If you have not had the chance to review my previous blogs, it may be beneficial to do so, even at a glance. It will give you an opportunity to see where I am coming from and give a general sense of the information I am trying to provide and where I am going with all of this. Understandably, time is a restraint, so perhaps just checking out the blog previous to this one will be able to give you a foundation for what I am writing about over the next week.
I have been reviewing the Primal Health Coach Course that I am enrolled in through Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. I have garnered so much useful information. It truly has been invaluable. In yesterday’s blog I reviewed the beginning couple chapters highlighting gene expression and gene optimization. I will continue with the review of the course and begin off by discussing the energy sources your body requires and some misnomers about them.
The human body has the ability to create energy by burning three different types of fuel: fat, protein and glucose (also known as carbohydrates or sugars)1. The primal diet, ketogenic diet, and others, promote the concept of turning the body off from using glucose as the main source of energy and instead turning on the body to use fat as the course of energy2. By fat, I am referring to nutritional fats, ie: monounsaturated fats. Fat also refers to the physical and biochemical stores in the body, which, if you restrict your caloric diet and/ or exercise efficiently enough, can tap into those stores to burn them off3.
The human body can use multiple sources of energy which makes us easily adaptable to many types of environments4. However, if you review the genetics, biochemical and physical system, you will see that the human body is best attuned to using fat as an energy source5. However, our current lifestyle in the Standard American diet (SAD)6, which emphasizes the ingestion of grains (carbohydrates) and sugars (in too many forms to mention here), has created a carb dependency. When it was once difficult to obtain sugars and grains (ie: when only in season, or protected by bees or locked in maple trees), sugar and grains are more easily accessible than ever7. Tie that in with the oxymoronic high fibre pedagogy8, no wonder people are left feeling sick and tired from their diet.
By tuning the metabolic system to fat burning, you reduce the requirement for sugars9. Doing so will reduce the amount of insulin you are producing in your blood stream. Now overconsumption of fats and proteins can also cause insulin secretion10, so you must monitor your portion sizes. Over consumption of protein and fats can also cause gylcation11, where they bind to the sugars and cause damage to the body’s systems.
There are different types of fats12. So, the nutritional fats that I am referring to are: monounsaturated, omegas 3 (in balance with omega 6,9, etc- more details on this in another post) and saturated fats. So things like high fat yogurts (plain, and check the label for additives- gelatine is fine, but stay away from anything else), unsalted butter, avocado, olive, macadamia nuts (and the prior three’s oils), sesame oil, and coconut (oil only for cooking or outer skin beauty use. There has been much controversy in ingesting it13, but in the end, the taste I just cannot stand. If coconut oil sits well with you for a food source, make sure to do your research on its benefits, critiques and uses).
Unhealthy fats are referring to modified seed oils, sunflower oils, etc. (sesame oil is an exception). And of course, no hydrolyzed plant proteins. But if you do not eat fast food, go to low grade restaurants, (or avoid those items it high grade restaurants), and do not eat pre packaged or processed foods, you will be fine14.
Reducing food is an ease on the digestive tract. It eases the burden of digestion, allows the it to rest and repair, and causes cells to burn debris they have contained within the cell, instead of dividing in the environment of excess food intake15.
Increased insulin can cause weight gain and inflammation. If insulin resistance occurs, diabetes can develop. Reduction in carbohydrates reduces the amount of food you ingest, sets up up for taping into fats as an energy source and protects from the harms caused by insulin overproduction16.
By trusting your body properly, eating right, living well, resting properly, you will be able to reduce the amount of cortisol being emitted- from chronic long term bouts of stress to specific moments when cortisol is needed (ie: at some points in fitness training)17. This in turn will also help protect your digestion, that is, your gut health.
Gut health is made up of your bio-chemistry, digestive tract and the microbiome, has been shown to effect immunity and cognition18. Intermittent fasting can also be useful tool in resetting your gut. Either by doing a several day fast, or restricting your window of eating. Easing the burden on the digestive tract and reducing insulin is optimal for your well being, as mentioned above.
Grains are unnecessary and can even be dangerous to ingest for some individuals19. High amounts of fibre, increased glucose levels, and inflammatory properties caused by lectins, gluten (which is celiac disease in some) and phytates are all detrimental to ones’ health20. The leaky gut syndrome caused by agitation to the intestinal lining can cause autoimmune disorders and systemic inflammation21. The nutritional benefits of grains can be obtained from other sources. However, as with most things, certain individuals can ingest grains such as rice and legumes (combined creates a full protein file), while avoiding the majority of negative experiences these types of foods may cause. Just ensure that white rice is used, as the husk of brown rice can be very agitating, and that rice and legumes are prepared properly, by soaking them, the latter for many hours as per instructions22.
Cholesterol and saturated fat are not the cause, but may be factors, in heart disease23. The idea that lowering cholesterol is important is a bit confusing. Your body will produce cholesterol.24. There is a lot of research that now demonstrates that the prior pedagogy about cholesterol being the cause of heart disease, is now being refuted. Triglycerides is more of an indicator for heart disease, and insulin most likely plays a role25.
A percentage of saturated fat being a source of energy is healthy26. As long as it is not dominating your energy intake because that would most likely limit the ingestion of other healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats. Ignoring the combination of fat with sugars, which can cause inflammation and increased storage of fat, would be to ignore the operation of the human body as a whole.
There is so much more to say. More information to write about. More science to explore. More details to go into. This is just the beginning, and I look forward to writing more and sharing that information with you.