Disclaimer: Please note that there are many theories and even more changes when it comes to diets and nutrition. I do not claim to know everything (or anything at all for that matter) so please take my suggestions and/or thoughts like you should anything you read on the web or hear on TV….do your own research and make an informed decision on what is best for you.
Pardon my French, but what the #*&@ is up with all the carbohydrate confusion out there?? This blog post comes from a few requests of my 10’s of readers. The discussion of carbohydrates comes with much debate and a lot of emotion in regards to the ‘shoulds’ and shouldn’ts’ of this vital nutrient. What kind do we eat? What time of day do we eat them? Is it only in the evening or only before noon? Ack!!! Since it seems carbs are the most popular subject regarding nutrition and food anxieties, I think it’s important to at least touch on the subject. Because carbs are a sensitive subject I leave this discussion open ended as there is more information out there and I am sure there will be feedback and other theories which I am very much open to hearing and discussing….
We now all know that the hyped low fat/high carbohydrate diet of the late 80’s is a huge reason we are so….well, huge today. All of those carbs created insulin resistance and stress to our bodies which increased our cortisol production adding extra padding to our bellies and rolls of fat to our backs. Sexy? Not exactly. Then, in the late 90’s Dr. Atkins came out with The Atkins Revolution suggesting that all carbohydrates, including whole grains, all fruits and most vegetables, are the real causes of excess weight. He pushed high fat meats and dairy such as bacon, heavy cream, fat laden steaks and even copious amounts of butter as “health food”. Though this diet works at shedding pounds initially due to the low sugar intake, it has been known to cause a whole heap of potential health problems such as, kidney problems, chronic bowel disease and some minor discomforts like headaches and toxic gas. Also, not sexy.
So, why is it that some people can eat bread and pastries day in and day out and not gain an ounce while others so much as mention the word ‘muffin’ and our bellies begin to create a muffin-top over our jeans? Honestly, I am not sure. I am sure genetics plays a role but I think a lot of it has to do with the high amount of stress everyone of all ages face these days. Because we are constantly on-call with our Blackberries and iPhones and expected to respond within moments of a text or email everyone is a bit high strung and reaching for more feel good serotonin boosting sugar. Though eating high glycemic index foods (like white flour and sugar) does boost serotonin there is always a crash to follow creating even more stress and more belly fat.
To make it simple, if you have stomach fat (don’t worry…I am speaking to myself here as well) that suggests you have a hard time processing carbohydrates. In order to create more insulin sensitivity and get rid of the lingering stomach fat you may want to try cutting out sugars and all grains for a couple of weeks and eat loads of vegetables and lean protein. This releases your body’s dependence on carbohydrates and forces it to use fat for energy.
The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain is a great book about the health benefits of cutting out grains.
If you carry most of your weight on your hips and thighs stay tuned for my next blog discussing excess estrogen……