One of the major contributors to fat gain during and after the holiday season is over consumption of saturated fats and high-glycemic carbohydrates.
We all know this is a recipe for disaster (but it is so fun!). Consistent overindulgence during the holidays can lead to a cascade of signaling processes in the brain that make it near impossible to feel satisfied when you resume your regular or newly formulated structured diet.
Why is it so hard to resume a healthy diet?
A recent article in PNAS discusses the signaling processes that regulate food intake and satiation (Wang et al., 2006). The authors describe it as a complex balance between excitatory and inhibitory processes. The need for nutrition (i.e., calories, water, etc.) provides the excitatory signals. Satiety signals (i.e., electrical and chemical) after eating make you feel full (Woods, 2005). In a basic sense, pressure and/or stretch in the stomach and digestive tract increases nerve activity to the brain and releases signaling molecules from the gut that reach the brain through the blood. This shifts the blood chemistry to have higher levels of cholecystokinin, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and opiates, all of which further the feeling of satiation (among other things) (Wang et al., 2006). However, like most signals to the brain, we have the capacity to habituate (i.e., desensitize) to them which perpetuates and exacerbates overeating even in acute situations like over the holidays. This desensitization of inhibitory signals is said to be one of the contributors to obesity (Wang et al., 2006). The following article will give an outline of science backed supplements you should stock up on to get you on the fast track to health and recovery. In this article we are going to focus on supplements that get the brain back to feeling satisfied with a normal or hypocaloric diet. We will describe the best supplements for getting your blood chemistry back to superb and for turning your body into a super-tuned fat burning machine.
Green Tea Extract:
Metabolic Enhancer and Antioxidant
By now everyone should know the benefits of green tea extract. After all, Asians have used green tea as a "slimming tea" for centuries and it is one of the most popular beverages consumed in Asian countries. Most people attribute the thermogenic benefits of green tea to its caffeine content, but this is not entirely correct. Biochemically, green tea's dramatic effects are due to the interaction between its high content in catechin-polyphenols and caffeine and their impact on sympathetically released norepinephrine (NE) (Dulloo et al., 2000). The synergistic action of these compounds inhibits the break-down of NE. NE is a key player in fat mobilization, lipolysis, and appetite suppression. In support of this biochemistry, it has been recently documented that the combination of regular moderate treadmill exercise and green tea extract supplementation stimulates increased whole body fat utilization; an effect that is robustly maintained long after the completion of exercise. Green tea extract increases lipolysis in the liver and in skeletal muscle (Shimotoyodome et al., 2005). More recent and supporting evidence illustrated that long-term intake of "catechin-rich" green tea extract combined with habitual aerobic exercise increases exercise endurance due to the positive impact of green tea extract on fat metabolism (Murase et al., 2006). In addition to its metabolic enhancing qualities, green tea extract is a potent antioxidant. Epigallocatechin gallate is a much better antioxidant than vitamin C and is more effective than vitamin E in cell protection and repair. After the holidays you just had, you will need all of the protection and repair you can get. Here, too, you should be aware that green tea formulations run the gamut from clearly superior products rich in nutrient content to others that are utter junk. Generally speaking, you should look for a product high in overall polyphenol content and high in active EGCG content. Inferior products will usually list green tea on their labels without specifying EGCG content. Even more alarmingly, some green tea formulations may list high amounts of EGCGs on their labels, but actually test out at much lower percentages than claimed. When purchasing green tea products, try to stick with a reputable manufacturer you can trust.
Click here to view Article 2: Maximize Anabolism of the New Years Resolution Series
Click here to view Article 3: Maximizing Hypertrophy and Strength of the New Years Resolution Series
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