Welcome to Lifestyle Nutrition
You are what you eat!
For a long period of time there has been a common misconception that the main cause of obesity is fat intake and also the amount of food consumed. Although portion size is a factor to be taken into consideration there is now strong evidence to prove that one of the main causes of obesity is sugar, a lack of muscle mass, hormones, stress and a lack of healthy microbiome.
A healthy balanced diet isn't just about the amount of calories you consume but optimising all areas of your health through the foods you eat and don't eat.
Diet and nutritional advice can be complicated and conflicting. There is so much advice available it can be overwhelming.
I believe that your diet should not be overly complicated, there are some very simple guidelines that you can follow in order to have a healthy, well balanced diet. This is not a FAD diet that will promise to shed numerous lbs. in a record time, this is a diet for life that will re-balance your hormones and slowly help you achieve your ideal weight and shape for your body.
Why sugar is so bad for us?
When we eat sugar, insulin is released from the pancreas to enable the body to take glucose from the blood which can then be stored within our muscles and liver and used as an energy source when required.
The more sugar we consume the more our bodies become insulin resistant and this is where type 2 diabetes becomes a problem. Sugar is highly addictive, mood altering and a toxin to the body, it causes opiate and dopamine activity within the brain which stimulates the body causing the addictive quality.
Fructose is mainly found in syrups and fruit and is stored in the liver. The liver can only store and use so much fructose as glycogen at one time. When large quantities of fructose reach the liver, the remaining fructose will be stored as fat. To much fructose in the diet can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is where the liver can't convert the amount of fructose to glycogen that is being consumed and so has to store it as fat within the liver cells.
The same process happens with simple carbohydrates, they are also turned into sugar for energy. If the amount of energy used is less than the amount consumed, the glucose from the carbohydrates will be stored as fat.
If our diet is high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, then our hormones can’t and won’t respond as they have evolved to do so, and you will get fat, particularly around the abdominal area. This fat is called visceral fat, where the fat sits around the organs and is more detrimental to your health.
On average, post 40 years old, we need to consume 1.8g of protein per kg of body weight on a daily basis. I recommend protein pacing adding protein into most of your meals and snacks, boosting your protein intake throughout the day. This can be achieved with carnivorous, pescatarian and vegetarian and vegan diets. Sources of protein can be found in meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, pulses, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrates are certainly not the enemy, however we need to ensure our carbohydrates are complex containing plenty of fibre. Excluding carbohydrates from your diet dramatically reduces your fibre intake affecting your microbiome and not something I would recommend.
Fibre is vital to help to regulate the blood sugar, maintain a healthy microbiome. When we consume fibre is creates a small mesh around the small intestine slowly down the absorption of the glucose from the carbohydrate where the majority of fibre is found. Starchy vegetables are generally high in fibre too, however the best source is wholegrain, oats, lentils, beans and legumes.
The days of a fat free diets are a thing of the past. We need fat for many functions within the body, including cognitive function, regulating our hormones, absorption of many vitamins and promoting a healthy microbiome.
This is generally found in meat and diary. This has been linked with heart disease, strokes and obesity. If you eat saturated fat in excess then this will result in cardiac issues, however saturated in moderation is certainly not your enemy. Saturated fat found in fermented foods like yoghurt and cheese is extremely beneficial in promoting a healthy microbiome. When consuming yoghurts try to keep it simple with no added sugar or sugar alternatives as this will directly revert the benefits of eating fermented yoghurt.
Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats
These are the healthy fats that promote a higher levels of HDL cholesterol within the blood, keeping your heart and arteries healthy. They are found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds. They help with the absorption of certain minerals and vitamins and are essential to a balanced diet.
These are the fats that need to avoided if possible, only to be consumed very sparingly, if at all.
They are hydrogenised fat(man made), that are generally found in commercially made biscuits, cakes, pastries, pizza's and processed food.
How this affects our hormones
The more sugar we eat the more insulin we produce to regulate the blood sugar. This puts a huge strain on not only the pancreas to produce insulin but also on the adrenal glands. When this process occurs we produce cortisol from the adrenal glands, which floods the body and can result in adrenal fatigue, inflammation and other associated diseases.
The mitochondria is the powerhouse of our cells and to allow us to function optimally. This happens in a chemical reaction where a triphosphate separates into a diphosphate and then re-joins. In this chemical reaction we produce 70 % of our energy. If we are constantly flooding the body with cortisol, the mitochondria will begin to shut down to protect the cells. The mitochondria will also flood the body with free radicals searching for a foreign body to attack. When this can't be found this can result in autoimmune illnesses and cause extreme fatigue within the body. It is vitally important to our overall health that we protect the mitochondria and prevent the body from being flooded with free radicals unnecessarily. Just by balancing out blood sugar and eating a healthy balanced diet we can optimise the function of these cells.
How does muscle mass affect this?
The more muscle mass within the body, the larger the storage unit you have for the glucose you consume. As we age, we loose on average 1% of muscle mass per year post the age of 40 years old. We are more sedentary than ever before, which is another reason for the increase in obesity. It is important to introduce resistance training as we age to help to combat this very natural decline in muscle mass, however this is also affected by the amount of protein we consume. Muscle grows when the muscle is put under exertion and this results in small micro tears within the fibres along with a sufficient supply of protein within the body to repair and grow the muscle. This happens when the muscle is resting and so it is vital to consume sufficient protein regularly for this process called muscle protein synthesis to happen.
Leptin is a hormone released to tell us we are full while eating. When our bodies are continuously flooded with sugar this hormone is unable to function and you become Leptin resistant. This means that your brain doesn’t tell you have had enough to eat, even when your liver is at full capacity for glucose storage. Will power alone is not enough to stop you eating when leptin is not functioning optimally.
Ghrelin is a hormone that tells us we are hungry. When we consume too much sugar this hormone is over produced and we feel hungrier.
This combination of Leptin not responding and Ghrelin being too responsive is a recipe for disaster!
The research that has been done recently has shown the important of a healthy gut. The link between obesity and disease is strongly linked. Having a wide diversity of microbiome within your gut will improve your overall health both mental and physical. A pre-biotic with over 50 billion microbiomes will improve your overall gut health however adding in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and Greek yoghurt, a variety of cheeses, along with a fibre diet and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will feed the healthy microbiome you are taking in a ore-biotic. Without adding in these foods the healthy microbiome that you are adding to gut will just die off and will not multiply.
An imbalance of microbiome in the gut has been linked with IBS a very common complaint.
You are an individual with individual needs to optimise your health, which is why my nutritional plans and nutritional guidance is personalised to you.
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