Healthy Eating?

If you’ve looked around my blog, you’ve probably notice that there aren’t a lot of recipes that include pasta, rice, potatoes, or bread, and that there is very little mention of sweets.

If you’d like to know some health stuff, please read what I’ve posted below. If you’d rather eat some brownies, check out the blogs listed under “Sweets & Treats”….or look for a recipe I have posted, because, believe me, I DO eat sweets. Occasionally.  😉

My blog is NOT about advocating or endorsing any particular diet. The information I share here is what I’ve learned through years of research and study, and what I have found to be the best nutrition guidelines for ME.

I began following a low carb eating plan several years ago for health reasons, and I know that it works for me. My menu planning is based on the principles of The Insulin-Resistance Diet.

The two main principles of The Insulin-Resistance Diet are:

  1. The Two Hour Fat Window – Your body can only do two things with carbohydrates: use them as energy or turn them into fat. Your body makes this decision within a two-hour period. Eating more carbohydrates than your body can use for energy during this interval will force your body to turn them into fat. The IR Diet recommends eating no more than 30 grams of carbs at a time.
  2. Link and Balance – Link the 30 grams of carbs with at least 14 grams of protein. Linking works because mixing a protein with other foods counteracts and lowers insulin’s reaction to those foods. Adequate protein in your diet is important because it helps build muscle, and because it is needed for the body to make dopamine, a chemical that signals whether you are hungry or full and helps to maintain feelings of well-being.

Carbohydrates (which include grains, vegetables, and fruit) are not “bad.” They are an essential part of a balanced diet.

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

But how many carbohydrates do we need?

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid recommends 6 to 11 servings of grains, 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day.

The food pyramid is the most recognized source of nutritional information. However, there is controversy about its accuracy. Food pyramid critics argue that dietary guidelines should be based on individual needs. Many also believe that there should be distinctions between lean meats and red meat, and between refined and whole grains.

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Health believes the USDA pyramid does not reflect the latest research on dietetics, and has proposed a new pyramid that includes exercise and supplements and differentiates between refined grains and whole grains. The Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, a nutrition think tank, has designed several specialty pyramids for Asian, Latin, Mediterranean, and vegetarian diets. The Mayo Clinic has created a Healthy Weight Pyramid, with fruits and vegetables at the base, as a tool to encourage weight loss. And researchers at Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging have created an alternate version of the USDA pyramid for Americans 70 and older.

And there is even a low carb pyramid:

low carb pyramid

Nutrition science is not an exact science, and for every theory, there are as many who oppose it as support it. But the simple fact is this: the American diet is not working. The last decade has shown a remarkable rise in the rates of two diet-related health problems: diabetes and obesity. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased 33% between 1990 and 1998, and now more than 60% of adults are overweight or obese. Low carb diets like the IR Diet combat both these issues.

After you eat, digest, and absorb carbohydrates, your blood glucose naturally rises. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin, which then transports glucose into your body cells where it can be used as energy. If you have more glucose in your body than your cells need, insulin takes extra blood glucose and transports it into fat storage.

If your pancreas is continually required to produce high quantities of insulin, you are at risk of developing insulin resistance, in which the body’s cells have a diminished ability to respond to the action of the insulin hormone. To compensate for the insulin resistance, the pancreas secretes more insulin. Over time people with insulin resistance can develop diabetes as the high insulin levels can no longer compensate for elevated sugars.

Limiting your carb intake to 30 grams in a 2-hour period helps to insure that your body has enough glucose for energy but not so much that it turns it into fat. Linking carbs with protein counteracts and lowers insulin’s reaction to those foods, and helps to maintain a steady level of insulin without spikes.

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