Breakfast…Eat It!

Eat it!  Mostly protein, minimal carbs.  Make time for it, it is the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast literally means to “break-the-fast”, after not eating overnight and often for up to 12 hours.  Overnight our bodies are in healing and repair mode and have been doing a lot of work while we are sleeping.  It is crucial to replenish the lost energy during this work within an hour of waking.

Breakfast is the first chance the body has to refuel its blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. Glucose is essential for the brain and is the main energy source. Blood glucose also helps fuel the muscles needed for physical activity throughout the day.  We need to awaken our body internally well…not too fast though…so we don’t want to berate it with glucose from carbs.

“Think of your meals in terms of Meal #1, Meal #2 and Meal #3 vs breakfast, lunch and dinner…that will give you the freedom to not feel as though you need to be stuck with “breakfast” foods for breakfast or that you can’t have eggs for dinner!”*

Despite the healthful benefits, breakfast may be the meal that is most often neglected or skipped. Eating breakfast not only aids in weight loss and weight management, it fuels the body to help provide energy, better concentration and problem-solving ability throughout the day.  It also helps curb hunger and prevent binge-eating later in the day…providing you eat a well rounded first meal.  Starting your day with a good breakfast boosts your energy, increases your attention span, and heightens your sense of well-being. You’ll be in better control of your emotions.  A good breakfast is one that provides about one third of the day’s calories.

Don’t put it off for too long, even if you’re not hungry.  If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, that tells me that your hormones are off.  And one of the best ways to get those hormones back in line is to eat something in the morning…make it habit until it sticks and feels good.

Ideally eat this first meal within one hour of waking…whether you wake up at 5am or 3pm…get into a habit or “wake then eat”.  As you will soon learn, leptin (a vital energy balance hormone) has a daily rhythm tied to your eating schedule.  “Which means that if you start eating too late in the day, your entire leptin pattern can be thrown off.  Which means that at night, when leptin should be high, it won’t be and cortisol correlated with leptin dysfunction, will tend to make you crave more food at this time.  Usually not the good kind either.  Which means you’ll be prowling thru your pantry or freezer after dinner looking for a snack. Which leads to more hormone disruption”. *

Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which is often a result of eating a full meal late in the evening, late snacking or routine…stemming from a disruption of hormones…just the kind of disruption we are trying to fix.  When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food. Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep and there is still food in the stomach in the morning. The wrong hormones are thus made to work at the wrong time.  The stomach needs a rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning and will help to reset your crucial hormonal rhythm.

People who eat breakfast eat less throughout the day. You may be saying to yourself, “But breakfast actually makes me hungrier!” This is true, if it is unbalanced or too high in carbs.  A good first meal (breakfast) focused on protein and fat as well as nutrient dense veggies (and not overloaded with fruit or other carbs) sets you up for less hunger, more consistent energy levels, and fewer sugar cravings.   This combination makes you feel full for longer than a straight carbohydrate breakfast will (such as sugary cereal/bagel etc).   Most people can sustain themselves for at least a few hours on a breakfast of 300-400 calories coming from proteins and fats. But skipping that small amount entirely could be the biggest mistake of your day!

It is okay to feel hungry between breakfast and lunch. Prepare yourself for this situation by packing a snack with less than 250 calories. If you feel guilty about eating so often, keep this in mind: A healthy small breakfast and a healthy small snack in order to get you to a healthy small lunch is a much better option than a gigantic early lunch you attacked because of morning food deprivation.  After awhile of getting into a rhythm of eating overall fewer carbs and more healthy fats…you may find you do not even need 2 snacks a day in addition to 3 meals.  The “eat 5-6 mini meals throughout the day” mantra just came about b/c we were eating too many carbs and dieticians figured that would be a good way to balance blood sugar….good thought, but if you are not eating excess carbs, this is not such a concern.  So as you become more adept at using healthy fat for fuel you may find you do not need those snacks and do just fine with 3 great meals a day.

To make eating breakfast a habit or to give your breakfast a nutrition makeover, rethink your meal. “Breakfast just means breaking the fast; it doesn’t mean you have to eat specific foods. Breakfast food alternatives just don’t come to mind because they weren’t taught to you,” says Susan Kraus, MS RD.

