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Regarding the USDA Food Pyramid Dr Connelly writes that "What it really showed Americans was how to get fatter faster. ..6 to 11 servings of glucose-producing strachy carbs and 2 to 3 servings of protein every day. Follow that recommendation and you will get fat." Instead, consider the Low Carb Food Pyramid
When your fat cells get full, your body creates more fat cells. While you can burn the fat stored in the fat cells, you cannot reduce the total number of fat cells [except with liposuction].
With a normal diet, your body runs on a mixture of carbs, protein, and fats. When you restrict your carbs, you quickly burn up the stored glycogen and your body shifts into lipolysis - the burning of body fat for fuel. The stored body fat is broken down into its original components - glycerol and fatty acids. The glycerol is converted in the liver to glycogen and is eventually oxidized as glucose. The fatty acids are oxidized by most body tissue for energy. The brain and nervous system cannot use fatty acids for fuel, but they can use ketones, which are the by-product of incomplete fatty acid breakdown in the liver [ketosis].
This induced fat breakdown requires a lot of energy. It shifts the body's metabolism away from glucose and towards fat utilization, and decreases the breakdown of protein for conversion into glucose. Atkins says that this carb-restricted lipolysis/ketosis is natural, efficient and completely harmless. Many other authors consider this high-speed fat loss to be unhealthy due to the high level of ketones that the kidneys must clear out of the blood. This is why you must drink plenty of extra water on a ketogenic diet. The extra ketones must be flushed out.
When you severely restrict your carbs to force your body to shift from sugar [glucose] burning to fat burning mode, it will take about 3 days to completely deplete the glycogen [stored glucose] reserves in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is stored with 3 times its weight in water, so when you deplete this you initially lose some water weight until the glycogen stores are eventually replenished. Once the metabolic shift has been made, your body will use triglycerides [stored fat] as its primary energy source instead of glucose.
While some carbs are necessary for balanced nutrition and efficient protein utilization, these should be "good" low-glycemic high-fiber carbs. If your carb intake is too low, your glucose [blood sugar] levels will drop below normal [below 5.5]. Also, after spiking your glucose with junk carbs [above 7.7], the reactive "insulin overshoot" will also drop your glucose level [as low as 2.5]. For both, the result can be fatigue, irritability, mental confusion, depression, etc, since the brain needs the right amount of glucose to function properly.
When no more reserve glycogen is available from the liver [as in lypoliysis], serotonin levels drop causing intense food cravings for high-glycemic junk carbs to spike your glucose levels. Of course, this glucose spiking again causes insulin overshoot which again drops the glucose below normal in a vicious cycle.
Serotnin is called the "happy brain chemical". When it is low, you feel hungry, miserable, and depressed. PMS is essentially a condition of low serotonin and many anti-depressant drugs work by raising serotonin levels. When serotonin is high, you feel content and relaxed. It is made in the brain from the amino acid tryptophan, the sleepy ingredient in turkey.
The trick here is to keep your levels of glucose, insulin and serotonin normal and steady to avoid food cravings and the other bad effects. Since most proteins include tryptophan with the other amino acids, getting adequate protein would be a start. Chocolate is a natural way to raise serotonin levels, even when it is sugar-free [it's the tryptophan and other componets of the chocolate - not the sugar]. Another is 5-HTP [5-hydroxy tryptophan], derived in you body from tryptophan itself. Is the direct precursor to inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin, which is secreted in response to mood or emotion swings. Serotonin soothes and calms and brings about feelings of contentment. Low serotonin levels throughout the day are what initiate food cravings. 5-HTP is available in health food stores. Also GTF [glucose tolerance factor] chromium polynicotinate can increase the use of tryptophan to synthesis serotonin.
Alcohol Am Heart Assoc - alcohol
When taken alone, without protein or fat, alcohol can spike your insulin which causes you to be hungry.
Strong coffee has the same effect. Tea does not.
Beer has high-glycemic maltose along with the alcohol and has 12 gr net carbs per 12 oz. Light beer has about 5 gr.
Alcohol is burned as fuel. It does not get stored as glycogen, but can store as fat if your insulin has been spiked.
Atkins says that Scotch, rye, vodka and gin are acceptable without sweet mixers.
There are no net carbs in brandy, rum, tequila, vodka and most spirits. White wine is 1 gr/4 oz. Red wine is 2 gr.
Beer Nutritional Data
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Many fitness and diet books suggest that the best way to lose fat and keep it off is to eat "good" carbs, "healthy" fats, and lean protein - and avoid the junk. But you already knew that didn't you?
All carbs convert to glucose [blood sugar] which your blood circulates to your cells for fuel. Good low-glycemic, high-fiber, whole food carbs like fresh strawberries or spinach digest slowly and fuel the body over several hours without spiking insulin or stimulating LPL [lipoprotein lipase] which instigates fat storage. The same with proteins and fats since their digestion requires little or no insulin. Bad high-glycemic, non-fiber, over-processed carbs - like sugar and white flour - digest rapidly, flooding the blood with dangerously high levels of glucose. In response, the pancreas releases insulin which shuttle some glucose to your cells for fuel, then a limited amount of of glucose molecules are bonded together and stored as glycogen in your muscles [300-400 gr carbs max] and liver [60-90 gr max] for quick access later.
However, since the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver are quickly filled up, the liver converts the extra glucose into plasma triglycerides, and lipoprotein lipase is stimulated to clear the triglycerides out of the blood to store them as "unhealthy body fat". Of course, the term "unhealthy" is relative. During the next famine your body will break down and convert that "unhealthy" body fat to use as your daily fuel.
If you are NOT preparing your body for the next famine, then clean out all of the high-glycemic, insulin spiking, LPL stimulating, "unhealthy" fat storing carbs from your kitchen and start buying healthier food. And of course, consult your own trim and physically-fit doctor for real medical advice. The same insulin spiking "junk food" that stimilates fat sorage will also supress the glucagon hormone which normally initiates fat burning, and will supress growth hormone which normally initiates muscle development.
Fast Food "Nutrition" info links: Mc Donald's Burger King
Wendy's Taco Bell Subway Pizza Hut Comparison