There's a lot of discussion around the world in the media about insulin resistance, leptin resistance, obesity, and the overall inability to lose weight. High sugar intake, especially a large amount of fructose or high fructose corn syrup, has been identified as the definite cause of these conditions. However, the impact of carbohydrates has been slightly underestimated. After all, since carbohydrates are converted to sugar for digestion in the body, could carbs be just as responsible for this growing epidemic?
How Digestion worksThe answer to that question is—yes! And in order to understand why, you need to know a little bit about digestion. As it turns out, almost every living thing on earth burns a form of sugar for energy. In humans, that sugar is glucose. Nevertheless, too much of anything is bad for you; so, glucose is closely regulated within the body via two hormones: Insulin and Glucagon. When your glucose level is too high, Insulin takes glucose out of your bloodstream and stores it primarily in your liver. When your glucose level is too low, Glucagon takes stored glucose from your liver and releases it into your bloodstream. Individuals with insulin resistance lack this finely-tuned glucose regulation and can develop diabesityor leptin resistance. Thus, introducing excess sugar to the body in the form of fructose or carbohydrates disrupts an already imbalanced situation.
Why are Carbohydrates dangerous?Again, too much of anything can become unhealthy. Although carbohydrates are an ideal source of glucose that the body digests quickly and easily, consuming too many carbs will spike your sugar levels to dangerous heights. As a matter of fact, researchers found that instead of burning all the glucose they consumed, overweight individuals actually converted glucose into fructose in their livers! That finding provides further evidence that being overweight, insulin resistant, or leptin resistant alters your entire metabolism as well as how you use glucose. In addition, more fructose in the liver leads to more fat production and fat storage further inhibiting weight loss.
What you can do to turn it all aroundWhat’s great about the human body is that small changes go a long way. Therefore, these simple improvements in your diet and lifestyle can not only help you lose weight, but also reverse your insulin or leptin resistance:
- Eliminate the carbs You probably guessed this one, yet avoiding bread, pasta, and rice while limiting your intake of other non-vegetable carbohydrates will stop glucose conversion into fructose, stop fat production, and send you well on your way to losing weight
- Eat more Veggies Yes we know you've heard this before, BUT, the natural fibre present in non-starchy green leafy and coloured vegetables is great for the microbial life of your guts. It's those beneficial microbes that make all the difference when it comes to overall health and weight loss
- Activity, Exercise and movement Unfortunately, stopping fat production is only half the process. True weight loss comes about from burning off fat with regular activity. And remember, consistency is key! Consistently exercising and regular activity two to three days a week far outweighs running one marathon per year
- Get plenty of Vitamin C Just 500 mg of Vitamin C per day can block the harmful effects of all forms of sugar. But, avoid relying solely on fruit juice as a source, because fruit juices also contain fructose
- Eat raw, dark chocolate Perhaps the most enjoyable item on this list, dark chocolate contains plenty of flavonoids which act as antioxidants to help you maintain a healthy body weight and heart health
- ‘Ask a Naturopath’ For more information or advice, you know you can always follow up with a naturopath in store at Mr Vitamins