The key to this is- Planning! It’s hard to eat a balanced breakfast if you don’t have the proper raw materials, so planning ahead is crucial.

What’s your excuse for not eating breakfast?

•  “No time?” How much time does it take cook an egg?  Making time for breakfast is making time to be healthy.

•  “Not hungry?” To get started, don’t eat anything after an early supper. Finish supper by 7:00 p.m.  Once you get into a rhythm with breakfast you will become hungry in the morning…a good sign of balancing hormones.

•  “Might gain weight?” Eating breakfast will actually help you reach and maintain your healthy weight. Your appetite will be satisfied longer. You’ll be eating food when you can best burn the calories. You won’t be as tempted to gorge later on when you find yourself “starving” b/c you haven’t eaten breakfast. You’ll feel great. Eat breakfast (mostly proteins and healthy fats)

•  You “don’t like breakfast foods?” You don’t have to eat traditional breakfast foods. You can eat leftovers of any kind. Any healthy food with protein is fine. Caffeine may mask hunger, so eat first then have your coffee.

•  You “don’t like eating breakfast?” It is in your best interest to eat breakfast. Take the step. Do the right thing. Eat breakfast. Change habits.

Simple, easy ways to add Breakfast:

•  Start Small. If your not a breakfast eater, begin with greek yogurt and/or one egg.  In a few days, add more food.

– Eggs, eggs, eggs…..my favorite for protein, fiber and healthy fat in the am:  2-3 over easy eggs over a bed of baby spinach, steamed kale or broccoli and topped with avocado slices, sea salt and hot sauce….and kimchi for good digestive functioning throughout the day!

– Check out the recipe page for a great recipe for egg muffins

– Greek Yogurt with nuts, seeds, shredded coconut and a few berries

– Smoothie with berries, plain greek yogurt, almond milk or coconut milk for the liquid part, flaxseed meal, almond butter peanut butter or a protein powder

•  Add Some Fruit for Breakfast if you plan on working out earlier in the day.  Fruit gives you fiber and glucose for energy for that workout. Fresh fruit is the best choice. Avoid fruit juices at all costs. There are many to choose from: berries are best….oranges, grapefruits, apples, pear.  But don’t forget your protein..

•  The sky’s the limit. The only limitation is your imagination. Make it a priority. Eat breakfast.

It’s time to Give These Things Up for Breakfast:

  • Cereal  (I don’t care how much fiber etc it supposedly has)
  • Granola (one of the hardest foods to digest)
  • Oatmeal everyday
  • Toast
  • Just fruit
  • Skipping breakfast

Fiber is an important addition to any meal.  It is a natural appetite suppressant that curbs the appetite and keeps your cholesterol and blood sugar at optimal levels and your bowels functioning smoothly.  I will do a complete write up about fiber but in the meantime, add extra to your breakfast with a tablespoon or two of flaxseed meal, veggies esp leafy greens or some berries.

Breakfast is especially important for women:

Going for long periods without eating, as in fasting, or skipping breakfast, increases the risk of gallstones particularly in women.  Without the stimulation of food, the gallbladder does not put out enough “solubilizing” bile acids that keep cholesterol dissolved and unable to form gallstones.  Women who skipped breakfast have been found to have the highest incidence of gallstones and those least likely to have gallstones are those who ate breakfast within an hour of waking.  To help prevent gallstone formation and cholesterol buildup, eat breakfast and be aware of long periods of fasting or not eating.

References:

*  Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

Wonderful Water

Drink more water. Period.

Ok, fine let’s elaborate!  Water is fundamental to all life on earth.  Without water life wound end in 3-5 days.  Water makes up more than 70% of the body’s tissue and plays a role in nearly every body function, from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing wastes from the body.  Without clean water we cannot experience optimal health.  Yet most of us fail to get enough of it.

“We are only in our infancy with respect to our scientific comprehension of what water actually is and what it does within and surrounding our cells”*.  One thing we know for certain is that it is essential to critical cellular communication on all levels and is the single most important substance for life (along with oxygen).

