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ARTICLES

Filtering by Category: By Tobias McGowan

Blood Sugar Basics

Tobias McGowan

       If we are truly looking to maximize our health and metabolic function we need to master the crucial concept of balancing our blood sugar. In order to do that, we must understand how our organs, glands and hormones tightly regulate this process. Your blood sugar is deeply connected to a multitude of physiological processes that regulate the transportation and utilization of energy. Normal fasting glucose levels are usually in the range of 70 - 100 mg/dL. In the presence of health, the body should control blood sugar levels in a steady range. However, when complications are presented, drastic fluctuation will occur that can be highly problematic. Optimizing and controlling our blood sugar is not always as simple as it seems, and most individuals are simply addressing the symptoms of blood sugar fluctuations and not addressing the root issue.

 

HOW IS THE BLOOD SUGAR REGULATED?

       As you consume a meal and digestion takes place, blood glucose (sugar) levels will naturally rise within the circulation. Carbohydrates and protein will elevate the blood glucose levels. In response to elevated blood glucose levels, your pancreas will secrete insulin (along with other hormones) to bring levels back down to baseline. Insulin will deliver glucose to various cells, such as, the muscles, fat, and other tissues in need of energy. Insulin will act to shuttle and transport glucose into the target cells of the body. Glucose is the cells primary source of energy, but the efficiency of that glucose utilization will be dependent of the presence of oxygen and T3. If glucose does not enter the cell properly and is elevated in the circulation it can become toxic to many organs including the kidney. Oppositely, in between meals and while sleeping the body will shift into a semi-fasted state, which will cause the blood sugar to go down. When levels drop the pancreas will respond by secreting glucagon (along with other hormones) to stimulate the liver to liberate glycogen for glucose production, which will be released into the circulation and delivered systemically to the cells in need of energy. This intricate balancing act of blood glucose going up after a meal, coming down during a fasted state, and being tightly regulated by the body's hormones is the essence of controlling your blood sugar.

 

A DEEPER LOOK AT WHAT’S INVOLVED

       Most individuals stop after this basic information is established, but the real foundation for understanding is in the details. Therefore, it is necessary to look deeper at the primary organs and hormones that play the largest role in blood sugar regulation. Each organ that will be covered will pertain specifically to the concept of blood sugar.  All of these systems tightly regulate blood sugar within the circulation (blood stream) and in the cell.

 

THE PANCREAS: HELLO HORMONES

       As mentioned earlier, the pancreas is directly involved in how the body regulates the blood sugar. It is composed of two types of cells, exocrine and endocrine cells. The exocrine cells are responsible for secreting bicarbonate and digestive enzymes, and the endocrine cells are responsible for secreting several hormones. These hormones are the key determinants to whether levels will rise or fall in the circulation. The pancreas produces these crucial hormones through clusters of cells called the Islets of Langerhan. Within these clusters are three primary cell types; each responsible for secreting specific hormones that affect levels differently.

ALPHA CELLS

Glucagon: When the blood sugar goes down glucagon will be secreted and will signal the liver to liberate glycogen to produce glucose. Depending on glycogen levels (and other factors), glucagon will also elevate glucose levels by converting amino acids and other by-products into glucose, and dietary fats into ketones for energy. This hormone is responsible for preventing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Glucagon is catabolic and lipolytic in nature and will liberate storage forms of glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. Glucagon is considered to be the antagonist to insulin.

In other words: Glucagon is responsible for the release of stored energy. Glucagon stimulates glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, ketogenesis, proteolysis, and lipolysis.

BETA CELLS

Insulin: When blood glucose levels are elevated in the circulation insulin will be secreted to bring levels down. Insulin does this by transporting glucose from the circulation into major target cells such as the muscle, fat and red blood cells. Along with glucose, Insulin will drive amino acid uptake and protein synthesis. Insulin is known as an anabolic hormone, or tissue building hormone. Thus, it is also a storage hormone; storing additional glucose into glycogen, and excess glucose and amino acids into triacylglycerols and into fat, and excess fatty acids into fat.

In other words: Insulin is responsible for transporting and storing energy. Insulin stimulates glycogenesis, protein synthesis, and lipid synthesis.  

Amylin: Amylin is secreted along with insulin and assists in lowering the blood sugar levels when they are elevated. This peptide hormone also slows down gastric (stomach) emptying, thus slowing down blood glucose spikes. This hormone also triggers satiety, which makes you feel full.  

