Understand How Food Instructs the Body

Fresh Fruits
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The inspiration for this post came from listening to lectures from two Doctors (Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, and Dr. Mark Hyman, MD) on the state of the healthcare system in the US and the biology of food.

Both of these Doctors are proponents of holistic medicine and know the current medical practices of western medicine. They both mentioned the lack of nutrition training for Doctors in medical schools.

The absence of nutrition training in medical schools is something that I was not aware of until recently, and it makes some responses that I received from Doctors in the past more understandable.

What I previously perceived as being dis-interested or not caring could have easily been attributed to the lack of training in nutrition, and the reason they prescribed the nutritionist whose specialty is in food.

The main thought that stood out to me in the lectures is the addictive nature of sugar and how it affects the brain when it comes to choosing the foods we eat.

Once the food is consumed the biology kicks into gear, and the food itself sends signals to the body on what to do with it — teachings of moderation as a way to control weight gain does not work in the face of sugar additions.

If a healthy weight individual maintains the right level of moderation, they have a better chance to remain at the ideal weight. While there is some truth this statement in the beginning once the body fat composition increases it affects the hunger level of the person and makes it harder to fix the problem.

The Three Macros of Food

Food breaks down into three categories which are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The carbs will cause a massive swing in the blood sugar levels when consumed without proteins, or fiber to help regulate.

Proteins are used to repair tissue and are needed in higher doses if there are excessive physical activities or bodybuilding exercises. People need to caution themselves from thinking that a high-protein content bar is the best food choice if they are not working out; this can hamper weight loss if not done incorrectly.

Fats by themselves do not affect the blood sugar very much and are good at helping people to feel more satisfied with their meals; that can help people to lose weight when the healthy fats are in their diets, causing them to feel full longer.

Olive Oil

Lifestyle change is the only way to make a lasting change; what better way to ensure that a healthy change will stick than to make sure the transition is enjoyable.

Changing the composition of the foods are the best way to change what your body is doing with the material once consumed. The menu will dictate what the direction it goes when we give the body excess carbs the body stores it in the fat cells.

Directions given for each of the macros are different, it would be wrong to oversimplify the process, but it is something that with a basic understanding can make choosing the right ingredients for our food more natural to do.

How Fast Food Affects the Body

The first way that the fast food industry affects the body is by providing vast amounts of carbohydrates that will convert to glucose or sugar in the bloodstream.

This sudden influx of sugar affects the brain’s pleasure centers and is more addicting than many of the drugs that we consider to be bad for society in general.

In the lectures, it is startling how many studies that are out there which show that cocaine-addicted rats choose sugar water over cocaine, even when they have to work harder for the sugar.

Hamburger

In my personal experience, cutting sugar from my diet was much harder than quitting smoking, and the cravings are still there eight months later!

Eight months after quitting smoking I did not have any more cravings from the nicotine (for me the nicotine cravings stopped after a couple of weeks) the most significant issue was breaking the habit which took a couple of months.

The sugar cravings are always there; and even with the new habits being formed now for over eight months, the thinking about sweets is still something to deal with regularly.

How Sugars Affects the Body

There are a hosts of health-related reasons why we should be reducing the sugar consumption in our diets. But the reality is much different from when you discuss the issue with someone.

People know that they should reduce sugar to lower the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, liver problems, diabetes, and obesity. But the numbers of how much flour and sugar that we consume tell a different story.

Since 1980 the average person consumption of sugar has increased from 112 to 152 lbs/yr. And the obesity rate is something that is skyrocketing during this time.

It is looking at the numbers in Wikipedia that states in 1962 the obesity rate in the US was at 23% and in 2013 the obesity rate was about 60% with a projected 75% obesity rate by the year 2020, which is right around the corner!

Sugar

I am considering the massive amount of products that contain high levels of added sugar in the forms of high fructose corn syrup. Most of these products are getting advertised as healthy options for part of a healthy diet plan.

Until people become more educated on this subject and get involved in changing the marketplace, the effects that the extra sugar is having on both themselves and the public will continue. The best way to change this is for people to demand that the companies change what they are doing.

After all, the companies want to make money, and the best way to make money is to provide the public what it desires. At present, people hooked on sugar is negatively impacting their health and the cost to the economy is astronomical.