“Often what may seem like a complex physical or emotional issue is little more than chronic dehydration.  Losing as little as 2 percent of your body’s water content through diuresis (peeing/sweating etc) or dehydration can result in noticeable fatigue.  A drop of 10 % can cause problems ranging from muscoskeletal issues (ex: joint pain, back pain, cramps) to digestive problems (heartburn, constipation), immune problems or allergies and even cardiovascular symptoms.” **

Replacement is key.  But very individual.

All day long you lose water, as you breathe, when you perspire (both of which I hope you are doing a lot of!), and each time you make a trip to the toilet.  Folks who lead moderately active lifestyles lose about 6-8 cups (1.5-2 liters) of water each day.  For optimal health and well being, at least that much water must be replaced, meaning at least 3 quarts of water needs to be replaced under normal circumstances.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can provide up to 1 quart, drinking pure water is the other source of replacement.  Caffeinated beverages, such as tea, coffee or colas and alcoholic beverages do not count as water replacement because they act as diuretics in the body, increasing fluid losses from the kidneys.  Contaminants and other substances combined with water ultimately make water less hydrating to the cell (meaning the water does not get into the cell in the same way).  This is why pure water is always more hydrating than say juice or tea.  Sweetened “sports drinks” may enhance water retention (water filling up on the outside of the cell), but they are inefficient at actually rehydrating the inside of your cells, where water is most needed.

Water is the ultimate calorie free and sugar free substance. Regular ol’ water can also play a significant role in losing weight because of the way it revs up metabolism and hydrates cells so that they can process carbohydrates and fats more efficiently.  When your body’s cells are adequately hydrated, you accelerate the liver’s ability to convert stored fat into usable energy and help your kidney’s flush out toxins.

Initial weight loss is largely due to a loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration. The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.

Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.  It is very important to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.

A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fiber (which we will talk about soon). But while fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it. Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore you may be satisfied eating less. With sufficient water intake, we tend to crave proteins more than carbohydrates….just what we want!

Many folks confuse hunger and thirst, thinking their hungry when they are actually dehydrated.  When people reach for water first, they can separate the two sensations, which stops them from overeating.

When you feel thirsty, you are often already dehydrated. Try to avoid this situation by drinking in advance. Be especially careful when participating in activities where you won’t be able to stop to get caught up. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can’t metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. If you allow this to happen, not only are you being unfair to your liver, but you’re also setting yourself up to store fat.

How much water should you be drinking? A general rule of thumb is a half ounce for every pound of body weight.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for drinking 75 ounces of pure water.  That is just over 2 quarts and another 1 quart of water replaced through fresh fruits and veggies, providing you are eating plenty.  I feel for all of you this is a good amount, considering you are increasing your activity level as well as part of this challenge.

Then again, overconsuming water can lead to something called water intoxication and overdilution of sodium in the body.  It’s a little like drowning from the inside out.  Anyone who is way overzealous about water consumption can succumb to the ill effects of hydration excess though true water intoxication is rare.  Most people really do fail to drink enough water, but just watch out for going to far the other way.

Keep in mind that it is less about how much you drink than how fast you drink it…we can get into trouble when we drink too much all at once…as with anything.  The human body (and kidneys) can process only so much water at a time.  Listen to your body, it will tell you when you’ve had enough for now.

Water consumption should be spread out throughout the day, one or two glasses upon waking and also about 30 minutes before each meal.  Try to pick three or four times a day when you can have a big glass of water, and then sip steadily in between. Don’t let yourself get thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you’re already becoming dehydrated. Drink when you’re not thirsty yet.  If you consume any dehydrating beverages like coffee, all juices, soda or alcohol…be sure to add another 12-16 ounces of pure water for every 8 ounces of diuretic beverages consumed.

Do Not Drink Water With Meals:  Avoid drinking water within 30 mins – 1 hour of a larger meal.  Drinking with meals leads to a more rapid digestion of the food you are eating and therefore a greater tendency to lose out on proper absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals in your foods.  Drinking water with meals can greatly contribute to heartburn and acid reflux (as can eating fruits with other foods).  Try to change the habits you may have been brought up with that we know are not beneficial.  If you experience heartburn or reflux regularly….this is super important and will greatly help…cut the water and fruit with meals.

