Five Hidden Factors in Weight Gain
Interview with Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman
Interviewed by Raena Morgan
May 5, 2010
Raena Morgan: Ann Louise, in your book The Fat Flush Plan you talk about these hidden factors in weight gain. There are a lot of obvious factors, but what are some of the hidden factors? What should we be looking for?
Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman: I identify five hidden factors in terms of underlying weight gain causes, and this goes far beyond just exercise and too many calories. So I see that people are not losing weight, number one, because they’re not eating the right kinds of fats. It takes fat to burn fat. I mean we know, for example, that GLA, gamma-linolenic acid, in the amounts of 360 milligrams a day and up have the ability to trigger of the burning of a particular metabolically underactive fat known as brown fat.
RM: Oh yes, brown fat.
ALG: Take the right kind of GLA and you’re going to start burning brown fat that without any dietary change at all will allow you to lose weight.
RM: Women need to know that. Everybody needs to know that.
ALG: We do. And GLA, notoriously when I do my evidence-based studies and the omega-3 blood test that I do, or omega blood test, it’s actually good omega-6, we’re finding that GLA is much more deficient than the omega-3’s that people have gotten on the bandwagon with.
RM: Is it really?
ALG: Yeah. Individuals that suffer from problems with blood pressure, problems with morning stiffness, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis generally are deficient in GLA, the gamma-linolenic acid that you find in borage, even primrose oil and black currant seed oil.
ALG: So that would be the number one factor. You’re not eating the right kind of fats to burn fat.
RM: And you’re not going to get that from a food source? You need to take that with one of the oils.
ALG: Well you need it from the prostaglandin, you need it from the activated source of the GLA, because we’re not making that transition with precursors the way perhaps we did years ago when there weren’t as many saturated fats on the market and even some of our trans fats that can affect that transformation.
RM: So you could be exercising every day and you could be calorie counting, but if you don’t have enough GLA you could be at a total standstill.
ALG: For some people that’s very true, yes.
ALG: And again, anywhere from I’d say 360 milligrams, some people need as much as one to five grams a day. It’s terrific for the skin, you can use it topically to get rid of rosacea, redness and irritation, as well as dryness, and it’s terrific, of course, as an internal moisturizer, and for those again that have morning stiffness, PMS, or even high blood pressure, so it’s got lots of multitasking to do in your system.
RM: It sounds wonderful. Okay, so that’s number one.
ALG: That’s number one. Number two, the other hidden weight gain factor is a tired and toxic liver. When your liver is overloaded with toxins, those toxins get thrown into the bile. Bile also has a secondary job, and that is to emulsify fats into these little particles that your body can then absorb and utilize properly. When the bile is too viscous or too thick it can’t metabolize fats properly, and you start storing those fats anywhere into this little roll right around your tummy, too your hips, or any other areas as well.
RM: And that fat is toxic?
ALG: It can be toxic because it’s going to do harm to the organs itself, it’s going to make you much more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, and the problem is that you’re simply not metabolizing it properly so your cholesterol may be going up, you’ll feel sluggish, and you really do need your fats because they’re such an important macronutrient.
RM: You need to detoxify your liver, correct?
ALG: You need to support it.
RM: Support it, okay.
ALG: I talk about detoxifying the liver. The liver knows how to detoxify unless it’s on overload, or unless we’re not feeding it enough of its antioxidants. One of the easiest things you can do to really thin the bile and help your liver, believe it or not, is every day in the morning taking perhaps the juice of half a lemon, squeeze it in hot water, and you’ve got a wonderful bile thinner, liver toner and kidney asset; it’s like a kidney support system. That will start peristaltic activity in your body, and it will also start to flush the system and get the liver toned up and really humming nicely alone. It does 400 wonderful jobs in your system; you’ve really got to keep it going strong. And when it’s on overload with all the plastics in the environment, the pesticides, the meds, the over-the-count meds and the prescription meds, some times it doesn’t have enough of those nutrients needed in its detox pathways.
ALG: The lemon really helps a great deal, as well as that cran-water that I’m speaking about.
RM: Oh yes, okay.