How to Detoxify the Body

Everyone is different in their preferred method of taking a band aid off of their injury. Personally, the best way is to rip it off in one quick motion.

Typically, that is my approach to making changes in life as well. But I do understand that method does not work for many people. Whichever works is what people need to do when it comes to addressing the reduction of sugar to levels that are more in line with the way people consumed sugar before the obesity crisis began.

When we look back a couple of hundred years in the early 1800’s the average person consumed only 10 lbs/yr of sugar. When you compare that to the 152 lbs/yr of sugar, that we are getting now, it is no wonder why the population is so much more massive now than it was back then.

The best way to detox the body of the sugar is first to realize where you are at in your diet. Stopping the fast food and the processed foods can be done, but it does take extra effort to do it, and there is a cost involved with buying the fresh ingredients to eat.

Processed Foods

It makes it easy to think about buying food in its purest form. Ideally, it would be better to grow your vegetables and fruits, but that is not feasible for many people in our busy lives today need to buy their food from grocery stores or maybe a farmers market if there is one close enough to drive too.

The more that you change your diet to fresh foods that grow straight from the ground or the meats are processed locally; the better the food will taste to you. This reality is something that took a little more than six months before noticing that my taste buds are changing.

After giving in and eating a hamburger from a fast food chain that I was craving; then only realizing that it did not taste the way that I remembered! The best part is that I have not had those cravings anymore since eating that meal.

Conclusion

The idea that food talks to the body and give it directions on what to do with the material is something that I am looking forward to learning more about in the next year.

Eating healthy is something that we do to live, and it can enrich our lives; our health is all we have to ensure that we can do the things that make us happy in life.

Remember to take time to take care of yourself! Thanks for stopping by and reading this article and hope to it kindly speaks to you.

Please leave your comments, suggestion, questions or share your thoughts on the subject in the area below.

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16 thoughts on “Understand How Food Instructs the Body

  1. Hello Chad. Excellent to have found your article. I can say I found your article very informative as myself have been on a diet and started quite recently (about two months). I am aiming at a vegan diet and the only thing left is the honey, which helps me still and cannot stop it yet.

    Well, I was about 120 kilos now I might be 115 or 117 don’t know. The thing that matters to me is the change of lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, you might miss it and then it is possible that you gain it again.

    But if you change your lifestyle, the change is more stable and permanent and so will be your eating habits/schedule.

    I will share an example of what I said in the second paragraph. Before I joined the army, I was 105 kilos. But with the excessive training there I went down to 82 in 5 months. When I finished my time, then I started gaining weight bit by bit again.

    I made that decision to change my diet in one day. But every day my old habits try to kick in as usual. As you said yourself, some cravings don’t stop even after eight months.

    What I found useful is that when you are about to change your diet, you should try and change your life in a way that the thinking doesn’t occur as often. And that is different for every person. If you do something more productive and useful for example, that might work.

    But for me, as for many people, that is hard. But if you want it enough, you have the highest chance of achieving it.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences in this area of dieting and the struggles that we face when we endeavor to change our lifestyle for the betterment of our health. It is so true that the old habits are going to be there tugging at our heels. The best thing to keep in mind is that you can do it once you set your mind to the task!

  2. Great post! I am familiar with Dr. Weil and Dr. Hyman and many other holistic practitioners. I’ve always been big on eating healthy, but life happens, and it’s easy for our food choices to drift in the wrong direction. You’re right about the lack of nutritional training that physicians receive in medical school. It’s incredible but in fact. Your post speaks the truth. We are what we eat, and our health issues are a result of those foods we have been eating. I’ve recently been re-evaluating my diet and making adjustments. 

    My first steps are to remove the bad foods that have crept into the house. Then I plan to keep them out. I just spoke with someone today who has recently lost 40 lbs as a result of changing the foods she was eating. Those foods were causing allergic reactions and significant inflammatory responses in her body. So now, I’m really on a mission to make sure I’m eating the kind of healthy foods that do not cause inflammation for my body.  

    1. Thanks for sharing your story and letting us know that you are familiar with Dr. Weil and Dr. Hyman. I have just been introduced to them last month and have watched their presentations several times, intrigued by their message, and their delivery is not over the top like some are.

