We just got a great new tool here at Stony Creek Internal Medicine & Wellness: a state-of-the-art body composition analyzer! It is going to help us help our patients and wellness clients track their percentages of lean muscle mass, body fat and body water. It even differentiates upper vs. lower body muscle mass. This machine is no bigger than a bathroom scale, yet it super-charges our ability to help our patients formulate individual goals for health. You don’t even need to get undressed, just take off your socks and shoes and socks! Just today I used it to help a patient make a decision about whether to start testosterone.
Here are some things it can do:
1) It will help me tell me when some of my older patients lose or gain weight if it’s water loss or muscle they’ve lost.
2) I can help my athletic patients with their goal of safely putting on more muscle.
3) Our Ideal Protein patients sometimes have a week with no weight loss, but body measurements and now percentage muscle mass will show progress in other and maybe even more important ways.
Here’s a chart showing healthy body composition by age:
Once we calculate your baseline, how can you increase lean mass and decrease fat?
There are many ways:
Exercise can increase your muscle mass and it also causes the release of adrenaline, that will promote lipolysis (breakdown and metabolism of fat). A low carbohydrate, low fat diet that puts you in even mild ketosis will cause your body to use its stored fat as fuel. But you definitely need to have high quality protein on such a diet so your body doesn’t break down muscle for fuel. That is how our Ideal Protein program improves body composition.
There aren’t really fat burning foods per se, but certain foods will promote fat burning (a little) and they WON’T HURT:
Caffeine can (transiently) accelerate metabolism.
Green tea can help increase fat metabolism (a little) due to a compound called EGCG .
Hot peppers (jalapenos, etc.) contain capsinoids that may help metabolize fats (a little).
Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides that may enhance fat burning.
So while there may be no miracle fat burning foods that defy the laws of physics, adding the above might help! So:
This weekend hit up a farmer’s market for some local hot peppers.
Live near my office in Branford CT and want exercise? Go to the Hammonasset Festival this weekend and see the Native American dancers! There’s usually audience participation.
Whatever you do, enjoy life this weekend!
Dr. Emily Nolfo