I’m typically not one to judge others. I like to subscribe to the “to each their own” philosophy. This mainly stems from the fact that I know I have plenty to be judged on and I’m not about to go asking for that. Also, because this is a free county and I ain’t gonna tell no one how to live they life. However, when it comes to ANYTHING nutrition related, it seems I am already running a high risk for deserving judgment. Apparently, a license and extensive knowledge in nutrition studies places a sign on my back saying, ” Hide your plates, I care what you eat and will lecture you on it!” and Please, mock and berate my personal food choices.” ANY dietitian will tell you these are our experiences. Like for real guys, you think I have time to care what everyone in my immediate circle if contact eats? You think I don’t enjoy the occasional (everyday) dip from the chocolate bowl, myself? After hitting it up on the reg, your comments of “OMG! Did I just see that happen?” aren’t as charming as they used to be. So, while I’ve only ever mildly snapped off on those that brings these exhausting and irritating comments my way, I’ve managed to successfully remained unconcerned with others choices and stay out of it! Until they enlist my assistance and ask for my input, that is.
HOWEVER, as a scientist by trade and human by nature, people watching aka “observing” (less creepy sounding) is something I DO DO. So, this isn’t judging, just merely concluding research findings. I’d like to shed some light on something I’ve come very passionate about and absolutely convinced of through my observations: the relationship between chronically elevates insulin levels, the American diet pattern, and obesity/fattiness/sickness.
I was meeting with a client the other day, explaining the science-y nerd stuff about nutrition…because having even the slightest understanding of how nutrients work in your body is beneficial when expecting one to make proper food choices. So here I am talking about everyone favorite nutrient: CARBS aka the fat kid nutrient (okay, that was a little harsh, but you’ll see why) and I realized “THIS IS THE REASON AND PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE!”
Allow me to explain in the easiest way possible: CLASS IS IN SESSION!
So, when we ingest carbohydrates they are broken down into the the form of energy our body uses most GLUCOSE. We need glucose, to function- heartbeat, breathing, brain energy, and workouts all involve GLUCOSE as fuel. So we eat this carb, lets say a banana-yummy in our mouth-
down into our bellies aaaand GO, digestion. Glucose in the making. At this SAME time, our body is triggered to release INSULIN which is the major hormone involved with blood sugar (glucose) regulation, in that it STORES this energy away. It takes that glucose (used to be banana) and shoves it away in our cells for later. This stored glucose is called GLYCOGEN. We draw from these glycogen stores as we expend energy throughout the day. So, long story short: eat carbs, make glucose, insulin releases and stores it away as glycogen. There are times we need this Ex: after a hard workout, we’ve burned all our stored energy (GLYCOGEN) up and need to replace it-smash the carbs! However, most Americans lead sedentary lives and aren’t burning sh*t. So here, we are storing too much glycogen, and not burning it…we develop full ADIPOSE TISSUE stores aka FAT. So, constantly consuming carb laden foods keeps our body constantly secreting insulin which keeps us constantly storing glucose which makes us fat.
You follow? Good job kids!
Here in lies that problem: even “healthy choices” can be carbohydrate dense, and as Americans we have been conditioned to making these classic food choices. So even our best efforts in “dieting” (yuck, I hate that word) are leaving us still overweight, hungry, and frustrated.
Here’s what inspired this post: I was at a hospital teaching a diabetes class for work (ironic much?) and I walked by a food cart that had been served at some admin breakfast meeting that looked like this…
Unless someone in there ran a marathon before they came to work, these people are just packin’ on the pounds. Every food on this tray is almost completely composed of carbohydrate. Waking up in the morning and immediately spiking your insulin is what we’ve been taught though! I grew up on cereal and oatmeal. Hell, for lunch was sandwich, chips, and a piece of fruit…maybe even some cookies to boot, right?
We are conditioned to think this is what meals should look like.
I know no one who says “Ooo! Eggs in coconut oil and bacon, just like my mom used to make!” or “This natural peanut butter kale smoothie takes me back to my childhood”…because the 90’s diet motto might as well have been: “FAT IS THE DEVILS HANDIWORK.” Luckily its 2014 and more and more research is proving this isn’t true. So, while most nutrition professional will encourage you to choose “low fat dairy, whole grains, and fruits” as part of a healthy diet, there is a TIME AND PLACE. Constantly, all day long, as the bulk of your meal, isn’t that time and place.
If you want to know more, maybe figure out how to tame your insulin, get at me! I’m happy to help you out. This isn’t stuff people typically know, so I love being able to inform people and possibly provide that missing link. Walking around in storage mode constantly is OUR BIGGEST ISSUE, in my personal, professional opinion. It just kills me to see people spinning their wheels-it’s not judgement, its just concern and frustration with our misguided perceptions as a whole. #merica
PS If you even mildly enjoyed the content of this post, you should check out the documentary “Fed Up”…it will ROCK YOUR WORLD!