DELTA CELLS

Somatostatin: This hormone regulates the action of the alpha and beta cells. Somatostatin acts as an inhibitory hormone, capable of suppressing the release of insulin and glucagon.

 

THE LIVER: I GUESS YOU ARE IMPORTANT

      The liver must not be overlooked when considering the regulation of blood sugar. This organ is the primary site for macronutrient metabolism, which in turn acts like a control center for blood sugar management. It converts glucose into glycogen and produces glucose from glycogen and other by-products, which is the basis for blood sugar regulation. Many of the hormones related to blood sugar act on and are metabolized by the liver. The liver is intricately involved with the pancreas and if it is functioning less than optimal the pancreas will suffer and can become overloaded.

       The liver functions like an energy reservoir, and will control glucose production and storage depending on the body’s energy requirements. The primary substance for this control is glycogen, which is a storage form of glucose. Liver glycogen is the body’s go to for restoring blood sugar levels during the semi-fasted state, supporting the system for a several hours to a day (depending on levels). During this state, or anytime the body requires glucose, glucagon will stimulate the liver to tap into the glycogen reserves and break it down into glucose. This breakdown of glycogen for needed energy is called glycogenolysis.

     After a meal or when glucose levels are elevated, insulin will signal the liver to store additional glucose in the form of glycogen, which serves as a semi-immediate energy reserve for later times. This formation of glycogen from additional glucose is called glycogenoesis. Thus, liver glycogen is vital for maintaining an energy balance without utilizing non-glucose substances for energy. The consumption and metabolism of fructose is crucial for replenishing liver glycogen reserves and therefore liver health.

       During a fasted state and in the absence of glycogen, the liver will transition into the metabolic process of gluconeogenesis, which is when the body must convert non-glucose by-products into glucose or ketones. The body will break down and convert amino acids, lactic acid, and other by-products into glucose, and fatty acids into ketones for energy. However, this is a more costly process and will require the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Gluconeogenesis is predominantly stimulated by glucocorticoids and will set off the stress response.  

 

THE ADRENALS & THE STRESS RESPONSE

       When our physiology shifts into a stress state our blood sugar will rise to meet the energy demands of the survival situation that is being interpreted. Unfortunately, many of the stressors in today's lifestyle stimulates this response even when we do not need additional glucose for energy. Furthermore, blood sugar fluctuations, especially low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), place another major stressor onto the system. Regardless of the type of stress(es), the sympathetic nervous system will be stimulated, which will signal the adrenal glands to secrete hydrocortisone (cortisol), cortisone, epinephrine (adrenaline) and nor-epinephrine. Cortisol and adrenaline are the major contributors in raising the blood sugar, and are released to produce glucose from the liver and other tissues, thus elevating circulatory levels of glucose.   

EPINEPHRINE (ADRENALINE): Epinephrine is classified as a catecholamine, which is a hormone and a neurotransmitter, and is secreted from the core of the adrenal gland known as the medulla. It liberates glucose from glycogen in the liver and peripheral tissue through glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. Epinephrine also increases glucose levels indirectly by stimulating glucagon and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates cortisol. This contribution to increasing ACTH and thus cortisol, indirectly implies that epinephrine in excess can inhibit insulin sensitivity.

CORTISOL: This hormone is a glucocorticoid, named for one of it’s primary functions, which is to increase glucose levels when the body is in immediate need. This is a survival mechanism for when the blood sugar gets too low (a hypoglycemic state). In this state cortisol will be released from the cortex of the adrenal glands, and will convert non-glucose by-products into glucose through gluconeogenesis. However, this process occurs at the expense of breaking down tissue in the body such as muscle, thymus and skin tissue. Excessive cortisol also suppresses the uptake of glucose into the muscle and fat cells.

Excessive adrenaline, cortisol and overall stress can cause insulin resistance and lead to metabolic complications.

       The stress response intensity is highly dependent on liver glycogen levels for proper stabilization. If liver glycogen is depleted and energy levels are in demand; the body will rely heavily on these two hormones, especially cortisol, to stimulate gluconeogenesis. This metabolic pathway results in tissue wasting, and excessive production will increase insulin resistance. The constant utilization and reliance on gluconeogenesis can result in a constant alarm response and lead to complications. The health of the liver, proper glycogen replenishment, and controlling stress levels is imperative for handling the blood sugar. Without controlling our stress response our blood sugar levels can be all over the map, not to mention it can also interfere with other physiological systems such as the thyroid.