Basic Water and Rehydration “Rules’:

  • Drink when you are thirsty….listen to your body
  • Drink more when in higher altitudes (increase work of breathing) or much dryer climates
  • Drink more if sweating profusely
  • Drink a bit more as you age
  • Drink more when very ill or fighting disease
  • Drink more if pregnant or nursing
  • Do not drink with meals

Our individual need for water depends on numerous factors:  Activity level, body size, environment (humidity level and altitude, most significantly), quality of health, age, and pregnancy/breastfeeding.

Be conscious of over hydration (rare but can and does happen), which is often more dangerous than dehydration.

 Guidelines:

While specific fluid recommendations aren’t possible due to individual variability, most athletes can use the following guidelines as a starting point, and modify their fluid needs accordingly.

Hydration Before Exercise

  • Drink about 15-20 fl oz, 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink 8-10 fl oz 10-15 min before exercise

Hydration During Exercise

  • Drink 8 fl oz every 20 min during exercise if greater than 1 hour (don’t worry if your workout is less than 30-45 mins)
  • If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8-10 fl oz of a sports drink or replacement (with no more than 8 percent carbohydrate) every 20 – 30 minutes….sipping so as to avoid the stomach upset

Hydration After Exercise: focus here!

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses.
  • Drink 15-20 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
  • Consume a 4:1 ratio of carb to protein within the 2 hours after extended exercise to replenish glycogen stores.

1) Short workouts don’t usually require water – If you’re doing a quick 20-45 minute run or strength training routine, you can simply drink 20-24 ounces of water after you finish. Unless it’s very hot or you’re beginning the workout in a dehydrated state, you’re not going to “lose performance” by not drinking.

2) Long workouts require water – By the time you get thirsty during a sweaty, long workout, such as a 10 mile run, you may have already lost 2% body weight. Dehydration can occur when you reach just 3%. So if you’re waiting to get really thirsty before you drink, you could be dehydrating and limiting your performance or recovery. For long workouts, try to consume 5-10 ounces of water every 20 minutes (choose the higher range for hotter conditions).

Tips to meet your water quota throughout the day:

  •  Make it a habit to carry water with you at all times.  I have a stainless steel water bottle with lots of stickers on it to make it more personal!
  • Keep a bottle or pitcher of water near your desk at work.  If it’s there you’ll drink it, if it’s not you won’t!
  • Always order water with whatever other beverage you get when dining out.
  •  Drink extra water before, during and after physical exercise.
  •  Non-caffeinated tea and milk alternative still count to some degree….for every cup (8 oz’s) of each of these, count it as 1/2 cup.  (water is preferred though esp for weight loss!)
  • Squeeze fresh lemon or lime into your water to make it more refreshing!

Health benefits of drinking water

  • regulate appetite
  • increase metabolism
  • boost energy levels
  • less water retention
  • alleviate some headaches
  • help reduce blood pressure
  • help reduce high cholesterol
  • ease joint pain
  • decrease in risk of some cancers
  • less chance developing kidney stones
  • release toxic waste products
  • improves skin

References:

* Gerald Pollack, Ph.D, Univ of Washington professor of bioengineering and author of the book Cells, Gels and Engines of Life

** Nora Gedgaudes, CNS, CNT

Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar Control for Optimal Health!

We have all heard over our years of schooling that “almost all of the body’s energy is derived form glucose – sugar and this is the main “fuel” of the body”.

So, let’s revisit this…almost all the body’s energy is derived from glucose because we GIVE it so much damn glucose!  Genetically we were not necessarily programed to run solely off of glucose….our body also loves to run (and more efficiently too) off of ketones from healthy fats.  Way back when we actually did run off of more ketones than glucose and thrived that way. We actually only need 5 grams of glucose an hour for our brains and body to function properly.  Our bodies can make needed glucose from proteins and fats (thru gluconeogenesis) as well….our body is smart!  What you eat determines the quality, the quantity and the availability of glucose to all your body’s cells, including the brain.  So, the importance of obtaining the best form of glucose becomes paramount. Also, maintaining an even blood sugar is extremely important with regards to energy, mood and overall health.  A key way to control this is by what you eat, especially what type of carbohydrate you eat.

