Category Archives: Weight Loss

How Did Walter White Lose That Weight in “Breaking Bad”?

That’s a guacamole deviled egg.
Photo Copyright: Steve Parker

In 2014 Howard Stern interviewed Bryan Cranston and asked how he lost weight so quickly for his role as Walter White on Breaking Bad:

“Stern: When you had chemo and was getting sick playing the part of Walter White, in order to go through rapid weight loss you deliberately didn’t eat for 10 days? True or false?

Cranston: False.

Stern: How’d you lose all that weight?

Cranston: No carbohydrates. I just took out all the carbohydrates.

Stern: How much weight did you drop?

Cranston: 16 pounds, in ten days.

Stern: Painful?

Cranston: No. The first three days are really hard, ’cause your body’s changing and craving sugar and wants, you know, and then you deprive it of the sugar and it starts burning fat.”

Source: How Walter White lost weight in Breaking Bad, it wasn’t chemo – High Steaks

h/t Tom Naughton

Diet Gets the Weight Off; Exercise Keeps It Off

From The New York Times:

It is a question that plagues all who struggle with weight: Why do some of us manage to keep off lost pounds, while others regain them?

Now, a study of 14 participants from the “Biggest Loser” television show provides an answer: physical activity — and much more of it than public health guidelines suggest.

On average, those who managed to maintain a significant weight loss had 80 minutes a day of moderate activity, like walking, or 35 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, like running.

My patients taught me this lesson years ago.

Cold Exposure May Help You Lose Weight

Well below room temp here

Should be well below room temp here

David Mendosa found a 2016 research report suggesting that cool temperatures may help with weight management by activating our brown fat, which burns more calories. Heat generated by brown fat is derived from glucose and triglycerides. Keep in mind as you read further that a comfortable environment temperature for a clothed human is about 23°C or 73°F. Those temps don’t stress our bodies by requiring us to either generate or dissipate extra body heat.

David writes:

Researchers have discovered that when we get mildly cold, which they define as being cool without shivering, our bodies burn more calories. As a result, managing our weight can be easier.
This is the conclusion of a recent review that two researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands published in the November 2016 issue of the professional journal Diabetologia. The title of their article, “Combatting type 2 diabetes by turning up the heat,” puzzled me at first.

The title confused me because the study is about turning down the heat in the room we’re in. But then our bodies compensate by turning up their internal heat production.

When our body does this, its energy expenditure increases, ratcheting up our metabolism. Being mildly cold revs up our bodies’ brown fat, which unlike white fat, burns calories instead of storing them.

It’s not quite clear how much cold exposure it takes to turn on your brown fat. From the link above:

Cold acclimation by intermittent exposure to a cool (14–17°C) [57–63°F], or cold (10°C) [50°F] environment resulted in significant increases in NST [non-shivering thermogenesis or heat production] capacity. A 10 day cold acclimation study with 6 hour exposure to 14–15°C [57–59°F] per day was enough to significantly increase NST by 65% on average. A 6 week mild cold acclimation study (daily 2 hour cold exposure at 17°C [63°F]) also resulted in an increase in NST together with a concomitant decrease in body fat mass. The latter two studies also revealed significant increases in BAT [brown adipose tissue] presence and activation. All in all, cold-induced BAT activity is significant in adults and parallels NST. The actual quantitative contributions of BAT and of other tissues (e.g. skeletal muscle) to whole-body NST are, however, not elucidated and await further studies. Furthermore, more information is needed on the duration, timing and temperatures to find out which treatments are most effective with respect to increasing NST.

Furthermore, cold exposure over the course of 10 days increased insulin sensitivity in T2 diabetics by 43%. Eight study subjects, probably in the Netherlands, were exposed to temps of 14–15°C [57–59°F] but I don’t know for how many hours a day. Increased insulin sensitivity should help keep a lid on blood sugar levels and reduce the need for diabetes drugs.

In case you’re elderly, obese, or have type 2 diabetes, be aware that the activation of brown fat by cold exposure is not as robust as in others.

On the other hand, I found evidence that higher ambient temperatures (above 23°C) [73°F] may also help with weight management, regardless of what brown fat is doing.

Science is hard.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Check out my books for more ideas on weight management.

 

Diets Don’t Work: True or False?

Does Alcohol Affect Body Weight?

Jamesons Irish Whiske.
Photo copyright: Steve Parker Parker

Jane Brody writes in NYT:

Prospective studies, which are generally considered to be more rigorous than cross-sectional studies and which follow groups of people over time, in this case from several months to 20 years, had varied results and produced “no clear picture” of the relationship between alcohol and weight. Several found either no relationship or a negative relationship, at least in women, while others found that men who drank tended to risk becoming obese, especially if they were beer drinkers.

The conclusion from the most recent such studies: While heavy drinkers risked gaining weight, “light to moderate alcohol intake is not associated with weight gain or changes in waist circumference.”

Parker here. “Light to moderate” drinking would be up to one drink a day for women or two a day for men, on average.

You can even lose excess body weight without deleting alcohol from your diet, as in the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

Front cover

Latest Diet Craze: Lose 19 lb With the Venezuelan Diet!

“In a new sign that Venezuela’s financial crisis is morphing dangerously into a humanitarian one, a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.”

“Venezuela’s food crisis has gotten so bad that remains of everything from dogs and cats to donkeys and even giant anteaters have been found in garbage bags at city dumps around the country.”

Yum!

But caloric restriction doesn’t work, right?

Source: Study: Venezuelans lost 19 lbs. on average over past year due to lack of food | Fox News

Are You Ready to Scrap Your New Year’s Diet?

OK, you lost 4-5 lb the first week, then none after that. Or gained some back. You’re sorely tempted to go back to your old way of eating. You don’t like what you’re eating, or your cravings are increasing. You still want to lose 30 lb.

You need my Advanced Mediterranean Diet. Click image for details.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one