Before you start your next diet, Take the F²-Fiber and Frequency Challenge

June 10, 2013

 My nutritional formula for reaching your optimal  weight and performance;

based upon the obscure science called, cellular metabolism 

Unlike any diet you have ever been on, I am about to tell you how to eat and give you the science that backs up what I am saying. All I ask, is not to send me a check in the mail, but to give my nutritional formula four weeks before you try the next sure thing advertised online or on television. Oh yeah, one more requirement; for these four weeks, try to forget everything that you ever thought that you knew about how to eat a healthy diet and just eat the way that I am telling you to eat. You can trust me, I’m a doctor.

  • Eat upon awakening in the morning: this does not imply that we have to cook or go out to a restaurant for breakfast, although you can if you want to, but it does not have to be more difficult than tearing open an energy bar or pouring some high fiber cereal and skim milk into a cup and eating/drinking it.
  • Eat frequently: Eat 6 times per day. Said another way, from the time you wake up in the morning until the time that you go to sleep at night, do not let three hours lapse without eating something. Hunger is a relatively late signal of cellular energy depletion and we consume fewer calories if we eat some time before hunger rings the meal bell. Hunger was an adaptive human response that has been continually becoming more maladaptive since we no longer had to hunt and gather for our daily rations. In the world that we find ourselves today, hunger is an obsolete survival instinct and has become nothing short of a self-imposed human malady. Our energy is managed by 40 trillion single cells that by comparison make even the best labor union seem hopelessly disorganized. Based on the bylaws that govern our 40 trillion cells, cellular metabolism, by the time that we are hungry our cells are collectively on their way to striking, and cells never bluff. Within three hours after the last time we ate something our cells efficiency at converting the next hydrocarbons that we consume into the cellular energy (ATP) that we actually use to run our daily lives is already on the down tick, and they withhold this energy in a currency commonly referred to as fat. That’s right, in the reality of cellular metabolism, obesity is actually cellular starvation!
  • Consume 4 to 6 grams of Fiber each time that you eat: Fiber, while having the chemical structure to be classified as a carbohydrate, is not truly a nutrient, in that our digestive system does not possess the enzyme required to absorb fiber from our intestines into our bloodstream where the cells metabolize nutrients into energy. Therefore, since fiber is not metabolized, we do not directly utilize it for energy like we do other nutrients, such as fructose, the carbohydrate found in fruit . However, due to these same unique physical properties that keeps it from being absorbed into our bloodstream, fiber enhances our sense of satiety, or of feeling full. More importantly, fiber slows down the rate at which the other nutrients that are consumed with it, are absorbed allowing our cells to more efficiently convert these hydrocarbons into useable cellular energy (ATP), leaving less of our nutrient’s energy to be stored in our bodies as fat. In order to get the maximum benefit from dietary fiber,we must consume fiber every time that we eat, which as I already told you, we should do at least six times per day. Remember, all life on planet Earth evolved from a single cell. Some 3 billion years ago, these single cells agreed to live collectively in order to allow for more complex life forms on Earth, but apparently they negotiated the rights to control energy for the duration of the contract. Us human beings came on the scene a mere two to three million years ago into this enduring contract, and while we are undoubtedly extremely complex and the smartest organisms on the planet, we are made up of some 40 trillion cells, to whom we are beholden for the financing of all of life’s endeavors, large and small. Eating frequently and eating fiber every time we eat makes our cells happy, and when our cells are happy, we are happy and healthy; and when we eat this way, we get a bonus and our weight will do the right thing; which means the last thing that we need to think about when we eat is the scale. Just in case you are not yet fully on board yet, here are some other facts about fiber. When people on fiber deficient diets gradually increase their fiber intake to the recommended level of 25 grams per day, they drop weight, they can sustain this weight loss, improve their blood levels of sugar and cholesterol, cut their risk of heart disease, improve their bowel regularity and cut their risk of developing Diverticulitis of the colon, as well as many of the most common cancers that afflict humankind. * Pretty impressive for something that never sees anything other than the inside of our guts and our toilet bowls; and isn’t it nice, for once that someone is telling you what you should eat instead of what you should not eat?
  • Eat before you are hungry! We as a society must immediately stop looking at obesity as the enemy; hunger is the enemy! As recently as 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that for the first time in human history (some 2.1 million years), global rates of obesity eclipsed the global rates of starvation. Even more, most famine on our planet is not the result of the lack of nutrients, but is a result of nutrient maldistribution, primarily the byproduct of wars and other human social pathology. While advising you to eat before you feel hungry sounds counterintuitive, and certainly will make some dietitians cringe, compare this to trying to not eat when you are hungry, which is, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the inherent mantra of most commercially promoted diets. Said another way, it seems that our collective human response to our evolutionary achievement of eradicating hunger on our planet was to impose huger on ourselves. The result, a global epidemic of obesity, is proof of just how maladaptive this collective response was. One of the key human technologies that was instrumental in humans ability to store food for longer periods, or give it a longer shelf life, was the commercial processing of carbohydrates; the process of taking whole grains and making them into something less than whole grains. According to the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) between 1980 and 2004 the per capita increase in caloric intake increased by 12%, which represents 300 calories. Of this 300 calories, 138, nearly half of the total, was due to an increase in processed carbohydrates while the per capita increase in calories derived from protein and fats was essentially unchanged. In this same period, which interestingly approximates one human generation, childhood obesity increased by 300%! Is this a coincidence? Absolutely not!. By converting 138 calories per day in our diets from whole grain to processed carbohydrate, an exponential rise in the rate of obesity is exactly what we should expect. Recall, that whole grains contain fiber, that non-absorbable nutrient that I was just talking about that actually makes us feel full with less food while at the same time helps our 40 trillion cells more efficiently convert all of the calories we consume to energy that we can use and not store as fat. Once processed however, these whole grains become just another carbohydrate, more commonly known as sugar! So that supports my fiber rant, but here’s what’s more; to eat just slightly sooner than you would is a readily achievable behavioral change as compared to trying not to eat when you are hungry in a world replete with nutrients, and is completely in synch with how our 40 trillion cells most efficiently produce the energy that is essential for us to live our lives with purpose and vigor. Most people today live their lives in one of two states; famished or full, neither of which is compatible with us performing optimally. Numerous studies have demonstrated that when people eat before they are hungry they eat fewer calories as compared to when they eat in response to being hungry.* In addition, more frequent eating leads to a higher rate of efficiency of our cellular metabolism, making it more likely that the food that we eat becomes energy used by our bodies and not stored as fat around our bodies.* Finally, simply think about the last time that you had road rage. Now think about when was the last time you had something to eat?

