Your body is a wicked chemistry set! Its bio-chemistry is constantly synthesising, oxidising, metabolising, catalysing; controlling information, functions and interactions of cells, enzymes and hormones.
But can you really, seriously affect your health and body chemistry, including your sex hormones, though diet and exercise? Well, yes, you can! In fact you’re doing it right now! The choices you made at breakfast to eat cereal or completely miss it out altogether and what you drank and consumed throughout the day. The fact you decided to run six steady miles, perform hill sprints, lift light or heavy, went to bed early or stayed out all night partying, all affect your internal chemistry, positively or negatively.
But why should this be important to you? Should you even care? Yes you should! When you control what kind of foods you eat and perform the correct exercise protocols, you have the power over your long-term health; body fat levels, energy, cravings, lean muscle tissue, reduction of disease, stress, improved immunity, sleeping patterns, mood, mental health, self-esteem – feelings of wellness create a more positive attitude – look more toned, feel great on the inside and look fitter, younger, sexier or “hench” on the outside!
I want to make this absolutely clear, what you eat and drink directly affects every cell in your body. Trans-fats, processed foods, refined, high insulin-spiking foods such as white pasta, white rice and bread even the so-called fat-free “healthy variety” of cereals, cereal bars, virtually everything which comes from a packet, pizza, fish and chips, chocolate bars, ice cream, wine, beer, fizzy pop, that fat-free smoothie, and the very tasty Mocha or Cappuccino coffee you had on the way to work, is messing negatively with your hormones. It’s the main reason why so many people struggle to lose weight, have terrible immune function, skin, asthma related disorders and poor body composition – “high body fat to lean muscle ratios” – which compounds or snowballs the problem and it’s a BIG problem.
A BIG PROBLEM.
The Western population is unconsciously eating and drinking themselves into poor health.
On your way to work today I want you to look around and see for yourself. There is a very LARGE proportion of our society struggling with their internal health. This can all be avoided simply by eating and drinking real, natural food. You are in control, become conscious of this NOW and you will affect your subconscious actions.
“Everything you eat and drink creates a living cell. Eating and drinking real, healthy foods create well-balanced, healthy cells which work efficiently with your body’s internal chemistry.”
Insulin, the most important hormone to control when trying to get lean and improve cellular health.
What is Insulin and Its Function?
Insulin is a hormone which opens up cells to allow the body to convert elevated blood glucose into glycogen for energy.
What is the Relationship between Diet and Insulin?
When you eat, glucose levels are elevated in the blood stimulating the pancreas (an organ located behind the stomach) to secrete insulin. The insulin binds to cell receptors opening up cells which allow the glucose to enter the cell and be used for energy and therefore lowering blood sugar levels to normal.
Insulin is often associated with the condition diabetes but most people don’t realise that it’s an important hormone in blood sugar regulation. Regulate your blood sugars and you regulate your insulin levels. This can also positively affect testosterone production and balance oestrogen levels. Everyone is born with normal insulin function (unless you’re a Type 1 diabetic). Its function can become weaker as you get older because of lifestyle choices, poor nutrition habits and low exercise levels. This has negative effects on our bodies, such as an increase in body weight and body fat percentage (especially around the mid section, at your hips and at the back of your shoulder blades).
Chemical Shit Storm!
What is Insulin Resistance (also known as Metabolic Syndrome)?
“Imagine your cells are a “door” and insulin is the “key”. The key has been used so many times that it can no longer turn the lock, this results in the door not being able to open.”
Refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods elevate blood sugars. After we eat these types of foods the body converts them easily into glucose. The increase in blood sugar signals the pancreas to produce insulin into the bloodstream. This hormone attaches to cells, shunting blood sugar into cells so that it can be used for energy. Cells can only take on so much glucose before they shut down. However, if we continue to eat too much carbohydrate and sugary foods, blood sugar levels remain high, the pancreas then produces more and more insulin to try to normalise excess blood sugar levels. Regular over-eating eventually confuses your body, insulin can no longer compensate for elevated sugars and eventually the pancreas fails and the onset of Type 2 diabetes can develop.
“Once the cell is full it simply closes down. Excess blood glucose then gets shunted into the body as triglycerides or body fat.”
The Signs of Insulin Resistance Include:
Impaired fasting blood sugar, impaired glucose tolerance, or Type 2 diabetes – This occurs because the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. Blood sugar levels rise and pre-diabetes or diabetes is diagnosed.
High blood pressure – The mechanism is unclear, but studies suggest that the worse the blood pressure, the worse the insulin resistance.
Abnormal cholesterol levels – The typical cholesterol levels of a person with insulin resistance are low HDL, or good cholesterol and high levels of another blood fat called triglycerides.
Heart disease – Insulin resistance syndrome can result in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and an increased risk of blood clots.
Obesity – A major factor in the development of insulin resistance syndrome is obesity – especially abdominal obesity or belly fat. Obesity promotes insulin resistance and negatively impacts insulin responsiveness in a person. Weight loss can improve the body’s ability to recognise and use insulin appropriately.
Kidney damage – Protein in the urine is a sign that kidney damage has occurred, although not everyone uses this component to define insulin resistant syndrome.
Tips to Help Combat Insulin Resistance:
1. Resistance train to decrease diabetes risk and improve health.
2. Train at a high effort level and high intensity for best insulin sensitivity results.
Use a large volume load and heavy lifts for best results in terms of insulin sensitivity and
glucose uptake. A programme which varies between a hypertrophy and a strength
protocol is probably most effective for insulin health and diabetes prevention.
3. Prevent diabetes by raising testosterone levels through strength training.
4. Strength train to increase SHGB (sex hormone-binding globulin) and decrease diabetes health
5. Take adequate magnesium to improve insulin sensitivity.
6. Take omega-3 fatty acids to increase the health of your cells and reduce insulin sensitivity.
7. Dose with zinc to help avoid glucose intolerance.
People with low zinc levels are more likely to have diabetes and glucose intolerance. Additionally zinc has significant, anti-inflammatory effects and low levels lead to testosterone-deficiency fat gain and poor health.
8. Eat avocado, pomegranate, and other exotic fruits to prevent diabetes.
Both pomegranate and avocado have been shown to improve body composition, lower
cholesterol, increase insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation.
9. Eat a high protein diet to increase SHGB (sex hormone-binding globulin) and decrease onset of
10. Eat low GI (Glycaemic Index) foods.
11. Eat carbohydrate sources mainly from veggies and fibrous fruits. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help decrease cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include , broccoli, beans and peas.
12. Add GI regulators to high Glycaemic foods.
Research shows that individuals who ate wheat with flaxseed had a much better glucose
response than those who didn’t.
Also research shows adding fenugreek to whole-wheat bread will result in greater insulin
sensitivity and more glucose uptake, than consuming whole-wheat bread without fenugreek.
13. Eat breakfast high in protein and low in refined carbohydrates.
OK, so this is quite a bit to take in! But what we are trying to get across to you here is that you can’t out-train or out run a bad diet. Both Dave Fuge and I know that the 13 steps above will assist with blood sugar regulation, which in the long term will make you look and feel fantastic and ultimately help you keep muscle mass and lose unwanted body fat. BUT you have to be consistent with your nutrition to keep your body fat levels, well…normal!
In the second part of this article we will be discussing sex hormones, their function and why being in control of them benefits your long term health.
Written and researched by
Dave Fuge http://www.davefuge.com http://www.corephysique.com
and Simon de Burgh http://www.simondeburghpt.com. http://www.newwavefitness.co.uk