By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer
Through Lifestyle changes you can reduce and even reverse much of the ill health effects that are rampant today. Things like insulin resistance, type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc, that were caused by our bad habits, can be vastly improved if not resolved. But it will require lifestyle and habit changes to control your insulin response and levels.
By lowering your bad carb and sugar consumption, while increasing good proteins and fats, and of course exercise, this can be done! If you don’t believe the growing amount of substantiated research, or doctors coming on board like Dr Mark Houston, of The Hypertension Institute of Nashville, TN, or their patient results, then just look around. Look at the increased girths and size of the general population, and the rise in heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, over the past two-three decades. Yes, since we started eating low fat and high carb foods we have gotten fatter and less healthy.
In addition, by including regular, progressive, intense, and varied exercise the mechanisms that help control insulin and sugar will be supported and aided. Especially, considering the majority of blood sugar is suppose to be stored in muscle cells (80%) and used as fuel. If you don’t exercise then you don’t make room for new blood sugar exchange and the body has no choice but to convert and store it as fat.
Before the past hundred years of human existence, people where continuously active and work was exercise. Now most people will sit or lay most of the day which has profound effects on metabolism and energy utilization. Along with poorer food choices due to convenience, processed, and refined foods we have promoted bad health, medical and pharmaceutical dependency. Since proteins are considered an essential food and nutrient, and there’s something called essential fatty acids (good fats) let’s start there.
What Is Protein?
Protein is a nitrogen based organic compound that consist of large or long chain amino acid molecules, that are found in foods such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, rice, and beans or anything that fly’s, swims, runs, and walks. Protein’s are essential for all living organisms, and is a catalyst for energy, metabolism, cells, enzymes, antibodies, transport, storage, and considered the building block of the body for structures including, muscle, hair, collagen, skin, and cells.
There are over 500 identified amino acids and they are the second most abundant substance in the human body after water. There are 22 standard amino acids, 9 of which have to come from an external dietary source to be synthesized into major biological functions. Protein yields 4 calories of energy per gram of weight.
During digestion proteins increase metabolic rate more then other foods by way of enzyme and heat production, called thermo-genesis. Besides thermo-genesis proteins help weight loss through hormonal responses that help with insulin control and appetite sensation.
What Is Fat?
Fat is a organic compound that consist of esters of glycerol (a compound produced by the reaction between acid and alcohol that eliminates water) and fatty acids that form an oily soft, semisoft, or solid substance, stored in the body. Fat is a major source of fuel and energy and is vital for brain, nerve, heart, muscle, metabolic, health, and vessel function. Fat yields almost 9 calories of energy per gram of weight, thus supplying the most fuel per gram.
There are several types of stored body fat, for instance brown fat is active and helps to burn calories and to keep you warm. White fat is more abundant, helps store energy, and produces hormones that are secreted into the blood stream. Small fat cells produce the hormone adiponectin, which makes the liver and muscles sensitive to insulin. Subcutaneous fat is found under the skin and is what we associate visually as being fat, and can be felt by pinching the skin together. Visceral or “deep” fat wraps around the inner organs and is linked to bad health issues such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, and stroke.
Essential fats (essential fatty acids or EFA’s) are good fats that have t be consumed, because they cannot be synthesized in the body, and are required for optimal health. EFAs support cardiovascular, cell, nerve, and skin health, brain function and development, and many other benefits. Every human cell has a receptor site for EFA’s, specifically omega 3’s. Examples of essential fatty acids are coconut oil, cold-water fish, dark leafy green vegetables, grass-feed beef, hemp, nuts, olive oil, and seeds.
What Is a Carbohydrate?
Carbohydrate (carb) is a large group of organic compounds that contain carbon, with hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1). Carbs are broken down into sugar and released as energy in the body. Carbs include sugars, starch, and cellulose from plants. During digestion carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, starches, grains, pasta, deserts, candy, juice, soda, etc, are either absorbed or converted into a sugar like glucose that’s more usable in the body.
In chemistry carbohydrates are classified as saccharides (monosaccharide, disaccharide, oligosaccharide, and polysaccharide), with monosaccharides and disaccharides being smaller or simple sugars like glucose and sucrose. Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides are considered larger or complex sugars like glycogen. Carbs yield 4 calories of energy per gram of weight. Since carbs contain sugar they have a direct effect on insulin response with the exception of low glycemic carbs.
Low glycemic carbs have less effect on blood sugar levels and insulin response than high glycemic ones. Carbs effect on blood sugar level can be measured by, a glycemic index, which measures rate of sugar absorption, a glycemic load, which measures total sugar absorption, and a insulin index, which measures sugars effect on blood insulin level. In general carbs that cause a low insulin response should be the primary carbs of choice like vegetables, fibers, and certain fruits that have minimal or zero effect on insulin, which happen to be very healthy as well.
How Good, Carbs, Proteins, and Fat Promote Health
Good carbs, proteins, and fat promote health by decreasing heart disease risk, reducing insulin levels, lowering triglyceride levels, and raising HDL good cholesterol. This nutritional way of managing insulin improves the ratio of triglycerides to HDL, also a good risk indicator of heart disease. A high triglyceride to LDL ratio will increase risks up to 16 times more according to Dr J. Michael Gaziano of Harvard Medical School. Also the lowering of triglycerides will reduce the formation of bad LDL-b cholesterol, (the dense problem causing cholesterol), as opposed to LDL-a cholesterol, (the light harmless cholesterol).
Similarly, eliminating bad carbs and controlling insulin will inhibit the formation of trans-fatty acids, which is linked to bad LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, lower HDL good cholesterol, and insulin resistance. The only good trans-fat is zero trans-fat, according to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine. The primary sources of trans-fats are, baked goods, cakes, cookies, crackers, deep-fried foods, doughnuts, fast food, French fries, granolas, margarines, muffins, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. So by promoting good carbs and eliminating the bad, many life-threatening diseases can be minimized or avoided.
Like-wise good carbs, proteins, fats, and exercise lowers hypertension or high blood pressure risks by lowering insulin levels, which allow the kidneys to release excess salt and water, thereby dropping blood pressure.
In addition, by eliminating bad carbs like wheat and refined grains, which turn into sugar quickly, and seem to be related to many food allergies or sensitivities, this will vastly improve your health. According to Dr. James Braly, gluten insensitivities may affect tens of millions of Americans. Another prominent doctor in this field, Dr. Joseph Mercola, believes that grains, starches, and sweets trigger a hormonal cycle of sugar addiction, weight gain, and diabetes. Numerous studies link high glycemic load carbs with heart disease and diabetes. (See Part One, Insulin & Part Two, Sugar).
So by lowering bad carbs, reducing refined sugars, flours, and grains and exercising overall health can be greatly improved.