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SMART: Frequently we receive calls from clients requesting information to assist them in their weight control programs. What can you tell us about weight control and how your formulas play a role in weight management?

DURK: It's important to remember that our genes are programmed to put on body fat. Don't forget, our species originated in the past couple of million years, about 90% of that time being Ice Age. And in order to survive that Ice Age you had to put on a lot of body fat. The body fat would act as a thermal insulator-ask any whale or seal or polar bear about the virtues of blubber as a thermal insulator-and it also provides a great deal of heat energy when it is burned. In fact, a typical American carries around in their fat the equivalent of nearly 5 gallons of gasoline in terms of the heat energy. This is how human beings survived the Ice Ages without having a big hairy coat like a woolly mammoth.

SANDY: Before modern agriculture and modern animal production, you couldn't count on having all that much food available, and when you did get food, you couldn't be sure it was going to be real good quality food. You might have to eat an awful lot of low quality food, such as a protein that didn't have adequate amounts of certain key amino acids. And you'd have to eat a lot of calories just to get access to this limited nutrient. Well, modern foods provide an abundance of high quality protein, so it really isn't necessary to eat that much in order to get limiting nutrients. But our genes are not programmed to deal with modern agriculture and animal husbandry; they're still way back in the Ice Age.

DURK: The bottom line is that, if you want to get rid of body fat, caloric restriction-not eating when you're hungry-is the ultimate unnatural act. Your genes are telling you you're going to die if you do this, and in fact, when people lose weight too fast with any technique, the master control center in their brain will actually alter their metabolism to make it very difficult to lose further fat, because that fat is their "Ice Age life insurance policy."

Nowadays people live long enough to die from having too much fat. Back in the bad old days, people simply didn't live long enough to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and adult-onset diabetes, which are due in part to having very grossly excessive amounts of body fat. In addition to being healthier, most, people want to look better, and that's relatively easy to take care of by using some mechanisms built into our genes.

For example, the brain looks for the essential nutrient amino acid phenylalanine as one way to gauge food intake. Without adequate amounts of phenylalanine, you can't make certain neurotransmitters, proteins, and so forth. And so by providing a supplement containing phenylalanine that's designed to get efficiently into your brain, it's possible to actually satisfy your appetite with far fewer calories.

SANDY: Yes, for example you can get the same amount of phenylalanine in one serving of RISE & SHINE as you get in a meal that includes a hamburger and a milk shake. But just think of all the extra calories and fat you get in a hamburger and a milkshake. Furthermore, phenylalanine competes with other amino acids to get into the brain, so even though you ingest the same amount of phenylalanine from the hamburger and the milkshake as in one serving of RISE & SHINE, the hamburger and the milkshake will actually result in less phenylalanine getting into the brain.

DURK: So you can use any of our phenylalanine formulations- RISE & SHINE, BLAST, or FAST BLAST - to help satisfy your appetite. By taking a serving about an hour before a meal, you may find you're not quite as hungry.

SMART: As long as you're not hungry you're not likely to cut off thermogenesis.

DURK: That's correct. Another factor is that in RISE & SHINE and BLAST, we use the fruit sugar fructose, which increases your blood sugar very slightly and very slowly. This results in a relatively slow release of insulin, so your blood sugar is most likely to go back down again rapidly afterward. You might call it a sort of "time-release sugar." If you take a high-glycemic sugar such as glucose or sucrose (table sugar), the blood sugar level shoots up rapidly, so your pancreas releases a lot of insulin, which drives that blood sugar into the muscle cells. If you're not exercising, however, it drives it into fat storage cells where it is converted into fat and stored.

SANDY: And insulin removes the sugar from your bloodstream relatively rapidly, so your body sends signals to your brain to replace it quickly.

DURK: That's why we particularly recommend RISE & SHINE and BLAST for satisfying your appetite.

SMART: What is the mechanism by which a given amount of insulin is released? Why is there excess insulin for the high-glycemic sugars and not for the lower-glycemic sugars?

DURK: Your insulin release is triggered by an increase in blood sugar. The high-glycemic-index sugars increase blood sugar levels a lot per gram compared with the low-glycemic-index sugars such as fructose. Ounce for ounce, fructose raises your blood sugar less than skim milk. Another thing a person can do to lose fat without losing lean body mass is to help induce thermogenesis. This is a natural process that burns fat to create body heat, and it's one of the major things that allowed our ancestors to survive the Ice Age. What most people don't realize is that, typical caloric restriction diets have a really disastrous effect on your lean body mass-that is, your muscles and organs.

SANDY: For people who are fat to start with, even if they exercise heavily during caloric restriction, for every pound of weight they lose, they also lose about one-quarter pound of lean body mass. For people who are lean to start with but are just trying to get rid of a few extra pounds -perhaps weight found on specific areas like hips-it's even worse. For each pound lost, about one half pound is lean body mass.

DURK: And of course, once you get beyond the age of around 35 or 40, it is extremely difficult to put that lean body mass back on. What goes back on tends to be nearly all fat.

