We are all so concerned with the obesity epidemic that we tend to look to high-tech science for solutions. In doing so, however, we forget that we can also lose weight by introducing subtle changes to our diet. Nutritionist Carol Johnston argues this in an article about different ways to lose weight. One way is to simply increase your vitamin C intake.
Most of us think we consume enough vitamin C, but we forget that large amounts of the vitamin are lost during food processing, says Johnston. As a result, up to a quarter of all Americans have too little vitamin C in their bodies. Doctors have reported cases of scurvy in recent literature.
A vitamin C deficiency reduces the body’s synthesis of L-carnitine, an amino acid that the mitochondria need to burn fatty acids.
Johnston got a group of test subjects to eat a diet that was low in vitamin C for four weeks, and at the end of the period tested their stamina and fat-burning capacity on the treadmill. After that the same subjects were given a supplement containing 500 mg vitamin C every day for four weeks. After this month of repletion, the subjects’ performance on the treadmill was recorded. Both treadmill sessions lasted an hour.
The figure below shows what happened during that hour when the subjects had a vitamin C shortage (depleted) and when this shortage had been replenished (repleted).
Johnston also measured the amount of fat the subjects burned while on the treadmill.
Johnston also refers to another study she found in which researchers put two groups of subjects on a weight-loss diet. One group was given a placebo and the other got a couple of grams of vitamin C (structural formula below) each day. After six weeks the subjects in the placebo group had lost just under a kilogram. [Nutr Health. 1985; 4(1): 25-8.] Those in the vitamin group had lost 2.5 kilograms. Johnston thinks that her research explains why this was so.
Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response.
America is experiencing a major obesity epidemic. The ramifications of this epidemic are immense since obesity is associated with chronic metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and heart disease. Reduced physical activity and/or increased energy intakes are important factors in this epidemic. Additionally, a genetic susceptibility to obesity is associated with gene polymorphisms affecting biochemical pathways that regulate fat oxidation, energy expenditure, or energy intake. However, these pathways are also impacted by specific foods and nutrients. Vitamin C status is inversely related to body mass. Individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low vitamin C status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss. Food choices can impact post-meal satiety and hunger. High-protein foods promote postprandial thermogenesis and greater satiety as compared to high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods; thus, diet regimens high in protein foods may improve diet compliance and diet effectiveness. Vinegar and peanut ingestion can reduce the glycemic effect of a meal, a phenomenon that has been related to satiety and reduced food consumption. Thus, the effectiveness of regular exercise and a prudent diet for weight loss may be enhanced by attention to specific diet details.
PMID: 15930480 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]