Have I got a deal for you.
You can sign up to give yourself three injections per day–one before each meal–at God only knows what kind of cost for four weeks and expect to lose–insert drum roll please–a whopping 4 pounds.
A paper published in the current issue of Diabetes that is getting a lot of play in the medical press demonstrates that subjects injecting themselves thrice daily with oxyntomodulin lost almost 4 pounds more over 4 weeks than a control group who injected themselves with saline. The researchers attributed the loss of weight to the fact that the study subjects consumed fewer calories than did the controls.
Oxyntomodulin, sometimes called enteroglucagon, is an anorectic hormone, i.e., higher levels of it make people less hungry. Oxyntomodulin is released by cells in the small intestine much in the same way as cholecystokinin, another anorectic hormone, in response to food, particularly fatty foods.
There is no doubt that if you raise your levels of cholecystokinin and oxyntomodulin you will be less hungry. If you are less hungry, you will probably eat less. If you eat less, odds are you will lose weight.
I just think there is a lot easier way to get these hormones elevated than by injecting yourself three times per day. Professor John Yudkin, one of my heroes, showed back in the late 1960s and early 1970s that people given rudimentary instructions on how to follow a low-carb diet, and did so until full, consumed over 700 fewer calories per day than the same people did when they ate their regular diet. 700 calories per day adds up to almost 20,000 calories over a 4 week period, which would lead to an almost 6 pound weight loss. Which is a 50% increase in weight loss compared to the thrice daily injection program mentioned above. (If and when our website ever gets up, I’ll post some of these older papers that I find tremendously interesting. Not only did Dr. Yudkin do great work, he had a great style of writing, making his papers accessible to all.)
Many studies have been published since Dr. Yudkin’s early work on low-carbohdyrate diets and they virtually all show the same thing: people following low-carb diets eat fewer calories. Because of this mountain of indisputable evidence, the low-fatters have taken to sniffing that low-carb diets only work because they’re really low-calorie diets. Their simplistic response fails to take into account all the metabolic hormonal changes for the better that low-carb diets bring, the reduction in blood pressure and blood sugar, and a host of other positive changes, all of which occur pretty early in the course of the diet, and can’t be totally attributed to the reduction in calories. And that’s not to mention the whole idea of the metabolic advantage of low-carb diets. All these subjects are for later posts.
The unforced calorie reduction people experience on low-carb diets undoubtedly is driven in large part by the increased levels of oxyntomodulin and cholecystokinin produced by the increased fat intake. And for those who worry about eating too much fat: Yudkins study showed that fat consumption decreased by over 15% on the low-carb diet.
It’s true. The subjects consuming their regular diet got about 49% of their calories from fat, which was the norm at that time. By switching to the low-carb diet, they got 61% of their calories as fat. But, the percentage of calories as fat is totally, completely, and categorically a meaningless statistic, quoted and believed in by no one but idiots. The people following their regular diet averaged 125 grams of fat per day, whereas the ones following the low-carb diet Yudkin prescribed, consumed 105 grams of fat per day, a 15+% reduction.
So why didn’t the people eating more fat produce more oxyntomodulin and cholecystokinin and reduce their hunger even more? Why did they end up eating more calories? Good questions.
The answer is that the satiating effects of these hormones are overridden by the carbohydrate content of the regular diet. That’s why no one binges on steak and/or eggs. They all binge on high-carb, high-fat foods–cakes, cookies, chips, ice cream–because bingers love the taste of the fat-sugar combo and the sugar overrides the satiety they would feel from the fat only. So Yudkins low-carbers ate less fat, but got more effect from their fat stimulation of GI hormones.
I would recommend that you get your oxyntomodulin fix by mouth with a good steak from a grass-fed cow. Or from a piece of salmon, or chicken, or ham. Or even a tomato and mozzarella salad. It’s a lot more fun than shooting yourself up.