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This Could Be Why You’re Having Problems Losing Weight

Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified a hormone in mouse livers that keeps the body from burning fat, MedicalXPress reports. The hormone impedes metabolism to conserve energy, for example, to maintain body temperature in cold conditions.

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The scientists also found that a deficiency in the hormone protected the mice from fatty liver disease. While this study — which involved feeding the mice a high-fat diet — has yet to be applied to humans, the scientists hope it will help them discover strategies to improve human metabolic processes.

There are so many “ifs” to this study that it’s hard to tell exactly whether it even can be applied to humans, so the real news here is that a new hormone has been discovered in mice livers that plays a part in metabolism as well as fatty liver disease. From that end point, it’s already known that a leading cause of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is excess fructose in your system.

Fructose is, in many ways, very similar to alcohol in the damage that it can do to your body and your liver. Unlike glucose, which can be used by virtually every cell in your body, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it.

Since all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do. In fact, fructose is virtually identical to alcohol with regard to the metabolic havoc it wreaks.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, fructose is a "chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin." And just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat — not cellular energy, like glucose.

With nearly two-thirds of the American population overweight or obese, this is important information to know — and it’s something you don’t have to wait on a mouse study for help with.

There's an answer to all of these terrible health trends, and it all starts with the nutritional composition of your diet. Most people simply eat far too many processed foods, net carbs and too few healthy fats, and too many unhealthy fats, which results in gaining and retaining extra body fat and becoming increasingly insulin resistant.

A foundational cause of most degenerative diseases is the fact that your mitochondria, the little powerhouses located in most of your body's cells, are not receiving sufficient amounts of proper fuel. As a result, your mitochondria start to deteriorate and malfunction. This dysfunction lays the groundwork for subsequent breakdowns of various bodily systems.

So how do you help your body and your liver work better at burning fuel? The answer is simple: To optimize your mitochondrial function through diet, you need to eat so your body is able to burn fat as its primary fuel, rather than sugars.

Ketogenic diets are very effective for this, as is intermittent fasting. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates ketones that burn more efficiently than carbs. Your body is designed to have the metabolic flexibility to use both glucose and fat for fuel.

The problem is, most people lack the ability to burn fat. This metabolic inflexibility is the direct result of eating a high-carb diet for a long period of time. This is why being an efficient fat burner is so crucial for optimal health.

To implement a ketogenic diet (a diet high in healthy fats, adequate in protein and low in net carbs), the first step is to eliminate packaged, processed foods.

The emphasis is on real whole foods, plenty of healthy fats and as few net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) as possible. This typically involves dramatically reducing or temporarily eliminating all grains and any food high in sugar, particularly fructose, but also galactose (found in milk) and other sugars — both added and naturally-occurring.

As a general rule, you'll want to reduce your net carbs to 20 to 50 grams a day or less, and restrict protein to 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass. To make sure you're actually meeting your nutritional requirements and maintaining the ideal nutrient ratios, a nutrient tracker can be an invaluable tool.

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