Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 3

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous posts in this series:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2

The Difference in Carbs

After eating, glucose levels rise, insulin levels also rise to process the glucose and store fat for use between meals. This design keeps us from needing to eat constantly and gives us energy to run or be active when we need to.
Once the glucose is taken care of, insulin goes back down and your body starts burning fat for energy until you eat again. Well, that's what's supposed to happen...

When we eat refined carbs, they are rapidly absorbed, causing insulin levels to spike. What goes up must come down, and the higher it goes, the longer it takes to come back down. Your glucose ends up coming back down before your insulin can and since your insulin is still very high, your body can't access stored fat so.... you feel hungry again. Your brain is telling you it needs more food/energy.
Note: The brain is in control of your appetite. Cravings, hunger, the munchies... these are messages from your brain.

Ideally your meals should include a small amount of complex carbs that are high in fiber. Fiber causes the glucose to release slower, avoiding the insulin spike. Most of the time though, our meals include quite a bit of carbs (sometimes they're almost completely carbs) most of which are simple or refined. Not only are simple carbs making us fat, they require nutrients from our body to be processed, bringing our health down as well.

In an example where two people ate the same number of calories, one ate good carbs and fat (i.e. nuts, oil, yogurt, fruit), the other ate mostly processed carbs (i.e. cereal, toast, juice).
By 10:30 the first example would be in fat burning mode.
The person in the second example begins to feel hungry at 10:30. Their insulin is still coming down and now they need another energy source because their stored fat is inaccessible (because insulin is present).

You'll know a bad carb when you see it, because it will include ingredients like these:
White flour
White rice

Examples of bad carbs: white bread, cereal, bagels, pasta, chips, cake, cookies, donuts, pastries, soda, etc.

Examples of good carbs: whole grains and foods made from them (bread, cereal, pasta), fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and beans

FYI - Only 100% whole wheat is 100% whole wheat. Marketing techniques include using words like wheat, multi-grain, and whole grain to make it sound healthy. If it doesn't say 100% whole wheat, it is only partially made using whole grain.

I recommend researching and trying whole grains you've never tried before. Ever heard of quinoa? Try this Guide to Whole Grains

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 4

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