weighing in on the validity of weight-loss tactics
By: Robin Toompuu
Over the years many people have claimed to have found the solution to the age old problem of being over weight. These solutions range from simple dietary restrictions to the consumption of pills, all claiming to help you lose weight. Within the following essay, I hope to expose the validity, or lack there of, pertaining to these tactics.
The first strategy to be discussed, are the “low carb diets”. This dietary program focuses on the limitation of carbohydrates consumed by ones self. It does so by cutting out foods such as pasta, breads or starchy vegetables which are all carbohydrate rich. These foods are then replaced by others which contain higher amounts of protein and fat, such as meats, dairy products, fish and eggs The main idea behind this, is that the body uses carbohydrates as an quick source of energy, as it can be turned into glucose quite easily. When the concentration of glucose in your blood stream increases your body releases insulin from your pancreas to signal the bodies cells to take up the glucose and use it to maintain metabolic processes. A side effect of this, is, when insulin is present fat cells do not get broken down. Thusly drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates you take in, should in theory cause your body to burn fat instead of using carbs for energy. Most of these low carb diets aim to put the body in a state of ketosis, which is when the ketone levels in your blood becomes heightened from the burning of fats. Ketone is a byproduct of your bodies processing of fat into usable ATP energy. Most of the ketone your body produces can it self be used as energy, and the rest is expelled in your urine, or when you exhale. This is the primary focus of one of the most famous low carb diets, the “Atkins diet”. One of the benefits of this diet, is, since fats take longer than to burn than carbs, one often feels less hungry whilst using a low carb diet. There have also been studies that state a low carb diet can reduce the risk or help deal with such conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and several more ailments. However, despite the many advantages to this diet, there are also the downside. The first of which is though one might lose a fair amount of weight with the diet, a good part of that lost weight is usually due to water loss. Further more, after stopping these dietary restrictions and returning to a regular high(er) carb diet the weight that was lost is almost always regained at a rapid rate. Because of this fact, the long term effects of such a a diet are less than questionable. As well a health concern with regards to this type of diet is an increase in cholesterol levels, due mainly to an increased consumption of unsaturated fats. The opinion of many government organizations with regards to these types of diets, is that they are a viable weight-loss solution.
Another weight-loss crusade, comes in the form of a small pill containing a compound known as 2,4-Dinitrophenol(DNP, C6H4N2O5). This dietary aid aims to work by lessening the effectiveness of the ATP synthase within ones mitochondria effectively reducing the efficiency of ATP production in the bodies cells. The mitochondria produce the majority of ATP during Oxidative phosphorylation, in which electrons carried by NADH molecules are passed down an electron chain. At each part of this chain, hydrogen Ions are pulled into the mitochondria, creating a hydrogen ion