      Good luck with your diet and hope that you have the success you are looking for, inflammation can be excruciating and hurt your overall health and feeling of well-being.

  3. It is true, most doctors only learn how to cure the disease, but they do not learn about what causes it. They do not focus on the root of the problems, and that has to change. For example, you have heartburn because you are drinking black coffee and eating pizza, and you have antacid? It could be solved by just put a splash of milk will solve the problem; eating less nightshade will help, why do we need to have antacid?

    I read an article that big mass produced food companies hire a chemist to put additives (fat, salt, and sugar) into our food to create the “bliss point” which is a sweet spot that our brain will explode from eating that food and we want more of it because it is addicting. We eat more of it; they make more money.

    I always have a weak spot for sweets. What I usually do is, I control it and have it with black tea to balance it out. It is hard to cut sugar out entirely, but I do think that it can be done. We have to pay attention to what we eat and be mindful of the additives like added sugar. We can start changing our eating habit little by little every day, such as stop drinking all the sugary soda and swap it with club soda. If it is that hard maybe you can splash some fruit juice in your mixer and slowly cutting out the fruit juice and exchange it with lime wedge instead 🙂 It is a process, but it is achievable. Thanks for this excellent article.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic and reminding everyone that it’s a good idea to make small adjustments when making changes so that it does not shake up the routines to much.

      It is scary what some of the companies are doing to try to increase the market share of their products; even at the cost of putting peoples health at risk. To your point, some companies purposely work to get people hooked on their foods to make them consume more of their high sugar content products.  That should be illegal!

  4. I used to smoke cigarettes too, and I must say cutting sugars out of my diet is proving to be more difficult than quitting smoking. I still eat fast food, but I am down to maybe 2-3 times a month versus 2-3 times a week. Progress! My next task is to start growing my food. I think you are spot-on about growing and eating locally, and it also helps support small business and local farmers. I am all for it! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic and your experiences with quitting smoking sound similar to mine. I would love to grow my food, but I do not have the time, knowledge or the land to do that right now, hopefully, in the future, the situation changes.

  5. My father just got a stroke, and fortunately, he’s recovering fast. His physician has prescribed him a total of 5 medicines, mostly pharmaceuticals. One for the control of the cholesterol, another for the control of blood pressure, and the remaining include blood thinners, etc. 

    Now, I have this question in mind popped up after reading this article. Can my father undergo detoxification process while he’s under medications?

    1. Thank you for your comments and to address your question about going through a detox or any change in diet with anyone it is best to discuss this with your physician and make a plan with their knowledge of the situation.

  6. Eating healthy is probably an essential thing that every one of us should focus on; the benefits of that are quite significant. Sadly a lot of people neglect that and eat a lot of fast food because it’s a more convenient and quicker way of feeding yourself. Most of the health problems in modern life come from precisely that. Thanks for this inspiring article and I hope that it reaches more people and makes them rethink about their eating habits.

    1. Thank you for your comments and glad that you found the information useful. I agree that most of the issues we face regarding health stem from our dietary choices.

  7. Awesome post. Title of your article is too catchy. Everyone wants to read it. I’m glad to know that you got this idea from the lectures of 2 experienced doctors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.

    I believe our eating habits differ significantly from one country to another. In my country, we do not have many fast foods, but we use a lot of oils in our food, it’s harmful. The better alternative is green vegetables; I take them a lot. What would you say about packaged juice? Do they lack in quality too much? Sometimes, I feel healthy after receiving them.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this useful information. I thanks those doctors as well.

    1. Thank you for your comments and for bringing up the point about different countries diets and the options on fast food. The options vary significantly from region to region, and my experience is in a substantial population.  The packaged juices are going to concentrate the sugars no matter who the manufacturer is or how good their quality is, best to stay away from them and stick with fresh fruits and water.   

  8. I agree that you should try to limit the amount of sugar you take in every day. It is important to note though that sugar from fruits is different and fruits are indeed still very good for you. What do you eat the most of to replace sugar and do you think that natural foods are essential?

    1. Thank you for your comment, and yes, the more that I learn about natural foods, the more it becomes clear the importance of adding as much organic nourishment to your diet as possible. 

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