Debunking the Traditional Take on Nutrition
New Year, New You
~Part I of our nutrition posts aimed at helping you reach your nutrition and weight loss goals.
Sugars, insulin & weight loss
Identifying where your sugars are coming from, and eliminating them from the main part of your diet is the first and easiest step to a new nutrition plan, and will help you kick start your weight loss goals.
Sugars are what cause an increase in blood sugar, and the resulting release of insulin into the blood stream. High insulin levels have been shown to be directly related to weight gain by turning on your fat storage pathways (your body’s ways of preferentially shuttling those [sugar] and other calories consumed within that meal into fat storage). The easiest example I can think of is in the case of type II diabetes where the body can no longer produce insulin - the largest symptom of those suffering from type II diabetes is sudden and unexplained weight loss (i.e. Weight loss without changes to diet or exercise level). So what can we take from this?...if you can reduce your insulin response to the foods you’re consuming, you can reduces your weight.
Here is a breakdown of the most likely places you may be consuming sugar:
SUGAR (sucrose, glucose, corn syrup) basically the straight addition of refined sugars to packaged foods. This one is an easy one to identify and eliminate from your diet by reading the ingredient list on the packaging
FRUCTOSE (fruit sourced sugar) - This is where most people can easily go wrong, even though they are acting with good intentions. The published Food Guides groups fruits and vegetables together - they are in fact completely different in terms of the way your body reacts to them. Think of your body like a car - everything you put into it has an immediate and specific effect on overall performance. Your body works in the same way - it has a very specific and immediate physiological reaction to everything you eat...so everything you place into your mouth triggers a corresponding cascade of physiological reactions. Your body has a vastly different response to eating vegetables (with the exception of starchy vegetables such as potatoes) than it does to eating fruit. Fruit is healthy because it is jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants, high in fiber, and a healthier replacement for when you're craving something sweet...but it is basically just sugar and water...so here's the pitfall most people fall into - they go on a "diet" and fruit becomes their go-to for snacks and with meals - very nutritious, but bad for weight loss since their diet is now consisting of mainly sugar. With fruit, timing is everything, it is a great choice right after exercising – your body is primed and ready to take in and use sugar at this time (without having the same effect on insulin levels)
LACTOSE (milk sugars) – Another common error is to make the switch from 2% to skim milk, and to switch to low fat or no fat dairy products. When you remove the fat in milk, you are left with mostly just the sugars (lactose), which more quickly stimulate an insulin response. The added fat content in dairy products is what makes it harder/slower to breakdown and digest – therefore, lessening the insulinemic response to that particular food.
Even though milk products have a low GI (glycemic index) rating, they have an extremely high insulin index (similar to that of white bread in fact), so reducing your intake can definitely help with your weight loss goals
Stay tuned next week’s blog post on refined grains, and fueling for exercise.