As published on Watchfit
Our bodies need fuel to function and food is our fuel, the type of food we consume can either help us or harm us, each time we eat we have the opportunity to improve our health or cause our health to deteriorate. Optimal health is not a one and done thing and is something we need to work towards with our lifestyle’s and diet
In my opinion “junk food” is not food it is junk, it taxes the body’s organs, weakens the immune system and leads to illness and disease. The food we eat also impacts our state of mind, as well as our energy levels and overall health.
High quality food contributes to our health and energy levels, carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit and wild rice contain key elements and nutrients that help increase performance, improve sleep and boost our overall mood, they also work to decrease dramatic swings in energy and hunger and therefore create calm and balance with in the body and mind. Refined carbohydrates are filled with sugar and stripped of any nutrients and although they may provide a quick boost of energy, this energy very quickly drops and the imbalances created in our blood sugar levels has a longer term impact on our health. Foods that are high in Vitamin B such as wild salmon, lean organic beef, broccoli and sunflower seeds play an important role in energy production and protein helps you stay fuller for longer and reduces the dips in blood sugar helping you feel more alert and focused. Foods high in fibre such as flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, green beans and peas are good sources of fibre and help sustain energy over a longer period of time by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. Water is also vital to keep us alert and focused throughout the day, even a small dip in hydration can cause fatigue and dehydration can cause extreme fatigue.
As you can see the foods that keep us alert and focused, provide energy and help improve our health are all whole foods that contain fibre, vitamins and minerals. If you are feeling lethargic and cranky and have a low mood, the problem could be your diet, choosing the right foods can not only improve your health, but improve your moods and your energy levels which will impact every area of your life, it helps with productivity, exercise and better sleep.
Eating processed and packaged foods such as pizza, microwave meals, crisps, chips, cakes and biscuits have far greater consequences than just causing weight gain. Research shows that people who ate a diet of junk food showed serious negative changes to their metabolism after just five days and lost the ability to oxidize glucose after a meal, which could lead to insulin resistance down the road which paves the way for diabetes.
Junk food creates inflammation in the body as mentioned affects the muscles ability to oxidise glucose and this take place in just five days! Muscle plays an important role in clearing glucose from the body after every meal, in normal circumstances your muscle breaks down glucose or stores it for later, your muscles make up about 30 percent of your body weight so if you lose this ability to break down glucose or it is compromised in any way it paves the way for a number of health problems.
As mentioned every time you eat you can either improve your health or add to ill health and just one bad meal can mess with your health. According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology when you eat a meal high in unhealthy fats and sugar, the sugar causes a major spike in your blood sugar levels. This is called “post prandial hyperglycemia” and in the long term this can lead to increased risk of heart attack, in the short term this leads to:
- Damaging free radicals are formed
- Blood pressure may rise
- Surges and drops in insulin can leave you feel hungry and fatigued
So your health, energy and mood at a very basic level are as good as your last meal.
Junk Food is Addictive
Food manufacturers have worked out a way to over ride the body natural ability to regulate how much you eat and how much energy you burn, processed foods are designed or in fact engineered to create a strong reward response in our brains and this makes is easy to over eat junk food. These sugary and fatty foods also promote the release of cortisol, our stress hormone and this further stimulates the appetite, so the more you eat the more you crave and this creates a viscous cycle.
We need to replace junk food with real whole foods, cut out what I call the “faux” foods and junk. This is easily done by making meals from scratch so that we cut out chemicals, additives, preservatives, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners that all affect our health, mood and energy levels as discussed above.
If junk food has a hold on you and you would like to break free, I would love to hear from you to help you kick your sugar cravings. Connect with me by clicking here if you are ready to break free and have the energy you deserve and find out how I can help create a bespoke plan for you, and get you started on your wellness journey straightaway. #happyandhealthy