If you are a woman over 40 with excess body fat to lose, especially around you midsection I want you to put down the low-fat blueberry bagel with low-fat cream cheese and fry yourself up an egg.
Please put down the whole grain toast with jelly and a glass of calcium fortified orange juice.
Throw away the non-fat, Triple Zero Oikos strawberry yogurt and granola.
Step away from the bowl of low-calorie Special K with skim milk.
It's all comes down to understanding that your weight has more to do with a very powerful hormone than calories. And even more important is whether or not that powerful hormone is turned "on" or not.
The bagel, low-fat cream cheese, toast and jelly, orange juice, non-fat yogurt, cold cereal and skim milk all have one thing in common.
They are high carbohydrate foods that stimulate your body to produce large amounts of your fat-storing hormone insulin.
Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone that has a very important job.
It helps control blood glucose (sugar) levels, stimulating the uptake of glucose (sugar) by the liver, muscle, and fat tissue. Every time you eat, or even think about eating (!), you release insulin.
Insulin isn't all bad, you need insulin to help your muscles repair and grow, you need insulin to put on the required amount of fat to keep you healthy and warm.
If you didn't have insulin, the sugar in your blood from the food that you eat would build up and become toxic. You would have no energy or any way to store energy for later use.
Your body depends on a harmonious cycle of insulin and another hormone called glucagon to rise and fall in balance with one another to keep your blood sugar in a good and non-toxic state.
When you eat food, insulin is released and drives the storage of sugar and fat. Insulin is the major hormone responsible for any fat accumulation on your body.
If your insulin is stimulated or turned "on" and running through your body, you are burning sugar and storing fat.
That's insulin's job. It tells your body to burn sugar and it prevents any fat from leaving your fat cells.
Insulin drives fat accumulation and weight gain.
Insulin is the hormone that you have to control if you want to control how much fat you have on your body and control your body weight.
Once insulin levels drop, the stored fat in your hips can leave their fat cells to be burned.
But most of us suffer from insulin that stays on too long, even when it should be turned "off." This is called insulin resistance.
So it's super important for most of us to not stimulate our insulin too much, because it doesn't turn off and fall in a balanced pattern like it's supposed too.
That's what metabolic damage really looks like.
It gets even more interesting when you learn that not all foods stimulate insulin the same way.
Different foods stimulate metabolic hormones differently.
Insulin is like a light with a dimmer switch. You can turn it on and you can turn it off by when you eat. You can also dim and brighten it by what you eat.
It's true that all food turns insulin "on." But different foods turn on insulin higher than others.
All food is made up of the three macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. However, the three macronutrients have different impacts on your insulin.
Carbohydrates have the biggest and most profound impact. Carbohydrates, especially sugar and processed carbohydrates cause a large and powerful surge on insulin. Carbohydrates like candy, low-fat yogurt, bread, English Muffins, orange juice, pasta, chips, tortillas, and pancakes.
Protein comes in second on the insulin stimulator scale. Protein is found in animal foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy and also plant foods like beans, tofu, and nuts. They don't stimulate insulin as much as carbohydrate but they do turn into sugar in your body if you eat more protein than you need.
Lastly, is dietary fat. Fat found in foods like olive oil, butter, ribeyes, eggs, avocados and bacon. Your body doesn't need insulin to get these fatty acids into your cells for energy like carbohydrates or protein, so it's just a blip on the insulin radar.
When you put all this very real, physiological information together you get these important points:
- Weight is controlled and determined by the rise and fall of insulin that is stimulated when you eat certain foods.
- Foods that turn insulin "on" promote fat accumulation and stop fat burning.
- Food that keep insulin "low" promote fat burning and stop fat accumulation.
Remember what the bagel, low-fat cream cheese, toast and jelly, orange juice, non-fat yogurt, cold cereal and skim milk all had in common?
They are all potent insulin stimulators!
Choosing a chia coconut milk breakfast pudding over the low-fat granola bar and non-fat greek yogurt for breakfast is a good decision metabolically.
Because even though fat is 9 calories per gram...it doesn't stimulate insulin. And it's insulin that controls your weight, not calories!
This is a huge difference in how most of us understand weight control.
But that's what we all need, right?
Eating foods that keep insulin low allows your body to burn fat.
Eating natural fats for breakfast like bacon and eggs, coconut milk smoothies, overnight oats with whole milk, avocados and sausage are better for your weight than Kashi Go-Lean with skim milk, whole-wheat waffles, and low-calorie English muffins because of their impact on your insulin.
And it's not just at breakfast. Eating more natural fats at all three meals is a good way to keep your blood sugars and insulin steady and balanced.
Natural dietary fats just food that are naturally fatty. Foods like:
Replacing your carbohydrates with natural fats will help you burn body fat because of how it impacts your insulin.
Natural fats keep your insulin low while still providing plenty of sustainable, usable energy.
So enjoy bacon and eggs for breakfast, but skip the toast. And savor your morning ritual of coffee with cream...just don't add the sugar ;)