4 Easy Ways to Potentially Boost This ‘Forgotten’ Hormone That Helps Build Muscle and Burn Fat
If you love being a woman but get jealous of how quickly men lose weight, Harvard-trained women’s health expert Sara Gottfried, MD, is here for you. “Men have a lot more testosterone, which speeds fat burning. But there are simple strategies women can use to level the playing field,” insists Dr. Gottfried, who dug into research on body chemistry as her own shape-up efforts floundered. Her most exciting discovery: the slimming power of an often-forgotten hormone called HGH.
Best known for making kids grow taller, HGH also aids adults in building muscle and burning fat. Levels naturally decline up to 50 percent by age 50, but bumping them up again with simple diet changes “is surprisingly easy and effective.” Women using Dr. Gottfried’s techniques shed up to 40 pounds in a month!
Though common weight-loss techniques may boost HGH, “aggressive approaches are stressful for a woman’s body, and stress has a negative impact on HGH,” cautions Dr. Gottfried, author of Women, Food, and Hormones (Buy from Amazon, $18.09).
Her solution? She used blood tests to track HGH as both she and her patients tried gentler options — and was delighted to find that these methods can often reverse age-related HGH decline in mere weeks.
Easy HGH Boosters for Women
Try any (or all!) of the doc’s strategies, and studies show you’ll lose up to 18 times more weight than on typical plans!
Going semi-keto: Though scientists aren’t sure why, getting blood sugar under control is linked to 300 percent higher HGH. That’s part of what prompted Dr. Gottfried to try a classic keto diet, which lowers blood sugar and triggers the body to use stored fat as fuel. Her initial results weren’t great. Suspecting carb deprivation and lack of veggies were working against her, she created a regimen that allows unlimited carbs from non-starchy veggies and occasional doses of fiber-rich beans, root veggies, and fruit. Success! “It helps women lose faster and feel better than they have in years,” she promises. (See below for details.)
Adding power proteins: Our bodies use amino acids from protein to make HGH. Since it’s easier to extract amino acids from animal protein, women with a higher intake of foods like eggs, fish, and beef have been shown to have more HGH. “Whey protein powder is particularly helpful at raising HGH,” notes Dr. Gottfried. And studies show whey doubles fat burning, even in sedentary seniors. So it’s a great choice to power up smoothies.
Igniting belly fat: Turns out, letting more time elapse between our last meal of one day and our first meal the next signals the body to make more HGH, increasing levels up to 1,300 percent. Called “intermittent fasting,” the technique also seems to accelerate HGH’s belly-burning power. One study even found that going longer between meals can make 35 percent of our belly fat disappear, just like that. And there’s no need to do anything drastic. Dr. Gottfried sees great results when women simply eat in a 10-hour window, such as 8 am to 6 pm.
Walking the HGH way: A friend taught Dr. Gottfried about interval training, which basically tricks the body into thinking it’s gotten an intense and HGH-stimulating workout even when it hasn’t. “The idea is to do very fast walking or any intense exercise for 30 seconds followed by 90 seconds of moderate walking or rest. Repeat eight times,” says Dr. Gottfried. The approach helped quickly raise her HGH by 53 percent.
These tasty meals help boost HGH and burn fat!
To eat Dr. Gottfried’s way, aim for 10 servings of nonstarchy veggies daily. Include healthy fat and six to eight ounces of protein at each meal. Read labels and add up to 25 grams of carbs a day from sources like nuts and keto bread. Eat between 8 am and 6 pm; sip only water and unsweetened coffee or tea outside that window. After four weeks, add small amounts of beans, sweet potato, and fruit.
BREAKFAST: Spread low-carb toast, such as Base Culture brand (Buy from baseculture.com, $19.99), with avocado; add a cooked egg and low-carb toppings or seasonings.
LUNCH: Top salad with low-carb taco toppings like cooked ground meat, onion, and cheese; mix salsa and olive oil for dressing.
DINNER: Sauté garlic, diced zucchini, tomato and seasoning in olive oil; serve with broiled salmon and cauliflower rice.
As with any new dietary regimen, it’s incredibly important to speak to your doctor before trying. A licensed physician or nutritionist will be able to offer you the best advice in terms of foods, intermittent fasting schedules, and more, based on the state of your current health.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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