Carbohydrates are a great source of energy.  They are necessary for the digestion and assimilation of other foods, and they can help regulate protein and fat metabolism.  We just don’t need as much as we tend to eat. The damage occurs when we over do it….All carbs are broken down by digestion into sugar, which is released into the bloodstream to provide the entire body with fuel.  So, whether you eat a milky way or a sweet potato, the end result is a glucose (or sugar) molecule.  The way in which this works has an effect on our energy, mood, weight, our ability to deal with stress and our long term health.

We do need carbs.  We just don’t need the carbs from refined foods and we do NOT need as many as the USDA food pyramid would have us believe.  Too many carbs, esp those from refined sources forces the body to convert any excess carb into body fat, which keep the pounds on.  You won’t lose weight and keep it off, your energy levels will be like a roller coaster and often low, and your overall health will suffer if your diet is high in refined carbs or excess unused carbs, healthy or not.

A Little Science…

When you consume carbohydrates, your body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels due to a rise in glucose in your bloodstream. In response to this rise in glucose levels, the pancreas releases the hormone, insulin. Insulin is a hormone that’s absolutely essential for getting amino acids into the muscles for growth and getting carbohydrates into the muscles where they’re needed for energy.

However, when there’s a large blood sugar spike, your body tends to “overreact” and produce too much insulin. The insulin quickly clears the glucose from the bloodstream, leading to a sharp drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar is accompanied by cravings, hunger, weakness, mood swings and decreased energy. The hunger and cravings tend to cause the sugar consumption to perpetuate itself, resulting in a vicious cycle of ups and downs in energy throughout the day.  Thus the importance of maintaining a stable blood sugar level.

If there is too much insulin in the bloodstream, which often happens when you eat an excess amount of either highly refined, high-carb foods, or even too many ‘good’ complex carbs or high glycemic (sugar content) simple carbs…the body stores the extra sugar as fat.  Insulin converts the excess glucose in the blood into triglycerides (blood fat) that are then stored in the fat cells.  Sugar can not only lead to weight gain and obesity but also to water retention and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. During this time of insulin spikes, there is also a spike in cortisol.  Cortisol is a dangerous hormone (stress hormone) that actually kills brain cells, increases fat storage, and breaks down lean muscle mass.

Other than sugar (and dietary fiber), the other main carbohydrate form is starch which is found in plant-based foods such as rice, potatoes, corn and grains.  When starchy foods are eaten, the digestive tract breaks down each type of carbohydrate in essentially the same way, converting it into simpler sugars (except for fiber which passes through your body undigested), and finally into glucose (blood sugar), which is a source of immediate energy.  If these calories are not expended, however, the body stores them as fat and is the reason why high starch foods should be eaten in limited quantities.

Why are we limiting carbs during this program let alone for the rest of out lives?

With excess weight on, or hormones out of balance (hormones being anything from insulin, thyroid hormone, estrogen and progesterone to testosterone, leptin and cortisol) you are at a metabolic disadvantage.  Your body and your hormones are out of balance and thus not able to do their jobs properly and also not able to metabolize your food intake properly.  As you work towards achieving balance through this program and lose unnecessary weight, you’ll need to put an end to the hormonal havoc that excess or bad carbohydrates have caused.  You will scale back on less nutritious sources of carbs and increase the healthier ones.  By modifying your carb intake, you will keep extreme blood sugar spikes to a minimum.  This allows your pancreas a much needed rest.  With blood sugar levels relatively steady, your pancreas does not need to continually secrete insulin to shuttle that sugar into cells.  As insulin levels drop and stay low, it takes stress off of important organs throughout your body, such as your kidneys, heart, liver, thyroid, and adrenals so these organs can heal and become more efficient.

