It really is my hormones
When I started putting this blog post together it very quickly resembled an essay for my University days and that is the opposite of what I want to achieve. I want to explain things as simply as I can, so the information is easy for everyone from any walk of life to understand without making their brain melt with information overload! For those that want the science, all the links to any articles used or read in writing this up will be below.
So, many us find LCHF/Keto/Banting after years of trying every diet plan out there, starving ourselves, being told to eat less & exercise more, hating ourselves for not being in control, not being able to buy nice clothes that we feel great in, feeling self-conscious going on rides, sitting on a plane and asking for the dreaded seat belt extender, worrying we will get that ‘oh no’ look from whoever must sit next to us.
I have news for you, that can change, seriously. IT CAN CHANGE. What kind of life is that!? Dreading things like sitting next to a stranger in case we take up too much room, or not going on rides with our children, being so self-conscious when you eat out that people will see you and think ‘who ate all the pies?’ That is no way to feel day in and day out. We shouldn’t be ashamed of ourselves. Fancy walking around calling myself a ‘fat bastad’ (in a northern Uk accent) to people when speaking about myself! Hey, I know I’m not the only one out there who was/is doing it.
We didn’t get fat on our own you know, despite what others think, it is a complex issue and is not as easy as ‘just don’t eat so much’ and ‘you need to exercise more’.
So, before I launch into it, go grab some pork crackling and a glass of water and get comfy.
The fat (read ‘obesity’ if you want to sugar coat it 😉 -see what I did there?) epidemic started not so long ago really…
There was a guy you may have heard of if you run in LCHF circles, his name was Dr Ancel Keys, he was a prominent physiologist (studied biology and how the body systems work) and he thought that eating fat might be the cause of heart disease. He did research called the 7 Countries Study where he studied the effect dietary fat intake had on cardiac disease in a variety of cultures. Cutting a long story short, Keys picked 7 countries out of the 22 in his study so that the results looked like they backed his theory. He then presented his results to the relevant government heads and the food pyramid as we know it came about.
At the same time in 1972, an English Professor of Nutrition by the name of John Yudkin did a study on the effects of sugar intake and released a book titled Pure white & Deadly. His research showed that sugar was toxic to humans. He said at the time
“If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive, that material would promptly be banned.”
Sadly, it is reported that prominent nutritionists combined with food industry bigwigs debunked his research and damaged his career. His career never recovered, and he died in 1995 unknown to us all. It makes me feel sad for him, it must have been so hard seeing the world around him get fatter and sicker by the day knowing his research was correct yet ignored.
Other prominent and well-respected specialists in their own fields have also been ridiculed for trying to improve our health. It astounds me the brick walls they are up against and that the leaders of our individual countries still push us to eat high grain and high carb diets! One thing that infuriates me is that Type 2 diabetics are taught by Dr’s & Specialist Nurses under the guidelines of WHO (World Health Organization & NICE (UK National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) to eat carbs and sugar but take/inject drugs to reduce the rise in their blood sugar that said carbs cause! Even if you have NO medical background you can see that makes zero sense!
So how do we move on?
We need to understand how our hunger works and how constant high carb eating makes us hungrier and hungrier.
We have 3 hunger hormones, ghrelin, leptin and insulin (yep I am including insulin here because of how it works in our hunger cycles).
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps balance our blood sugar levels. It also ‘tells’ our body to store any excess carbs (sugar/glucose) as fat for later when we might need it before we chase and kill our next woolly mammoth.
Ghrelin is a hormone released by our stomach (mainly, then in smaller amounts by our intestines and brain) to let us know we are hungry. It also helps moderate insulin release and promotes FAT STORAGE argh! As ghrelin is released it signals to our brain that we need to eat, when stressed more ghrelin is released AND when we go on a calorie controlled diet! Are you starting to see the picture more clearly now? You weren’t useless with no willpower, your body was working against you. So, ghrelin’s main role is to increase appetite!
Leptin is the other hunger-regulating hormone and it is supposed to tell our brain when we are full and have enough fat in our body, now those of us who have struggled with weight tend to be ‘leptin resistant’, meaning the message doesn’t quite get through to our brains.
Leptin is released by the fat cells in our body, so when we have a lot of fat more is released and when we are low on fat less is released to get us eating and storing fat again. Somewhere along the way, this messaging system has developed a glitch. It is thought that the way to reduce leptin resistance is to reduce inflammation-causing foods in the diet so the leptin can signal to the brain we are full and we have enough body fat, keep stress levels low, lower your triglycerides (reduce carbs to do this), get good sleep and exercise.
So, reading the above really sheds light on why so many people have struggled for years with low-calorie diets, doesn’t it?
The Facebook group that I run focusses on anti-inflammatory foods, high healthy fats and moderate protein. Come and join us for help on your own LCHF/Keto/Banting journey.
Ancel Keys, an influential nutritionist from the 50s and 60s, and his well-connected cronies. https://www.thenutritionwonk.com/single-post/2016/04/13/Ancel-Keys-and-the-Seven-Country-Study-A-Response-to-The-Sugar-Conspiracy