       Both epinephrine and cortisol stimulates hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), which is an enzyme that liberates fat from adipose (fat) tissue. This releases free fatty acids and glycerol, which contributes to the utilization of gluconeogenesis to produce energy. However, fat liberation can release excessive amounts of stored polyunsaturated fats, estrogen and other pro-inflammatory by-products, which could be damaging to several systems. Proper nutrition should always be implemented to support the proper detoxification necessary for fat liberation, increased metabolic rate and body fat loss.

 

THE SMALL INTESTINE: MORE HORMONES

       The small intestine is the site for lots of action, including digestion and absorption, but we will only analyze the endocrine functions and just look at the hormones of relevance. The two hormones of importance are peptide hormones known as incretins, which are gastrointestinal secreted hormones that decreases blood glucose levels. These are secreted by various sections of the small intestinal lumen in response to glucose in the circulation.

GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide 1) GLP-1 contributes by stimulating the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin while suppressing the alpha cells from secreting glucagon. This hormone works synergistically with insulin to decrease the blood sugar. GLP-1 brings levels down immediately after a blood sugar spike, but has a relatively short half-life, which helps control potential hypoglycemia several hours after. GLP-1 works similarly to amylin, by slowing down the rate of gastric emptying and controlling appetite by signaling the brain that the system is full.  

GIP (Glucose-dependent Insulinotropic Polypeptide) GIP functions in the same way as GLP-1, stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin and inhibits glucagon. The stimulation of GIP is triggered by high levels of glucose in the small intestine, hence the name glucose-dependent.  GIP is also correlated with fat storing enzymes and lipid metabolism.

 

WHAT NUTRIENTS AFFECT THE BLOOD SUGAR?

      This is a question in which the answer should be more widely known. Based off the topic and the question, most minds will jump to the obvious nutrient of carbohydrates. Yes, carbohydrates do increase the blood sugar levels, for healthy digestion will break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. However, not all carbohydrates are metabolized the same, and not all affect the blood sugar levels that same. In general, glucose is the main monosaccharide (simple sugar) that contributes to elevated levels, and starch is composed of multiple glucose units. Therefore, starch products such as wheat, potatoes, rice, etc., will certainly elevate blood sugar levels. When it comes to the digestion of starches and grains, the processing, viscosity, fiber, type, and more will affect the degree of the blood sugar response. Now, sugar or sucrose (glucose + fructose) impacts the blood sugar differently. Fructose will slow down the process because there is a concentration gradient during absorption, which slows the transportation process. Thus, the consumption of fruits, honey, syrups and others will have less impact on blood sugar.

       When consuming protein the body’s blood sugar will also rise, and in if not balanced with other macronutrients, will cause a dramatic increase. Last but not least, fat is the one nutrient that actually slows down the digestive process and minimizes blood sugar spikes. The rate at which the stomach empties fat into the intestines is naturally slower and requires more time. Simply incorporating fat into a meal can dramatically decrease the blood sugar and insulin spike. So you ask, why aren’t more people utilizing fat consumption to regulate blood sugar? That’s another great question.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS

      As illustrated above, our blood sugar levels are influenced by multiple physiological systems. The health of each organ and the hormones related, will dictate our capacity to optimize energy utilization. It’s important to understand that if issues arise they are dependent on the individual's current health, nutritional habits, lifestyle factors, and more. Highlighted below are some of the most common problems related to the concept of blood sugar.

HYPOGLYCEMIA: A condition in which blood glucose levels go too low and result in a myriad of symptoms. The primary concern is generally a lack of glucose to the brain, which can cause major dysfunctions neurologically. When levels get into the low, below 70 mg/dL (completely dependent on the individual) hypoglycemia is usually presented, and glucose is needed to bring levels up. Now, if insulin levels are high or not controlled (elevated for extended periods) then glucose levels will commonly fall below the norm, setting off this cascade.

REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA: A pattern or consistent occurrence of hypoglycemia within several hours after eating a high carbohydrate meal. Again excessive insulin or prolonged insulin release will drive level down. There is no diagnosis of diabetes while individuals are going through this.  

