"Dr. Hyman, I've eliminated toxic foods, I exercise every day and overall I live a healthy lifestyle, yet I haven't been able to get anywhere near my goal weight," writes this week's house call. "What gives?"
I understand how frustrating this can become, especially when you feel like you've tried everything. You made a conscious decision to live a healthier lifestyle. You've cut out toxic triggers, ditched sugar and you're eating all the right types of foods. You're doing everything correctly, yet you can't lose weight.
Over the years, I've had many patients complain about this problem. They feel like they've exhausted every option, yet when we dig a bit deeper, we often find a hidden cause for their weight loss resistance.
One big obstacle becomes nutritional imbalances. After reviewing major nutritional research over the last 40 years and doing nutritional testing with more than 10,000 patients, I've concluded that Americans suffer from massive nutritional deficiencies.
Studies show these deficiencies are more widespread than you might imagine. More than 30 percent of American diets fall short of nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A. More than 80 percent of Americans have low Vitamin D levels. Nine out of 10 people are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids which, among other things, help cool inflammation and control blood sugar levels.
Simply put, Americans have been overfed and undernourished for a very long time. In fact, most obese children and adults are actually malnourished.
While that might sound contradictory, an abundance of calories does not necessarily deliver the right nutrients that your body needs. Actually, the very opposite is true: Overeating can create nutrient deficiencies. You can eat too many calories and too few nutrients. And guess what—you need vitamins and minerals to process all those empty calories. Low nutrients = poorly functioning metabolism.
How does this happen and why are we so undernourished? Simply put, food today is less nutritious. We don't eat enough whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods. We do eat too much high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, refined vegetable oils, trans fats and overall fake junky processed foods.
These foods (and I use that term loosely) were not even in our diet as recent as 100 years ago. Our processed, inflammatory modern diet—which is relatively inexpensive and convenient because of government-subsidized crops like corn, soy and wheat—crowds out more nutrient-dense foods.
We evolved eating foods that were dramatically higher in vitamins, minerals and essential fats. We ate wild game, which contains higher levels of omega-3 fats and more nutrients than the factory-farmed animals we consume today.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors also ate fresh fish and meat that grazed from pristine sources, whereas our factory farm-raised meats come loaded with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives like nitrates and higher levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats.
Industrial farming practices also damage our soil, depleting important nutrients. As a result, vegetables and other plant foods harvested today have fewer nutrients than those picked from the ground just two generations ago.
Equally problematic, the average American today consumes an average of 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour (which converts to sugar) every year Altogether, that's about a pound of sugar every day! These pharmacological doses cause serious harm to our metabolism and overall health.
At the same time, healthy fat in our diets has decreased during the past decades because of poor advice from so-called health experts and our government, The advice was based on flawed science and conflict-of-interest studies funded by big food companies (I've discussed this in-depth here).
Research also shows that since 1970, we have been eating an average of 500 additional calories a day, mostly from high fructose corn syrup and other carbohydrates. These nutrient-poor, calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods crowd out healthier choices while creating nutritional deficiencies like omega-3 fats,magnesium, zinc and vitamin D—negatively affecting our metabolism and our overall health.
That low-fiber, highly processed foods diet combined with other factors like environmental toxins results in leaky gut syndrome and numerous other gut problems, which further inhibits nutrient absorption.
When deficiencies become the underlying cause of weight loss resistance, I find nutrient-based treatment can often help reset my patients' metabolisms to balance out body chemistry. Getting the correct amount of nutrients can help you burn fat, balance blood sugar, stabilize hormones and build and maintain muscle mass.
To optimize nutrient levels and reach their weight goal, my patients often employ these eight strategies:
1. Heal your gut. Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber and essential fatty acids. These foundation foods also eliminate the many triggers of chronic illness. You are not only what you eat; you are what you absorb.
2. Prioritize eating plant-based fats. Get most of your healthy dietary fat from extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. Avoid refined vegetable oils like canola and soybean oils, as well as trans fats. You can get a powerful 21-day plan to easily incorporate healthy fats in my new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin.