SANDY: These figures were in a recent paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.' These scientists were looking at how much lean body mass people were losing when they were on a low-calorie diet. The hope was that by exercising heavily during the diet it would be possible to reduce the amount of lean body mass lost. Well, it was reduced but not nearly as much as they had hoped. This is a really serious limitation on the value of low-calorie diets.

What they were saying was that you could put on lean body mass and lose fat provided you maintained your weight. They suggested that you not let your body weight go down because, when you did, that was when you started losing large amounts of lean body mass. But if you could be on a program that would maintain your weight or even increase it, you could increase lean body mass at the expense of body fat. And of course, people really want to get rid of fat, not lean body mass.

DURK: Now, the thermogenic process, provided you are not on a calorically restricted diet, burns fat and only fat. There is no loss of lean body mass, which is why we are so enthusiastic about thermogenesis. Thermogenesis can be induced in several different ways. One way is the classical Ice Age way-exposure to lower temperatures. For example, a person sitting in a swimsuit driving an air-conditioned Cadillac is actually going to lose more calories of fat per hour than someone who is jogging along the side of the road in a sweatsuit. You see, what a sweatsuit does is to suppress the heck out of thermogenesis. What you lose in a sweatsuit is sweat, that is water and electrolytes, not fat.

SANDY: And then as soon as you drink liquids after the exercise you put that weight back on.

DURK: When you exercise, if your body temperature is allowed to rise, that sup-presses fat-burning thermogenesis. On the other hand, if you prevent your body temperature from rising by providing external cooling, that enhances thermogenesis.

SANDY: One way you can do that, if you exercise on a fixed exercise machine of lifting weights, you can have a fan there to blow across your body. This will help the sweat evaporate, and that will cool your body. Another thing that people can do to prevent them from putting on fat is to reduce the amount of clothes they wear. People don't realize that a three-piece suit can actually help make you fat, because by insulating your body, your body doesn't have to burn up so many calories to keep warm.

DURK: Another thing that is really important for thermogenesis is brown-fat thermogenesis. Brown fat, which comprises 1 to 2% of the fat in your body, is a special fat that doesn't store energy. Instead, it burns fat to produce heat. The rest of the fat in your body-the white fat-is for storing energy and also to some extent for padding your internal organs.

SANDY: The brown fat is what keeps you warm when it is cold and you need to warm your body up. It is generally recognized that for people who are trying to lose body fat, exercise is pretty effective in increasing muscle mass if you do enough of it. But it is not really a very efficient way of getting rid of body fat.

DURK: It's interesting to note in this regard that all exercises aren't created equally in terms of getting rid of fat. For example, you may think that jogging for a half an hour would be much better for getting rid of body fat than running as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Actually, it doesn't work out that way. You burn more calories in that half hour jog than you do in a 30-second maximum sprint, but in the 30-second maximum sprint, you release for more noradrenaline that you do during the jogging. Provided that your physical condition permits a 30-second sprint.

SANDY: In fact, one study showed that men sprinting for 30 seconds as hard as they could had a six-fold increase in the amount of noradrenaline in their bloodstream.

DURK: And that is enough to crank up your metabolism for 2 to 4 hours after-wards. In other words, if you just do a 30-second maximum sprint, a half an hour or so before each meal, you are going to preempt a lot of those calories that you are eating; they will go to the brown fat and get burned rather than ending up getting stored in white fat.

SMART: In line with that, would you recommend that kind of peak output exercise in conjunction with using THERMOGEN TEA?

DURK: We suggest that you do the exercise before you take the tea. THERMOGEN TEA contains the herb ephedra sinica (also called mah huang). which in turn contains ephedrine. Ephedrine is actually a longer-acting version of noradrenaline.

SANDY: And like noradrenaline, it turns on brown-fat thermogenesis.

DURK: However, you don't want to take THERMOGEN TEA before peak output exercise, because you might end up over-revving yourself, since too much noradrenaline or too much ephedra can increase your blood pressure significantly. So what we suggest is do your 30-second run, and then afterwards you can take your tea. Currently, the only thermogenic potentiators available are caffeine, which alone is a rather mild thermogenic stimulant, and the ephedra herb in the form of the traditional ephedra herb tea. Now caffeine will actually roughly double the effectiveness of thermogenesis from the ephedra herb. So if you drink a serving of BLAST or a cup of coffee along along with your tea, you are going to get about twice as much thermogenesis from it. But I would hasten to add that you want to try the BLAST or coffee separately from the tea at first. The first time you try them together, try half a serving of each. Otherwise you may find you are blasting off to the moon a lot faster than you intended.

SMART: What about POWER MAKER II in a weight-loss program? Is this something that you would recommend?

DURK: Yes, very strongly. We suggest that if you're going to be exercising, take POWER MAKER II a half hour to three-quarters of an hour before a short exercise, or at the start of a long exercise period. What you will find is that generally you will see your total weight going up; however, that is likely to be lean body mass that is going on, not body fat.

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