ALG: Yeah, it has a lot of very important bioflavanoids that can open up the two detox pathways at the liver.
RM: Oh, so the lemon and the cranberry.
ALG: That’s what we love, and a little turmeric that you can throw on your food.
RM: Turmeric, okay.
ALG: You’ve got to.
RM: Great. So number three, is that what we’re on?
ALG: We’re on number three, and I say stress.
RM: Stress, okay.
ALG: Yeah, and we know that because it is a precursor to cortisol, which is a stress-based hormone.
RM: And we hear this a lot.
ALG: You do, and that’s the place where all of your tummy fat is coming from; I think it’s very cortisol-based.
ALG: What you had to do it keep those cortisol levels lower; you don’t want elevated cortisol levels or those that are peaking and then quickly going low. So how do you keep the cortisol levels-
RM: In a nutshell.
ALG: -from getting out of hand? Well you’ve got to control your stress levels, so you do that with proper sleep, number one, getting to bed at ten o’clock at night, lights out at ten, maybe up at eight, get quality sleep, making sure the room is dark. It’s also important to eat mini-meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level, which physiologically will keep your stress levels in obeyance. Exercising is extremely important for dissipating that extra stress. And I tell people that are under a lot of stress emotionally to take a stress remedy, my favorite being the Bach Flower, which is-
RM: Oh yes, Rescue Remedy.
ALG: I find that very helpful in keeping people balanced emotionally, because if our emotions are not balanced then everything else goes down the tubes.
RM: All right. Number four?
ALG: Number four would probably be the concept of extra insulin, which is another fat-promoting hormone, so you want to keep your insulin levels balanced. You do that again similarly to what you do with the cortisol.
ALG: You’re going to be exercising to make sure those levels are balanced. You’re also going to make sure that when you’re eating carbohydrates you balance it with a protein and a fat, keeps levels really balanced. That’s where the 40-30-30 concept came in so many years ago; I wrote about it so I’m very familiar. And I would say in terms of insulin you’re going to want to make sure that you’re taking a little extra chromium, which I find to be the best insulin tamer of all.
RM: Do you?
ALG: At least 200 to 400 mcg’s of chromium a day.
RM: And number five?
ALG: Number five is false fat.
RM: False fat, all right.
ALG: False fat, and that term was coined by a dear friends of mine, Elson Hass, who wrote a book called The False Fat Diet.
ALG: The concept is that a lot of us are hanging on to water retention, which we think may be fat. We’re very bloated, and I know you hear so much from women that say “Just let me get rid of the bloat,” and it’s because of hidden food sensitivities. They’re eating too much wheat, dairy, corn, usually yeast and sugar, or they’re taking hormones, they’re taking artificial hormones, you know, that are affecting their progesterone and their estrogen balance, progesterone being a natural diuretic, estrogen being a water-based hormone that will actually carry a lot of water and make your system retain it as well as salt. And we’re got a problem if you’re not eating enough protein. If you’re not eating enough protein, which has a diuretic quality in and of itself, you’re going to be holding on to too much fluid. And then last but not least, dare I forget, a lot of over-the-counter medications, as well as some of the prescription meds,-
RM: I wouldn’t doubt that.
ALG: -notoriously tranquilizers, which people can take and they can add as much, Raena, you won’t believe this, 30 pounds of water weight.
RM: It’s water weight. And people when they take antidepressants, that’s one of the things, they just bloat up.
ALG: They bloat up.
RM: They complain about this.
ALG: So the question is what do you do? Well you do the fat flush plan, of course, which is my answer to just about all of these maladies. But I think more importantly you’ve got to make sure that your metabolism is revved up and kicked up a notch with extra amounts of protein that will rev metabolism by 20 percent. And I would suggest that it might be important to also check the thyroid, because we see a lot of hypothyroidism.
ALG: Thyroid seems to do a meltdown as we get older, and I do believe it’s impacted by lots of meds.
RM: Okay, very good.
ALG: So there’s a lot that you can do both practically and on the medical front.
RM: Thank you for those five.
ALG: You’re welcome.