3. Get sufficient protein. At least four to six ounces of lean protein at every meal stabilizes blood sugar and helps you lose weight. Good sources include small, cold-water fish that don't contain high levels of metals and other contaminants. Wild game such as elk and deer are other rich proteins sources that contain omega-3s and other healthy fats. Many grocery stores now sell healthier protein options including bison, grass-fed beef pastured chicken and barnyard eggs.
4. Use gut-healing nutrients. Glutamine and zinc are among the nutrients that help repair your gut lining. A broad-spectrum digestive enzyme before meals can also help absorb nutrients optimally. And a good probiotic helps rebuild the healthy bacteria essential for good gut health. You'll find these and other nutrients in my store.
5. Work with a functional medicine doctor. You may need to address deep-rooted issues like yeast overgrowth or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. A Functional Medicine practitioner can help eliminate these and other issues that create weight loss resistance.
6. Manage stress levels. Chronic stress can deplete B vitamins and other nutrients like crazy. You can do deep-breathing exercises or meditation nearly anywhere. Get a massage, sweat in a sauna, take a stress-relieving bath with lavender and Epsom salt or sea salt, relax with friends, listen to soothing music or read a book. Simply do anything that creates calm and peace of mind. My UltraMind Solution program makes an excellent way to help ease your mind and relieve stress. Many patients also find my UltraCalm CD helps them manage stress.
7. Get adequate sleep. Proper sleep becomes essential for optimal nourishment. Sleep patterns affect how your body detoxifies, as well as how it repairs and heals itself. Poor sleep can increase inflammation that contributes to chronic illness. Check out my 8 simple hacks for a better night's sleep.
8. Exercise daily. Among its benefits, exercise is essential in order to sleep better, digest food better, balance blood sugar, relieve stress, rid your body of toxins and balance hormones. Just get moving, period. Find activities that you enjoy and do them daily. Even 30 minutes of walking each day does phenomenal things for your health.
For most patients, these strategies help optimize their nutrient status so they finally can lose weight and feel better. If you've utilized these strategies and still can't lose weight, I highly recommend testing for nutritional deficiencies and working with a Functional Medicine practitioner.
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If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.
Size Matters<p>Climates are a bit like woven tapestries. The big picture is important, no question. But so are all the seemingly minor details found inside the larger whole.</p><p><a href="https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/en/persons/tommaso-jucker" target="_blank">Tommaso Jucker</a> is an environmental scientist at the University of Bristol. In an email, Jucker says he'd define the term microclimate as "the suite of climatic conditions (temperature, rainfall, humidity, solar radiation) measured in localized areas, typically near the ground and at spatial scales that are directly relevant to ecological processes."</p><p>We'll talk about that last bit in a minute. But first, there's another criteria to discuss. According to some researchers, a microclimate — by definition — must differ from the larger area that surrounds it.</p><p><a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/research/paleoecologylab/publications/Davis_et_al_2019_Ecography.pdf" target="_blank">Forests</a> provide us with some great examples. "The climate near the ground in a tropical rainforest is dramatically different from the climate in the canopy 50 meters [164 feet] above," says University of Montana ecologist <a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=1110" target="_blank">Solomon Dobrowski</a> in an email. "This vertical gradient among other factors allows for the staggering biodiversity we see in the tropics."</p><p>Likewise, scientists observed that a 2015 partial <a href="https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/bees-stopped-buzzing-during-2017-solar-eclipse.htm" target="_blank">solar eclipse</a> caused the air temperature of an Eastern European meadow to <a href="https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wea.2802" target="_blank">change more dramatically</a> than it did in a nearby forest. That's because trees provide not only shade, but their leaves also reflect solar radiation. At the same time, forests tend to reduce wind speeds.</p><p>All those factors add up. A 2019 review of 98 wooded places — spread out across five continents — found that forests are 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) <a href="https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/47363-forests-protect-animals-and-plants-against-warming" target="_blank">cooler on average</a> than the areas outside them.</p><p>Now if you hate the cold, don't worry; there's a cozy exception to the rule. According to that same study, forests are usually 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than the external environment during the wintertime. Pretty cool.</p>
