In this newsletter triptych, I have explained many a time the danger of stress, how it can impact on blood sugar, and how it can lead to Fat accumulation around the belly, and to Type II Diabetes.
But, what I have not yet mentioned, is the affect of stress on body type. It would be very simplistic to think that every overweight people have type II diabetes, are really stressed, or are just not careful about their diet and have no exercise regime.
Furthermore, it would be very wrong to think that because a person is skinny (the term used here to depict an underweight individual), then he/she is healthy.
I know what you are thinking: “I am skinny; therefore, I am healthy!” or “This is my ideal weight!” or again “This is who I am, I just do not put on weight!”
If truly you can eat anything and in any quantities and this has little impact on your waistline, then you are one the of the few lucky individuals on this planet; however, if you are intensely exercising (several hours everyday), Drink smoothies or vegetables juices for most of the day (not as part of a detox period, but as an every-day affair), eat only a raw vegan diet, or have a severely calorie-restricted diet (by choice or necessity), where do you get your energy from?
"The body wants to preserve its muscular mass;
therefore, the brain will send signals for you to eat
sugar or any other stimulants."
Usually, processed foods and snacks sold in Organic or Health stores, designed for Vegan, Raw or other trendy “healthy” diets, are the same as the mainstream processed foods and snacks. I will repeat this: Vegan, Raw or other “healthy” foods and snacks, are the same as the mainstream processed foods and snacks.
I would, however, agree with you that they do not contain animal product (like butter, cream, or eggs). They may contain less preservatives, additives and colouring. May be this is also true. But, and there is the “but”, by reading the label, you will notice that the amount of sugar is of the same in a fruit or protein bar than a Mars bar, if not more. It is not because the manufacturer uses Dates and Raisins, or Organic Fruit Syrup that this is not sugar. Some small protein bars have about 3-6 dates in them.
Now, if we extrapolate this to an individual body type.
If you are under constant stress (from any possible source), the brain will send hormones to the Adrenals (remember the HPA axis), so that they can produce Adrenaline, then Cortisol. As a consequence blood sugar levels will rise and once the stores of sugar have been depleted, the body will start breaking down muscles for energy. Now, this is where cravings come from. The body wants to preserve its muscular mass; therefore, the brain will send signals for you to eat sugar or any other stimulants.
If you are on a calorie-restricted diet (by choice), you might use your willpower to not give in to snacking. You will probably have half-an-apple, or a glass of water. May be a cup of Green Tea, or actually Matcha Green tea if you are also a health trend follower.
You will notice that the cup of tea is the stimulant the body desperately needs (to keep you going). This will stimulate your Adrenals to produce more Cortisol and to make sure blood sugar levels stay elevated.
If you do not give in to snacking the body will have no other alarm bell to pull on. This, in itself, is a major cause of stress of the body. It is running out of fuel but no one is listening. At this point the body will go into “guarding” in a sense that it will keep a lid on energy expenditure. All peripheral blood vessels will constrict, and oxygen will mainly be delivered to key organs necessary for your survival (brain, heart and lungs). This mainly explains the reason for a “whiter” skin, thinner hair and brittle nails.
It would not show however, the increased risk of Type II diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction, or other imbalances, since symptoms are silenced, and main characteristics missing (e.g. fat accumulation around the middle), for the body cannot afford to save energy as fatty tissue, since it has none to spare.
This is why extremes, not matter which way, are not ideal situations for the body. The body needs nutrients, or Macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat), for energy. In the case of the XXL-junk, empty calories are mainly what makes such diet, the body does not receive the nutrients, especially Micronutrients (Vitamins, Minerals, and the complete array of Antioxidants (flavonoids, etc.), soluble and insoluble Fibre).
"Being healthy means finding your ideal weight
through eating the right food for you and your
metabolic type, and perhaps your blood type;
and be happy."
In a skinny diet, the energy received from food is not enough to cover the daily expenditure. The body may be flooded with antioxidants, which in itself is remarkable, since stress is a major generator of Free Radicals, but muscle wasting and constant elevated blood sugar (until complete depletion) is an accident waiting to happen. Remember from the previous articles the “Pregnelonone steal”. Adrenals by monopolising cholesterol for Cortisol production, will affect and possibly prevent the production of Sex Hormones (such as Testosterone and Oestrogens), and damage the very fragile balance. This will be an accumulation to the extremely acidic-state in which the body is forced to survive. This will increase your risk of cancer, especially breast cancer (for females) and prostate cancer (for males); Metabolic Syndrome, including Type II Diabetes; Hypothyroidism (i.e. Hashimoto’s) and other autoimmune conditions; Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis; Hypertension and Atherosclerosis; cognitive dysfunction, including poor memory and concentration; just to give a few.
Would be in the middle be such a bad thing? Somewhere between XXL and Skinny, something called, may be, medium?
Being healthy means finding your ideal weight through eating the right food for you and your metabolic type, and perhaps your blood type; and be happy. Depriving yourself from the food the body needs for energy is not healthy, no matter how you want to put it… The brain cannot function ultimately either (nearly 2/3 of all sugar in the blood is used by the brain for energy), and you may suffer from low-mood, anxiety, unable to deal with stress, and can also include low self-esteem and disgust, when you feel you are not or anything is never good enough, and pushing you further into extremes.
It is indeed very important, the way we fit into society. How people are looking at us. How we are judged. How we judge.
But, being happy and healthy, would that not be contagious? Would people always seeing you happy and on your top form, not question you about your much-guarded secret?
What if you only answered: “That’s because I am happy and I eat right for me! I am exercising regularly. I am keeping my blood sugar stable, and I keep my stress levels in check!”
Sure, it does not sound like a typical conversation, but even if you are doing it and knowing you are doing the right thing, would that not be enough?
It is all about FOOD!!!™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients such as Minerals, Vitamins, Fat, Proteins and Carbohydrates, and their essential role the way nature intended, including their interactions on our body, and systems; nutrition; cooking processes; up-to-date listing of world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive review of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin-Star trained chef, also a student in Nutrition and Naturopathy, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating. He should graduate July 2016.