Ask Dr. D'Adamo

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Questions About The Diets

Type A and Weight Loss Plateau


Two of my friends and I are type As. We all started the ER4YT Diet at the same time, and after six weeks we had all lost around 8 pounds. Since that time, a little over a month ago, none of us has lost any more weight. We are all concentrating on avoiding the foods that cause weight gain and including as much of the foods that help weight loss as possible. What are we doing wrong? Also, thought you might be interested in the fact that I, a type A, have hypothyroidism, and my husband, a type O, is hyperthyroid.


It is not uncommon for those just starting the diet to experience rapid and dramatic weight loss, followed by a "quiescent" period where the weight loss slows down or stops completely. This is due to the fact that each individual can have several "setpoints" where the metabolic machinery (either for genetic or metabolic reasons) remains locked at a particular ratio of weight to body fat. Much of this is the result of the capacity of the body's insulin metabolism. As I wrote in ER4YT, food lectins have been shown to compete with insulin on the body's fat cells.

Insulin inactivates the enzyme triglyceride lipase, which is normally used to convert stored fat triglycerides into both glycerol and fatty acids; these are then released, converted to carbohydrate and burnt off. Normally, there is a balance between the effects of insulin (which stores fat) and the enzyme adenylate cyclase (which activates the fat cell to burn fat). When the system is properly balanced, everything works fine; principally because insulin has a "half-life" and is under "feedback control." In other words, after insulin has accomplished its job, a feedback message is sent to the brain which tells the pancreas to cut off insulin production. With no new insulin being produced, the circulating insulin gradually dwindles and the cycle starts again.

Food lectins, including those lectins from wheat and corn, have been shown to bind to the fat cell's insulin receptor and inactivate triglyceride lipase. Unlike insulin, however, these lectins do not have any feedback control, and can bind irreversibly to the insulin receptor. In this situation the fat cell is permanently paralyzed, capable of only storing fat, but not releasing it. This explains why some people gain weight on a high carbohydrate diet: It is not the calories in the food, or the percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrate that are causing the weight gain (after all, most carbohydrates are low-calorie) but rather the lectins in the food itself acting to mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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