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Even if a 1lb chocolate cake was pure fat, wouldn’t it make sense that only 1lb would go to our fat stores?

But if we eat that cake, we would swear up and down that it put more than just the 1lb on our waistline – impossible, right? Maybe not.

This picture has been specially formatted to significantly reduce any weight gain that may result from looking upon it

The beauty (and frustration) of the human body can be found in the following statement:

The bodies solution to pollution is dilution.

If you get stung by a bee, what happens to the area of the body that has been stung? If you have had the unfortunate luck to experience this first hand, your first response might be that it hurts like all buggery. You might also notice that the stung area swelled up as a result of the beesting.

If someone is allergic to peanuts, their airway can swell and block itself, causing death (or at least a nasty shock).

If you are slightly allergic to dairy/wheat/sugar/anything and you eat it, a usual symptom that is experienced afterwards is what is loosely know as feeling ‘bloated’.

All are a result of the body attempting to dilute the pollution of the body by increasing the amount of fluid (which, as we know, is mostly water, right?)

The body quickly shifts fluid to the bee sting area to dilute the toxins in the sting

The inner lining of the throat tightens in response to the peanut toxin (“aflatoxin” if you want to get fancy technical) and swells the throat, sometimes to a point such that oxygen cannot get through (hey, i didn’t say it was a perfect system).

Take this picture of a jellowjacket wasp sting. The body has moved ‘fluid’ to the back of the hand to dilute the poison of the sting.

If we eat something that our body is allergic to or reacts to or perceives as a ‘toxin’ (like a chemical or a preservative or an artificial coloring) we can sometimes get unusual behavioral reactions.

If you have kids, you might nod your head in agreement with that last statement about altered behavior if you have ever fed your kids the dreaded tornado creator, red food coloring.

Hyperactive children aside, the moral of the story is that the body can react to different foods in different ways. Often, the body will try to dilute the presence of the unfamiliar object and as such will increase the water/foreign substance ratio in the body. Our body is such an amazing thing that it can do this and we can put quite an inordinate amount of toxins/trash into our body and it can keep operating… Perhaps not at peak performance, but certainly at a ‘get me to work and back again so I can watch Sex and the City re-runs’ kind of way.

The more trash we put in our body, the more it must dilute the presence of that trash and in turn conserve water as long as that trash is being put through our system on a regular basis.

If you missed it, the 1lb chocolate cake doesnt necessarily weigh 1lb on your thighs. The 5lbs you gained are likely water weight that has happened as a result of a trash-diluting reaction. Do you care if it is 5lbs of fat or 5lbs of water? Probably not, in all honesty you just want it gone, right?

Eating “cleanly” and from real food sources whenever possible is the best way to prevent weight gain and the best way to facilitate weight loss.

Lets take sugar as an example. When the body takes in the nice white, refined sugar (that are so often packed into the delicious sweets that are simply so delectable), there are multiple reactions that happen at the same time. Since refined sugar is relatively new to our system and is something our body usually reacts to quite strongly and quickly (ever try to eat a cup of sugar?) One of the reactions is water retention.

One of the results is weight gain (through water gain).

So quickly push yourself away from the computer, go and tell your friend that it IS true, that by eating a dessert you CAN gain more weight than the actual dessert – not in fat mind you, but in water weight. Which is what most people lose when they start eating healthy.

“So why is it that my friend can eat a piece and not gain? That skinny bi**ch.”

There can be many reasons why one person may gain weight and not another. One might be that if the system is already overwhelmed, it might find it harder to remove the gunk from the system than someone who is quickly moving the trash out. If you would, imagine a river with lots of debris floating in it? Once things jam up, they can REALLY jam up – a dead branch every now and then? Not so much of a problem.

Is your system a clean and smoothly flowing river that easily and effortlessly removes any debris/toxins/system blocking krispy kremes?

For the scientific amongst us, I am oversimplifying the issue here and there are things such as hormones, insulin and other immune system response going on here. But for the short version,

Sugar/trash in = water gained and retained

If you need to be convinced, Google the phrase ‘water retention and sugar” and let me know what you find.

If the body does not have a need to conserve water because there is less trash in the system, then the body gladly dumps the extra water. Making sense here? Haven’t heard this before? Welcome to the latest research.

Keen to try eating clean for a week and seeing what it does for your favorite jeans?

Dare you.

Double dare you.

Have you had an experience when you ate something and swelled up like a rudely suprised blowfish?

Jamie Atlas

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  • Jen Oct 14, 2009 Reply

    This is probably one of my favorite blogs from you. I REALLY needed to read this. I got into a baking frenzy a couple of weeks ago that lasted a week and included about 10 dozen cookies, zuccini breads, cupcakes, and muffins. I convinced myself it was okay because Jaden’s kindergarten teacher encouraged me to do it with Jaden to help with his attention span. Plus I added flax seed, wheat germ, pureed veggies and only used organic sugars and whole grain flours. That makes it all better right?. Needless to say, Jaden loved it and so did our neighbors. But my favorite jeans don’t look too flattering right now!
    I’m sharing this blog with everyone.

  • Lucía Nov 24, 2009 Reply


    You mentioned refined sugar in your post but not naturally occurring sugars like fructose. I’ve been eating a lot more fruit and vegetables recently (trying to get my five a day) and my weight has gone up, although I’m eating quite well and avoid refined sugar. Could the fructose in the fruit cause the water retention?

    Thanks, and keep up the awesome work, I’m making my way through the archives and having a blast!

    • jamieatlas Nov 24, 2009 Reply

      Hey there Lucia. Good point, sugars such as fructose can be damaging especially when put in certain fruits as syrup. Generally speaking, fructose in fruit can be related to weight loss (as in anything when consumed in large amounts), but not necessarily through water retention. This study (link here) talks about a link to fructose and insulin resistance syndrome – insulin is important for weight loss and regulation of it is essential. Try to make sure you are eating the fruit and not taking in fruit juice or things that contain fructose syrup. Thanks for reading!

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