Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Part 5: Endocrine Disruptors and More About BMR

Part 5: Endocrine Disruptors and More About BMR

Endocrine Disruptors and Mold:

Endocrine disruptors have been defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “exogenous agents that interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, metabolism, binding action, or elimination of natural blood-borne hormones that are present in the body and are responsible for homeostasis, reproduction, and development process.” In simpler terms- they disrupt your hormones. Endocrine Disrupters include: BPA and BHT, Dioxin, Atrazine, Phthalates, Perchlorate, Fire Retardants, Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Perfluorinated chemicals, Organophosphate, Glycol, ethers, Plastics, Parabens, and Fragrances. Assessing for the common endocrine disruptors that may be within product ingredient profiles include websites such as Skin Carisma, EWG (the Environmental Working Group), GoodGuide, and Think Dirty which can be extremely helpful. Mold is also important to watch out for. Symptoms of both acute and chronic mold toxicity include: Fatigue and weakness, Headaches, light sensitivity, Poor memory, difficulty finding words or concentrating, Mood swings, Sharp pains, morning stiffness, joint pain, Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness, Shortness of breath, sinus congestion, or a chronic cough, Appetite swings, Issues with body temperature regulation- includes night or cold sweats, Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst, Red eyes or blurred vision, Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, Metallic taste in your mouth, Static shocks Vertigo,  and feeling lightheaded.

More about BMR:

Your nutrition and diet will need to be transformed as you grow, and change throughout your lifetime. Nutrition is never static, and neither are you. The foods that you eat can tell your body: “Hey, we’ve got enough fuel” or “Hey we need more fuel!” If you eat too much, too little, make poor food choices, or are unable to digest and absorb your food efficiently, this then impacts your energy, motivation, stress, sleep, libido, hormones, digestion, and overall health. Food also talks to your epigenome (a group of chemical compounds that tell your genes what to do), helping your body turn on or off genes! You heard that right- Food is code. Just like a computer writing code, your body is always writing. The truth is- all food is fuel. However, how our body responds to this fuel can either harm or help our health. Your body is an ever-changing organism, not a car with one set fuel-need and way to run. You have hormones that can increase or decrease your metabolism, specifically thyroid hormone. Just because you eat a calorie, does not mean that you properly digest and absorb it. Calories are not created equal. Yes- all calories are technically equal, as all measures of energy are equal, however the nutrients that come from the calories you eat differ in quality, digestibility, and can have different impacts on your immune response. We each need a certain amount of calories per day to survive. This amount is known as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Your BMR makes up about 60-75% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and in general, it depends on your body weight, height, age, and lean body mass (aka muscle mass). In simple terms, metabolic adaptation is your body’s survival response to dieting. It does not want to diet. Your body will decrease hormones (such as your sex hormones and thyroid hormones) in an attempt to maintain body weight and survive. These changes can lower your metabolic rate and BMR, which is why, as you diet, you have to continue to drop food or add cardio in order to lose weight. Not only do you lose body fat that burns calories, lowering your BMR, but your body’s metabolic thermostat is downregulated. NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, includes activities that you do that are not workout or exercise activity. These include activities such as walking throughout the day, playing with your kids, cleaning, making dinner, using the stairs to get to work, or random fidgeting. NEAT can range from 300 up to 1000 calories, depending on the person. NEAT is the most common neglected component of energy balance, and many times is not taken into account with online calculators. TEF (thermic effect of eating) is the amazing component of your TDEE that includes the calories that you burn from eating. About 10% of your TDEE comes from your TEF. Though you can’t adjust this much, some foods do require more energy to break down, increasing the caloric burn when eating. For example, it takes more energy to digest an ounce of almonds than it does to digest two tablespoons of almond butter. Overall- your calories needs are based on: TDEE = BMR + NEAT + TEF + PA. The scale will bounce up and down based on markers such as stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes like during your menstrual cycle, digestion, and changes in your salt and water intake. What about fasted cardio? Fasted cardio does not have any benefits over fed cardio and can be detrimental if you are trying to preserve muscle mass or if you have adrenal imbalances. Performing all cardio AFTER resistance training to ensure all energy and strength is utilized in the weight training prior. Remember these principles of metabolic adaptation: Dieting decreases your BMR as thyroid and sex hormones drop; The calories you burn from PA (physical activity) go down as you lose weight (less mass to require energy); Your NEAT drops down with dieting and less body weight further lowering your TDEE Hunger hormones go up as a safety mechanism, making it harder to eat less. Benefits to reverse dieting may include: More food intake, Higher energy levels, Improvements to your metabolism, Improvements to sleep & stress levels, Ability to lose weight at higher calories in the future, Improvements to your menstrual cycle, thyroid, and adrenal health, Less restriction and food focus, Less cardio and more time to do what you love, Increased strength and gym performance, Better mood and libido, Increased TEF (thermic effect of food), and increased NEAT (non exercise thermogenesis), therefore increasing the amount of food you can eat while maintaining your body weight. If you have been in a dieting phase for more than 3 months and stalling, despite refeeds and diet breaks, You are starting to see signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance despite being in a mild deficit or maintenance calories, You’re always hunger, energy is low, sleep and recovery are suboptimal, and your motivation is trash, You have reached your goal physique or goal weight and you’re ready to focus on maintaining or adding back in more food, You have been yo-yo dieting for months to years and can’t seem to see progress, then you should be reverse dieting. The author suggests following these 3 tips to get started reverse dieting: Establish your maintenance calories. If you were dieting, up your foot right away to an estimated maintenance (a good 100-250 calories up is a good start). If you were undereating, you may have to bump this even to 500 more calories. Find what caloric and macro intake you can maintain for 2 weeks without adjustments. Portion sizing with your hands may be used if you don’t track, however this is not best for accuracy. Bump your food first by about 50-100 calories and wait till you maintain for a full week to add more. I suggest not changing your protein intake if you can- instead, add carbs or fat. Track your progress with a coach, app, or spreadsheet. Look at your biofeedback and symptoms, your measurements, bodyweight, and physique photos. Don’t get stuck in the “spinning your wheels” part of reversing due to fear of increasing too quickly or too slowly. Ask for help.

We look at a few areas when reverse dieting:

1. State of insulin sensitivity- the more insulin resistant someone is, the more fat you should increase vs carbohydrates 

2. History of dieting- if someone has a history of under eating or having lower fats, then the first step should be to bring these back to a healthier level to support healthy hormones 

3. Training type and intensity- higher volume and more intense training relies on glucose vs fatty acids for fuel. Increasing carbohydrates will help to fuel workouts and replenish muscle glycogen. The increase of carbohydrates will also be likely less stored as body fat, as long as insulin resistance is not present 

4. Personal preference- some people may want more fats in their diet vs carbohydrates. What someone can stick to with a reverse should come first, as sustainability in reverse diet and consistency is key to success

The magic of body recomposition lies in a combination of nutrition at maintenance, a mild deficit or slight surplus, a high protein intake, and the proper progressive overload resistance training program. The ability to “recomp” your body also depends on your ability to manage sleep, stress, and your nutrition quality. Plateaus are a natural response to dieting and are largely due to metabolic adaptation. With dieting, decreases in BMR, NEAT, and PA lead to decreases in TDEE, taking you out of a negative energy balance or caloric deficit. Not only that, but you have several hormonal adaptations that contribute to your plateau as well. These include drops in thyroid hormones, sex hormones, leptin, and increases in ghrelin and cortisol. If cortisol remains elevated for a long period of time, whether due to chronic stress, extended fasting, inflammation, illness, or infection, it can cause your protein stores to start to whittle away.