Make Your Carbs Count:

This is not about counting every last carbs but it is about being mindful or your intake especially this first month until we get your metabolism back to a healthy place.  We will focus on carbs that are:

  • Low in starch and high in fiber:  this is why we are avoiding potatoes, corn, and excess beans and peas and instead increasing fiber rich food sources such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, etc.
  • We are avoiding artificial additives, sweeteners and excess sugar as well as any refined carbs.
  • We are choosing foods and carbs sources that are as minimally processed as possible.  Whole fruits over jarred fruits, raw nuts over roasted nuts, whole grains over flour based products like bread, cereals and baked goods.

Carbohydrates and Inflammation:

I personally believe (and more and more research support these views) that the majority of all of our chronic illnesses are a result of chronic, long standing inflammation. Here is a blurb I cut and pasted that I thought did a good job of outlining the idea….

“When inflammation becomes chronic and systemic, when it ceases to be an acute response, when it becomes a constant low-level feature of your physiology that’s always on and always engaged, the big problems arise. The inflammatory response is supposed to be short and to the point. I mean, just look at its responsiveness. Go twist an ankle (don’t, not really) and watch how fast it swells up and gets warm to the touch. It isn’t meant to be on all the time.

And because a big part of inflammation is breaking the tissue down, targeting damaged tissue and invading pathogens, before building it back up, the inflammatory response has the potential to damage the body. That’s why it’s normally a tightly regulated system, because we don’t want it getting out of hand and targeting healthy tissue. But if it’s on all the time, regulation becomes a lot harder.”

Carbohydrates, aka sugars, (along with stress, toxic diets, insufficient omega 3 intake and excess omega 6 intake, lack of sleep, lack of movement, and poor gut health) can contribute greatly to chronic inflammation.  I want you to be healthy on all fronts, not just in the weight realm, so yet another reason why we are focusing on eliminating unhealthy and excess carbs/sugars.

For your carb sources, choose the best you possibly can:

Best: 

  • All the above the ground growing veggies

Better:

  • Root Veggies…the below the ground growing veggies (except white potato)

Good:

  • Fruit…esp temperate region fruits (over tropical fruits)

Limit:

  • Grains and Legumes 

So Why Do We Get Fat??!! … A Little Weight Loss 101

I am a science gal.  I love to know the science behind why something works and I love to see the evidence of something working even more.  Science is about a combo of evidence based research, theory, practice and practical, visible, everyday results.  If we just theorize about something and it sounds really good, but it doesn’t actually work then I would be very hard pressed to take that info as fact from a scientific perspective….unfortunately that happens alot in science (ie the THEORY that eating fat makes you fat).

Nutrition is a very young science (2nd in youth to neuroscience…hmmmm…the brain is super complex, maybe the way be take in and process food is too).  There is SOOOO much that we have learned since we as a people first started spewing nutrition theory and fact and sometimes we have to go back and accept that what we once thought was right is actually in fact wrong, because we have learned oh so much more!

There are sooo many weight loss myths out there, much that is wrong and little (in comparison) that is actually right.  We now KNOW for fact (at least now) that eating healthy fat does NOT make you fat.  The low fat hypothesis (b/c that is all it is, there was never any practical evidence that it was true….just essentially one Dr trying to lobby the AHA, mind you it took him practically 8 years to convince them to spread his message….read Good Calories, Bad Calories if you are interested in the story) is now regarded as wrong by the leading endocrinologists and bariatric doctors as well as many up to date nutritionists out there in the world.

Since Americans went “low fat” beginning in the 50’s, we have only gotten fatter and more disease ridden as a nation.  When the low fat craze came into play, we began to eat low fat yet high carb. Hmmmm….

So why do we get fat??

“Well we don’t get fat from eating too much and exercising too little and somehow we can’t get the right balance of that and therefore the excess is going to fat tissue”, says Gary Taubes.  The answer is not as simple as calories in and calories out.  It is about what makes up those calories and how do those nutrients effect our very intricate inner workings, our hormones, our biochemistry.  If it were that simple then there would be a million or rather billionaire out there raking it in on that “right” formula of the calories in, calories out.

