In reality, that pizza binge isn’t just a sporadic indulgence against an angelic backdrop of steamed fish and kale. Unfortunately the majority of food that is readily available to the masses tends to be filled with sugar, preservatives, harmful processed fats and chemical additives. This is far from the locally sourced and organic foods of decades past” says dietician Carey Main. Low-value, energy-rich foods fail to satisfy our body while overstimulating the reward pathways in the brain. They leave us in a constant state of craving. All that sugar constantly floods our bloodstream, which is where the hormone insulin comes in. Added sugar increases the energy density and palatability of food; it can contribute to insulin resistance indirectly via increased food intake and body fatness, says Main. It’s the increase in body fat with high-energy-density diets that causes insulin resistance.
This is because the fat cells secrete hormones, which interfere with insulin sensitivity and reduce the efficacy of circulating insulin in the body” says Main. Think of your body as having a triple -layered fuel tank – at the top (and easiest to access) is the glucose in your bloodstream, then the glycogen in your cells and, finally, your fat stores. > With that sugar freely available in your system, there’s no need for your body to find energy by delving into your fat stores. This is when we become metabolically inflexible – instead of raiding the potentially abundant fat stores and saving the sugar for when we really need it, we’re constantly running on carb mode. S
o fat continues to gather where we want it least – hello, love handles! And this modern malady isn’t just food-related. Today’s chronic type of stress has a huge impact on metabolism” says GP Dr Shikha Pitalia. Whenever I see patients who are struggling to lose weight, I ask them to look at their work/life balance and sleeping habits as well as their diet and exercise. If we’re constantly strung out over deadlines, elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, not only sends fat directly to your mid-section, but our stress-induced comfort eating sends that entire sugar/insulin relationship into meltdown.
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