To lose weight you need to understand what makes you fat, what gives you that peculiar and unsightly ring around you abdomen, that ‘beer belly’… what is it and how do we get rid of it?
So as I have mentioned in one of my previous posts sugar & other killers, artificial sweeteners such as High Fructose Corn Syrup; found in fizzy drinks will cause metabolic damage, obesity, diabetes and will increase the risk many other life threatening conditions such as heart disease. But its not just the artificial refined ingredients or sugar we consume on a daily basis you need to be aware of!
Weight gain can be blamed on so many factors that influence what we eat or how little calories we burn because of our sedentary lifestyles, but some people watch what they eat, consume their recommended levels of vitamins & minerals, exercise regularly and either stay the same weight or even continue to gain weight..
Why do we STILL gain weight!? What most people do not understand is that FAT does not necessarily make you fat what makes you fat is predominantly sugar. So now your thinking but I don’t drink fizzy drinks or eat sweets, which is great because your most probably at less risk of diabetes, heart disease, digestive and cognitive problems than someone who does consume fizzy drinks, sweets and other sugary loveliness.
The big problem with our modern day diet, is the highly glycemic carbohydrates we consume day in day out. All carbohydrates can be measured on The Glycemic Index, The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels (University of Sydney, 2014).
So if we eat a carbohydrate such as a baked white potato without the skin, we are reaching a glycemic index of 98 (University of Sydney, 2014). At a glycemic index of 98 our blood sugar levels go way way up, and whatever goes up has to come down right? Highly glycemic foods STRESS the process of insulin release so when our blood sugar level starts to drop, it drops further than the start point; leaving us feeling drained. To compensate for this fluctuation in blood sugar level we eat more highly glycemic food; by eating highly glycemic foods which cause high blood sugar levels, we release the hormone insulin from the pancreas to help stimulate the transfer of glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of our muscles; this is a fantastic process BUT, insulin also STORES carbohydrates as FAT!!
To recap on that last paragraph; we eat highly glycemic foods (white potato, bread, pasta etc) – blood sugar levels rise rapidly – we release insulin to push the glucose (sugar) into cells and store the carb as FAT – blood sugar levels drop after 2 or so hours – we feel tired and depressed – we eat more highly glycemic foods – the cycle starts again… so we get FATTER & FATTER.
But surely Bread is ok? Wholemeal (whole wheat) bread has a glycemic index rating of around 70-90 depending on the brand, a Snickers bar… the chocolate covered nutty, chewy caramel delightful snack bar has a glycemic index rating of 43. So if you eat the same portion size of bread & snickers bar at different times, the bread would actually raise your blood sugar levels nearly double that of the snickers bar!… Shocking I know!
You are what you WHEAT! As I have mentioned in a previous post ‘what are we wheating for? Sickness?‘, wheat can be somewhat held responsible for the obesity crisis we are currently in. In my blog post about wheat there is a link to the ‘Grainstorm rant’ about how wheat has changed over the past 40 years, which explains how we have accepted that eating this so called ‘modern wheat’. “This thing being sold to us called wheat – it ain’t wheat. It’s this stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers used to bake muffins, genetically and biochemically light-years removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago” (Davis 2011)
The American Diabetes Association & The United States Department of Agriculture promote the eating of wheat the words ‘eat more whole-grains’ may seem familiar, but if we eat more wheat surely we will get fatter and fatter? Not to mention the dangers of Gluten (protein found in wheat, barley, rye). All of which is discussed in the book or audio book ‘Wheat Belly’ written by William Davis, 2011… Most definitely worth reading, especially if you suffer from obesity, diabetes, any cognitive problem such as schizophrenia, autism, or any auto immune and problems such as celiac disease, crones disease, arthritis.
So what the hell can we eat!? Well cutting out all of the fizzy drinks, high sugar content foods, artificial sweeteners, and anything containing High Fructose Corn Syrup or Aspartame seems pretty simple because we choose to eat these foods knowing they are bad for us. Wheat Bread on the other hand is pretty much the staple of our diet, we eat bread every day, breakfast toast, lunchtime sandwich, dinnertime pasta… I assume. So reducing our wheat consumption may be found difficult BUT there ARE alternatives!
Bread: It is now possible to buy bread made from rice flour, and you can buy millet bread.. usually available in the ‘hulled’ variety. Pasta: you can buy pasta made from rice flour and Buckwheat pasta is now an option. Biscuits: A selection of rice cakes, maize biscuits. Cereals: anything made from raisins, corn flakes, rice flakes, banana chips, coconut chips and other dried fruit are all good alternatives to wheat. Porridge made from rice flakes and Millet is also available.
You may see foods labeled ‘gluten free’, which does mean they do not contain gluten, but the gluten is replaced with something, normally potato starch which has a high glycemic index! So go for the alternative grains I mentioned above.
If your wanting to avoid highly glycemic foods, which you should, but can’t think of alternatives, eating highly glycemic foods with a good source of fat slows down the rate of digestion, which therefore blocks the big spike in blood sugar levels; meaning you wont secrete as much insulin (fat storing hormone). So if you eat a slice of bread with some peanut butter (3nut butter is amazing, have a try for yourself) you will slow down the rate of digestion, giving the bread a lower glycemic index. Again, if you eat some avocado (healthy fats) with your white potato… the same effect.
Hope this has helped you understand weight management and I hope you can use this to your advantage, let me know what you think…
Daily Mail . (2014). The Alternatives to wheat. health . 1 (1), 1.
University of Sydney . (2014). About Glycemic Index. Available: http://www.glycemicindex.com/about.php. Last accessed 10/10/2014
William Davis (2011). Wheat Belly. Rohdale