|Image 1: If ginger works only half as good in humans as it does in rodents, you can drink your way to a leaner and healthier you with Alisa Profumo's delicious low-carb "Healthy REAL Ginger Ale".|
Ginger reverses diet-induced visceral obesity and restores blood lipids to normal
Z.A. Malik and P.L. Sharma, two researchers from the Department of Pharmacology at the ISF College of Pharmacy in Moga, India, investigated whether the administration of 0.25-1g/kg body weight of dietary ginger (freeze dried powder that was made from fresh ginger juice; human equivalent would be 40-160mg/kg) would have any beneficial effect on the high-fat diet induced deteriorations in body composition, energy, lipid and glucose metabolism of male Wistar rats. For eight weeks, the scientists fed the rodents a diet that consisted of 33% normal rat chow, 33% Nestlé milk powder, 7% sucrose, and 27% tap water.
|Figure 1: This is probably the lowest fat "high fat diet", I've seen in some time (data adapted from Malik. 2011) - ridiculous, but hey, if the diet had really been "high fat", who knows if the rodents would have gotten obese, anyway ;-)|
|Figure 2: Relative increases in body weight (BW), white adipose tissue weight (WAT), visceral fat weight and brown fat in rats on the "high fat diet" (data adapted from Malik. 2011).|
|Figure 3: Relative changes in body weight (BW), white adipose tissue weight (WAT), visceral fat weight and brown fat in rats on the "high fat diet" who were supplemented with 250, 500 or 1000mg/kg ginger (data adapted from Malik. 2011).|
|Figure 4: Relative changes in triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), HDL and total cholesterol to HDL radio in rats on the "high fat diet" and rats who were fed the HFD with 250, 500 or 1000mg/kg ginger (data adapted from Malik. 2011).|
How does it work and how effective is it?
Let's finally have a brief look at a) the potential mechanism by which ginger exhibits its fat-burning magic and b) how effective ginger would be, as compared to other, better known, "tools" to ward off weight gain or induce weight loss. To check whether the mechanism of action involves increased beta-oxidation, Malik and Sharmaa mixed an additional 30mg/kg of the beta-blocker propranolol into the high fat, ginger-supplemented diets of the animals - and as you can see in figure 5, the addition of the beta-blocker led to a profound reduction in the ameliorative / fat burning effects of the freeze-dried ginger powder.
|Figure 5: Relative increases (vs. control on normal diet) in body weight (BW), white adipose tissue weight (WAT), visceral fat weight and brown fat in rats on the "high fat diet" supplemented with ginger, ginger + propanolol, or sibutramine (data adapted from Malik. 2011).|
So, if we assume that these amazing results translate to humans, the addition of a few ginger rhizomes to your holiday diet could be a very effective tweak to ward off unwanted weight gain. And if your plans for 2012 include getting rid of the nasty love-handles you have acquired in the course of the past 12 months, you better get accustomed to the spicy, yet fruity flavor of the rhizomes of this perennial reed-like plant. You could, for example start out by following Alisa Profumo's delicious low-carb "Healthy REAL Ginger Ale in Minutes"-recipe on the Super Human Radio webpage (cf. image 1). And just in case you are too lazy to juice and / or freeze-dry some fresh ginger rhizomes yourself, you may want to consider buying a bag of Carl Lanore's standardized ginger extract, which is also available on the Super Human Radio website.