Friday, February 20, 2009

Breakfast, Obesity and Juvenile Diabetes Part2

A 4 Part Series from Berkshire Grain

Part 2 of 4: Breakfast, Metabolism, Weight Management

How it Works 

How does it all work??  Skipping Breakfast will put the pounds on. 

Our bodies are like these very efficient computers.  Most of us are familiar with the term “Energy Star” which is an early green technology implemented in all types of smart electronic devices that reduces power to conserve energy.  In essence the computer processor shuts down non-essential activities thereby allowing basic functions to be maintained and monitored.   

Biologically our bodies has it’s own unique “Energy Star System” – skip breakfast and your body goes into a reduce energy cycle.  So if you look at the list in Part 1 of this Article Series -- Which human functions would you choose to reduce? – unfortunately when a person skips breakfast they give up those rights, and the bodies “Energy Star System” kicks in to place and overrides even our conscious commands.  We feel sluggish, and fuzzy, rather than sharp and alert.  In this state running for the school bus or commuter train, forces your body to deplete stored nutrients and throws your Blood Glucose Levels into the danger zone – and depending on one’s present health condition in these emergencies the bodies reaction can be scary (more about this in the 3rd installment).

 Your body has a name for it’s “Energy Star System” it is called Metabolism.  Another explaination for Metabolism is -- the rate at which your body burns calories.  There is no easy way to cover the plethora of information and the dynamic correlations of Weight Management and your Metabolism – the internet is a great wealth of information -- click on the link above and if you have school age children sit with them and read it together.

 Breakfast which is essential to fuel the start of another day – resarch shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip it.  Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again.  If you don’t eat until lunchtime?? – your body won’t burn as many calories as it could during the morning period. 

Your bodies BMR  is dynamically affected by several factors.

  • Age
  • Body Type
  • Genetics
  • Activity Levels
  • Diet 
The higher the BMR the better, and sedentary lifestyles have lower BMR's which makes it more difficult to keep weight off.

Making Your Metabolism Your Friend

 There are 2 biochemical processes working independently in the body called Anabolism and Catabolism.  The results of  these 2 processes is what we call the Metabolism.  In the simplest terms Anabolism is the buildup of molecules into energy, while Catabolism is the breakdown of those "energy molecules."  

A simplified example of how this works is imagine a storage bucket.  Everything we eat gets evaluated in the Anabolic process -- molecules that can create energy get incorporated into larger mass and stored in this "Energy Bucket", the size of which is determined by your BMR. The Catabolic process breaks down the stored energy from the "Energy Bucket" as the body creates demand -- the more active a person is the greater the demand.  If due to a combination of factors the demand for Energy throughtout the day is insufficient to empty the "Energy Bucket" and more calories are consumed the body converts the molecules in the "Energy Bucket" into fat in order to make more room in the "Bucket."  Body Fat is how the body stores Energy for "Long-Term Storage."  And when caloric intake is insufficient to meet the body's demand for  energy it begins to consume that stored fat/energy, thereby potentially initiating weight-loss or reduction in body mass.  Lastly when everything is in balance the body's weight remains unchanged.

From this can you begin to understand why a person might feel sluggish with no energy??  If you guessed poor diet offering too little sustainable energy you are correct -- this condition is almost entirely diet related.  More on this in the last installment, part 4 of this article (due next week)

As children we receive encouraging suggestions from adults……….eat your veggies, drink your milk……if you want to grow up to have a healthy strong body.   These are good lessons to adopt -- and this loving suggestion is a life long lesson to once learned to be practiced everyday. 

As adults people tend to take better care of their automobiles than their bodies.  They use the right grade of gasoline, the correct type of oil, brake fluid, spark plugs – it’s all clearly spelled out in the owners manual – ah-ha!  No “Human Manual.” 

A good friend likes to use an expression “My Body is My Temple” – that seems to work for him.  Why not make Your Metabolism Your Friend?  It’s a good place to start. 

If we refer back to the Anabolic and Catabolic processes – the body needs good quality and correct amounts of specific food types for these processes to work efficiently.  Simple Carbohydrates in the form of refined sugars (white sugar, high fructose corn syrups) enriched flours, other forms of processed grains work against the body.  Processed foods have many of the vital nutrients essential to sustain our daily needs stripped away in manufacturing, and in the long-term produce the results – Obesity and Insulin Resistance (leading to Diabetes).  Many breakfast cereals targeting children -- that are frosted, artificially flavored and artificially colored offer little opportunity for "sustainable energy."

Breakfast Foods that offer a good choice of Whole Grains, Quality Lean Proteins, and Healthy Fats is the best way to start the day.  Feeling good is contagious and unconsciously your body and mind will begin to attract more right choices throughout the day. 

Conversely processed foods offer too few essential nutrients if any in comparison to their calorie count, and so the body doesn’t convert these to energy.  Unfortunately starting your day with poor choices and your body will push you towards further, like choices throughout the whole day -- pushing you further into low energy, irritability, depression, lack of focus and worse.....Ever feel thirsty and just can't quench that thirst? ah-ha! same thing keep feeding the body sugar and processed foods

The following plan is an example of poor habits that is almost guaranteed to result in worsening health issues, which wil be discussed in the 3rd part of this 4 part series: 

  • Eating lots proceesed foods with little nutritive value
  • Little or No Exercise
  • Skipping Meals (not just breakfast)
  • Eating too close to bedtime 

The above plan will over time develop High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Insulin Resistance.   Without any remediation these conditions will lead to Inflammation in the body , sometimes referred to as “Heat”, and Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals, “Rust.” 

Likewise here is the list of good practices to support a “healthy” weight management system.  

  • Eat a balanced good quality lean diet, balanced between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • Eat Small meals every 2-4 hours through out the day
  • Reduce your caloric intake
  • Exercise 3-4 times/week (every other day) a combination of cardio fitness exercises like walking/running/swimming, and weight resistance approximately 40 minutes in duration.
To be continued...............
Part 3 of this article will begin to look at the effects of poor diet, and lack of exercise.  Major contributors of inflammation in the body, especially Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, "Hardening of the Arteries", High Blood Pressure, Hyper Thyroidism.

Keep reading, don't let yourself become upset -- for most it's not too late -- poor health due to poor diet/nutirition is almost always reversible through diet, supplements, and when necessary prescription medication.

Disclaimer: Everyone’s body is different and this is at best a very challenging subject to discuss in this short space.  The comments, statements, any claims need to be evaluated on an individualized basis.  The author recognizes that pre-existing health and medical conditions may be present that must be properly incorporated into any changes to diet, exercise and caloric intake.  A good practice is to meet with your healthcare provider and discuss your concerns as the first step -- this applies to everyone, whether you consider yourself in good health or not.

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