Probably definitely the most important factor in reaching health and fitness goals! Honestly, the only way I have been able to drop 6% body fat and maintain a toned physique is through diligently logging my food and eating foods rich in nutrition, which sustain my appetite for longer and do not spike my insulin.
note: insulin is the fat storing hormone.
Ever heard of the GLYCEMIC INDEX? Allow me to break it down for you…
Carbohydrates affect our blood sugar the most. Blood sugar is blood glucose and glucose (carbs) is our MAIN source of energy and fuel for our body, brain, nervous system, and tissues. Our body absolutely needs carbs and will not function without it. Glucose is transported from the intestines or liver (via the bloodstream) to the cells of the body. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is essentially what allows the cells to absorb this glucose. So when glucose is absorbed, blood sugar levels raise and insulin is what regulates the blood sugar from going too high or too low. Think of insulin as the bouncer of a nightclub – regulating the capacity of the nightclub and allowing people in. Now, white bread, white pasta, white potatoes are all foods which are HIGH on the glycemic index and cause the most dramatic vicissitudes in blood glucose levels; when blood sugar levels raise what happens? INSULIN RISES! And remember what I mentioned earlier? INSULIN IS A FAT STORAGE HORMONE…sooooo…what does that mean??? Sugar levels rise = insulin rises = fat is stored. (too much insulin = fat storage)
So basically, we should always aim to consume foods low on the glycemic index because it won’t spike our insulin which in turn will not cause our body to store fat. Also remember to eat several balanced meals a day (every 3 hours) to keep your metabolism revved up. When I say balanced I mean consuming enough protein (from lean proteins such as turkey, chicken, lean beef, eggs, soy, etc), enough complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, etc) and good fats that come from olive oil, fish, nuts, and coconut oil (coconut oil is FANTASTIC). Complex carbs differ from refined carbs in absorption rate. Complex carbs like whole grains contain bran which absorb slowly and sustain your body for longer periods of time.
I really try to avoid refined carbs and foods high on the glycemic index, but if I do eat, say, white rice (which is the only kind of rice served in my house – if I want brown rice I have to boil my own batch, which is a pain in the butt) or a donut I can prevent my insulin from spiking by consuming acidic foods; such as, lemon juice, oranges, pickles, olives, etc OR consuming fiber which slows down the absorption (if you know anyone with diabetes then this is blog post was a probably a no brainer for you). Go out and buy a tub of Benafiber and down that sh*t the next time you inhale that bag of doritos. Also, I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I LOVE LOVE LOVE food. It is all I really think about, and I personally like to eat a lot. So I would much rather eat a big ass spaghetti squash casserole (low on the glycemic index) than a puny honey cruller and bag of potato chips (high on glycemic index) with equivalent calories. Keeps me full for longer and I get to consume more food!