Friday, February 1, 2013

 I'm still hungry!

Day 14 - post surgery
Only 2 half Codeine pill yesterday, a good 25 minutes of walking, and a two-hour mid-day nap…Motor and sensory reactions in hands and feet improved (about normal), and dizziness going away.  I am reading a lot but get quickly bored with most TV shows.  

One book I have been reading is called “Fat Chance- Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

Roast Goat - Tanzania - 
I am not badly overweight but like many people today I have to consciously be on guard against weight gain.  Obesity in America is epidemic! Take a minute to examine the data: Obese people often make a joke of their weight – but the evidence points to a shorter life with less mobility and more disease.

Delaware - Soft shell crab dinner
Its almost funny how many different diet plans and theories have been offered in the last 20 years–Most all have been formulated from reasonable scientific  facts and observations.  A few that you will recall:  “all food calories are the same – if you want to lose weight just eat less”, “ eat only meat “, “avoid animal fat”, “avoid sugar and fat”, "eat eggs"- "dont eat eggs", "eat beef" - "dont eat beef". … If you find the current theory doesn’t strike your fancy just wait for the next one… “Fat Chance” delves into the history and reasoning of each theory and why each was purported to work… and then explains where each theory went awry. 

Thanksgiving dinner -Berkeley CA
Basically it comes down to a question of the endocrine system. Calories from different sources are processed by different metabolic routes!   The normal human pancreas produces insulin in response to the presence of sugar in the body. Thus a diabetic person who can not produce normal insulin may have glucose in their blood stream but be unable to take it into the body cells.   Table Sugar (sucrose) is made up of a molecule of glucose joined with a molecule of fructose.  These sugars were rare in nature before the advent of modern processing methods; and our bodies evolved over thousands of years to recognize sugar as an indicator of energy rich good food.  Insulin acts as a chemical signal to direct food directly into fat cells.  The presence of insoluble fiber in some foods (like fruit) slows down the action of the insulin to store food in the fat cells. 

Insulin has one more trick up its sleeve.  Excess Insulin leads to a perceived sense of hunger and a need to eat more.  Thus that piece of chocolate cake soon leads you to seeking something more to snack on...Sugar begets insulin which begets a sense of wanting more to eat!

 I highly recommend this brief video:

Back yard political fund raiser event

Our bodies have balancing mechanisms- and our fat cells also produce a chemical called Leptin that acts to counter the action of the Insulin. Leptin lets us know we have had enough to eat and it directs food into metabolic pathways that release energy for immediate cell use.    Fat cells – Leptin released - leptin signals that the body has enough stored energy in the fat cells.  Most modern humans, having strayed far from the diets under which we evolved, have altered normal leptin pathways....that may no longer recognize "normal" hormonal cues to stop eating.  This is largely due to a glut of fructose in our diet. 

Sashimi and sushi
Some of our human ancestors were hunters;  their food was primarily meat and animal fat.  Combined with their active life style, they developed a metabolism that could take in and store energy when it was available, to carry them over times when food was scarce. (Like the Atkins diet.) Other humans were gatherers that collected plant products from nature as the foods became seasonally available. (Much like Vegans today) Their foods were carbohydrate and plant proteins.

Czech kolache with dried fruit fillings combine fats and carbohydrates

Neither of these groups combined fats and carbohydrates naturally together because such combinations were not naturally found in any wild food.   Major health problems developed when it became possible to combine fat and carbs. into a daily diet…  This combination  is called the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”.  Our poor bodies are trying to do the best they can with a diet of food for which we have not evolved natural chemical pathways over millennia of time. Surplus fat is stored as subcutaneous fat or surplus colesterol is deposited within the arteries.

Carved fruit and vegetables - Thai banquet
The primary offender is processed sugar, added under many different disguises to many of our foods.  Read more about the disguises of sugar:

The bottom line is that sugar, corn syrup all stimulate the release of insulin – and insulin directs food directly into fat cell storage.  Reduce insulin and food is directed to cells for immediate release of energy.  Reduce insulin and the sense of "fullness" clicks in after a good meal.   Eating natural fiber (not additives) also slows the action of the insulin.

Government health conscious programs in the mid twentieth century called for a reduction in the amount of fat that we eat – and so to make food tasty and more profitable, food processors increased the amount of sugar and corn sweetener in their products.   Fiber has also been removed from processed foods - the sale of food would decrease if the customer  experiences normal  "fullness" after eating.  Combine this with "super sizing" orders and you go a long ways toward explaining our national obesity problem.

Fresh apricots
In addition processed starch, white flour, other carbs that have had fiber removed quickly break down in the body to form more sugars…  Natural fiber in grains and fruit slow the process and allows more of the food to be routed into energy release rather than fat cell development.  Six carbon fructose sugar does not directly stimulate insulin, but has the effect of removing the bodies ability to respond to Leptin, which means that the awareness of "enough to eat" is cancelled.

Best diet: Eat "real" food  - not processed food.  Avoid sugars in their various forms, select foods with high natural fiber.  

If you found this blog helpful - send it on to a friend - send this url: