Guru Kate: Dieting tips

Can cinnamon make you lose weight?

It feels so good to write that this isn’t a hoax developed by people who want to gain cult status. There is a realistic background to this spice’s magical powers. It won’t be the only thing you should do to lose weight; it’s not like you can just take the cinnamon challenge (YouTube it) while watching Spongebob and expect your BMI to plummet as low as your IQ.

Cinnamon (and the other spices to be mentioned) are somewhat of “kick-starters” to weight loss success. Along with the age-old exercise and healthy eating, they affect the inflammatory areas of fat cells. They also work with your pancreas to affect insulin and muscle cells to release more stored energy.

The weirdest thing about these spicy kick-starters is that they make your body work the way it was destined to. You just weren’t eating enough of them before. So really, it’s all about eating how a body is designed to.

Besides cinnamon, five other spices show the same affects: red chili, cloves, black pepper, ginger and circumin. Circumin, related to curry, also has anti-inflammatory affects and therefore anti-obesity properties. And no, it’s not because curry works like a laxative for people with IBS. Come to think of it, all of those spices are found in middle-eastern food.

Check this out: these spices can also fight sleep loss, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity. Boom. Should we award them their capes and super-hero badges now, or after they save the human race?  Probably after they save us, because we know what happens when humans get carried away with a trend. Which leads me into the next question.

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What is the HCG diet?

The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. It’s hard to say “no” to a weight loss technique that is essentially guaranteed to make you lose 15 pounds each week, but the methods are nothing short of insane.

The techniques vary between the centers that “administer” this treatment, but most include a form of hormone injection or ingestion paired with guided starvation.

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadatropin hormone. This isn’t the first time this hormone has been isolated to do evil. It has a gory history with killing rabbits and African clawed frogs, and the research linked to it can be blamed for eventually killing two-third’s of the earth’s amphibians. More on that in a different article.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to HCG. Betcha can’t guess where it’s naturally found. Pregnant women. That’s right, HCG is found naturally in pregnant women. It is actually what tips off pregnancy tests to the fact that a woman is indeed carrying a child.

Dr. Simeons originally developed the diet in the 1960’s. Then, he advised exercise and diet in addition to a clinically controlled HCG injections. Ten years later, fizzle fizzle fizzle. A rather long-lived fat-burning fad. Nutritionists wouldn’t get on board, and anyone that did want to lead the tinfoil-hat-brigade didn’t know how to administer the diet “correctly”.

Danger ensued and the FDA refused to give it approval as a dietary practice that had better results than normal dieting. In 2007, a quark with a great publicist wrote a book that spurred the madness all over again. Enter current day cleanses and fasts.

Now back to that guided starvation bit. Certain HCG weight loss centers advocate the intake of only 300-500 calories on a daily basis, most of these being liquid calories. Sure, cutting calories will work to lose weight, but this pee-wee amount of calories will send your body into survival mode. It actually starts conserving energy for you and storing it because there may be no tomorrow, it its eyes. Talk about a boomerang affect.

Lastly, the HCG diet is not sustainable. Once an HCG patient lost a desired amount of weight, it’s not like they will slip into a brand new life filled with carrots and celery sticks, with healthy fats and proteins abound. Nope. Habits don’t break like that. More than likely, they will go back to their Doritos-couch potato-take-out pizza life. And your body still thinks the world is destined to end, so it will store fat faster than a lard factory. And the cycle begins again.