Age-related obesity is a growing problem (sorry about that – couldn’t resist). Why age-related? Because it is caused by chronic brain inflammation over many years. Advice from mainstream medicine about the causes of and solutions for obesity is pure biobabble. Diet and exercise are NOT effective solutions. You must start with your brain. Here’s what you should know.
Idiocy of Mainstream Medicine
Before delving into what age-related obesity really is, let’s take a look at the worst advice you can find. It is the prevailing advice from mainstream medicine. It is repeated so often that it has essentially become brainwashing.
Here is a representative view as espoused by the Mayo Clinic. (WARNING: This information is so bad that it is laughable and sad at the same time.)
The Mayo Clinic Overview
The obesity page starts out fine, as follows (1):
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
That’s a great beginning.
Then things start getting a little out of whack when explaining the so-called causes of obesity.
(Highlighted text inserted by me.)
There are many reasons why some people have difficulty avoiding obesity (so far so good). Usually, obesity results from a combination of inherited factors (possibly…see below), combined with the environment (absolutely!) and personal diet (least likely) and exercise (not a chance) choices.
Then they really head down a rabbit hole…
The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity (yup!). Dietary changes (maybe…see below), increased physical activity (nope) and behavior changes (oh yeah!) can help you lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss procedures are additional options for treating obesity (the worst options – ever!).
NOTE ABOUT “INHERITED FACTORS” Yes, heritable factors can lead to obesity, if they are epigenetic factors as opposed to genes. This is another way of saying that environment influences obesity. The earliest influences from epigenetic “inherited factors” come from the mother. They are created long before pregnancy and persist all the way through gestation.
Modern medicine, however, does mean “genes” – even though the theoretical underpinning of this view has become obsolete. Unfortunately, medical research still adheres to such backward thinking. I’ll have a lot to say about this in future posts, since it represents a monstrous failing in medicine for every disease that has been blamed on genes.
NOTE ABOUT DIET AND EXERCISE “Dieting” here refers to eating less. This has never worked for treating obesity, at least for long-term, healthy results.
It never will.
For the obese, exercise causes more damage than it is worth. It also does not work for long-term, healthy results.
The bottom line is that, regarding weight management, the ancient canard of “eat less, exercise more” is a prescription for failure.
Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher.
BMI is actually pretty useless. Instead, keep things simple. Just look at yourself in the mirror. That tells you everything you need to know, without some fancy-schmancy calculation to tell you whether you are fat.
The Mayo page then continues by repeatedly referring to the (mostly incorrect) main causes cited in the overview. Nothing new there.
The real kicker for us Baby Boomers, though, is the section on Age.
This isn’t too bad, for starters.
Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity (definitely, on both counts). In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age (true). Generally, lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism (not a real problem). These changes also reduce calorie needs, and can make it harder to keep off excess weight (not so at all…calories have nothing to do with obesity). If you don’t consciously control what you eat (nope) and become more physically active as you age (yes, if done right), you’ll likely gain weight.
Yes, hormonal changes are at the root of obesity. Unfortunately, what Mayo means is steroid hormones. The two biggies are our sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. However, Mayo ignores the roles of other steroids – our bodies make more than 150 of them in all. All steroid hormone balance depends on how we metabolize the key precursor that leads to other steroids, pregnenolone.
And here is a surprise for you: the precursor for pregnenolone is cholesterol. This just means that, if you are taking statins or other cholesterol-lowering drugs, you are guaranteed to have rampant hormone imbalances. Those drugs are evil in many ways, and this is just one of them.
LEPTIN: THE REAL HORMONE OF INTEREST
This is the protein hormone that directs communication between fat cells and your brain. For those in the know, it is referred to as the master hormone.
Leptin has been known to science since 1994. Its role in fat metabolism was established by 1998. One of the latest reviews about it states (2):
“One of the most important and widely studied players in the control of energy balance is the hormone leptin.”
