Open any health magazine and you’ll read about exciting medical advances about getting lean by adjusting your own hormones. Exotic words like leptin are thrown about, with the promise of a pill that can help you get’and stay’lean and trim.
Indeed, it seems inevitable that these and other newly discovered hormones will be part of future weight control. But every story about fat loss has the same last sentence: It will be years before these so-called skinny pills become available.
But you don’t have to wait years for a lean-hormone solution. An overlooked yet powerful hormone inside your body deserves closer attention. In fact, this hormone may actually rival the new fat-loss discoveries. It helps you feel full so you eat up to 30 percent less.
Before we get to that hormone, let’s look at why it’s so hard to get lean in the first place. The answer is rooted in our caveman genes.
Your Inner Caveman
You have an inner caveman; his genes live in you today. As a response to the last Ice Age, cavemen evolved to get and stay fat. Fat insulated from the cold and helped store energy when another meal didn’t come around for a while. We’re their descendants.
One way to get and stay fat was to be constantly hungry. No anorexic caveman shoved away from a meal and declared, ‘Eating any more food will ruin my waistline.’ Instead, he gorged on almost any food whenever and wherever possible.
In more than five million years of brutal, grinding existence, early humans developed a powerful set of metabolic tricks that favored Homo sapiens who got and stayed fat’and that help keep us fat and hungry today. That’s the battle: Your inner caveman’s five-million-year-old evolutionary fat genes against your puny desires to get lean. Guess who usually wins?
For example, when you cut calories’even a little’your body panics and thinks it’s starving. Alarm bells sound, and almost immediately your body slows its metabolic rate’which means you burn fewer calories and stay fat. Talk about a mismatch. You eat less to lose fat, while your inner caveman slows down your body to hang onto that fat. And the more you cut calories, the slower your metabolism goes.
Similarly, missing a meal’or even being late for a meal’triggers the body’s starvation mode again. Stress hormones like cortisol rise, causing a breakdown of tissue, including muscle. Losing lean muscle slows metabolism and breaks down the very muscle tissue that burns calories in the first place. As I said, it’s an unfair match.
The body has many other tricks, of course. Today you crave foods that were scarce in caveman days: sugar, fat, protein and salt’as in cake, ice cream, jerky and so on.
Sounds depressing. We’re seemingly doomed to a lifetime of our inner caveman raiding the refrigerator at midnight or craving doughnuts with the obsession of a heroin addict. Was our obesity scripted before we were born?
Now for the good news. There’s mounting evidence that harnessing our own feel-full hormone can actually overcome caveman urges. Basically, you trick your body into not being hungry. Better yet, natural supplements are the key to achieving that benefit.
CCK, the Feel-Full Hormone
That hormone that prompts you to eat less is called cholecystokinin, or CCK. CCK has been studied for decades and is known as a powerful feel-full hormone. When you eat food, especially proteins and fats, CCK is produced mostly in the intestines. Elevated CCK reaches your brain and signals the body to stop eating.
The problem is, a surprisingly large percentage of today’s cavemen have deranged CCK metabolism. CCK doesn’t properly signal satiety, or fullness. That translates into virtual hunger 24/7. Science knows that in some, CCK may not rise sufficiently to signal satiety, while others do not seem to have receptors that recognize CCK signals.
Twenty-five years ago doctors learned that CCK levels could be raised by taking CCK itself. The elevated CCK resulted in both reduced hunger and weight loss. More recent medical studies have revealed the power of certain natural food supplements to also raise CCK levels. They can be taken at specific times to help block binge eating.
Blocking the Binge
Binge. Gorge. Pig out. Those are all names for overeating. That stuffing behavior is a relic of cavemen at a kill. People with CCK issues have times when their caveman genes scream, Stuff yourself’now!
The time at which CCK runs low and signals the body to binge is highly individual. For some it’s at night. A bright guy once observed that if everybody went to sleep at 8 p.m., there would be no fat people. For others the at-risk period may be at dinner with friends (nachos!). While those who have normal CCK push away from the table after a meal, others might eat the tablecloth.
CCK levels can spike if you take the nutrients before your at-risk period, making you less hungry when you’d normally be starving. Your inner caveman says, ‘I’m not so hungry, so call off the starvation dogs and eat less this time.’
How much less do you eat with elevated CCK? Medical studies point to a reduction of an impressive 10 to 30 percent. That reduction at a single meal may not appear impressive; however, on an ongoing basis it translates into a healthful loss of two to four pounds per month. Lean, ripped, sexy muscle’that’s been under the fat all along’can now be revealed. You achieve the metabolism of the rare genetically lean person who doesn’t overeat. You’ve turned some of the body’s fat tricks in your favor, all without the use of drugs.
CCK Management Plan
Eating natural nutrients shown to boost CCK leads to reduced appetite, and eating less results in weight loss. The nutrients run the gamut’from exotic peptides to rare plants to familiar amino acids. Virtually all are available at health-food stores, while others are somewhat new and may take some searching. All have been clinically studied and are considered quite effective.
L-phenylalanine. This versatile amino acid performs a number of functions that help natural bodybuilders, among them increasing CCK. L-phenylalanine also boosts neurotransmitter production to help sharpen mental focus and acuity.
Glycomacropeptide. Derived from milk, this peptide also increases CCK levels and appears to help lower blood pressure. Glycomacropeptides are almost druglike in power and are an exciting addition to natural nutrition.
PC (phosphatidylcholine). A soy-based phospholipid that research says increases CCK and reduces appetite, PC has been linked to boosting mental function as well as certain types of growth-hormone increases.
Kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). It’s a CCK increaser that effectively blocks starch and helps reduce the excess glycemic effects of carbohydrate intake.
Salaretin (salacia reticulate). A relatively new plant-based starch blocker, it also normalizes blood sugar and insulin levels.
Other natural nutrients can help the CCK feel-full strategy. For example, glutamine peptides can protect lean muscle from loss and metabolism slowdown that occur during dieting. Protecting muscle helps you continue to burn fat.
Phosphatidylserine from soy lipids, or PS, can blunt cortisol spikes, which helps reverse muscle breakdown even further. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels are strongly associated with virtually every eating disorder, especially bingeing. That means naturally lowering cortisol with PS helps with both mental and physical aspects of fat loss.
Take those nutrients 30 minutes before a meal or before your personal at-risk period. Within a half hour your CCK will rise, signaling you not to eat as much.
While leptin and other exotic hormones are years away from development and clinical certainty, you can curb hunger using your own CCK hormone right now. As a side benefit, harnessing CCK is cost-effective because you save money on food you don’t eat. But best of all, this effective strategy is 100 percent natural and can be used for precontest preparation to shed a few pounds or year-round to remain lean.
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