Gary poses this question:  “Think about it for a minute…if you were walking down the street and you saw an 8 foot man walking toward you, you might think (with a scientific mind)…”wow!  I wonder what is going on inside them to secrete so much excess growth hormone”.  If you see an obese individual, how about applying that same “out of balance internally” thinking….”wow! I wonder what is going on inside them that is causing them to not be able to burn fat”.  It is the same issue…HORMONES!

Another weight loss myth to consider….we need to increase our metabolism in order to burn lots of calories and then we won’t get fat.  So, ask yourself first…”what is metabolism?”.  If you answered “it is how you burn calories”, you would be wrong.  That is one of the things it does, but not what it is.  Your metabolism is your biochemistry, which is the interplay of your many hormones.  It is your body’s electrical system that switches all else on and off thru a very sensitive set of feedback loops and alot of detailed communication.  It is similar to the engine in a car…if we increased the heat, the car would only get hotter, not run better.  We don’t want to increase metabolism, we want to make it run more efficiently. And how do we do that?  Thru creating proper communication thru our electrical system, our biochemistry, our hormones and thus the rest of our body.

So we come back to HORMONES….So what do we KNOW regulates fat?  The hormone Insulin.  And if it is insulin, then we need to look at the main regulator of insulin, which is the carbohydrates in our diet.

Insulin is your fat producing AND fat storing hormone.  The carbohydrates that we eat cause us to secrete more hormones thru a variety of mechanisms.  When we secrete insulin (in response to eating carbs), the broken down calories (glucose) go first to our muscle cells and is stored as glycogen and a little goes to our brain.  (I don’t mean that you have a little brain, just that we only need a very small amount of glucose to feed our brain!).  The excess (really anymore than 90 grams, b/c that is all we can store at one time) goes into storage in our fat cells.  The problem lies when we secrete too much insulin from too much carbs in our diet…causing us to store fat.  Not only does insulin cause us to store fat, it causes us to lock fat into fat tissue.  So the more fat you accumulate from excess carbs, the harder it becomes to burn fat because it is locked into place.  Now you have a fat producing factory vs a fat burning factory and the viscous cycle will continue until you cut out the excess carbs.  BODY FAT CANNOT BE BURNED IN THE PRESENCE OF INSULIN.

So now what are we going to do?!  Well we need to stop producing so much insulin, which means we need to figure out how to maintain even blood sugar levels so insulin doesn’t have to come in (be secreted) and try to sweep the excess blood sugar away.  And how are we going to do that?  Cut out the excess carbs!  Yes I know the name Dr Atkins may draw up thoughts of a very deranged man and his plan….but in reality, he had it right, the science that is….he just went a little too far to the extreme!

Keep in mind that not only are we concerned with insulin for fat burning and weight loss but more importantly overall inflammation and an increase in blood sugar and subsequent chronic elevation of insulin secretion are 2 of the biggest contributors of systemic inflammation.

It’s really a simple equation:

You get rid of the excess carbs, thus limiting insulin production and you get leaner.

But if you get rid of the excess carbs, what is your body going to use for ‘fuel’??  Don’t forget that there are two other important nutrients out there….proteins and fats.  And what do you know….fats are the only nutrient that do NOT create a surge of insulin.  (Proteins no where near as much as carbs either).  Fat loves to be used for fuel and can be very efficient if you allow it to be.  So you replace carbs with healthy fats….like avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, real whole eggs, real butter, clean meats, etc. Fats make you feel satisfied and do not lead to the cravings that carbs do. Fat is your friend.  Healthy fats do NOT make you fat.

So ideally you are aiming for a lower carb, higher fat intake of nutrients.  (keep in mind that fat adds up alot quicker as there are 4 calories for every gram of carbs and 9 calories for every gram of fat….so you are not really eating a ton of fat)  This is the way of eating that the top endocrinologists, the top bariatric and the top medical Dr’s are suggesting and using in their practices all over the world.  This all comes with a history of over 150 years of working! Science in practice!

We will diving even deeper into all of this soon!!

In the meantime…EAT REAL FOOD, LIMIT CARB INTAKE FROM ALL SOURCES AND EAT HEALTHY FATS!!