Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eat Meat, Lose Weight? Could Dr. Atkins have been right?

The text between the dashed lines comes directly from the press release. A link to view the press release is at the bottom of this post. Unless otherwise stated, the text between the dashed lines is exactly as it appears in the press release.
All text after the dashed line contains my comments.


A study in the September, 2006 issue of Cell Metabolism evaluated normal and obese individuals for their response to the hunger-fighting hormone peptide YY (PYY). In previous research reports, it was shown to reduce food intake by up to 1/3 when given by injection.

“We’ve now found that increasing the protein content of the diet augments the body’s own PYY, helping to reduce hunger and aid weight loss,” said Medical Research Council clinician scientist Rachel Batterham of University College London. (Emphasis added by me).

Further investigation in mice supported the human study results.

Also, genetically modified mice unable to produce PYY ate more and became markedly obese.

When researchers treated those hormone deficient mice with PYY, the animals lost weight.

“The findings show that PYY deficiency can cause obesity and that PYY appears to mediate the beneficial effects of increased-protein content diets," Batterham said. "One potential weight loss strategy is therefore to increase the satiating power of the diet and promote weight loss through the addition of dietary protein--harnessing our own satiety system (Emphasis added by me).

“Such a diet is perhaps more typical to that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors,” she added.

The average Western diet derives 49% of energy intake from carbohydrate, 35% from fat, and 16% from protein, Batterham said. That differs considerably from the diet of hunter-gatherers, who ate as much as twice the amount of protein (Emphasis added by me).

(only because this press release comes from Eureka Alert), more protein in your diet leads to greater weight loss. I think Dr. Atkins was onto something many years ago, regardless of the bad press.

People in the know have realized for a long time the positive role protein plays in your diet, health and body weight. That’s why I recommend eating protein at every meal and even with your snacks. But you can’t eat just any protein. It must be healthy, natural and not packed with preservatives and saturated fats.

In other words, get the majority of your protein from chicken, beef, turkey, fish and wild game. Stay away from meats that come in plastic bags or containers and cardboard boxes. This meat is processed and loaded with preservatives and trans fatty acids.

To limit processed meats, make sure the meat you do eat is as close to its natural state as possible. In this condition, it has undergone little processing.

For a better understanding of how to determine the extent of processing a protein source has undergone, you need to ask yourself four questions. The answers to these questions will lead you to an obvious conclusion.

To learn these four questions, read my nutrition e-book. You can get a free copy simply by signing up for my newsletter, Brian’s Report: 18 Holes of Golf fitness, nutrition, heath and much more. To sign-up, go here:

Some more of my thoughts from the article…

Why was the study replicated in mice after humans? My best guess is they wanted to isolate the PYY hormone, so they used the genetically modified mice. I’m not sure, but the sentence caught me off-guard.

The typical Western diet contains too many carbohydrates. But carbohydrates alone are not the culprit. It’s the type that matters. Too many people eat a diet laden in processed carbohydrates, which include chips, cookies, crackers, soda water, etc… If these “foods” were replaced with fruits and vegetables, along with healthy proteins, several things would happen. The incidence rates of many behaviorally related diseases would drop significantly. These include: obesity, heart disease, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, many forms of cancer and even some bone and joint disorders. The list goes on. Additionally, the rate at which Americans take prescription medications would significantly decrease. How much help would that be to an over-burdened health care system?

But back to the article…

Archaeological studies indicate the typical hunter-gather diet consisted of proteins high in healthy fats, namely omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. This was pre-agricultural times and the meat consumed was wild. It’s the modern-day equivalent of free-range meat. In other words, wild animals went where they wanted and ate what they wanted.

Soon after introduction of the agricultural period, it was discovered that farming meat was much better than the alternative. Who can blame them? If you had to kill something to eat it, you were just as likely to be killed while out hunting and gathering. So cattle (and other forms of meat) were raised as a meat source for the populace. It was also soon discovered that feeding them (as opposed to allowing them to range free in captivity) caused them to gain weight faster than if they were in the wild.

It wasn’t long that animal husbandry techniques discovered diets high in corn and other grains would cause a young calf to weigh over 1,200 pounds in about 14 months, as opposed to 2 years or more in the wild. As you might guess, this much of a weight gain in this short period of time is not a healthy weight gain. Tissue analyses show the vast majority of this weight gain is fat – specifically, saturated fat.

Coincidentally, fossil records from pre- and post-agricultural periods indicate when animal husbandry techniques were introduced, significant increases in nutritionally related diseases began to appear.

The Take Home Message

This is what I recommend. Note: I am not telling you what to do. I’m only making some recommendations. If you’d like, follow these suggestions but be aware that I am not qualified (not an MD) to TELL you what to do (that’s a disclaimer).

  1. Eat more protein.
  2. Eat protein at every meal.
  3. Eat protein with your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
  4. Keep protein powder at home and at work (for convenience).
  5. Take two hours one day each week and plan your meals and snacks.
  6. Significantly increase the fruits and vegetables you eat.
  7. SIGNIFICANTLY decrease the food you eat in plastic bags and cardboard boxes.

Press Release Link

It's been awhile...

It's been awhile since my last post; just over a month. Soon after I created this blog, I suffered the dreaded nerve impingement in my neck. It was absolutely miserable and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Without getting into all of the details, I finally received a correct diagnosis. Five bouts of neck traction, anti-inflammatory medication and rehabilitative exercises have me back on track.

As I said in my initial post, my intentions are to post here frequently regarding fitness for golf. I'll be posting regurlarly on the Boot Camps that I am running, various articles I have written, golf-specific fitness tips and various other topics. If you read the August issue of Golf Digest that had the health survey, you know there are other issues golfers have to deal with. These other issues as they relate to diet, fitness, health and exercise are the "various other topics" I will be covering.