One thing that you may have noticed if you have followed my advice and decided to increase the amount of fat and protein in your diet is that your cravings are gone (or at least decreased).
While you might be thinking, of course, fat makes you feel full (and you are right), but there is more going on here than you might realize and this has big implications on why you want to continue to eat the way you are eating.
Am I Really Hungry?
You probably know what hunger is, don’t you? It is that ache in your stomach and if you don’t eat soon, then thoughts of food becomes an obsession, where you have to get some food and you have to get it right now.
We’ve all seen those movies where someone is crawling across a desert, the sun is beating hard down on their head and the last bit of water they had was yesterday. Most people describe hunger in exact same way (only instead of craving water they are craving French fries, or a chocolate bar).
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but that is not hunger.
What you are experiencing is addiction. When you become obsessed, shaky, aggressive and anxious about not having food, then you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from an addiction.
As you move from eating a standard American diet to eating healthy, you have removed a lot of the foods that you are addicted to. But as so many addiction programs say: Once an addict, always an addict.
Eating fat causes heart disease, right? If you have read this blog at all, you should know that it is not fat that causes heart disease, but eating sugar (and foods that act like sugar) and vegetable oils.
The benefits of eating fats (the right fats) are obvious:
Fat is good for your blood sugar (fats don’t increase blood sugar at all and will actually slow down the absorption of the sugars that you do eat).
Fats are a good source of energy in your body. Ketones (breakdown products of fats) are just as important as an energy source as glucose.
Fats are essential to make hormones, the walls of every cell in our bodies, and are used as protection, insulation and fuel.
Despite the benefits of eating good fats, there may still be this nagging notion in the back of your brain saying that all this fat you are eating cannot be good for your heart. It is a hard idea to shake, so let’s take a trip down fatty-acid-lane and look at the fats that course through your veins and see what research (not politics) says about these fats and what they mean for your heart.
There are many types of fats that flow through your veins. You may know some of these (like cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides) and you may have heard that some of these fats are good for you and some are not. What might surprise you, though, is that most of what you have been told by your medical doctor is wrong and following their advice can have a big impact on your health. Let’s look at what these fats mean to your health (and the blood fat you should really be paying attention to) and what causes them to rise and fall.
Next to sugar, I think the worst foods you can put in your mouth are vegetable oils.
This is a hard thing for people to understand because we have been led to believe that vegetable oils are better than saturated fats, but nothing could be further from the truth. Remember that saturated fats are fats that come from animal sources (meat, butter), but you can also find them in coconut and palm oil. These fats are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules and that means they are stable and don’t change when heated (this is a good thing). A saturated fat also doesn’t react with other molecules (another good thing).
Unsaturated fats are the fats we extract from seeds (like canola, corn, sunflower…). Since they are not saturated, they are unstable. When we heat these unsaturated fats they tend to twist out of their natural configuration (and become what are called trans-fats – the world is starting to wake up to how bad trans fats are). Unsaturated fats are also very reactive with other molecules (including molecules in your body) which is why you should avoid them like they are poison. We are waking up to the health threats from these misshaped and twisted molecules. The problems with trans fats are many. To put it simply, your body does not know what to do with these molecules because they have been twisted out of shape. Trans-fats are associated with increased inflammation in your body, clogged arteries, and even weight gain.
Studies have shown that around 5% of any vegetable oil you buy contains trans fats (this is because the oils have to be heated when they are manufactured).
Close your eyes for a moment and picture two plates with nothing but broccoli on them. Now imagine pouring butter all over the broccoli on one of those plates. Now pick. Which would you choose: the just-broccoli plate or the butter-and-broccoli plate?
Most people will chose the broccoli with butter, but as soon as they make that choice strange thoughts jump into their heads. Even though a buttery meal would taste great, they think that that it is a heart attack waiting to happen.
