Hormonal diets are all the rage now, so here is some real science

    Abdulaziz Sobh

    When it comes to losing weight and being healthy, there never seems to be a shortage of diet and fitness follies that claim to keep the secret for easy and sustainable weight loss.

    Some of the most recent popular dietary follies include the ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat), the carnivorous diet (only eating meat and other animal products) and intermittent fasting (eating only within a strict time frame or on certain days ).

    But another diet plan that has become the center of attention recently is the hormonal diet, which states that the reason people struggle to lose weight is that their hormones do not work properly.

    Numerous books have been written on this subject, and hormonal diet advocates claim that people can experience rapid and significant weight loss through the use of diet and exercise to manipulate or "restore" their hormones. There are some variations of the diet, but the main idea with each one is that the key to losing weight is to correct the perceived hormonal imbalances in the body.

    Hormones play an important role in the daily processes of our body, from the digestion of food to the growth of bones. They are transported around the body through the bloodstream and act as "chemical messengers" that instruct cells to perform specific jobs.

    For example, insulin is essential to regulate metabolic processes and allows the body to store carbohydrates from food as energy in our muscle cells. When we eat, it increases blood sugar levels, which causes the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream. Then, the insulin adheres to the cells and tells them to absorb the sugar from the bloodstream and store it for later use.

    It was once thought that insulin plays a key role in weight gain, but recent research shows that total calorie intake is actually the main factor in gaining or losing weight.

    Fat loss can only be achieved by creating a calorie deficit, which simply means that you must burn more calories than you consume. Similarly, this is the reason why many people succeed with intermittent fasting since it usually results in the consumption of less food and, therefore, fewer calories.

    A popular book that promotes the hormonal diet uses a three-step program that says it will help people lose weight, increase their strength and feel younger. Steps one and two of the diet focus on changing nutritional habits. The third step focuses on the exercise.

    According to the author, readers must "detoxify" their body. In the first step, readers eliminate foods such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, red meat, cow's milk and dairy by-products (such as cheese or yogurts) from their diet, while eating more fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. of sheep and goats, and plant milk.

    In step two, readers must cut processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined grains. The third step involves an increase in cardiovascular and strength exercises.

    The dietary recommendations provided in steps one and two require a decrease in food products that are generally high in calories and low in nutritional value, such as alcohol, foods high in sugar and processed foods.

    The diet also promotes foods such as vegetables, fish and fruits, which increase fiber intake (important for the digestive system) and provides the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals that perform numerous bodily functions necessary for overall health and well-being.

    These foods are also generally lower in calories than alcohol, foods high in sugar and processed foods. And along with the exercises recommended in step three, this "hormonal diet" will likely increase the "burning" of calories along with other health benefits.

    Does the 'hormonal diet' really work?
    In general, the hormonal diet recommended in this book is not bad nutritional advice. However, the key here is that any potential weight loss is probably due to the change in calorie intake, rather than an effect (if any) on your hormones.

    Weight loss (or loss of body fat) is achieved by creating a calorie deficit, not "restoring hormonal balance."

    Despite what the proponents of the hormonal diet claim, hormonal imbalances are usually the result of a more serious underlying health condition, such as diabetes (insufficient insulin function) or hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid produces too many thyroid hormones), which could not simply be solved only through diet and would require medical treatment.

    Currently, there is no viable theory to show that a person can "restore" their hormones to influence fat loss. Nor is there peer-reviewed research in an important journal that has specifically studied the hormonal diet and its effects.

    But there could be a simple explanation of why people think that the hormonal diet works: it helps create a calorie deficit through better nutritional habits and exercise, which will probably result in weight loss.

    Ultimately, anyone who wants to lose weight or body fat should focus on creating a calorie deficit. The way a person creates this calorie deficit can vary from person to person and may even include following popular diet plans such as keto or intermittent fasting.

    However, the best approach is for someone to find more compatible with their lifestyle. The conversation


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