Ok, so you’re in the Spar, picking up a loaf of bread and as you’re paying, you spy a Lunch Bar and decide it’ll keep you going ’till dinner’s ready (you’re famished and frankly, can’t see how you’ll survive the next 90 minutes without some form of sustenance).
Within a short time of eating your Lunch Bar, the carbohydrates in it – the chocolate, wafer biscuit, crisped rice, sugar, glucose syrup, rice flour, dextrose and invert sugar syrup (does she happen to have a Lunch Bar wrapper in her bin from yesterday’s trip to the Spar?) – are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into your blood stream.
Now, as the sugar in your blood starts to rise rapidly, your pancreas nearly has an apoplectic fit and starts producing huge quantities of insulin in response. Insulin rushes in, grabs the sugar (glucose) particles and hauls them off the Principal’s office (the muscle cells).
“Knock, knock”, goes insulin. “Can I help you?” says the principal. “Oh, good grief yes” says insulin “I can’t have these delinquents running around the corridors during lesson time; take them into your office and deal with them.” The principal replies “Err; actually I’m full up – I’ve got a staff meeting on, so you’ll have to take them elsewhere.” So off insulin goes, sugar in tow, and tries the school gymnasium (the liver cells).
“Knock, knock” once again, goes insulin. “Can I help you?” says the PhysEd teacher. “You’d better” says insulin “the situation’s getting serious … take these problem children and keep them safely in the gym.” Says the PhysEd teacher, “Um, I can’t take them all – we’ve got a school rally on and 80% of the students are here already. I can take a few, but you’ll have to find somewhere else for the rest!”
“!#@*!!” says insulin and hauls them off to the last place it can – the sick bay (the fat cells). Repeating the process, the nurse agrees with spectacular enthusiasm, to take all the remaining children into her ward, saying “No problem at all – I’ve got plenty of room – you can keep them coming day and night!”
Pardon the school analogy (for those who’d prefer to forget the experience), but in effect the outcome of the above scenario is that every time you consume too many sugars (carbs) for the muscle and liver cells to utilise, you’ll end up storing this sugar as fat! Not only that, but eventually, the cells become very, very tired of having to answer insulin’s request for help and simply ‘ignore’ the knock at their door. This forces the pancreas to produce much larger quantities of insulin in order for the knock to be heard by the over-worked and tired cells and leads to what we term ‘insulin resistance’. If this pattern continues, it results – ultimately – in diabetes.
So, save those poor cells and avoid packing the excess glucose into your fat cells by reducing the amount of carbohydrate-rich foods you consume on a daily basis … chips, chocolates, biscuits, table sugar, sweets, pies, breads, pasta, rice etc. Eat veggies ’till they come out of your ears and save the listed foods for those ‘special’ occasions.
Oh, and another thing. Add more good quality fats to your meals (butter, coconut fat and cold-pressed plant oils) and make sure there’s some form of protein in every meal and snack in moderate amounts (raw nuts/seeds and meats). Both these will ensure that those delinquents behave themselves better … and stop you gaining weight. Bonus!
— alec riddle (@alecriddle) January 6, 2014
— Tim Noakes (@ProfTimNoakes) January 6, 2014
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Tanya Wyatt, is the (surprised) author of two internationally released health fitness books, a nutrition lifestyle coach, a presenter and a health educator (and stand-up comedian wannabe). In the past two decades, she has been involved in developing training courses, lecturing and writing on behalf of educational institutions, contributing to a number of health and fitness magazines, and going grey while she does it.
Tanya served on the Advisory Board of Shape magazine for the duration of its license in South Africa, and writes monthly columns for two Port Elizabeth newspapers, Sport Elizabeth and Algoa Sun. She also writes for several online publications and is a regular guest on the city’s local television station, Bay T.V. (she loves the limelight!)
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