HYPERGLYCEMIA: Excessively high levels of blood glucose in the circulation. The presence of glucose and insulin in high levels in the circulation are toxic and dangerous. The glucose will connect with proteins in the circulation, creating glycation reactions and cross-linking. This will slow down the circulation and decrease optimal blood and cellular flow. Excessive cross-linking will lead to Advance Glycation End-Products (AGEs), which lead to a whole host of problems.

DYSGLYCEMIA: Abnormal blood glucose levels or fluctuations of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.  

HYPERINSULINEMIA: Excessive insulin levels in the blood circulation in relationship to glucose. This condition is generally seen in individuals that have cellular / receptor problems, usually present during insulin resistance. The pancreas and its beta cells are still performing or even over performing, but the connection at the cell level is disrupted. Insulin is a storage hormone and excessively high levels lead to lipid complications, dyslipidemia, obesity, and metabolic syndrome (which is a collection of symptoms). Insulin will also create several other complications such as: mineral imbalances that can lead to hypertension, increased levels of aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen, and other far reaching issues.

INSULIN RESISTANCE: Insulin receptors located on target cells become defective, leading to an inability to uptake glucose. This condition is a major factor in most if not all of these problems highlighted. This complication can develop from any number of issues, from insulin overload to excessive cortisol.

DIABETES: A metabolic illness related to the above problems and diagnosed by hyperglycemic conditions. From a medical perspective, a fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dL and above, or an oral glucose tolerance level of 200 mg/dL and above, is considered diabetic. Diabetes can present any of the symptoms above. It is also related to neuropathy, nephropathy, increased risk of cardiovascular problems, increased infection, and more.   

    

With this foundation set, we can explore the root causes and real solutions to these troubling issues.

 

Reference

Pottenger, F.M. (1919). Symptoms of visceral disease: a study of the vegetative nervous system

             in its relationship to clinical medicine. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Company / Forgotten

             Books

Widmaier, E. P., Hershel, R., Strang, K. T. (2008). Vander’s Human Physiology: The

              Mechanishms of the Body Function (11th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Food Environment: Why You Shouldn’t Stress While You Eat

Tobias McGowan

       Consider for a moment how you eat your food. Do you eat on the go, in a business meeting, while driving (I hope not!), or while watching stressful television? These stressful conditions could be hurting your nutrition and health efforts.

       Most individuals don’t realize that high stress during the act of eating has a large impact on the body’s nutritional status. The way you perceive a specific environment and situation can dictate your level of stress, and thus alter the body’s ability to metabolize and digest food properly. The stress response controls everything from respiration to digestive enzyme release; therefore, we need to consider the deleterious effects of combining food consumption and a stressful environment. It is also important to consider and address prolonged uncontrolled stress imbalances. Let’s take a deeper look inside, so we can understand how to optimize the digestive and metabolic processes for peak health. 

 

The Autonomic Nervous System

           It is important to start with the basics of subconscious bodily control, which happens once we swallow our food. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the control center for visceral (organ) function, which regulates the body’s involuntary systems. The ANS is divided into three separate divisions: the enteric, the sympathetic, and the parasympathetic nervous system. These centers are regulated by the reptilian brain stem and are instinctual by nature.  

The Enteric Nervous System (ENS): Considered to be the brain of the “gut” or gastrointestinal system. The ENS is a local system of neurons deriving from the esophagus all the way down to the anus. It controls the digestive system and its actions. The ENS is innervated by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and therefore it’s highly affected by the responses of both.

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS): This system is in control of our major stress response, telling the body to either fight (defend ourselves) or flight (run for our lives) in a crisis mode. This activation to our physiology will release the primary stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The SNS shuttles blood into the muscles and skin, thus, taking away the supply to the internal organs.  

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS): This system controls rest, recovery and digestion. The PNS is active during calm and controlled times. It stimulates the release of growth and anti-aging hormones: DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, and more.  

 

The Drawbacks of A Sympathetic Dominant State 

             If the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated and stress levels are elevated during the act of eating, our digestion will be directly compromised. As long as the SNS is driving the blood supply away from our internal organs, the body simply will not have the capacity to digest food matter properly. Therefore, digestive enzyme production (food breakdown), hydrochloric acid (primarily protein and bacteria breakdown), and other digestive sections will be slowed and inhibited. Overall metabolism and peristalsis at large will be negatively affected. During the act of eating our body should not be in a sympathetic dominant state.

