Top Reasons for Unexplained Weight Gain (& How to Fix It) with Sara Banta
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Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And this episode is all about top reasons for unexplained weight gain, especially right now, and how to fix it. And I’m here with Sara Banta, who is an absolute wealth of knowledge and a joy to talk to. She has a lot of resources available that I will link to in the show notes to help go deeper on a lot of these topics that we talk about. But in this one, we talk about very specific things that are causing difficulty losing weight, especially in today’s world.
And she is a perfect example of how I always say to be your own primary healthcare provider. And she did this when healing from Crohn’s disease, hormonal issues, PCOS, IBS, and heavy metal toxicity. And at the same time, her nine-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. And that moment, she says, is what helped her know she had a bigger calling in life. And now she serves clients and listeners with cutting-edge protocols that combine scalar frequency-based supplements, DNA-based dietary protocols, Chinese medicine, healing devices, and much more, with a focus on detoxing, resetting, and rebuilding their body, mind, and spirit. She’s a graduate of Stanford and as well as a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. And I love how dialed in and specific she gets in this episode. So, without any further wait, let’s join Sara Banta. Sara, welcome. Thank you so much for being here.
Sara: Thanks for having me, Katie. I love what you do. I love that you’re a mom, and I love your passion around the topic because the future is our kids, right?
Katie: Absolutely. I say a lot on here that I think moms are the most powerful force on the planet, and we have that direct impact of raising the next generation. So, I truly believe anything we can do to help moms be healthy and happier makes also ripples for the whole family. So, I’m super excited to get to dive in actually with you for a couple of different topics in short episode format. And the first one I really want to go deep on, I feel like this affects a lot of moms, and especially it can be a postpartum thing, but the top reasons for unexplained weight gain. To start broad, I would love for you to just kind of give us some of the base reasons that we’re seeing this. It’s no secret that we’re seeing an increase in weight gain across the board in all age groups, but what are some of the reasons that we’re seeing this?
Sara: It’s really frustrating. Us moms are working so hard. We have like a million things on our plate, and then all of a sudden, these pounds are just packing on, and we’re trying to do all the right things, and we’re trying to fit in the workouts and that’s not working, and we’re limiting what we’re eating and then we, you know, may the stress might get to us and we start binging, whatever. But even if you are eating perfectly and you’re working out perfectly, and we all know that we’re moving a lot more because we’re chasing the kids around and doing all of that stuff, the pounds seem to be coming on in the last few years, and there’s a few reasons.
So, it’s no secret that the level of stress and cortisol has increased significantly over the last three years. The level of perceived stress. So that is our feelings of what that stress is, right? Even if that stress hasn’t changed, it’s what we are perceiving it as. And cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone. It can have complex effects on the fat metabolism and weight gain and why? So, cortisol is released, I call it the dirty cupcake. So, we’re getting this weight gain without even enjoying that piece of chocolate cake or the cupcake. It’s released by the adrenal glands that’s responsible for stress.
Now in moms, especially in perimenopause or even later, the adrenals are taking over the production of our female hormones. So, there’s even more stress on the adrenals, and it’s easier for us to get adrenal burnout, and this is part of the issue. So, in acute short-term stress situations, cortisol can actually mobilize stored energy and actually burn more fat, which is a good thing, but that stress is only supposed to be short-term.
Now if it ends up long-term, that’s where you get the chronic cortisol, and cortisol is a fat-storing hormone. You have to think about what our human bodies are meant to do. When we’re stressed out and our ancestors were stressed, we needed to go into survival mode. So, when you’re in survival mode, you want to store fat for future famine, or you’re being chased by that tiger, or you’re going into a long winter. All of these reasons are setting our bodies up for survival mode.
And then what it does is it actually increases your cravings and your appetite. So, you might be craving those high-calorie, sugary foods. That’s not any secret, right? And then you say, okay, well, if I’m gonna eat those, yeah, that makes sense for the weight gain. Well, there’s more to it. Your body is now saying, okay, I want that sugar, but I’m gonna store it as fat because my body, I don’t know when I’m gonna eat again because I’m totally stressed out. And the fat storage increases significantly, and especially around the abdominal area because what’s in the abdominal area? Your organs. And for survival, we need to protect those organs. And then that stress is also gonna tell your metabolism and your thyroid hormones to shut down and to slow down because we wanna save those fat stores and make them last longer, right? So, the prolonged stress and the elevated cortisol is actually gonna slow down metabolism. And I believe, Katie, that 90% of people are running around with hypothyroidism now, just because of the last three years, because of everything we’re gonna be talking about in addition to the stress.