Stop for a moment and think about this: how did that thought jump into your head? If you think that a heart attack and eating butter are related then that thought must have come from somewhere, right? It had to come from somewhere because if you were to eat a stick of butter, you wouldn’t immediately fall down dead. This means that someone told you that butter and heart attacks are related and they told you often enough that you believe it to be true.
The question you have to ask yourself is this: is that thought correct? Is there a relationship between butter and heart attacks?
When I think about the way that we think about food, it feels like I am watching an old fashioned melodrama where the villain with a black hat and cape has changed his clothing, bleached his hair, and is now wearing all white clothes. The funny thing is that everyone loves the villain and thinks he is the good guy, while the true hero of the story is hated.
Ultimately there are only three ways to lose weight:
The first is to eat less calories than you burn: This method (which I call the starvation method) will work for a while, but since your brain uses so much your energy, you go crazy with cravings when you limit your calories (especially if you are still eating sugars or foods that act like sugars). And this is the method that will drive you crazy with calculating calories in verses calories out.
The second is to stop producing fat: You can accomplish this by limiting the amount of fructose you take in your body. Remember that fructose (which shows up in soda, fruit, fruit juices, table sugar, and anything with high fructose corn syrup) is what makes fat – not eating fat. You also have to remember that table sugar (sucrose) is one-half fructose – so, yes, you have to av
Our world is burning the wrong fuel. Whether you believe that global warming is real or not, burning fossil fuels creates problems such as air pollution, environmental damage, and political instability. There will be a day when oil costs more than it is worth to extract it from the ground. Changing from burning oil to using renewable resources is not going to be easy, but once we have made the change we will all be better off.
The same is true with our body’s fuel.
Most people think that our body’s energy and sugar are the same thing. The reason you think this has to do with a combination of advertising and misguided research studies. In the past, it was well known that athletes would “bonk” when they exercised for a long time without eating anything. Researchers discovered that bonking was due to running out of glycogen (the quick-energy form of sugar). To keep from bonking, scientists discovered, athletes needed to keep taking sugar in during exercise.
The sport drink industry has pushed this idea out of the science lab and into our brains and this is why most of us think that sugar is the same as energy. When you feel tired, it is your blood sugar dropping, isn’t it? Even kids know this. Our bodies are tied to sugar like our world is tied to oil, we cannot imagine a world without either of these energy sources. But there is another fuel source that is not only better for our health, but is also better for weight loss.
If you are like many parents and trying to help your kids make good choices about what they are eating, you might find yourself reaching for fruit juice when you are shopping instead of soda. While I applaud the move to get soda out of your and your children’s life, fruit juice is actually no better than soda and it may actually be much worse.
I know that this is the last thing you want to hear because when you think of fruit juice it seems so natural and it just feels like it is good for you. When you are shopping and you see a label that says “100 percent fruit juice” it looks healthier than everything else on the isle. Or, when you see that cooler of fresh squeezed juices and smoothies it seems fresh, natural, and full of vitamins.
Yes, fruit is natural. The problem lies is how much we are drinking and the strange messages that fructose sends to our bodies.
Your journey to where you want to be healthy and weight-wise will take you down some roads that don’t serve you very well. It will also feel at times that you are doing the right thing and at others that you are no closer to where you want to be than when you started.
One of the more common questions I get is about sprouted grains. So lets take a look at sprouted grains and how they are different from the grains we eat every day.
By now you understand that I don’t think that you shouldn’t be eating grains at all. While we are smart enough to figure out how to make grains into a food, they are not meant to be eaten by humans. Eating grains is the easiest way to increase your blood sugar and they contain all sorts of protections (such as lectins) that lead to inflammation and other problems in our bodies. Add to that the fact that most grains are processed (in the form of puffy cereals, donuts, and sugary breads) and you are left with a food that will only harm your body.
It should be obvious to you by now that keeping sugar out of your diet is good for you, but do you know why keeping sugar out of your diet works so well to help you to lose weight?