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Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 12:33 am

All calories are not equal

The science behind the strategy

 

Food guidelines may sound challenging at first – no processed food, no sugar, no grains and no dairy. No snacking in between meals, and finish eating two hours before bedtime.

All calories are not equal, and the combination of foods is important. Meals should be balanced with 30 percent protein (meats, fish, fowl, eggs), 30 percent good fat (avocados, nuts, olive oil) and 40 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates (veggies, some fruits, little starch).

Dr. Craig Backs, a physician who has been part of the CrossFit Longevity program for over five years, explains the impact of insulin and the science behind what to eat and when.

“The key hormone in weight management is insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter cells to be used for energy. It also causes unused glucose to be stored as fat for less plentiful times. When a person is resistant to the effect of insulin (due to a combination of genetics and obesity), insulin levels rise, storing more glucose as fat, leading to more insulin resistance in a vicious cycle. Eating sugar, carbs and protein spikes insulin, but protein intake stimulates insulin rise to a lesser extent than glucose from sugars and starch. Fat causes no rise in insulin levels. Though fat contains more calories than carbohydrates, more of the excess carbohydrate is stored as fat.

Fasting is the state with the lowest insulin levels. It reverses the vicious cycle described above, allowing fat to be used for energy and resetting the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Like any other drug, insulin sensitivity decreases with continued exposure and abstinence increases sensitivity.

To become less insulin-resistant, eat in a way to lower insulin levels. This means less sugar and carbs and more good fats, lower insulin levels and a net loss of fat.

If you want to gain fat, raise your insulin levels with a lot of refined carbohydrates. Processed foods and sweetened beverages are perfectly designed to do that. If you want to lose fat, do the opposite.

Recommended reading: The Obesity Code by Jason Fung.  –Karen Witter

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