The Cortisol Connection Diet is a diet proposed in the States, in the first half of the 2000s, by Shawn Talbott PHD, author of the book ” The Cortisol Connection Diet “.
It is a dietary regimen useful for controlling the secretion of cortisol in the body; as we know, cortisol is a hormone which, if produced in excess, manifests with some “evidence” some undesirable effects on weight control , such as the reduction of lipolysis and the increase of muscle catabolism .
Kind readers will wonder why the term EVIDENCE was “quoted”; I personally believe that – except for some real and overt pathological conditions – the hypersecretion of cortisol is often used as a scapegoat for the mismanagement of excessively restrictive diets . Let me explain better …
It often happens that, during the therapy of weight loss, at a certain point the weight stops decreasing; often, this stall condition follows a period of great slimming efficacy (reduction of body weightmore than 3.5-4 kg per month). Some practitioners interpret this arrest in weight loss as a side effect of the hyper-secretion of cortisol, a bio-regulator that (in many, but NOT all) subjects is produced almost in proportion to general stress (both psychic and physical).
From my point of view it is unequivocal that a hypothetical hormonal imbalance can weigh heavily on the metabolic and energy balance , however it would be appropriate to start talking about THRESHOLD blood concentrations . It is therefore not necessary to further confirm the stress-cortisol relationship, because in the literature it is already possible to find several related works; rather, it is ESSENTIAL to understand and demonstrate what the fluctuations arePARA-physiological hormones that could adversely affect the body. In simple terms…
Nobody cares ifdue to stress, more cortisol is produced … what we are ALL curious to know is WHAT is the level of hypersecretion that is counterproductive to a weight loss diet !
In my opinion, without such data, bringing up hormonal alterations COULD seem like a good excuse to justify the failure of a clumsy specialist and / or an unmotivated patient. Furthermore, remember that due to a series of concomitant factors, the closer one gets to one’s “balance point” (probably located near the desired physiological weight), the less the body will be willing to reduce its body weight.
A similar condition often leads professionals and laymen to insist on therapy by further limiting the energy supply of food . This is a wrong attitude, since in my opinion (confirming the claims of many other specialists)prolonging a weight loss (low-calorie) diet excessively , no matter how demanding it may be, often proves to be a failed and counterproductive strategy .
Apart from cortisol, to establish the time limit of a treatment, it is essential to take into consideration some factors:
- Therapeutic compliance, i.e. the patient’s difficulty or not in following and respecting the eating pattern. According to the Cortisol Connection Diet, the demotivation and the suffering of the person in following a restrictive or unsuitable diet would favor the alteration of the cortisol itself … I have serious doubts about it, even if it seems unequivocal in any case the correlation between diet NOT personalized and failure of the therapy itself. What might seem like a cortisol spike to a supporter of the Cortisol Connection Diet … I justify it with the patient’s omission (often out of shame) in declaring a tendency to repeated evening cheats. These are often justified by the excessive nutritional restriction of the diet.
- Nutritional balance: it is not advisable (and it is not professional) to administer deficient, unbalanced eating patterns or those requiring multiple integration for long periods; in any case, any low calorie (even the 10% reduction in useful calories) should NOT be followed for more than 8 months. Furthermore, many of us still live (who knows for how long …) in the age of abundance, what’s the point of spending a lot of money to eat less and buy pills?
- Changes in body mass: seeing the needle of the balance go down is certainly a desirable result, especially for an overweight or obese person ; nevertheless, it is quite important that this corresponds to a REAL decrease in subcutaneous fat with preservation of muscle mass . Losing weight but losing muscle is absolutely wrong! It is known that in conditions of nutritional depletion the weakening of muscle anabolism and super compensation is inevitable. ; however, a realistic goal might be to keep muscle mass as intact as possible. Also in this case, the Cortisol Connection Diet would attribute the catabolism of lean tissue to the excess of circulating cortisol; in reality, what most often happens is that the patient exaggerates with physical activity at the same time as caloric restriction or that the dietary regimen is typically hypoglucidic and concomitant with an aerobic sport , therefore strongly oxidative.
This Cortisol Connection Diet tries (to no avail in my opinion) to disregard the concept of calorie restriction; rather, nutritional balance is emphasized by respecting the ” Balance Index “ parameter . This provides for a bifocal management of the power supply: on the one hand the quantity (considered NOT small, but right!) And on the other the quality.
Regarding quantity, I must admit that some small tricks are proposed that are very useful for calculating food portions, while as regards quality it is sufficient to follow the rule of remuneration; that is: foods can be of good quality (low glycemic index foods , containing fibers , proteinswith high biological value , unsaturated and polyunsaturated lipids ) or low quality ( refined foods with a high glycemic index , low fiber, incomplete proteins, saturated or hydrogenated lipids ). For each of the 6-7 RECOMMENDED daily meals it is essential to manage food while keeping the Balance Index high, compensating low quality foods with others of good quality: for example white bread (low q.) + Grilled chicken breast (high q . .).
Ultimately, the Cortisol Connection Diet tries to limit the hypersecretion of cortisol through the fragmentation of daily meals, with particular attention to the morning period, which is more sensitive to the oscillation of this hormone. It also aims at the correct choice of food associations and the identification of an effective but not drastic slimming caloric range (1200-1800kcal).
Personally, I think the choice of providing almost all nutrients in a balanced way is admirableat every meal, and I think it is useful to provide a valid tool to calculate the most suitable portions; on the other hand, don’t tell me that the Cortisol Connection Diet is NOT low-calorie! And how it is! The calculation of portions, the distribution and management of meals clearly reflect traditional eating patterns and guidelines, with the difference that a classic method builds a GRAMMED program, while the Cortisol Connection Diet is much more practical and elastic in portions, and for this also approximate.
In conclusion, I find the Cortisol Connection Diet a useful strategy for controlled weight loss but once again there are no innovative concepts that can justify the preference over the traditional method.