And, “…defects in leptin production underlie the massive obesity observed in ob/ob mice.”
How far behind is modern medicine on this one? How about this: the Mayo clinic page on obesity fails to even mention it. Not once. Neither does their page on weight loss.
Hmm…let’s see…that puts mainstream medicine behind by at least a 20 years. (It’s actually worst than that, if you have followed the 1970s-era government advice to follow a low-fat diet.)
That gives you a clear picture of how mainstream medicine is set up for epic failure in understanding and treating obesity.
What to Do About Brain Inflammation
Brain inflammation is a monster topic. To keep thingns brief at the moment, I will focus on that part of the brain that responds to leptin: the hypothalamus. That’s where the leptin receptors are located. When they don’t work (inflamed), you are leptin resistant.
Leptin resistance is like insulin resistance. Once it develops, no amount of leptin will make the hormone signaling pathway work. This is why Big Pharma’s (i.e., Amgen’s) development of leptin as a treatment for obesity failed. The notion of just taking more leptin is was doomed to fail from the get-go.
This is why you absolutely must reverse leptin resistance if you are ever going to lose fat, slim down, and be healthy.
The question is, how do you do that?
GREAT NEWS! Everything falls into place when you become leptin sensitive again.
Directions for exactly how you do that are already known. I’d be surprised, however, if your doctor or anyone who works in a weight loss clinic is even remotely aware of what you must do to recover leptin sensitivity. Even the most well-known programs – e.g., Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Richard Simmons – have nothing to say about leptin.
The absolutely BEST source of information that I ever found on this crucial ‘how to’ comes from neurosurgeon, Dr. Jack Kruse (3). His protocol represents how he cured his own obesity. He dropped more than 100 lbs in less than a year (starting at 357 lbs – egad!). This is also the protocol that he uses in his own clinic.
Reset Leptin Signaling to Cure Obesity
The following steps are designed for you to become leptin sensitive again. They are a summary of Dr. Kruse’s protocol. If you want more details, just go to that link to his main page on the subject that I cite below (3).
By the way, leptin sensitivity is crucial in many more ways than curing obesity. After all, it is the master hormone. Addressing obesity, though, is a good place to start.
- FIRST, confirm that you are leptin resistant. It is a certainty if you are obese. (You can also be leptin resistant if you are skinny. This is a topic that I will address at another time.)
- EATING PATTERN. How and when you eat – as opposed to what and how much – are more critical than any other factor. Eat as soon as possible every morning. Ideally this would be within 30 minutes of rising. Space meals at least 4-5 hours apart. Eat three meals a day until your hunger and cravings begin to subside, then go to two a day. Always allow for at least 4-5 hours between your final meal of the day and bedtime. No snacking, ever!
- FOODS. Be mindful that the type of fuel you eat is still crucial, especially at the beginning of the protocol and if you are starting out more than 30 lbs overweight. As you will see below, the main food culprits are what drove you to leptin resistance in the first place: carbohydrates. Breakfast should be mostly protein (50-75 grams) and fat (unlimited amount), with fewer than 25 grams of carbohydrates (non-starchy and unprocessed). If this breakfast doesn’t hold you until lunch, then up the protein content. The best food sources for starting the day include pastured or organic eggs accompanied by meats, poultry, or fish. (My personal favorite is lightly cooked bacon.) Protein shakes are less desirable. However, if you do use them, make sure they are comprised of whey protein concentrates (NOT isolates). If cooking with oils, use only butter, heavy cream, or coconut or palm oil. Absolutely avoid all of the most common commercial vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut, and olive) and nut oils. DO NOT BOTHER WITH COUNTING CALORIES! Lunch and dinner can include a bit more carbs, although keeping the amount under 50-75 grams is best.
