Why You Shouldn’t Cut Out Food Groups.
20th May 2015
So here comes the scientific stuff behind the breakdown of molecules required for your body to function effectively.
About 70% of a humans total energy usage, is due to the basal life processes within the organs of the body. Only 20% of this usage comes from physical activity and another 10% for the digestion of food and heat production. The main organ responsible for regulating your metabolism is the hypothalamus. It is located in the brain and helps to form the floor of the third ventricle in the cerebrum.
- Controls activities of the nervous system, controlling the contraction of muscles and secretion of organs such as the thyroid.
- Controls heart rate, movement of food through the digestive system and contraction of the bladder.
- Produces and regulates feelings of rage and aggression.
- Regulates body temperature.
- Regulates feelings of hunger and thirst.
It is therefore no wonder that starved patients: have many mixed emotions, slower heart rate and can often have thyroid and bladder problems.
The basal metabolic rate does vary between individuals, variations being mass, age, height and levels of activity. It was reported in some experiments that people with the same mass, produced very different BMR readings therefore proving that metabolic rates differ from person to person.
The breakdown of larger molecules to smaller molecules, and the release of energy are known as catabolism, and the building up process is called anabolism. The breakdown of proteins into amino acids is an example of catabolism, and the formation of proteins is an example of anabolism. Metabolism is the total of all reactions (catabolic, anabolic etc.).
So why is it important NOT to cut particular food groups from your diet?
The ratio of hydrogen to oxygen atoms in all carbohydrates is always the same as that in water. All of the oxygen in a carbohydrate molecule is used to burn energy and oxidize the carbon in a carbohydrate molecule to carbon dioxide. Carbohydrates therefore give us the majority of our energy when resting, AND when performing exercise. Individuals partaking in “low carb” diets are actually doing more damage to their bodies than they may realize, and are sending themselves slowly into starvation mode.
All living cells contain glucose, for this to enter the cells it requires insulin. The digestive system changes carbohydrates to glucose. This is essential in regulating the liver and pancreas function that in turn, will regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin plays an important part in allowing the cells to take in the energy from glucose in between meals to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range for YOUR body. Many carbohydrates also contain fiber, essential for overall digestive health.
Carbohydrates can be found in ALL foods in varying levels, examples are as follows:
- Cereals and grains
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, squash, peas etc.)
- Beans and lentils
So next we move onto the dreaded FATS. Simply, fats are just as important as carbs however what is also important, is to distinguish the “good” fats from the “bad” fats. We all know that saturated fats IN EXCESS are bad for the system. This is because they do require more energy to, and take longer to break down than unsaturated fats. While carbohydrates may be the main source of energy for your body, fats act as a “back up” energy source. They are not only important in helping to regulate your metabolism and energy usage, but they also:
- Help to insulate your body
- Sustain a normal core body temperature
- Aid in vitamin absorption
- Protect vital organs
As mentioned, an EXCESS of saturated fats are not good for your body, however fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential for overall health. These put plainly, are “heart healthy” fats and help to stabilize cholesterol levels, however a balanced diet will also include some saturated fat. You can find these essential fats in foods such as:
- Vegetable/Olive oil (YES OIL IS GOOD FOR YOU!)
- Salmon and tuna
Protein molecules make up the majority of the amino acids within the body. It is contained in the body as important parts of tissue, blood hormones and enzymes. These amino acids are constantly going through the process of breaking down and replacing, essential when exercising. Protein breakdown has been found to supply up to 15% of the total energy requirement during exercise, and so excessive exercise WITHOUT correct fuelling of protein and carbohydrates, will eventually seriously degrade the protein structures needed to maintain proteins within the heart, mitochondria cells and metabolic enzymes within the muscles. If you think of it in this way, protein is the main component in the overall muscle build of the body, without it our body would not be able to repair, regulate or protect itself.
- Repair damaged tissues
- Regulate enzyme molecules
- Balance water and nutrients for muscle contraction
- Keeps skin, hair and nails healthy
You will find that recovering anorexics (like body builders) are put on a high protein diet during the first stages of recovery. This is because the muscles need to be built back up in order to protect your body from further damage. It is therefore no wonder that many anorexic patients lose most of the muscle mass the deeper into the illness they become. Proteins are not usually metabolized significantly except in cases of prolonged starvation and long bouts of exercise. In layman’s terms: your body begins to eat itself to try to survive.
Sources of protein is pretty self explanatory:
So what does all of this mean?
- Beans and legumes (for vegetarians)
- Dairy products
To put it bluntly, people to cut out certain food groups in order to lose weight, are seriously damaging their body and metabolism. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are essential in providing your body with the necessary nutrients it needs in order to survive. The more you cut out, the more energy stores your body will have to use, and once they have been used up it will look to your muscles and organs as a means to survive.
Let me put it into perspective for you. When I was admitted to hospital, I weighed LESS than a toddler (and I’m early 22 years old!), and like an alcoholic my liver was failing. My liver enzymes were up at 750 the normal level is 48. My liver was eating itself in an attempt to keep my body alive and I was at serious risk of liver failure at any time, and with the state the rest of my body was in, this would have killed me.
This happened because I reduced my intake of fats and proteins so much, that I no longer had ANY reserves left in my muscles.
Since gaining LIFE, my liver enzymes quickly reduced and it began to repair itself. The muscles in my legs and arms have returned and I no longer feel constantly weak and tired.
I am now focusing on eating the correct amount of carbs, fats and vegetable protein (I am vegetarian) everyday, and I feel better for it.
Do not become scared of foods. Do not cut foods out. It will eventually destroy your body. Foods are not scary they keep you alive.