 

What Is An Optimal Food Environment? 

        The goal is to shift into a parasympathetic state. This means that we want the body to be calm, relaxed, and receptive to consuming nutrition. It is important to set up an environment that allows you to connect with your food and be mindful of what is happening as you eat. You want to up-regulate your sensory perceptions with sight, feel, smell, and taste. This will maximize your capacity to digest, metabolize, absorb, assimilate, and eliminate food matter that is most conducive to health. Getting into a positive tranquil mode is essential for making your nutrition count.

 

Cumulative Stress

                  Stress is a natural part of life and is not necessarily bad. The body needs a certain amount of stress to function properly; however, we get in trouble when we overdue it and the body shifts toward catabolism and degeneration. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. So, it is vitally important to identify what types of stresses are out of balance in your life, and address this before the body reacts negatively. The primary stressors of life can be broken into 6 categories: (Chek, 2004)

  1.  Physical stress
  2.  Chemical stress
  3.  Electromagnetic stress
  4.  Psychic or mental stress
  5.  Nutritional stress, and
  6.  Thermal stress

The body interprets each one of these stresses in the same manner because the body’s response is controlled involuntarily through the autonomic nervous system. This means that stress summates in the body, so if you have too much stress coming from one or more categories, the levels will cumulatively build into an imbalance. The highest stress category should be prioritized and addressed first, followed by second, third, etc. Regardless of how well you control your food environment, prolonged stress will cause problems in the long run.

 

Intestinal Permeability 

                  Prolonged, uncontrolled stress is the number one irritant to the gut lining.  If we are under too much stress and cannot control it, the small intestinal microvilli lining will open up gap junctions (intestinal permeability), which will allow food particles to enter the general circulation. This problem can increase the likelihood of a dysbiosis (good to bad bacteria ratio imbalance) through the process of bacterial translocation. Intestinal permeability is also the primary reason for large food particles getting into the circulation, which is the beginning of autoimmune reactions, food intolerances, and other problems. Check out my video on Leaky Gut Syndrome for more. 

 

Implementation

Peace Points:  A peace point is a time in the day that you set aside for peace and relaxation. This mini break time can be used for connecting with your food. One of the best things and individual can do is set up a peace point during eating times. This will shift the body into a parasympathetic state and aid in the digestive process.

Connect with your food: The body is biologically triggered by food, and our sensory perceptions are highly interconnected with the process of eating. So take the time to have a connection with your food. A great way to be present with your food is to eat with your hands. This will provide a wonderful connection and give you the opportunity to listen to your body and understand satiation. If you’re not ready for that step, you can use your utensils with the opposite hand.

Don’t watch TV while you eat: Television can put people into an entangled hypnotic state that takes away conscious choice. This can be detrimental for making healthy choices and understanding how much is actually being eaten. Furthermore, most television is highly stimulating to the SNS causing a stress response that is not conducive to digestion. If you can make healthy choices, then usually comedies and other relaxing shows will be all right. The Walking Dead does not really work, trust me.

Schedule Family Meals: Family meals are excellent opportunities for the family to connect with food and each other. Building healthy eating habits together will facilitate long-term health.

Posture: You should always strive to eat with an upright posture with good spinal alignment.

Don’t eat or drink calories during acute exercise: Working out will stimulate the SNS and shuttle blood away from the digestive organs. Eating at this time is counteractive to human physiology. Don’t drink protein shakes or Gatorade during exercise. You can just as easily balance your electrolytes with a pinch of sea salt if that is a concern.   

 

Reference

Chek, P. (2004). How to eat, move and be healthy. San Diego, CA: CHEK publications.

Lipski, E. (2005). Digestive wellness: how to strengthen the immune system and prevent disease 

            Through health digestion. (3rd Ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Pottenger, F.M. (1919). Symptoms of visceral disease: a study of the vegetative nervous system

             in its relationship to clinical medicine. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Company / Forgotten

             Books

Shanahan, C., Shanahan, L. (2009). Deep nutrition: why your genes need traditional food.

             Lawai, HI: Big Box Books. 

