JONCE: I want to talk a little bit about these books I just purchased. One is written by Deanna Minich, PhD, about the connection of food to our spiritual lives. In old times, food was often used in connection with spirituality (like the manna from Heaven, the breaking the bread, the last supper, etc.). Food was always involved in spirituality.
CHRIS: Like the blood of Christ.
JONCE: Yeah. So she is approaching weight loss from a holistic standpoint; if you want to lose weight, you have to go beyond the fads of dieting.
There are over 200 diets out there, and none of them really work. It is proven that the majority of people who go on a diet will regain their weight; not only that, but they will gain even more weight than what they lost in the first place! Diets do not work; they are a short-term fix. Sadly, that’s what we look for. If you want to feel good about yourself, you shoot some coke and heroin into you—it’s a quick fix. If you want to feel cool, you buy yourself a $60,000 car; you feel good for one or two weeks, then the first bill comes. Quick fix, right? It’s the same with food. Food seems like the quickest fix to everything—it’s everywhere, it’s cheap, but above all, it is highly addictive. Particularly sugar.
JONCE: Take any food item, turn it around, and look at the nutrition label. You’ll see its caloric percentage of a 2,000 calorie diet (for someone eating 2,000 calories a day), as well as the protein and fat percentages. But when it comes to sugar, there is no percentage. On no food item will you see the percentage of added sugar. You will see the grams, but you will never see the percentage.
Around 10 years ago, the government made (I think it was) a second attempt to force food companies to include the percentage of added sugar on food labels. The food companies brought their top lawyers and doctors into Congress, convincing the politicians (who are supposedly looking out for us) not to label the sugar percentage on any food item. Not only that, but Congress was also convinced to conceal the harmful and addictive effects of sugar additives. It’s the power of government against the power of food corporations. Did you know that many health insurances have tons of money invested in the big food companies? It’s all about making money by lying and deceiving the “brainwashed” consumer.
But we got sidetracked from our original theme. Back to Dr. Deanna Minich.
Minich writes about how, through self-evaluation and discovering self-love, our lives can change—on a long-term basis. Not just for three months, four months. How many times have we heard people say, “I’m going on vacation in four months. I have to lose weight,” or, “I have a wedding to attend. In two months, I have to lose 20 pounds because I want to fit in my dress.” Those are all quick fixes. As soon as the big event is over, they go back to their old lifestyle. We have 85 to 86 million obese people in this country; that amounts to 33 or 34 percent of us. An additional 34 to 35 percent of us are overweight. Between these two conditions, we have about 68 percent of people either obese or overweight.
Overweight people usually continue to gain weight. Why? Because they think, “The heck with it. Food makes me feel good, so I’ll keep comforting myself with it.” The sad fact is, most people eat food for pleasure instead of eating it for its intended purpose: fuel.
Another book I’m reading is about the “grain brain” and how damaging grain is to our brains. It is written by Dr. David Perlmutter. I don’t agree with everything he writes, but in regards to the hormones insulin and leptin, and the damaging effect of sugar on the body, I agree with him. Insulin (secreted from the pancreas) and leptin (made by adipose cells) are very important in regards to overeating and obesity. Both are transmitted to the hypothalamus (an almond-sized organelle in our brain), which tells us we are full.
Metabolic endocrinology is very complicated, and it is challenging to explain the whole process, but I will try to do so. The hormone insulin helps regulate the amount of sugar in our blood; when we eat carbohydrates, they are transformed into glucose for energy and stored as glycogen in the liver. To prevent excess sugar in the blood, the pancreas secretes insulin, which delivers that sugar into the right organs/cells. Insulin also signals the hypothalamus, which then signals the cells that enough sugar has been taken in to achieve homeostasis (a stable internal environment). This is the stage of a healthy person.
However, if we constantly feed ourselves processed carbohydrates/sugar (the majority of people consume 80 percent of their calories from processed carbs, in combination with processed fat), the body is continually overloaded with sugar. This causes the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin so that excess sugar is removed from the blood. Eventually, so much insulin is secreted that the muscle and liver cell receptors become desensitized, no longer receiving the signal to absorb the sugar. But there is one place more than willing to receive the sugar: adipose fat cells. And so it happens that all excess sugar is converted to fat.
Now let’s talk about the hormone leptin. Leptin’s central function is to regulate overall body weight by limiting food intake and increasing energy expenditure. Leptin is made in the WAT (white adipose tissue); a healthy person in homeostasis is producing the right amount of leptin in the WAT, which then signals the hypothalamus to inhibit food intake at the proper time. An obese person has a lot of WAT, which means that there is an overload of leptin secretion in the blood stream. This creates a leptin resistance, which inhibits the hypothalamus from signaling the feeling of satiety. The receptors and neurotransmitters between leptin and the hypothalamus have now become “disconnected.”
Do you know what this actually means? It means that we are NOT fat because we eat too much; we eat too much because we are fat. The constant overfeeding on grain/processed carbohydrates leads to insulin resistance (IR), which leads to excessive fat storage, which leads to leptin resistance (LR), which leads to a distorted sense of satiety, which leads to obesity.
To be continued…