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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #113 -- Are Calories in/Calories Out As Extinct As the Dodo Bird?
January 21, 2013

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Are Calories in/Calories Out As Extinct As the Dodo Bird?

Most people have heard of the Dodo bird. It was last spotted in 1662 but is now extinct. Lately the term dodo has come designate something outdated or extinct.

The first law of thermodynamics is a law of physics that is as certain as death. It states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can be summarized by saying that any enery that enters a closed system must either leave the system or be stored.

This concept was commonly thought to apply to calories consumed too. Many nutritionists and medical doctors believed that in order to lose weight, all you had to do was simply eat less calores than you burned (create a calorie deficit).

Bodybuilders like myself believed in calories in/calories out for dieting too. When I was preparing for competition in the 1980s, I stopped eating fatty foods (fat equated to 9 calores while carbohydrates and protein were 4 each).

Here's what Micheal Feigin, M.S., C.S.C.S., said in a Huffington Post blog, "...No matter how you slice it, weight loss can summed up by taking in fewer calories than you're expending..." (Feigin, M., December 6, 2011, para. 1).

Calories in/calories out may have been true when I was growing up in the '50s and early '60s, but many nutritionists and health advocates today are "deep sixing" the concept. It has become a modern day dodo.

Science has given us many endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals unknowingly carried on the back of food products, pesticides, food and liquid containers, etc. Many of these chemicals did not exist when I was growing up - or they did not exist in the quantities commonly seen today.

These chemicals mimic human hormones and they are in abundance in our food, water, and environment.

Hormone-mimicking pollutants turn precursor cells into fat cells in unborn children and potentially change metabolic rates so that the body hoards fat instead of burning it.

Currently, approximately 66 percent of American adults are overweight while 33 percent are obese. But unfortunately this growing trend is not limited to adults.

Scientists at the Harvard School of Health reported in 2006 that the evidence of obesity in infants under six years of age had risen 73 percent since 1980 (Begley, S., September 10, 2009, para. 1).

Obesity in adults can be blamed on our "super-sized" fixation. Huge portions of everything from theater popcorn to soft drinks to gargantuan burgers are common in today's society.

Our daily diet consists primarily of nutrient deficit fast foods high in sugar and artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and out of proportion omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and the grain products we eat. As our appetite ballons, so does our waists.

What can explain the alarming increase of infant obesity? We certainly can't blame it on Big Macs and Big Gulps!

Something else has entered the equation.

In 2002, Paula Baillie-Hamilton, a doctor at Stirling University in Scotland, observed in an academic paper that obesity rates had risen in conjunction with the use of pesticides and plasticizers over the last 40 years.

When Jerrold Heindel of NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) read this paper, he looked at the chemicals mentioned. He noted that many of them caused weight gain even at reduced levels.

Researchers were now entertaining the idea that hormone-disrupting substances present in the mother's body may be affecting their unborn baby's cells. This would certainly help explain the huge increase in infant obesity since 1980.

Japanese researchers were studying bisphenol A and its effect on cells in the laboratory. Bisphenol A is used to line food cans, in hard plastic water bottles and containers, and baby bottles.

Normally these cells become fibroblasts which comprises our body's connective tissue. However, bisphenol A stimulated the cells to become fat cells. It and other compounds the scientists were working with pushed the expansion of existing fat cells too.

Retha Newbold of NIEHS has studied the effects of estrogen (endocrine disruptors) for 30 years. When her attention turned to seeing if there were any connections to obesity, the results were startling.

Newbold gave laboratory rats estrogen which was the equivalent of what an average person ingests from the environment. The rats weighed 20 percent more and had 36 percent greater body fat than the control group.

The "fat" rats were given the same caloric intake and did not move any more or less than the control group. These laboratory results defied the first law of thermodynamics.

Bruce Blumberg of the University of California at Irvine had also read Paula Baillie-Hamilton's paper; he decided to test to see if the hormone disruptor-obesity connection held true for live animals.

Earlier this week, I happened to catch a public service program on a local jazz radio station. One topic covered was tributytin, a hormone disruptor. It enters the food chain through seafood and our water supply.

The researcher interviewed was convinced that tributytin was linked to America's spiraling obesity epidemic. This is the substance Blumberg used in the laboratory.

His results confirmed Newbold's laboratory results; the parent rats' offspring were born with more fat, had more fat cells, and became 5 to 20 percent fatter by the time they reached adulthood.

Blumberg's discovery was so revolutionary that he decided that these endocrine disruptors which fueled obesity should have their own term. He called them obesogens.

Soy has been widely promoted in America as a replacement for the saturated fat in milk and red meat. Soy contains a substance known as genistein, a suspected obesogen.

Soy is popular with health advocates and vegetarians. I once was on the soy bandwagon eating soy burgers and drinking soy milk. Soy formula is commonly given to infants.

Laboratory rats which were fed soy had higher body fat levels than those which were not given soy.

Researchers tells us that virtually every American has some level of obesogen in their body. How it may effect an individual varies.

For those people who have a weight problem due to inheriting obesogens from their mothers, nothing can ever change that. But a clean diet and exercise may help control uncontrollable weight gain.

Future mothers should be extremely careful with their diets. Avoid all unfermented soy products (almost all products on the market are unfermented). Avoid canned food as the cans may be lined with bisphenol A. Stay away from processed food and prepare your own meals from scratch. Eating organic as much as you can aford to will help immensely.
Sources: Feigin, M., Huffington Post. Retrieved from Huffington Post
Begley, S., Daily Beast. Retrieved from Daily Beast

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