OK, I know that you had enough of the science, and frankly so did I. Here is a compilation of Fiber Sources. Now when you look at the nutrient labels, you will know what it is you are looking for and it is not the total calories:

  • Whole Grain Cereals: 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving: the entire line of Kashi cereals; there are many other Cereals on the market that have 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving
  • Whole Grain Breads: 2 to 4 grams of fiber per slice.
  • Fruits and Vegetables in general are good sources of fiber.
    • Soy, which is a vegetable, is high in protein as well as fiber. Here are some soy recommendations:
      • Edamame; try Melissa’s brand. It is in the frozen section. Microwave it for 2 minutes and add course kosher salt; it’s awesome.
      • Boca Brand of burgers and sausages (it’s all soy and actually tastes great)
      • Morning Star is another brand of the faux meat products (and I am not a vegetarian)
  • Trail Mixes: with 5 grams of fiber per serving these are extremely practical because of how portable they are. Trail mixes can vary in their content quite a bit; some are more candy than anything else. Just check the nutrient content for the  and go for it. This is something you can keep in the car at your desk in backpacks, purses, brief cases, etc.
  • Energy Bars: 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving. There are hundreds of them on the market, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Here is a plug for Starbucks because they seem to get it. (disclaimer: I have no financial interest in Starbucks) They have prepackaged trays such as their protein breakfast with apple, peanut butter, whole wheat bagel, hardboiled egg, cheeses and grapes.They make their sandwiches  on high fiber bread and dress them with fresh raw vegetables. They sell individual small packages of trail mixes. While on the pricey side, they deserve credit for offering truly healthy, high value food.

What follows are the behavioral modifications you will need to develop in order to successfully follow my F² formula:

  1. Go grocery shopping at least once per week
    • Buy foods that are portable and contain  3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving. The food should be packaged in such a way that freshness is maintained, you can take or store it anywhere including in your car.
    • Make sure you buy enough to last you the entire week.
  2. Never be more than an arm’s length away from your food.
    • Keep it in your desk drawer, purse, backpack, briefcase, coat pocket and glove compartment.
  3. Find your new hunger equivalent
    • If we eat only when we are hungry we will always be in one of two states, famished or full; and, neither one is compatible with optimal functioning.
    • Eat for optimal function. The next time you have to read an e-mail twice or notice you are having a little difficulty keeping focused, eat something. Our function deteriorates before we feel hunger and we should respond to these functional signals by eating, well before we feel hunger. Start paying attention to your performance level and when you sense a slight drop, time to re-fuel. Find your new hunger equivalent, respond to it and you will start eating small amounts frequently, especially if you add fiber each time that you eat.

F² in summary: To avoid the real enemy, hunger, eat 6 times per day and eat 4 to 6 grams of fiber each time that you eat. Make  your new mantra and you will see that your dietary fats, carbohydrates and proteins will fall into place, your performance, that is what you do and how well you do it, your motivation and your mood will all improve and your bathroom scale will do the right thing.

That is it. Now go have a snack!

End Post

Mitchell R. Weisberg, MD,MP

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One Response to “Before you start your next diet, Take the F²-Fiber and Frequency Challenge”

  1. Howard said

    You have been prolific lately

    Sent from my iPad

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