Widmaier, E. P., Hershel, R., Strang, K. T. (2008). Vander’s Human Physiology: The

              Mechanishms of the Body Function (11th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Stop Counting Calories

Tobias McGowan

calorie-counting2.jpg

       Somewhere along the lines, misinterpretations in nutrition spread the overwhelming belief of calories in vs. calories out, and the majority of people started concentrating on thermodynamics. Viewing our bodies as a physics equation; less calories in (deprivation) and more calories burned, does not equal health. This advice is highly detrimental and has created immense confusion.

       There are several problems with this mindset, which come down to the fact that the data does not take into account the physiology of the human being. The body is a complex system that is constantly regulating itself and trying to obtain homeostasis. Some complications that arise during calorie restriction include: hormonal imbalances, altered enzyme regulation, and consumption of too much processed food. These problems can have a myriad of deleterious effects on the body and the mind.

stangor-fig10_012.jpg

       The hormonal system is highly regulated by the nutrients that enter the body.  While considering caloric intake the primary system that needs to be addressed is the hypothalamic-pituitary complex, with an emphasis on glucocorticoids and thyroid production.  If the body is under a calorie deficit, dealing with food ratio problems, or is experiencing inconsistency with food frequency, the system will start to have blood sugar handling problems. This problem will activated the hypothalamic-pituitary system to secrete CRH to ACTH, which reaches the adrenals to secrete glucocorticoids (stress hormones) which mobilize and control the blood sugar.

        Stress and blood sugar fluctuations will lead to increased releases of insulin which have major implications in fat storage, detoxification pathways, sex hormones and enzyme regulation. According to Ray Peat “estrogen levels are increased by stress” (Peat, 1997), and excessive estrogen or progesterone deficiency has many toxic side effects and serious implication on the liver. Estrogen, cortisol and lack of proper nutrients will all affect the thyroid and the metabolism.

       The hypothalamic-pituitary complex also stimulates TRH and TSH which reaches the thyroid  to secrete T4 and T3 which controls the metabolism. Inadequate amounts of calories, especially the right types and ratios of sugar, protein and fat will inhibit thyroid production and the body’s metabolism. Increased nutritional stress, insulin issues, and estrogen affect the thyroid as well. Estrogen inhibits proteolytic enzymes and blocks thyroid secretion (Peat, 1997). Estrogen will also build up in the liver disrupting detoxification and T4 to T3 conversion which also occurs in the liver. Therefore, nutrient deprivation and inconsistency become highly problematic and can contribute to hypothyroidism.

       As mentioned earlier, our caloric intake, food ratios and frequency will also alter enzymes that regulate fat storage and liberation. Skipping meals and restricting calories will lead to increased amounts of lipogenic enzymes. Lipoprotein lipase will be increased which is responsible for fat storage and location of storage. Lipolitic enzymes or fat liberating enzymes such as hormone sensitve lipase will be decreased. Therefore, we are changing the fat regulation physiology and increasing the likelihood of gaining fat. Fat regulation 

       Finally, if you’re counting calories you’re eating too much processed food! How do we know how many calories are in a specific food item, umm….. the package. Which means the food as been wrapped, boxed, packaged, etc. in some way. The majority of processed food contains large numbers of ingredients which include possible toxins, allergenic ingredients, and other unwanted particles. On the contrary, if you go to the farmer’s market and get a carrot, do you know how many calories are in it? If you make some bone broth, do know how many calories are in it? No, but you know it’s nutritious! The importance here lies in the quality and your metabolic requirements. Therefore, the quality of the food and your nutritional needs are the most important factors.

        There might be certain times when tracking calories or other numbers may be used as a guide for ratios and frequency. However, I find that most individuals use it to induce a state of deprivation, and all the misinformation pushes them into deeper stress and more problems.  Counting and restricting calories is a poor system that negates physiology and leads to poor dietary habits. Let’s focus on quality food that supports our well-being. Healthy eating is about enjoying your food and having a beautiful connection with it. When this happens the body will respond favorably and produce beneficial outcomes.

Stop counting calories, and start enjoying real food!

Tobias McGowan

Reference:

Chek, P. (2004). How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy. San Diego, CA

Peat, R. (1997). From PMS to Menopause. Eugene, OR

Widmaier, E. P., Hershel, R., Strang, K. T. (2008). Vander’s Human Physiology: The Mechanishms of the Body Function (11th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill