What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

Have you heard that sugar is bad for you?  There is a lot of science now to back up what happens when you have too much sugar.  Let’s start off by talking about how the body deals with sugar.

When I am referring to sugar, I am not just talking about the white powder so let’s define exactly what I am referring to.  Everything that you eat breaks down into glucose (sugar) with the exception of meat or fat.  This includes foods like baked goods, crackers, fruit and fruit juice, cereals, vegetables, bread and so on.  It’s quite surprising how much sugar is in some foods that you wouldn’t think is high sugar like BBQ sauce and ketchup.   Soda pop is a killer for sugar.  It is 95% sugar!  In fact, one can of pop has about 16 teaspoons of sugar in it!  Candy is pure sugar as is some dried fruit.  And don’t be fooled by fruit.  Yes it is healthy for you and has lots of great immune boosting properties but it is still sugar so this is a case where it is appropriate to say the phrase that ‘too much of a good thing is bad’.  Juice is worse.  How much juice do you get when you squeeze one orange?  Not much.  So a full glass of orange juice is not only pure sugar but because you aren’t eating the whole fruit, you are losing the fiber which makes it much higher on the glycemic index.  It gets absorbed immediately in the blood stream and spikes your insulin very quickly.

Glucose is the number one source of energy for our bodies however overconsumption of glucose can wreak havoc.  Your insulin spikes to regulate your blood sugar.  Once you eat glucose, your body releases insulin, a hormone from your pancreas.  The insulin’s job is to absorb the excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels.  Today on average people are eating around 32 teaspoons of sugar every day.  A little sugar in your coffee, cereal for breakfast with a glass of juice, a sandwich for lunch and potatoes for dinner and you have over consumed sugar for the day.  This doesn’t include the dessert you ate or the mid-day or evening snacks.  It’s really not that hard to do.  For one day, count how many grams of sugar you eat.  You will be surprised how much you eat because most of us don’t think of the bread or potatoes as sugar.

What’s even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This highly processed form of sugar is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, which is why many food and beverage manufacturers decided to use it for their products, as it would allow them to save money in the long run.  The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar. It is actually a “hepatotoxin” and is metabolized directly into fat!

Some other devastating effects of too much sugar, particularly fructose in your diet include: liver damage (more so than alcohol), fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system, causes metabolic dysfunction, increases uric acid levels, causes diabetes and heart issues.

Sugar is addicting too.  The more sugar you eat the more you crave.  It takes only 48-72 hours to eliminate your cravings for sugar once you cut it out and you will gain a huge amount of energy.  I strongly recommend that you follow my low carb regime and not only will you lose weight, you will protect yourself from all of the damage that excess sugar will cause and you will feel so much better.

Fat Burning Foods

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could eat and the foods you eat help you burn fat?  What a concept…but there are foods that help you lose weight.  Some foods either help you build muscle, some promote fat burning, and some simply use energy (burn calories) just to digest them!  Keep in mind that that muscle tissue is metabolically active so the more muscle you have, the more you burn fat as it increases your resting metabolism.  In other words, because muscle needs a lot of energy to maintain, the more muscle you have, the more you are burning fat at rest.  This is why it is vital that you get enough protein in your diet so you don’t waste your muscles away.  Let’s have a look at some of them and how they work:

  1. Whey Protein: builds muscle; burns fat
  2. Eggs: builds muscle; burns fat
  3. Lean meats: build muscle; burns fat
  4. Almonds and other nuts: builds muscle; reduces cravings; burns fat
  5. Low fat dairy; builds bones; increases metabolism
  6. Coconut Oil/MCT oil; burns fat
  7. Avocados: burns fat; reduces cravings
  8. Berries; improves satiety; prevents cravings (also powerful antioxidant)
  9. Celery; takes more energy to metabolize than what you have ingested
  10. Peanut butter; boosts testosterone which builds muscle and burns fat
  11. Dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao): encourages fat burning; reduces cravings
  12. Fatty fish (herrings, mackerel, salmon, tuna); builds muscle; burns fat
  13. Green tea; increases metabolism; burns fat (also great for immune system)
  14. Grapefruit: burns fat; regulates blood sugar and metabolism
  15. Chili peppers; boosts metabolism
  16. Beans and legumes; builds muscle; burns fat; helps digestion
  17. Apple cider vinegar: burns carbs; burns fat; levels blood sugar
  18. Lemon water: burns fat; makes you feel full
  19. Oysters: Regulates appetite

So try to add as many of these foods in your diet and let’s burn some fat!!!  What can it hurt?

What Exactly is Ketosis and is it Good or Bad For Me?

When you eat carbohydrates, they break down into glucose which is the main source of fuel for your bodies.  If however you eat very few carbs and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to blood sugar), your body will look for alternate ways to get energy from and it starts to produce ketones.  Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel in the body, including the brain. This is important because the brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day.  It’s a common misconception that the brain needs carbs. The truth is that the brain happily burns carbs when you eat them. But if you don’t eat too many carbs, the brain is happy to burn ketones instead.  Your body cannot run on fat alone, it can only run on glucose…or ketones.

On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat.  Insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off.  This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, and studies show that ketogenic diets lead to more weight loss.  Being in ketosis also reduces hunger and cravings so you lose weight effortlessly and even reverse type 2 diabetes.  Also, by giving your body and brain an almost unlimited supply of energy, you can increase your physical and mental endurance.

Some people think that ketosis is extremely dangerous.  However, they might be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is completely different.  While ketoacidosis is a serious condition caused by uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a natural metabolic state.  In fact, ketosis and ketogenic diets have been studied extensively and shown to be very safe for long periods of time.

So how do you get your body into ketosis?  Cut the carbs!  Remember that everything, with the exception of meat and fat, is a carb which breaks down into glucose.  So how many carbs per day can you eat and still get into ketosis?  Approximately 20-50 NET carbs.  NET carbs are not the same as TOTAL carbs.  For example, fiber is a carb but the human body doesn’t absorb and it requires no insulin to metabolize and thus it has no glycemic response, so we subtract it from the total carb.  So if your bread has 30g total carbs but 5g of fiber, the net carb is only 25g.  You would be amazed at how many carbs you are eating if you are not counting or cutting them.  Other carbs that have no glycemic effect are sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol etc) which are used as a calorie free sugar substitute.

It is important to check your ketone levels by using Ketone sticks or “ketostix”.  You can get them in the drug stores.  You pee on the stick and it turns a color.  Basically the more ketones that are in the burning, the darker red-purple the stick will turn.  There is a chart on the bottle so you see if you are burning negative, small, medium or large.  If you are negative, you are not in ketosis and are not burning fat this way.  This is the best way to know if you are eating too many carbs or not eating enough good fats.  I find when I add MCT oil, I burn larger, faster.  You can put the MCT oil (which comes from coconut oil) in your shakes, drizzle it on steamed veggies or use it for your salad dressing with vinegar and spices.

So, get into ketosis…it’s good for you!

What to Look For in a Low Carb/Low Sugar Protein Bar

When hunger hits and it’s not meal time, I go for a protein bar.  Since I follow a low carb diet, I only buy bars but there are many very healthy bars that are not so low carb but are all natural, made from raw ingredients which include nuts and seeds, dates etc.  For the purpose of this article, I am going to stick with the low carb protein bars.  So here is a list of things to look for in a low carb, low sugar bar:

  • Protein content: This is the first thing I look at.  I look for a minimum of 20 grams of protein.  The higher the protein the more filling it will be and will keep you fuller for a longer time which ultimately reduces your  cravings as well.  Protein has a high thermic effect which means it requires a lot of energy to break it down. This means that up to 30% of the calories you consume from protein are used in the digestive process.  Most proteins come from milk and whey so they are not good for anyone who has a lactose intolerance.  For those of you with this issue, you would have to choose a vegan or vegetarian protein bar
  • Low sugar/Low carb: This is the 2nd thing I look for.  You would be surprised how much sugar are in some bars.  Most of the vegan bars are high carb but they are good carbs.  So to get a low carb bar you will most likely have to get one made from dairy/whey.  It is important to understand the difference  between total carbs and NET carbs.  Most low carb bars use sugar alcohol (xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol) etc.  Sugar alcohols always end with “itol” where sugars end with “ose” such as sucrose, fructose etc.  Sugar alcohols cannot be absorbed so they pass through the system and do not have a glycemic response, meaning that they do not require insulin to be metabolized.  Also, many low carb bars contain a high amount of fiber which like sugar alcohols, are not absorbed by the human body.  They pass right through, so…we can subtract them since neither of them have a glycemic response.  As an example:  Let’s say the bar has 28g protein, 17g fiber and 10g sugar alcohol.  28-17-10=1 NET carb.  This one carb left over has a glycemic response and is the only carb you count for your daily carb amounts.
  • High fiber: As mentioned above, the higher the fiber content the lower the total carbs. Also, fiber is great for blood sugar balance
  • When you’re choosing a protein bar that is quite low in total carb count, then they often will contain sugar alcohols. While many people will have no problem tolerating these, some people experience bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and bad gas as sugar alcohols draw water into the bowel. You will have to try them out for yourself to see if you react this way, but if you don’t these can be a very helpful fat loss aid. If you suffer from chronic constipation, they may be helpful for you

There are many high protein bars that are low carb and low sugar.  You have to learn how to read the labels to know.  Some of the low carb/sugar bars would include the Quest bars, B-Up bars and Oh Yeah ONE bars but there are many, many more to choose from.  Enjoy a guilt free snack that provides great protein and fiber without the guilt of carbs!

 

 

Low Carb Diets Equal Better Sex!

I have heard from numerous people that once they go on a low carb diet, their sex drive increases dramatically.  At first I wondered why but then after thinking about it I can name a few reasons:

  • Following a low carb diet means that you are eating more fats (good fats). Fats are responsible for the manufacture of hormones including testosterone and estrogen.  Increased testosterone means increased sex drive
  • An eye-opening study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that sugar overloading shuts off a gene that helps control estrogen and testosterone levels, zapping your sex drive
  • Good fats provide more energy than any other food group so you feel more energized to engage in sex
  • Low carb diets elevate mood which puts you in the mood
  • High blood sugar negatively effects mood, energy level, and, hence- interest in sex
  • Diets high in sugar also cause fatigue, making active sex seem draining. High levels of carbs and sex just don’t mix
  • Like sex, low carb diets are stimulating. Eating the right amount of carbs creates incredible energy
  • Eating too much glucose and fructose causes us to gain fat which in turn has been shown to shut off the sex genes
  • Chronic high blood sugar from your old way of eating contributes to neuropathy (nerve damage) and impaired blood circulation, both of which lead to a decrease or delay in erections, lubrication, genital sensation and orgasm
  • When you lose weight, you feel better physically and emotionally. You have a new body and are less inhibited
  • Excitement about your results and achievements causes an even stronger drive for enjoying life and ultimately the love-making in it

Bottom line is that dieting impacts both physical and mental health.  You need the energy to have sex and if you are not in the right frame of mind you will not desire sex.  So, follow the low carb diet for just one month and see what happens to your libido!  It’s certainly worth a try don’t you think?

The Rules of a Low Carb Lifestyle

I think following any diet that consists of low carb, HIGH good fats and moderate protein is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I promise if you follow what I am telling you, you will start to lose weight right away and your energy will increase and most importantly, you will lose all cravings for sugar/carbs. Please see the rules below. This program works by starving your body of sugar forcing it to burn fat for energy. The #1 fuel that your body can and does easily use is sugar. When you keep your sugars/carbs below 30 NET carbs, it has NO CHOICE but to burn its reserve energy which is fat! See below for checking how much fat you are burning.

#1 RULE to remember…EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING with the exception of meat and fat is a carbohydrate and all carbohydrates are sugar! This includes fruit, vegetables, grains…everything except meat and fat breaks down into sugar.

RULE #2: You are only allowed 30 NET carbs per day or less. What is a NET carb? Not all carbs are created equal and some behave differently than others. For example, fiber (which is a carbohydrate) and sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol etc) cannot be absorbed by the human body so they go through the system unabsorbed and more importantly, they do not have a glycemic response. This means they do not require insulin to be metabolized. So to determine your NET carbs, here is the math:
Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = NET carbs. (Note: Atkins products uses glycerine in their bars and some other products which cannot be absorbed but he never lists the amount of glycerine so the math never works)
Example: Total carbs = 30 Fiber = 15 Sugar Alcohols 11. So 30-15-11= 4 NET carbs. The carbs left over after subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols (and glycerine) have a glycemic response and require insulin to be metabolized and these are what you are counting. Remember only 30 NET carbs per day. You will be surprised how many carbs are in an apple or a cup of broccoli. Here is the link for the Atkins carb counter site. Use it for reference all the time:
http://files.atkins.com/1501_CarbCounter_Online.pdf

RULE #3: No potatoes, NO pasta, NO rice, NO bread and NO fruit (for now). I have a deadly recipe for low carb, gluten free bread made with almond flour and psyllium husk but you cannot have this for at least 2-3 weeks until you break old eating habits.

RULE #4: You MUST increase your good fats. These include coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil and MCT oil. I use MCT oil for my salad dressings, coconut oil for EVERYTHING including cooking (it is very stable under high heat conditions) and take a shot of MCT oil mid-afternoon and/or prior to my meals.

RULE #5: You MUST check your ketones. This is non-negotiable! When you are burning fat (it usually takes 2-3 days to convert your body) a by-product of fat burning is ketones. This means that once you start burning fat for energy, ketones will be in your urine. Go to the drug store and ask for ketone stix. You can even get ketone/diastix which will show fat burning and blood sugar levels, should you have blood sugar issues. The ketone stix go from a beige color all the way up to deep purple. The darker the color, the more fat you’re burning! If you are not burning ketones, you are NOT burning fat, simple as that. This means that you are still eating too many carbs or more importantly not eating enough fat. There is no cheating on carbs on this program. Your body will happily use sugar way faster than fat for energy as it is the easiest. It’s actually exciting to pee on that damn stick to see the dark color knowing that I am burning fat! I have noticed that if I don’t eat enough fat, my ketones are just showing trace. Once I started taking more MCT oil (shots in the afternoon and as a salad dressing) my ketones went large! You will see the difference right away.

Glycemic index and glycemic load: It is important to note the glycemic index in your food choices. The low glycemic foods do not require as much insulin to metabolize. You can download lists of food and their glycemic index from Google.

So what are you eating?

Protein (eggs, cheese, meat, bacon, protein isolate shakes for snacks etc). The ONE bars ad Quest bars are low carb but I would stay away from them for the first few weeks to wean off of sugar taste. Also, they may take you out of ketosis but you will know by checking it.

Vegetables but not the root/starchy ones. Good choices are all lettuce(s), cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, celery etc. CHECK the Atkins carb counter for amount of carbs in these vegetables. We have been programmed to count calories but calories do not count on this diet. You MUST however count carbs (NET carbs).

I strongly suggest that you have a dozen boiled eggs in your fridge at all times, as well as cooked chicken and cut up vegetables and lettuce. Sometimes we get lazy cooking and so having stuff prepared makes it much easier. I also have a home-made soup in the fridge at all times. My soups have chicken and vegetables (the ones allowed above). Be careful not to eat too many vegetables though as they are carbs.

 

Appetite Control and Leptin

Appetite Control and Leptin

Leptin, the “satiety hormone”, discovered in just 1994 is a hormone made by fat cells that helps to regulate hunger.  After you eat, leptin is released into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain telling you to stop eating because you’re full.  Without leptin we could continue to eat until we explode.  Some people have what’s called leptin resistance where the brain is unable to pick up its signals causing mindless eating and overeating.  It’s also a cycle where the more you eat, the more engorged your fat cells, and the greater the risk of worsening your leptin resistance because it is your fat cells that make this hormone.  The more you gain, the more sensitive your body becomes to leptin.  Leptin resistance is associated with certain other medical conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, and elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream.  Leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy balance… the amount of calories we eat and expend, and how much fat we store on our bodies

People with leptin resistance may find that they have frequent or even constant cravings or feelings of hunger. Researchers are still working to fully understand and develop effective treatments for leptin resistance, but for now, controlling cravings is the key to combating the effects of this condition.  If you’re eating lots of sugar/carbs, or if you’re very stressed or sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel like you have an appetite you just can’t satisfy. To beat your cravings, protein and fiber are the keys as they both keep you very full for a long time.

Reversing Leptin Resistance:  How do you know if you’re leptin resistant?  There is no set blood test done to determine leptin levels. The best test to do to determine if you are leptin resistant is to look in the mirror.  If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area then you are almost certainly leptin resistant.  Leptin resistance occurs years before insulin resistance and full blown diabetes.

So what can we do?  The low carb, gluten free diet will help you tremendously!

  • Cut out grains, refined sugars and processed foods and replace them with “slow burn” foods like protein and fats so you avoid leptin spikes that cause leptin resistance
  • Increase the good fats in your diet including avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, fish oils, butter, ghee and olive oil. Take 2,000mg-3,000mg Omega 3 (fish oils)
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Increase fiber in your diet. I recommend taking fiber supplements 30 minutes before each meal
  • Always have protein with each meal
  • Eat 3 meals per day and not snacking all day stabilizes leptin levels and avoids spikes
  • Exercise like resistance training increases leptin sensitivity so the signals can reach your brain that you’re full
  • Reduce your stress levels and get plenty of sleep

So here is yet another reason to follow a low carb, gluten free lifestyle.  Eating real low carb/sugar food, exercising and sleeping well are all lifelong endeavours that require a shift in lifestyle.