Okay, so just stress on its own without eating a morsel of sugar can increase insulin resistance. It increases the, or it disrupts the blood sugar regulation and promotes the fat storage. Next, you’ve got the processed foods. People don’t realize because we’ve had it in our society since 1980, processed foods. Processed foods is not, they are not real foods. Sixty-seven percent of a child’s diet now is processed foods. And 62% of an adult’s diet is processed foods. We did not have type 2 diabetes in children or fatty liver disease before 1980. These are new diseases that were adult diseases only that are showing up in children. That is horrible. And this is because of the processed foods.
So why are the processed foods causing this unexplained weight gain and so quickly? And I’m talking about the low-carb, ketogenic protein bars. Right? They’re full of the seed oils, but they’re high fat, low carb, you know, so people think they’re healthy. Those foods are processed, inflammatory, creating oxidative stress, and creating insulin resistance, and could be a part of the unexplained weight gain. So, these processed foods have the high calorie density. They’re, so you usually end up eating bigger portions, but they’ve got these added sugars, usually the fructose, which can lead to increased caloric consumption.
Fructose is metabolized different than glucose, and people think sugar is sugar. That’s not true. The fructose causes fatty liver disease. It converts directly into liver fat without being used for energy. And it actually steals ATP, which is true cellular energy out of the body. So here kids are eating and it’s so funny how you as a mom go, well, you just had, you just finished school. You need your afternoon snack before soccer practice. No, you actually don’t. You need three square meals a day that are prioritizing protein, whole foods, and that should be fine for a kid. Make sure they’re hydrating, make sure they’re getting the electrolytes and their minerals, but you don’t need to constantly eat all day. And we’re giving them these snacks that are Cheetos and Pirate’s Booty and maybe a protein bar, but that’s really filled with a lot of other junk in it. And that is actually stealing energy from the cells. So, it’s actually fructose is taking away energy. Here you’re giving them food to give them energy, and it’s stealing energy away. So then what happens is then they’ll need to eat more to actually get more energy.
And this goes for the mom who is doing carpool, and they’re having their protein bar, and that excessive sugar in those protein bars is linking to weight gain and obesity. And these foods don’t have a lot of nutrients in them. So, what happens is then the body is looking for omega-3 fatty acids and certain amino acids to trigger a hormone called CCK from the gut that tells the brain I’ve had enough to eat. Processed foods don’t have them. So then what happens is you eat these processed foods and you’re not satisfied. So, then you say, I need to keep eating more. And so, with that, the CCK never gets triggered, you eat more, you have more weight gain.
Then if these foods are high in the unhealthy fats and you think, well, these are fats, these aren’t sugars or carbs, it’s okay. Well, they’re very inflammatory, and they’re actually causing insulin resistance at the cellular level. So even though these fats don’t contain the glucose, they’re raising insulin resistance and that’s leading to the weight gain. And they’re not making you feel satisfied. The processed ingredients, like the additives and preservatives, they also are affecting the metabolism and the appetite regulation. The body doesn’t recognize them as real food. So, what happens is they actually encapsulate these toxins. The body’s survival mechanism is to take toxins and capsulate them in fat cells and maybe need to create new fat cells for survival purposes to get them out of the bloodstream. So, it’s really important to think about what are these ingredients and how is the body looking at it?
The gut microbiome, these processed foods are killing the gut microbiome. And it’s been shown that if you have leaky gut, you’re going to gain weight, and it could be unexplained weight. Just by healing your gut and taking out these emulsifiers, the additives, and the preservatives from these processed foods that you actually can see an improvement in weight loss. And like I mentioned with the fructose, fructose particularly is linked to insulin resistance and weight gain. So, you really want to be careful with the fructose. It increases liver fat and causes that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And that will disrupt the insulin signaling and contribute to insulin resistance, which will cause diabetes and unexplained weight gain. Fructose also elevates triglycerides and that has been connected to insulin resistance and fatty liver disease and unexplained weight gain. And it impairs the insulin signaling. So, in addition to causing insulin resistance with that added sugar, it’s impairing the insulin signaling so that it’s causing an additional layer of insulin resistance just from that, which is going to cause your body to store fat. Insulin is a fat-storing molecule or hormone.
And the hidden part, uric acid. People aren’t connecting this. Metabolizing fructose can raise uric acid levels in the blood, which is linked to insulin resistance. And then that uric acid is actually accelerating the removal of copper from the body, which copper depletion has been attached to unexplained weight gain. You need copper in the body for fat burning. And this is something that no one is putting together is that depletion of copper, especially in the last three years, because what else do we have besides the processed foods and fructose? We have the spike protein. Now, this is where people are missing the link.
