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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Breakfast. What is yours doing to you?

Client "I'm eating healthy. I just don't understand why I'm not losing weight OR getting leaner."
Me "Really? Tell me what a typical day looks like for you"
Client "Well, for breakfast I have whole grain cereal, a banana and orange juice"
Me (trying not to choke) "Whole grain cereal? Really? What kind?"
Client "______________" (insert name of popular boxed cereal touted as whole grain)
Me (trying harder not to choke) "Who told you that was healthy?"

Ok so that may not be what I would say but it is definitely what I am thinking.  Sometimes I really just want to ask people (in all seriousness) "WHY do you think that is healthy?" I really wonder if anyone has an answer....an actual answer to that.  I'm sure I would get a lot of "well, the commercial said so."  No, the commercial DID NOT say so..it inferred it.  You did exactly what the marketing team hoped you would.  You made the jump- some how connecting the information presented in the commercial to "this product is healthy and good for me, I should buy it".  Congratulations, you fell for it.  Here is a bit of advice...and if you know me I'm sure you have heard me say it many times before-- it is MARKETING! They don't care if they kill you, they want to make money.  Plain and simple.

Client: "But it is whole grain, it HAS to be good for me."
Me: "It WAS whole grain. Now it is a whole grain that has been smashed up, ground into dust, had other things added to it and stamped into some sort of flake, square, circle or other enticing shape."
Client: " But it is made from whole grain.  It says so right on the ingredients list!"
Me: beating my head against the wall and wishing I could strangle each and every person in the marketing departments of these major companies.

Can whole grains have a positive effect on your health? Yes they can. Did whole grains give their lives to make that cereal? Yes, they sure did.  So the cereal is good for you? No, it is not.  Confused? Probably.

Let's look at it like this. Take a potato. With me so far? Now turn it into a potato chip (or even a french fry). Is it nutritionally the same? Does it bring the same benefits to your body as it did in it's original state? No and no. Still with me? Let's try this one.  Take a tree. Add sunshine and rain and what happens? Well, it grows.  Photosynthesis takes place taking in carbon dioxide and water and releasing oxygen. When the wind blows, the branches sway.  Now take a piece of paper, pretty much a tree smashed up, ground into dust with other things added to it and stamped into some sort of enticing shape.  Sound familiar?  Add sunshine and rain and what happens? (Yes, I can hear you laughing from here...) The paper is probably ruined.  Is photosynthesis taking place? Absolutely not. What happens when the wind blows? Well, you probably just lost your piece of paper!

What am I trying to demonstrate here? Simple.  Changing the structure of an object (or food item) changes its function regardless of what the ingredient list shows. What would the ingredient list of your piece of paper say? Tree.  Does it still act like a tree? Nope.  Does your whole grain cereal list whole grains in its ingredient list? Yep, sure does.  In fact, take a look at the ingredient list of one popular "multi grain" cereal:
Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Whole Grain Barley, Whole Grain Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Starch, Brown Sugar Syrup, Corn Bran, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Trisodium Phosphate, Canola and/or Rice Bran Oil, Distilled Monoglycerides, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients)Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate)Color Added, a B Vitamin (Niacinamide)Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate)a B Vitamin (Calcium Pantothenate)Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate)a B Vitamin (Folic Acid)Vitamin A (Palmitate)Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.


Wow! Look at all that whole grain.. Bull$*@t!!!!  Remember, just because it once was, doesn't mean that it still is.


Why am I making such a big deal about this? On to the next piece of the puzzle, the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).  The glycemic index is the ranking of foods based on the blood glucose response after ingestion as compared to a reference food.  Basically how quickly it is converted to glucose in your body after it enters your mouth.  (Glucose is your body's prefered energy source) The reference food is either glucose itself or white bread and is assigned a value of 100.  Water is assigned a value of zero.  Most foods will fall somewhere in between 0 and 100.  Notice I said MOST, as some foods will have a value greater than 100. The rate at which carbohydrates are converted to glucose is affected by many factors some of which include physical characteristics (surface area, solid vs porous), type of starch present (amylose-amylopectin ratio), sugar content, type of sugar, fiber content, fat content and acidity.  Foods assigned a higher number produce a larger, transient glucose spike.  Lower numbers cause a mild, more sustained increase.  


So why does this matter? Well, we have to look a little more in depth at how the body of a healthy individual responds to an increased glucose level.  A very simplified version: in response to increased glucose levels, the pancreas (beta cells) secretes insulin in hopes of returning the blood glucose level to a near normal range.  The insulin binds with the glucose and removes it from the blood stream.  High levels of glucose require high levels of insulin. 


 Insulin is a very powerful hormone. In the proper amount it is life sustaining. It promotes muscle building and prevents muscle breakdown. However, too much of it causes problems. Insulin is the one and only hormone responsible for storing fat.  High insulin levels also completely stop all fat burning.  Reams of scientific studies show that excess insulin is a factor in diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Eating foods that are higher GI/GL is basically like dumping massive massive amounts of glucose into your system.  From there insulin spikes and VOILA! fat storage!!! 


Follow me so far? Your breakfast is making you fat.  Yes, you read that right. Take your 'whole grain' cereal or 'whole grain' bagel, grind all of that whole grain up and what happens??? Well, I bet you just increased the surface area of that 'grain' and pretty much destroyed the fiber (to name just a couple things) making it muuuuuch easier for enzymes to convert this to glucose. Woohoo, hello high GI!!! Now to add insult to injury, studies have actually shown that after having a breakfast comprised of high GI foods you are actually going to store more fat after you eat lunch too. REGARDLESS of what your lunch consists of. Yes, your lunch could be the most perfect lunch on the planet and if you had a high GI breakfast, you are going to store more fat after eating your lunch compared to someone eating that very same lunch, yet had a low GI breakfast.  So fat storage from breakfast AND from lunch- talk about NOT reaching your health and fitness goals!!


STILL NEED CONVINCING??? Let's take a look at the GI/GL of some popular breakfast items (and a few other items just to put things in perspective).
Remember the closer the number is to 100, the more it reacts like glucose in your system and the more it causes fat storage.
                                  
Breads/bagels         103
Special K cereal       98
Cornflakes               94
Cheerios                  74


Jelly beans            112
Coke                      76


(taken from mendosa.com.  Please see http://mendosa.com/gilists.htm for more information)


Hmmmmm...bagel...over 100??? Special K, 98, and higher than Coke???? Wait a second..are both of these things touted as being healthy???  Yep.  Less than 5 minutes ago I saw a commercial for one of those products and it's 'weight loss program'.  How can that be since it actually causes fat storage???  Well...they didn't advertise it as a fat loss program, now did they??? (I promise you'll hear more on THAT later)


Glycemic index/glycemic load is one very important part of the mystery of proper nutrition, but it is only a tool in out tool box.  Just because something is low GI does NOT mean it is automatically good for you.  Take ice cream for example it has a GI of around 51, Pizza Hut pizza may range from 30-40 while soy milk has a GI of 34. I would not classify any of those as 'good for you'.  Remember, foods with a high fat content will have a low GI, so use your common sense as well.  For now, go back and take a look at your breakfast. Are you storing fat from the moment you get up???


HIGH GI BREAKFAST = ADMONITION









3 comments:

  1. I love these posts...I have so many people who NEED to read them immediately!

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  2. Thanks Katie! Feel free to share the love..send them a link : )

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  3. I deal with that mentality all the time. Just glad I'm not the only one who wants to shake people when they start talking nutrition. Great, great post.

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