight loss, you're not eating high reward food, you're eating simple foods and you're not indulging, or over consuming, because this another thing that will mess with the weight loss setpoint, then you really need to think about minerals and metals and toxicity, and we're gonna talk about that in just a second.
So the next thing that messes with the weight loss setpoint is the over consumption of calories and overindulgence. And honestly, this can happen even when you're eating healthy food. A really important thing is to not overindulge and overeat, but you don't wanna be counting calories. But if you're eating this simple diet of wholefoods without those high reward foods, it's actually really hard to over consume food. When was the last time you were like, "Man, I really binged the hell out of that broccoli"? When was the last time you said that. You said that never, because who can ... who binges of broccoli? You just can't do it. It's just not possible. What do you typically binge on? Well, chips, or pasta, or cereal, or crackers, or something along those lines. It's the high reward foods. So if you're eating this really simplistic wholefoods diet that doesn't have those high reward foods, then it's actually really hard to overindulge and over consume calories.
The other thing that we need to mention is movement deficiency. So this is why it's so important to have regular movement, and this is something that I personally do need to work on because I'm really good for getting exercise in the morning, and then later on in the evening after my workday, but when I'm on my computer in the day I get locked in to projects, or things that I'm working on and I ... I'll just sit there for multiple hours and I know that's really bad for me. Because even if you sit all day, then you go pump it at the gym for two hours, that's not enough. If you were stagnant for that entire day, that is gonna mess with your weight loss setpoint. So regular movement is really important. So if you have a desk job, you need to set a timer and every 30 to 40 minutes you need to get up and do something. And it doesn't need to be a lot, it just needs to be something to get the blood flowing.
So something I have in my office, right over there, is a rebounder. So I have a little trampoline and I set a timer and I try to do 100 jumps every 30 to 40 minutes. So now, I'm not super consistent with this. This is definitely one of my challenges, but something like that, maybe you can't have a rebounder in your office but maybe you could do a quick lap of the office, maybe you can do some jumping jacks, maybe you can just run on the spot, but doing something for even just a couple minutes every 30 to 40 minutes is actually really, really important. If you're not doing that, that exercise, or that gym session that you have at the end of the day, or the beginning of the day isn't enough to offset the negative effects from movement deficiency from not moving on a regular basis. So that is really, really important.
So the final thing that I wanna discuss, and I've eluded this, so in the beginning I said if you are doing, so you're doing the scientifically proven diet for weight loss, which is high protein, low food reward, simple meals, and then natural, organic, all of that stuff, you're getting good sleep, you're moving on a regular basis and you are not overindulging but you still can't lose weight, you gotta think about minerals and metals and toxicity. This is big thing.
So get exposed to a lot of crap in today's world. We are the forefront of the generation that is getting extremely toxic because of all the chemicals, and metals and plastics and everything in our environment. These things are getting into our body. And once they enter the body, if your body isn't able to detox them and if you're someone who has a slower metabolic rate, which is 80% of the population, it's very hard for your body to move these things out. So the body needs to store them.
A really good place to store toxins is actually fat cells. They provide this stable matrix to put a toxin into you where it won't have a negative effect on the body, to some degree, versus it being out in the blood running amuck in the body causing all these issues. So your body will actually push toxins into fat cells. And sometimes, your body is like, "Well, I'm not gonna let you burn fat because the fat cells are full of toxins and if we immobilize all these toxins you'll probably die." So a lot of times your body actually might be protecting yourself from toxicity. This is why I think a effective detox ... or weight loss program needs to include detoxification. It also needs to involve correcting mineral imbalances, because if your minerals are really out of whack, it actually is really hard to regulate blood sugar. You may end up with lots of cravings and it may be really hard for your body to even lose weight and produce energy, because you actually need to have good energetic potential to actually lose weight.
So if this is the case, if you're at this point where you're like, "Man, I've done all these things and I can't lose weight," you wanna be doing something like a hair mineral analysis and a heavy metals panel. These are the best ways to address your mineral status, to address toxic metals in the body and you wanna work with a practitioner to go through some sort of mineral rebalancing detox program, because if you don't do this it will be stuck and I see this all the time.
And so, that's what I recommend. You wanna ... You don't wanna try to do this on your own. A hair mineral analysis is not something that you can interpret on your own. It's a very complex test. Trying to interpret tests on your own without actually knowing how to interpret them is a really good way to waste your money, so you do wanna find a mentor. I hope it's me. I hope you want me to mentor you, because I do mentor people in my High on Energy membership program. Where, basically, I give people a step by step program to help them restore their energy, help them lose weight, help them eliminate brain fog, get their hormones balanced. And then, you can access the testing as an upgrade. Hair mineral analysis, gut testing, metal panels, so that we can make that protocol customized for you because everyone's different, and my mineral imbalances are probably very different from your mineral imbalances.
So the link for that is in the show notes, or just on top of this live video if you wanna check that out. We have about 70 women so far and counting, and it's probably the most amazing community of women I have ever come across. They are so supportive and multiple times a month I bring everyone cutting edge functional health strategies to help move the needle and help them get towards their health goals. Which, for a lot of them, is losing weight and gaining more energy because a lot of people are chronically fatigued these days.
So let's just quickly summarize before we hop off today. Let's talk about what is the best diet for weight loss. So high protein, low food reward, so get rid of that processed bagged plastic food crap. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. High protein, eat high-quality organic animal protein or vegetarian protein, if you don't eat animal meat. Make sure to include some fruits, some vegetables, and if you are eating nuts, seeds or grains, make sure to properly prepare them, because they contain anti nutrient factors that will bind with minerals and pull them out of the body.
And so, with nuts and seeds, you wanna soak them, and then roast them. And with grains, you wanna ferment them and that will help breakdown those anti nutrient factors to make them less damaging to the system and prevent them from actually effecting your mineral status negatively.
So I hope this was helpful, guys. If, for those of you who are with me live, if you have any questions, throw them into the comments box now because I would be more than happy to answer them. I love connecting with you guys and answering your questions, because you guys always have really good ones for me, and remember that we do this Facebook Live every Tuesday at 4:30, and then I release it as a podcast every Thursday. And the last Tuesday of every month, we do a live Q&A. So if you have questions, you can send them to my Facebook page. Just send me a message and I will answer them live on air, or you can always hang out with me, 4:40pm Pacific, on Tuesdays, the last Tuesday of the month is the Q&A.
And guys, if you wanna work with me, if you wanna connect with me, I do encourage you to join my High on Energy group membership program where, for a very, very low price point, you can get full access to me. I will help guide you and coach you. I will bring you the most cutting edge functional health strategies you need to start moving the needle to help you lose weight, to help you get more energy, to help you eliminate brain fog, and just basically get your life back. Because when your health sucks, you don't really have a full quality life.
And if you're not sure you wanna go that far and you just wanna get some basic tips, you can download my free Endless Energy checklist. Again, the link for that is in the show notes or in the Facebook Live description, and that is just my five non-negotiable strategies for getting more energy. So it's where to start, if you don't know where to start.
All right, thanks guys. Thanks so much for being here with me today. I love you all and I will see you guys next week.