In the last three years, if you ate an apple, Katie, today, versus eating an apple three years ago, I don’t care if you had the vaccine or not, or even if you had a COVID or not, all of us have been exposed somehow or another to the spike protein. It is in our bodies and even me. And I’ve had different experiences with the symptoms and the insulin dysregulation from it. But the spike protein dysregulates the function of the ACE2 enzyme receptor in the liver. And that’s why if anyone who listens to me, they know that I love my liver, and I have to do liver flushes constantly to cleanse the liver and make sure that we are having our liver do its optimal job in metabolizing fat and protein.
Well, this ACE2 enzyme receptor, the dysregulation of it will lead to a buildup of angiotensin II. And as a result, we’re gonna get water retention, insulin dysregulation, and unexplained weight gain increased in the antidiuretic hormone. So, you’re retaining more water, oxidative stress, inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of all chronic disease. And you will also get hormonal imbalance, which can lead to weight gain as well.
Now, the spike protein is also depleting copper. So, we have two independent things that are depleting copper out of our body. And I know you had someone on talking about iron, right? Iron, most of us actually have enough iron in our body. It’s just in all the wrong places. Copper is the hidden key that opens the door to get the iron to where it needs to go. So that is where most of us are running around copper deficient. And that dietary fructose and processed foods, coupled with the infiltration of the spike protein, has accelerated this depletion of copper in most of us, and so fructose metabolism results in substantial copper depletion, and the spike protein acts independently, depleting that as well. And where copper interacts with fat storage, it blocks the polyol pathway. So, this polyol pathway is a metabolic process responsible for converting glucose into sorbitol and fructose. We do not want sorbitol and fructose in our body. So, in the absence of copper, uric acid levels rise, paving the way for insulin resistance and unexplained weight gain.
So, it’s also really important, copper is really important for regulating triglycerides in liver fat. It’s actually been shown that if you can control your uric acid, eating that same meal that will raise insulin resistance, the insulin resistance will not be raised. So uric acid and copper are the hidden key to that. So, and also it is copper is very important for the iron regulation within the body. And it is addressing the root cause of oxidative stress. So oxidative stress leads to lower uric acid and decreases the likelihood of developing insulin resistance.
So, what I was talking about with the spike protein and say you ate an apple three years ago versus today, you might have an overshoot of insulin response today versus three years ago. You’re eating the same food, you haven’t changed your diet, you haven’t changed your exercise, but what happens is that over-exaggerated insulin response might cause you to go hypoglycemic, where you’re feeling low sugar, which then will actually make you wanna eat a little more, but it’s gonna actually cause you to gain weight because you have more insulin in your blood, and insulin is a fat storing molecule.
Now the next one is an unfortunate one because it is, we can’t see it, we’re not eating anything and that’s radiation. Here we are on our computers, we’ve got our cell phones, we’ve got the 5G towers, but we can’t see this radiation in front of us. Radiation, whether non-ionizing or ionizing, has been linked to an elevation in insulin resistance, and it’s causing issues with the nervous system, the endocrine system, the hormonal systems, that’s why your PMS symptoms might be worse, your menopause symptoms might be worse, your husband’s estrogen dominance symptoms might be worse, all of that could be due to radiation, and we’re not eating another morsel of chocolate. This radiation is increasing oxidative stress, free radical damage, DNA damage, and it’s even causing an early onset of dementia.
It’s causing a lower metabolic rate, so that’s why we, and this is a protective survival method because our bodies are going into survival mode, and it’s trying to protect us, right? It increases insulin resistance on its own, so it’s facilitating the storage of more fat, serving as an emergency energy, and the toxins in radiation are actually going into larger fat cells to shield the vital organs from the potential harm, and then once again, it’s reducing ATP energy and stealing energy from ourselves, so then we’re wanting to eat more to get more energy. So, it’s this whole cascade of things.
And then lastly, because there’s still more, the toxins that our ancestors never had. We have the GMOs and glyphosate in our food, the lead and mercury and other heavy metals and dental filings, the vaccinations, the water sources, the fluoride, the chloride. The bromide in our water and food, some of these things aren’t even legal in Europe and they are here. And our liver is just being backed up with all of these things, and the liver is where your metabolism is. So, I know you have a ton of questions because I’ve just covered a ton of things, and I haven’t even gone over the xenoestrogens, which we touched on estrogen dominance, but you’ve got the xenoestrogens from the pesticides, the plastics, the industrial chemicals, and all of those things are causing estrogen dominance, hormonal imbalances, waking, and this is all without eating another extra calorie.
