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CLA and Weight Management – Will it help?

Posted on August 26th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

It has been nearly a year since Matt and I completed SPEED. We recommended some weight loss supplements that we thought had enough evidence and real life applicability. To make sure that our recommendations are sound, Matt and I continually re-evaluate the evidence for our recommendations. One supplement that we did not recommend at the time was CLA. Based on some additional information I have come across since the publication of SPEED and a discussion with a professional acquaintance, I thought I would re-examine CLA for its ability to help with losing weight and keeping it off.

Here is the basic conclusion for those of you with a short attention span; from my extensive re-evaluation of the evidence CLA will help to reduce body fat, particularly in the midsection, and may help to preserve lean tissue, but its effects are so minor that the real world significance is very poor (it will cost about $42 to lose an additional 1.1 pounds a month). This means that the cost of the supplement, for most people, is not justified by the results it will produce. To learn more on how I came to that conclusion keep reading.

To read the entire report click here.

Obesity & Genetics – A great documentary

Posted on August 20th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Following this link to watch the documentary “Why are thin people not fat”. This is a great documentary about the genetics of weight regulation. Take the time to watch it.

Taurine – Does it boost energy?

Posted on August 6th, 2010 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Taurine is an amino acid, which is what proteins are made of. It is a ubiquitous ingredient in energy drinks and is often promoted as an energy booster. However, is there any evidence that ingesting larger than normal amounts of taurine will increase a person’s energy level?

Before getting to the “energy” aspect, I want to give you a short overview of what taurine is. As mentioned above, taurine is an amino acid and is a very important one. In fact, “taurine [has] considerable biological significance” (Lourenco, p.266). It is so important because it is found in almost every tissue in the body, particularly the heart, brain, skeletal muscles, pineal gland, liver and the retina. Due to its functions, taurine supplementation has been found to have a positive affect with many conditions such as hypertension, arrhythmias, seizures, macular degeneration, and diabetes. The amount of taurine used typically ranges from one to six grams a day. This amount is often many times higher than what is typically ingested from dietary sources, which ranges from 40 to 400mg/day for non-vegetarians to virtually none from a strict vegan diet. With respect to supplemental taurine, the safety of this supplement is very good and many grams a day is not likely to cause any significant adverse effects.

Taurine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that an adult can typically make enough taurine, in the body, from other amino acids, particularly cysteine. However, taking in higher amounts may have some benefits as mentioned above. Additionally, because dietary taurine is mostly found in animal products, particularly in seafood and organ meats, people that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may benefit from supplementing with taurine.

Now what about the “energy” aspect of taurine? Well it seems that there is no good evidence that supplemental taurine, found in energy drinks or supplements, gives someone an energy boost or helps with maintaining a higher energy level. As mentioned above, taurine has the potential to have positive health effects and is considered very safe are relatively high levels for most people. But when it comes to more energy, it falls short. So why is it in energy drinks? Like many things, it sounds good and boosts sales! But, the fact is, it is not the ingredient in energy drinks or supplements that can give you an energy boost.

Braveman, E. (2002). The healing nutrients within. North Bergen, NJ. Basic Health.
Galloway, S. et al (2008). Seven days of oral taurine supplementation does not increase muscle taurine content or alter substrate metabolism during prolonged exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol; 105: 64-651.
Gupta, R.C. (2004). Taurine: Insurance of sound health. Indian J Pharm; 36(5): 333.
Lourenco, R. etal (2002). Taurine: a conditionally essential amino acid in humans? An overview in health and disease. Nutr Hosp; 17: 262-270.
Wesseling, S, et al (2009). Taurine: Red Bull or Red Herring? Hypertension; 53: 909-911.

What should you do to get the best weight loss results?

Posted on August 2nd, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

Jeff and I continue to coach people one-on-one and in small groups at our weight loss clinic in Mesa, AZ. It’s something we enjoy very much and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to affect people’s lives so greatly.

It’s through this experience that we see our research proven correct time and time again. When we wrote S.P.E.E.D., we found that nutrition is more important than any other variable, including genetics, when it comes to getting weight loss results. We found that exercise, while important, had its importance greatly inflated. We also found other variables that are not often addressed which are very important, hence our Psychology, Sleep and Environment chapters.

If you have our book, you know how this all fits together. If you don’t, you might not be aware of our approach or what it is that our book can help you with. Here’s the basic idea.

Your diet will determine about 80% of your results. Without meticulous attention to what is going in your mouth (both solid and liquid), you’re spinning your wheels. In fact, if you had to choose one thing to focus on, we would advise you choose nutrition before exercise. Our diet chapter, although the last in the S.P.E.E.D. acronym, is the most important part of the book and the chapter we spent the most time detailing.

Everything else, Psychology, Environment, Exercise and Sleep all help you stick to the Diet. You see, you can’t just will yourself to stick to a diet. It just doesn’t work for 99.95% of the population. (that’s not from research, I made that figure up) But setting up your environment, getting proper sleep and having a proper mindset increases your ability to stick to an eating plan dramatically!

This is what we see come true in our work with clients at LEAN. We see people come in and work their butts off during our workouts and lose no weight after a few weeks. Why? Because they haven’t properly addressed the other variables and are not sticking to an eating plan. Once they start focusing on their eating, it all falls into place. Then, they start realizing that it takes a lot less will power to stick to that eating plan if they get some sleep, modify their environment, and start programming their mind for success.

Jeff and I know the hours we spent researching and writing S.P.E.E.D. were spent with one goal in mind; make the most comprehensive, easy-to-read, science-backed weight loss book on the market. We accomplished that. When we see people put it to use, it works. Every time.