Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Carbohydrates, Insulin Resistance and Fat

You've probably heard over and over again that carbohydrates are perhaps the WORST thing you could eat when trying to lose fat or transform your body, and for most people, that's 100% true.

Fact is, due to years of consuming a diet full of processed carbs and sugars, most people have grown quite insensitive to one of the most important hormones in our body—a hormone that can either be a huge asset to your body transformation goals, or a total fat-loss and health-derailing nightmare. 

The name of this hormone is insulin.

And insulin's function is to help your body keep blood sugar at bay, clear it quickly from your bloodstream after a carbohydrate meal, and (hopefully) shuttle that blood sugar to muscle tissue for energy instead of into fat cells (driving up your weight).

I say "hopefully" because that's actually the exact opposite of what occurs when most people eat carbs.  Going back to insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance, due to a diet full of processed, insulin- and blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates, most folks are suffering from some level of insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin is no longer able to efficiently remove blood sugar from the blood stream.

The result?  Dramatically reduced fat burning, increased blood sugar levels and increased fat storage.

Even worse, insulin resistance can and often does lead to type II diabetes and an array of other health problems over time, such as an increased risk for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders, premature aging, heart disease, and even stroke…and it all leads back to insulin sensitivity.

Ideally, when you consume carbohydrates, here is what you want to happen:

1.  Minimum insulin release.  This occurs when your body is highly sensitive to insulin.  When it is, only a small amount of insulin is necessary to effectively and efficiently clear glucose from your blood to its storage sites.  This is great news because your body has an incredibly difficult time burning fat in the presence of insulin.  The less insulin you have floating around, the better.

2.  Quick and efficient blood sugar clearance.  Again, this will occur when your body is highly sensitive to insulin.

3.  Maximum glycogen uptake.  Glycogen is the term used for stored carbohydrate in muscle tissue and the liver.  When these tissues are highly sensitive to insulin, the vast majority of blood glucose will be stored within them as an energy reserve, instead of being converted to fat.

4.  Minimum fat storage.  When you increase insulin sensitivity, your body will choose to store your carbohydrate intake as energy, again in lean muscle tissue and the liver, instead of body fat.

Simply put, your body's ability to process the carbohydrates you eat all comes down to your insulin sensitivity and your body's ability to quickly and efficiently clear sugar from your blood.

Knowing that, and also knowing that you yourself are very likely suffering from too much blood sugar and some degree of insulin resistance due to the previously mentioned dietary and lifestyle factors, you’re probably wondering what you can do to improve your insulin sensitivity and make your body responsive once again to this critically important hormone.
Find out how Adrenal Fatigue from chronic stress affects your health at CortiSLIM.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Great Debate... Butter VS. Margarine

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys.  When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.  It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.

How do you like it?   They have come out with some clever new flavourings....      
DO  YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?       
Read on to the end...gets very interesting!     
Both  have the same amount of calories.

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine..   
Eating margarine can increase  heart disease in women by  53%  over  eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent  Harvard  Medical Study.   
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in  other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because  they are added!    
Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.    
Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

And now, for Margarine..   
Very High in Trans fatty acids.    
Triples risk of coronary heart disease ...   

Increases  total cholesterol  and LDL  (this is the bad cholesterol) and  lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)    
Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..   
Lowers quality of  breast milk   
Decreases Immune Response.   
Decreases Insulin Response..   
And  here's the most disturbing fact... HERE IS THE PART THAT  IS  VERY INTERESTING!   
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC... and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.   These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated!!!! (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).     

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area.  Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:  

*  no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)   
*  it does not rot or smell differently because it has   no nutritional value ; NOTHING will grow on it; even those teeny weeny micro-organisms will not find a home to grow.  Why?   Because it is nearly plastic .

Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?     
Chinese Proverb:   

When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it,  you have a  moral obligation to share it with others.      


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 Tips to Super Charge Your Metabolism!

Keep that metabolism charged!

Enjoy a protein source with each meal.

Don't starve - Dropping your calorie intake below 1,000 calories a day will signal to your body that you are in starvation mode, and will slow down your metabolism.

Eat frequently and eat more - Eating smaller meals more often keeps your insulin levels at bay which means that you won't store your food as fat.

Exercise - Exercise provides a boost at any time of the day, but when done in the mornings, it is
especially helpful by raising your metabolism all day. Add weight training or progressive resistance exercise that builds muscle for faster results. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest!