A Bug's Life<p>When does a microclimate stop being, well, micro? In other words, is there a maximum size we should be aware of when discussing them?</p><p>Depends on who you ask. "In terms of horizontal scale, some have defined 'microclimate' as anything that is less than 100 meters [328 feet] in range," Jucker says. "I'm personally less prescriptive about this."</p><p>Instead, he says the "scale at which we want to measure [a particular] microclimate" ought to be "dictated" by the questions we're trying to answer.</p><p>"If I want to know how temperature affects the photosynthesis of a leaf, I should be measuring temperature at centimeter scale," Jucker explains. "If I want to know if and how temperature affects the habitat preference of a large, mobile mammal, it's probably more relevant to capture temperature variation across [tens to hundreds] of meters."</p><p>For instance, solitary plants have the power to generate itty-bitty microclimates. Just ask <a href="https://www.colorado.edu/geography/peter-blanken-0" target="_blank">Peter Blanken</a>, a geography professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the co-author of the 2016 book, "<a href="https://amzn.to/2XN6FT8" target="_blank">Microclimate and Local Climate</a>."</p>
The urban heat island effect is a good example of how microclimates work. NOAA
Microclimates on a Grand Scale<p>It's no secret that our planet is going through some rough times at the macro level. The global temperature is <a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/" target="_blank">climbing</a>; nine out of the <a href="https://www.noaa.gov/news/2019-was-2nd-hottest-year-on-record-for-earth-say-noaa-nasa" target="_blank">10 hottest years on record</a> have occurred since 2005. And by one recent estimate, roughly 1 million species around the world are <a href="https://ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2020-02/ipbes_global_assessment_report_summary_for_policymakers_en.pdf" target="_blank">facing extinction</a> due to human activities.</p><p>"One of the big questions that ecologists and environmental scientists are trying to answer right now is how will individual species and whole ecosystems respond to rapid climate change and habitat loss," says Jucker. "...To me, [microclimates are] a key component of this research — if we don't measure and understand climate at the appropriate scale, then predicting how things will change in the future becomes a lot harder."</p><p>Developers have long understood the impact small-scale climates have on our daily lives. <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/urban-heat-island.htm#pt0" target="_blank">Urban heat islands</a> are cities that have higher temperatures than neighboring rural areas.</p><p>Plants release vapors that can moderate local climates. But in cities, natural greenery is often scarce. To make matters worse, plenty of our roads and buildings have a bad habit of absorbing or re-emitting heat from the sun. <a href="https://www.google.com/books/edition/Microclimate_and_Local_Climate/LHUZDAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=urban%20heat%20island" target="_blank">Vehicle emissions</a> don't exactly help the situation.</p><p>Still, it's not like Boston or Beijing are thermal monoliths. Sometimes, the documented temperatures <a href="https://e360.yale.edu/features/can-we-turn-down-the-temperature-on-urban-heat-islands" target="_blank">within a single city</a> vary by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 to 11.1 degrees Celsius).</p><p>That's where metro parks and city trees come in. They have nice cooling effects on nearby neighborhoods. "Several cities around the world have developed programs to increase urban green spaces," says Blanken. "Tree planting programs and green roof programs, have been shown to lower surface temperatures, decrease air pollution and decrease surface water runoff (urban flash-flooding) in urban areas."</p>
An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.
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Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020
If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.
<div id="ecf36" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c2dcc9d48a6cd61f247df1544539a783"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1290959314132361216" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Naming heatwaves is a good idea—making the abstract concrete, the invisible visible. Why should hurricanes and wild… https://t.co/hDWgYb79Ob</div> — Ed Maibach (@Ed Maibach)<a href="https://twitter.com/MaibachEd/statuses/1290959314132361216">1596623660.0</a></blockquote></div>
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Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.
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One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.
Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.
The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.
The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.
If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.
The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.
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A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.
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