Katie: I love you made such a strong case for just how interconnected all of these things are. And I think the beauty in that means that when we start making positive changes, the ripple effects reach all of these areas. So, it’s not like we have to sort of play whack-a-mole and do each one separately like conventional medicine does, but it’s like a very holistic picture of all these factors that come into play.
And to highlight a few things you said, I love that you started with cortisol and how this master hormone, it’s not just when we feel mentally stressed, but all those things that you just talked about that can affect our cortisol. So even if we don’t mentally feel stress, our body could be in a state of having our cortisol levels messed up. And these are all some of the ways we can start addressing that.
I really honed in on how you talked about sort of this intricate dance of things like hormones that are going on, sleep factors, insulin, now spike proteins, which is something new that we’re contending with. And I also love that you brought up the fat, especially around the midsection. I recently had a chance to do a DEXA scan for the first time. And I love this because it gives you your, not just bone density, but your breakdown of where your fat is within your body and how it’s quite different, especially as women, for us to carry a little bit more weight in our hips and our legs, for instance, than if it’s in that visceral area. And I was really excited to see, I think I only had six ounces of visceral fat total in my body, which is a pretty good number. But I love that we now have access to that kind of data. But as you explained all those really interconnected and important factors, it makes me think that there’s going to be an equally interconnected list of sort of the most effective things we can start doing to start moving all of those in a positive direction. So, I would love to kind of hone in on some sort of key takeaways and most effective steps that we can all take to start moving all of those things in a more positive direction, whether it be lifestyle factors, certain supplements that are especially helpful, or any other advice that you commonly recommend that can help sort of clean up all these areas at once.
Sara: Yeah, I have a lot of dietary supplements and lifestyle. And I wanna start with the supplements. And the reason I do is that when I was on my own healing journey, I needed the supplements to start feeling good so that then I would have the energy and the focus to actually take that lifestyle and dietary steps.
And the number one is iodine, the Acceleradine Iodine. Ninety-six percent of the United States is deficient in iodine. And it is especially important for your children and especially important if you’re pregnant. Iodine has a crucial role in the whole healing process. You will, number one, it kills the viruses, the bacteria, and all the things that we are facing, right? So, it is antifungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial. But what else it’s doing at, it’s also expelling the toxins, the heavy metals, and the radiation out of all 100 trillion cells of the body. And it’s increasing your thyroid. It is actually providing that four and three molecules of iodine when you’re talking about the T4 and the T3 with relating to the thyroid hormones. It’s providing that, and most doctors are not looking at the full thyroid panel. So, I recommend for anyone that is sluggish or having this unexplained weight gain and you go to the doctor, get a full thyroid panel, not just the TSH, that tells you nothing. TSH is a pituitary hormone. It’s not even a thyroid hormone. We need a full thyroid panel. It’s expelling all the toxins.
So, as we’re feeding the cells, the proper iodine for all 100 trillion cells, it’s kicking out the toxins that are causing the unexplained weight gain. It’s also increasing ATP by 18 times. So, every cell is getting 18 times more ATP and more mitochondria per cell to increase that energy and get rid of the fatigue. It’s getting rid of the radiation, the toxins, and it is the number one mineral that helps with brain fog.
I have a little story. My mom just was 80 years old, and she’s never had a weight issue. So, she’s never taken supplements or eaten right. And she had an accident, fell off her horse, broke her hip, and now she, or her pelvis, and now she is taking her supplements that I’m putting her on, and two weeks after, she goes, Sara, you know what’s really funny? Is my brain fog’s gone? I go, uh, yeah, and that’s because of the iodine. So, the Acceleradine Iodine and the Accelerated Thyroid. So this is a supplement that works with the iodine that helps most people get off of their iodine, or their thyroid supplements, with the help of their doctor, of course, but it combines Ayurvedic ancient herbal wisdom with glandular therapy, and then we enhance all of our supplements with scalar frequencies to detox the body of the heavy metals and the radiation, in addition to healing the thyroid. The thyroid is your bridge between your brain and your body. It is the master endocrine gland. So this will amplify the metabolism, promote the fat-burning, boost your energy. It helps break down that fatty liver, helps with the visceral fat. It will also boost your immune system and so much more.
And most people on antidepressants actually need to boost their thyroid. Most of them are hypothyroid. So, if you’re on an antidepressant, make sure your doctor is actually testing your thyroid health. So thyroid, thyroid, thyroid, right? We need to detox the thyroid and give it the nutrients it needs.
The last one I’ll mention real quick is the Accelerated Keto, because this supplement kicks you into ketosis, but what else it’s doing? It’s cleansing the liver on a daily basis. It’s boosting that ATP by five to 10 times. It’s increasing metabolism, increasing fat burning, and it’s giving you that steady energy. I don’t know about you, but when I was carpooling my kids around at three in the afternoon, I just wanted some sort of caffeine shot because it was like, I just wanna lay on the couch. Well, you get this nice, sustained energy all throughout the day. And you are able to intermittent fast. And we all know that intermittent fasting is super healing to the body. It’s God’s gift to us to heal our body, to produce that autophagy, and increase that ATP naturally. So, the Accelerated Keto helps you do that. The three supplements will get you off that plateau where you feel the energy like, okay, now I can do this. Now I’m gonna get off the processed foods. Now I’m gonna focus on real foods, and now I’m gonna be able to intermittent fast.
So, with that, you want to focus on wild animal protein. Now these are the proteins like deer, bison, lamb, wild fish, staying away from, I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me, chicken, turkey, poultry, pork, conventionally raised beef. Now why is that the case? Well, because of the spike protein, these proteins have amyloids in them. Amyloids are misfolded proteins that the body cannot break down. So here we are eating the chicken Caesar salad with the dressing on the side, trying to lose weight, and that chicken is not being broken down by the liver, it’s clogging the liver, it’s causing dementia in the brain, right? And it’s actually tripping up the gut and causing the bad bacteria in the gut, like E. coli and salmonella, to take over the good bacteria. So now we’ve got bloat and constipation and all of these gut issues. And here we are, just eating our chicken salad with the dressing on the side, thinking we’re doing the right thing. When you eat the bison, it’s full of nutrient density, and that nutrient density is not found in our vegetables anymore because our soils are depleted. So, we’re getting most of our nutrients from these wild animal proteins.
Then you want to actually pick out the vegetables that are working for your DNA. Most people are actually eating the wrong vegetables, and these vegetables are filled with oxalates or sulfur. So, some foods like the sulfur vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and these are all the low-carb vegetables that we think we’re supposed to be eating. They have sulfur. Those vegetables may have worked for us 10 years ago, but these sulfur vegetables are backing up our sulfur detox pathways that are not opened up because of the GMOs and the glyphosate in our food supply. And so, with that, these things are being stacked up. So here you are eating these detox vegetables, and our livers are already burdened with the xenoestrogens and the radiation and the GMOs and now the sulfur vegetables, it’s backing up, and our liver says, I give up, I can’t do anymore. And I can’t break down that healthy fat that you just ate or the healthy proteins you just ate. And so, I’m just gonna put on extra weight.
So, by eliminating the sulfur vegetables and the oxalates, oxalates are spinach, almonds, most nuts, berries, chocolate. And I have a full list of foods in my accelerated food guide that is free and accessible on my website to look at what foods to focus on. And when you do that, you will see the water weight just drop. It’s amazing, Katie, when I stopped eating the cabbage that I was eating every single night with my dinner, I lost five pounds of water like that. And some of these artificial sweeteners, even too much stevia, can back up your liver, and that can cause unexplained weight gain. So, there’s very intricate dietary tips that I go over in my group coaching that’s free to anybody and through the accelerated food guide and on my podcast and in my articles where you just making some small little tweaks where the healthy foods are the wrong foods, and you see these big changes.
Another quick tip, exercise around your meals either before or after, just take a walk for 10 minutes. That’s gonna lower your blood sugar and actually make a shift. It’s actually also going to help with that perceived stress and sleep. You know, we always talk about sleep. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I get that eight to nine hours versus the six to seven. Doesn’t matter how many supplements I take, how much I work out, what I eat, if the sleep is not there, that is it.
And the last thing I would say is perceived stress. We are not gonna change the chaos in the world. We are not gonna change the chaos in our children’s lives and them being bullied or coming home from school with an issue or whatever. I’ve got grown children now, and the problems, I always say that little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems. So, you need to adjust your perceived stress, how you are taking it in. When you see a scale of one to 10, try to perceive your stress as a one or a two because regardless, that problem is here, and it’s gonna go away. And how you take it in and how you process it is only going to help or hurt your health.
Katie: Well, I love it. You are such a wealth of knowledge. I took a lot of notes that will all be in the show notes as we were speaking, and I will make sure to link to your website, your supplements, your healing guide of all the foods. And I know you have so many more resources there than we could cover in one episode. Thank you so much for breaking this down so clearly and for your time today. This was super informative, and I’m excited to do another short episode with you and really go deep on the subject of detox. So, thank you for being here.
Sara: Thank you.
Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode.
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