Hydrate yourself - The energy burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively. Keep drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The #1 Worst Food That Ages You Faster

Wheat based foods (yes, even "whole wheat")

Before I tell you why wheat can actually speed up the aging process in your body, let's clarify some simple biochemistry in your body...

This deals with "glycation" in your body, and substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.

So with that said, what is one of the biggest factors that increase production of AGEs inside your body?  This may surprise you, but high blood sugar levels over time dramatically increase age-accelerating AGEs in your body.  This is why type 2 diabetics many times appear that they have not aged well and look older than their real age.  But this age-increasing effect is not just limited to diabetics.

So, let's get back to how "whole wheat" relates to this...

Here is a little-known fact that's often covered up by the massive marketing campaigns by giant food companies that want you to believe that "whole wheat" is healthy for you... but the fact is that wheat contains a very unusual type of carbohydrate (not found in other foods) called Amylopectin-A, which has been found in some tests to spike your blood sugar HIGHER than even pure table sugar.

In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar MORE than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing that's documented in studies.

This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause MUCH higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources.  If you don't believe me, here's something you should know... I ran personal blood sugar tests on myself using a blood glucometer about 45 minutes after eating 2 slices of wheat bread vs eating a bowl of oatmeal, with equivalent grams of carbs.

The blood sugar test results:
2 slices of whole wheat toast:
45 minutes after consumption:  Blood sugar spiked from 86 fasting level to 155.

1 Bowl of Oatmeal (equivalent grams of carbs to 2 slices wheat toast)
45 minutes after consumption:   Blood sugar raised from 86 fasting level to 112 

As you know now, the higher your average blood sugar levels are over time, the more AGEs are formed inside your body, which makes you age FASTER.  Clearly, the whole wheat spiked blood sugar MUCH higher than the oatmeal, and if you don't know, 155 is a massive blood sugar reading that will certainly contribute to faster aging if you eat wheat frequently.

You've probably also heard about the potential health-damaging effects of gluten (another problematic compound found in wheat that can cause inflammation in your digestive system) in the news recently, but this blood sugar aspect we just covered is not talked about that often, and is yet another reason to reduce or eliminate wheat-based foods in your diet.  Your body will thank you by aging slower and looking YOUNGER! 

And losing bodyfat is typically another fun side effect of eliminating or reducing wheat in your diet!

Yet another problem with wheat-based foods and aging...

As it turns out, baked wheat products contain carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides that form in the browned portion of breads, cereals, muffins, etc.  These carcinogenic acrylamides have been linked in studies to possible increased risk of cancer and accelerated aging.  Note that acrylamides are also found in high levels in other browned carbohydrate sources such as french fries or any other browned starchy foods.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is this stress hormone, Cortisol anyway?

Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body secretes to help your organs function optimally, quickly, and more effectively during periods of stress. This is part of that "fight or flight" response where when stressed, your body thinks it needs to crank up the function of everything including your heart rate to get you out of trouble fast.
Nowadays, we are more likely to be running away from office meetings or stressful exams more than anything else but we still have this cortisol response during times of stress; just as when our ancestors needed to run from a predator.
The cortisol response was meant for short term bouts of stress. Unfortunately, our modern day lives seem to be fraught with incendiary events that cause long term cortisol secretion instead of the intended short term bouts meant for "fight or flight" away from predators.
If your level of cortisol is always relatively elevated because you are always stressed about life events or if you are just overall anxious all the time, our adrenals (which produce cortisol) may become fatigued and adrenal fatigue tends to lead to other issues like hair loss, increased inflammation, insomnia, more anxiety, fatigue, and chronic aches and pains, just to name a few issues. Worsening weight gain, hotflashes and thyroid dysfunction can also be linked to adrenal fatigue.
So, if you are concerned about your adrenal function, ask your doctor for a saliva test or a 24-hour urine test for cortisol level to see if you are doing alright or if your function has diminished. If you are noticing more and more belly fat formation and retention, that may also indicate elevated cortisol issues. But in generally, if you are constantly feeling stressed, you can be sure that your adrenals are having to work overtime and your cortisol level is likely unhealthily elevated.
My main suggestion is to intentionally implement stress management techniques into your daily schedule. Some common options I generally suggest for my patients in my integrative medicine clinic in San Jose CA are exercise, taking time to listen to music, playing with your favorite pet, or talking to loved ones. By incorporating activities on a daily basis where you allow your body some downtime and relaxation, you'll naturally be helping your cortisol level return to normal levels and you will be giving your adrenals a break…which ultimately, can help you looking and feeling younger no matter how many predatory office meetings you want to run from. For more information, see www.cortisol.com