Mar 5 • 14M

What Is Metabolic Health

-Are You Connected to Yours?

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We talk about #FoodIntelligence, the Texas Beef Initiative, and how to design an "International Lifestyle" that you can start from home.
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What I’m listening to…

Same old song on the radio tonight
One about wine and roses and candlelight
But I'm getting all from you with every town that I play
Maybe this distance is more than we can take

Somewhere in East Texas you're out alone
But I can't dry tears on the telephone
But I'm coming back to you I swear
I'll make it right I'm making my way back home on a red eye midnight flight

Thank you for listening to my message.

This week our nutrition and fitness guest writer returns with a question we all need to ask ourselves.

What is Metabolic Health?

The term metabolic health is talked about at length these days. What is it? What does it entail or even mean? Why are we so focused on metabolic health these days?

Two of the simplest explanations I have heard for what metabolic health is:

Dr. Philip Ovadida, “It’s how your body uses the food you put into it. If affects everything.”

Dr. Chris Palmer’s book “Brain Energy” Our metabolism involves the production of energy inside the cells.

Our metabolic health has to do with how our bodies use food and create energy for us to live a full and vibrant life. It is simple, yet so complicated. Let’s unpack metabolic health and how to influence it towards a healthier you.

When we discuss metabolic health, we are talking about a cluster of health issues that increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mental illness, obesity, and other serious health risks. The cluster of symptoms for diagnosis or concern are:

High blood sugar, insulin levels

Abdominal obesity, especially the deep visceral fat around the organs

High blood pressure

High triglycerides

Low HDL cholesterol  

The contributing factor for the cause of this cluster of symptoms is the belief the main source of energy for the human body is carbohydrates. We have placed grains and other heavy carbladen foods at the bottom of our eating habits, think about the food pyramid. In fact there is no actual need for carbohydrates in our diets. Our body can make glucose from protein to supply the small amount needed for the brain mainly, this is the reason carbs are technology not needed.   This doesn’t mean you need to live carb free or that being too low in carbs supports vibrant health. We need to put them back into their proper place, at the top of our eating habits instead of the base, our main food.

What happens to our bodies when carbs are the main source of fuel?

Carbs turn into sugar in the body, as they are broken down glucose is made. Glucose, like any sugar is sticky. Glucose is toxic in the body when left circulating in the blood stream. It must be dealt with immediately so damage does not occur to our arteries, blood cells. Our bodies take care of glucose by producing insulin. Insulin signals the cell to intake glucose and other nutrients into the cell. Our cells don’t allow just anything into them.  A signal must be given to allow nutrients in, like a gate keeper. The signal for glucose is insulin. Insulin plays many important roles within the body, besides lowering blood glucose levels and shuttling nutrients into the cells. Our bodies need insulin to survive. The main role we are concerned with in regards to our metabolic health is the rise of blood sugar levels and the damage this does to the body.

When we eat an excess of carbs or sugar in any form that the cells can’t uptake and use, they can only use so much for energy and store little in the muscles and liver. What is left over is converted into triglycerides or fat and stored on the body. Most of this fat becomes visceral fat. This is the deeper layer of fat that surrounds organs and is the dangerous fat. Excess carb intake also increases wide spread inflammation in the body, causing joint pain, stiffness, soreness, weight gain, is a contributing factor to all diseases. Keeping inflammation low is an important step in long term health.

When more carbs are consumed than our bodies can use, our cells can become resistant to insulin, the beginning of diabetes, breakdown of metabolic health and other health issues. When our cells are constantly being screamed at by insulin to uptake glucose, our cells stop listening. They can’t hear insulin’s signals to uptake the nutrients because they have become deaf to the signal. So, the pancreas responds by producing more insulin.Recall our discussion about our genes responding in the present. This is an example, our genes are doing what they are suppose to do in the present with no regard to our future health, what producing all this extra insulin will do to us later. The glucose must be dealt with and the cells are not listening and in-taking the glucose. More insulin is produced. Over time, the pancreaswears out from producing all this extra insulin and no longer wants to or can pump it out and the cells listen less and less. This is where diabetes and packing on the weight comes into the picture.

The problem is not the production of insulin. We have to insulin to survive. It is the excessive amount of carbohydrates in the dietcausing the increase in insulin production. This we can fix. We have direct control over how many carbs, sugary laden items we eat or don’t eat. Just as the body responds by producing more insulin in the presence of carbs, as you decrease the amount of overall carbs and sugar you are eating, your pancreas will stop producing so much insulin, because it is not needed. Over time, the cells CAN begin to hear the signal of insulin again, when they are not being bombarded with an excessive signal, and reverse this metabolic unraveling of health.

Steps to take back control of your insulin and metabolic health

*Switching your food intake over to an animal based diet, good amount of animal fats and then the carbs you need for you based on age, genes, gender, activity level, time of year. Think of carbs as more of a filler, supporting role than a foundation to your eating.

*Exercise, lifting heavy weights, sprinting once in awhile, long walks, these all help our muscles cells use glucose and become more efficient at using glucose. Exercise is a way to use up extraglucose, don’t over exercise because this will cause excessivehunger, 3-4 times a week for lifting, once every week to week and a half for sprints and daily walks will suffice.

*Sleep, every health condition will improve with enough sleep nightly. Have the courage to put yourself to bed.

In courage and kindness

Don’t miss this week’s podcast, I Am Texas Slim & Dr Shawn Baker

In this episode:

Beef Initiative scaling from Texas to global.

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