Today as we talk about anti aging diets we will focus on two things:
• Leucine to help you burn fat
• You getting up and moving!
This is part two about healthy weight loss and how science has given us the answers we need to get to our goal weight, stay there, and feel great at the same time. With the rates of overweight and obesity rising as fast as they have been, we need answers in terms of our health just as much as our appearance. We have those answers and now we have to make the choice to use them in our own lives. (To see part 1, click here: Anti Ageing Diet for Fat and Inch Loss
Let’s begin with leucine – it does not actually burn fat but when you hear about what it does do, it will help motivate you to follow this program that helps you burn fat. What helps you burn fat is your metabolism and your muscle. And when you get up and get moving – do more than your usual activity each day – you are going to build muscle, improve your metabolism and of course burn more fat.
This anti ageing diet and lifestyle plan helps you feel better, feel healthier – gives you increased energy and helps you get to the goal weight that you are targeting AND even more importantly, it helps you stay there. We are going to look at some case studies in a minute but let’s review a few things we have talked about before (see post below this one).
So what is Leucine?
Leucine is an amino acid (in protein) that has been well studied in athletes and body builders because it helps support muscle metabolism – remember muscle helps burn fat. But the good news in terms of weight management products that can help up keep a healthy weight is that in the setting of reduced calorie intake, leucine also helps direct the body to pull from fat storage for the calorie needs of the person, instead of that precious lean muscle mass.
Remember how the body can pull the energy it needs from muscle instead of fat – and how that makes it harder for us to lose our fat. Yo-yo dieting, that many of us do because it is hard to stay on these diets we are always trying – contributes to losing muscle and re-gaining fat.
Leucine has been studied for a long time and has been determined to play a key role in the regulation of muscle protein synthesis or muscle building. In fact, much of the leucine research is focused on how body builders who are obviously interested in building muscle have used leucine in a protein supplement blend as a very effective way to help gain and maintain muscle mass.
What do we know about how leucine works?
Researchers have studied leucine’s role in the preservation of your lean muscle tissue during weight loss for almost 30 years. And without getting too technical, emerging evidence shows that leucine enhances protein metabolism by both stimulating protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein breakdown. That means that leucine is very beneficial for protecting your lean muscle mass during weight loss and actually building muscle, which is important because more muscle means a higher metabolic rate and the ability to burn more calories, all good things when you’re trying to lose weight.
In regard to the scientific research behind leucine, there’s a lot of research related to how body builders use protein, including those branch chain amino acids, and in particular, focusing on leucine. But more recently scientists have applied it into studies looking at weight loss. And the good news is that the scientific support for the impact of leucine in weight loss is both exciting and growing.
In 2005, Dr. Gene Spiller of the Health Research and Studies Center in Los Altos, California, conducted a preliminary and controlled study of 27 overweight healthy men and women. Participants were instructed to follow a reduced calorie program that included a leucine enhanced protein beverage twice a day for a period of 12 weeks. Skinfold caliper measurements were used to estimate lean body mass and fat mass. And other outcome measures included body weight, BMI, waist, and hip circumference, and the waist to hip ratio.
What were the findings?
Over 12 weeks, clinical study participants experienced on average, a net loss of 15.4 lbs. But the real measure of success was that there was an almost 100% preservation of muscle mass. So essentially, all the weight they lost was body fat. And in fact, study participants lost on average, 16.2 lbs of fat over the12 weeks while experiencing no significant changes in fat free or lean muscle mass.
Important to note: because they preserved their muscle mass, they preserved their metabolism.
Since fat takes up more space than lean muscle mass, the researchers noticed not only a net loss of pounds but a significant inch loss. In fact, an average of four inches around the waist, and 2.6 inches around the hips were lost.
These numbers should be important to you, as they are to your doctor, because this is a significant reduction in the waist to hip ratio. The waist to hip ratio is an indicator of future health risk because it tells where a person carries his excess weight. A higher waist to hip ratio predicts a greater risk of obesity related conditions, specifically, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers also noted, related to the weight loss, a corresponding drop in cholesterol levels, lowering of triglycerides and lowering of blood glucose levels.
Participants were able to keep muscle, burn fat, lose inches, and improve their health at the same time – exactly what most of us want right?
Cutting edge research continues to explore how a leucine enhanced program can benefit not only weight loss but obesity related diseases and disorders such as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that result in an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These conditions include hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels including insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol levels, and abdominal obesity.
Having three out of four of these conditions would give you a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. And the risk continues to increase if you have all four of these conditions. The good news is that we know that if you lose weight and change your diet and lifestyle, you can modify these risk factors and potentially, even prevent the onset of these serious consequences — heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
I think the takeaway here – when we discuss weight loss, weight management, health risks related to weight, and prevention – is the prevention part: we are able to make choices that will affect our weight and our health. Yes, it takes commitment, but we can choose a healthy weight and reduce our risks for developing these other conditions.
A Japanese study that set out to assess the effects of a program similar to the calorie-controlled leucine enhanced program that Dr. Spiller’s study use, but specifically looked at individuals who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, has some interesting early findings.
In just eight weeks, participants experienced an average of 8% decrease in body weight. But the same as with the other studies, you want to see the breakdown of numbers. In this study, participants lost 19.4% of their fat mass, reducing their body fat by 13% with the greatest rate of reduction, 21% loss in the abdominal fat area. The overall waist to hip ratio was reduced by 3% and fat free or lean body mass increased by 6%, raising the metabolic rate 6% as well.
And other healthy outcomes included a 12% reduction in total cholesterol at 50% reduction in triglycerides, a 9% increase in HDL or the healthy good cholesterol, and a 9% decrease in the LDL or bad cholesterol and blood glucose levels decreased by 6%, and blood pressure was reduced by 14%. This was a small scale preliminary clinical study, but the results are significant and are consistent with previous similar studies.
When these study participants were put on a leucine-enhanced, protein-rich program, it led to compelling improvements in all parameters of metabolic syndrome, thus, theoretically reducing their risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Further large scale and longer term studies are needed and with these discoveries, they are hopefully already in the works.
Thanks very much to the Shaklee scientists for keeping us up to date on anti aging diet research that is happening all over the world that is targeted to helping us be healthier. I think the takeaway here is that we are learning, through the results of important scientific studies of real people just like us, that if we do what we need to help control our weight, we can live a longer healthier life – that includes better quality of life, feeling good each day and accomplishing our goals and dreams with the energy and focus we have by making the choice of a healthy lifestyle.