- SLEEP. Many hormones fluctuate on a 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythms. For restoring leptin sensitivity, what your brain does while you sleep is every bit as important as your eating pattern and food choices. This puts a premium on getting at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. That is the basic requirement for making your nighttime sleep and brain repair hormone, melatonin, work best. PREPARING YOUR BRAIN FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP BEGINS AT SUNDOWN. One of the most crucial keys for this preparation is making your surroundings as dark as possible as soon as the sun goes down. If this is too inconvenient (Ha! Of course it is!), then wear blue-blocking glasses in the evening. That will at least reduce the negative impact of artificial lighting. The use of tech device of any kind (TVs, cell phones, computers, notepads, etc.) will also disrupt your brain’s preparation for good sleep. (I will have much, much more to say about these factors in future articles.) Keep your bedroom as dark as possible – no stray lights from anywhere (e.g., clocks). If you have trouble getting to sleep, meditate. (I use Transcendental Meditation.) Even a light set of pushups or squats for 3-5 minutes will help.
That’s it in a nutshell.
Does that look like any weight loss advice you ever heard of? Probably not. Just keep in mind that you are resetting your fat-to-brain hormone signaling pathway – i.e., for leptin. Everything else falls into place once you accomplish that.
What Can You Expect?
The most common change that you will observe early is a shrinking of your waistline. An overall drop in weight soon follows. (At first this is just water weight, so don’t get too excited about it right away. Dropping excess weight will continue past this point, ultimately reducing your body fat composition.)
You will also most likely notice a reduction in your hunger and cravings within the first 4-6 weeks.
Sweating pattern will change. When you are leptin resistant, profuse sweating at any time is common. When you are leptin sensitive, sweating is more normal – i.e., you sweat when you are supposed to sweat.
Expect better recovery from exercise once you reintroduce it into your fitness program. Your hunger and cravings will disappear. You will awaken every morning refreshed and ready to tackle the new day.
You can begin exercising in earnest as the expected changes ramp up. What you do for exercise, and how much you do it, are separate topics that I will address later. For now, I’ll just say that you can overdo exercise. Don’t even think about doing CrossFit or anything remotely like it.
We Baby Boomers benefit most from HIIT (high-intensity interval training) no more than a couple of times a week. The approach I use is called the Tabata Method. I’ve written about what this is and how to get optimal results from it on my health blog (4).
Also consider some resistance training (e.g., weight lifting). The easiest and most effective style is the Body by Science method. You can dig into the details of that protocol on my health blog, too (5). This method is particularly valuable for us Baby Boomers, as long as you don’t work out more than once every 7-14 days. Really!
That’s It for Now
This post is a quick overview of age-related obesity and what to do about it. Many more details will follow in future articles here.
One thing I want to mention before signing off is the new name for Alzheimer’s Disease that has been floating around lately.
It is now called Type 3 diabetes. Specifically, this means diabetes on your brain.
Obesity and Alzheimer’s creep up as you age. They are linked by the development of brain inflammation in response to insulin (and leptin) resistance. What this means is that getting control of your leptin signaling pathway provides benefits for your brain health. Indeed, there is no better alternative.
All in all, this is a big win, wouldn’t you say?
By the way, the story of Alzheimer’s Disease according to mainstream medicine is every bit as flawed as the story of obesity cited above. Just as with obesity, current medical views of Alzheimer’s Disease are a prescription for epic failure. I bet you are not surprised about that comment, are you?
Separating myths from truths about this insidious disease can be a challenge. That’s why I dedicate more than one of my upcoming Baby Boomers Health Reports explaining what is really behind it and what you must do to reduce your risk of developing it.
Take a look at the page link there and see what you can do to get my reports sent right to your doorstep.
- Obesity. Mayo Clinic.
- Allison, MB and Myers, MG, Jr. 2014. Connecting leptin signaling to biological function. J Endocrinol. 223(1): T25–T35.
- My Leptin Prescription. JackKruse.com.
- Achieving Fitness in Less Time. HerbScientist.com.
- Building Muscle As You Age – Exercise. HerbScientist.com
All the best,