Estrogen excites the liver to produce more and more triglycerides (from dietary carbohydrates, by the way) like an efficient internal fat factory. According to Dr. Calvin Ezrin, M.D., author of The Endocrine Control Diet, estrogen increases the production of triglycerides at a rate that will not be reversed when estrogen therapy is withdrawn.
But we also eat triglycerides. Triglycerides are dietary fat. Dietary triglycerides are transported through the blood via protein/fat complexes called chylomicrons and are removed from the blood by an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL pulls triglycerides into the adipose (fat) cell for storage. Guess which powerful hormone stimulates the activity of LPL? That's right. Estrogen stimulates the activity of LPL in certain regions in the body, most notably the abdominal region.
Scientists have learned that LPL is increased during periods of weight gain, in both obese and nonobese persons. However, when a nonobese person loses excess weight, LPL returns to normal levels, shutting down the deposition of excess fat into adipose tissue. In the "reduced-obese" person, however, LPL does not decrease and may actually increase, leading to increased and easier weight gain. The difference, apparently, has nothing to do with the diet of the obese or the nonobese individual. The difference is genetic. Genetically obese rats have characteristically higher levels of LPL. (Incidentally, smoking stimulates LPL activity.)
High-fat diets (the greasy-hamburger-and-potato-chip variety) increase estrogen levels in the blood. Pesticides that contain estrogenic chemicals disturb the delicate estrogen/progesterone balance in both the female and male body, as can chemical residues from plastic bottles that have leached into bottled water.
The overall message of estrogen as it relates to weight loss is that if you are a woman in the age range between forty and sixty, and are either in the middle of or have already passed through menopause, you may gain an extra five to twenty-five pounds because of an estrogen/progesterone imbalance. As Dr. Ezrin stated, these pounds are not necessarily fat but may be water due to salt retention. The message is: Stop trying so hard to lose fat. Instead, balance out estrogen levels by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet (to about thirty-five grams per day), drink eight to ten glasses of water per day, and avoid foods to which artificial estrogens have been added (like nonorganic red meats and poultry). If your physician suggests it, use hormone-balancing herbs or natural progesterone creams or natural hormone replacements that help to restore the female hormone balance to your body.
While all the information in this chapter may seem dauntingly difficult to assimilate and incorporate into your own health picture, just learning about how powerfully your hormones affect you is a big step toward getting your body weight back in control. You didn't get out of balance overnight, and you won't get back in balance overnight. But starting today, you're on your way to better health.
"You come to a moment in time where you realize that the decision to lose weight is there, and it is a mental decision. It is not 'Well, someday.. .' Today is the day I start! And that's it! You don't look back!"
There are two more sets of hormones that influence weight, probably in a more powerful way than either the thyroid hormones or the female hormones. While approximately 80 percent of overweight Americans suffer from an imbalance in these two hormones, the good news is that for the vast majority of people struggling with weight, these hormones are easily brought under control just by changing the composition of the diet. In other words, a properly balanced diet really can lead you in the direction of permanent weight maintenance. Let's take a look, now, at insulin and glucagon.