In the realm of health and nutrition, there's a crucial concept that often gets overlooked amidst the dietary trends and conflicting information: the excess of calories. Whether it's an overflow of glucose or an abundance of fats, the impact on our bodies remains largely the same. This brings us to the pivotal question: what is the role of processed foods in this calorie surplus equation?
Processed foods, often brimming with both high glucose and high fat content, impose a considerable challenge on our bodies from a nutritional standpoint. When these foods are consumed, an excessive amount of substrates floods our cells, demanding intricate processing. However, due to the cell's limited capacity and the subsequent overflow, a significant portion of these calories inevitably ends up stored in adipose tissue as fats.
The result? The storage system, primarily adipose tissue, becomes overwhelmed and compromised. This prompts the release of substances like adipokines and diacylglyceride, which spark inflammation. This inflammation then triggers a cascade of responses aimed at compensation, but the constant onslaught of insults to our cells and mitochondria disrupts the equilibrium. Instead of resolving the issue, a vicious cycle is established, compelling pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin in an attempt to manage the situation.
Clearly, our body can only handle so much before it's pushed to its limits. This is where the significance of making informed dietary choices becomes apparent.
One expert in the field, after a profound exploration of these dynamics, emphasizes the pivotal role of unprocessed foods in our well-being. Unprocessed whole foods cultivated in nutrient-rich soil emerge as crucial allies in combatting the modern crisis of chronic metabolic diseases. These natural foods are instrumental in stimulating our satiety mechanisms—a complex web of signals that regulate our appetite. Unlike ultra-processed foods that hijack our brain's reward center and overwhelm our satiety cues, whole foods work harmoniously with our body's natural signals, preventing overconsumption.
Whether one's dietary preferences lean towards keto, vegan, or any other approach, the common thread is the importance of consuming unprocessed, whole foods. Such a choice triggers our satiety mechanisms, reducing the likelihood of overindulgence and thus lowering the concentration of substrates for cellular processing.
But there's more to the story. The quality of the soil in which our food grows also plays a crucial role. Optimal soil conditions, such as those found in regenerative farming practices, yield produce enriched with vital micronutrients, antioxidants, polyphenols, and omega-3s. These elements act as a symphony of support for our body, spanning from nurturing our gut microbiome to providing essential cofactors for our mitochondria.
In essence, the answer to the complex question of what to eat for health seems surprisingly simple: embrace a diet centered around whole, unprocessed, and natural foods. Whether sourced from farmer's markets or grown in regeneratively tended soil, these choices stand as a testament to our commitment to our cellular well-being. By offering our cells the nutrients they require without overwhelming them, we demonstrate care and love for our bodies.
A notable study conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) underscores the transformative potential of unprocessed foods. This study compared processed and unprocessed diets with equal caloric content, revealing that those on the processed diet ended up consuming an additional 500 calories daily, leading to weight gain. This seemingly minor caloric excess, when extrapolated over time, can become the difference between a healthy life and a health crisis.
Consider this: 500 extra calories a day could accumulate to nearly 200,000 additional calories per year. Translated to weight gain, this could potentially mean the difference of several pounds every year. This underscores the profound impact of our dietary choices on our long-term health journey.
In the intricate tapestry of nutrition, it's clear that focusing on calorie excess, particularly through the lens of processed foods, is vital. By choosing unprocessed, whole foods and nurturing our bodies with foods grown in nutrient-rich soil, we empower ourselves to break the cycle of chronic metabolic diseases. It's time to unlock the potential of wellness through nutrition and embrace the simplicity of unprocessed, whole foods as the foundation of our health journey.
In this episode, you'll discover:
- The blog emphasizes the importance of understanding caloric excess from both glucose and fat sources. Regardless of the type of excess, overloading our cells with substrates can lead to weight gain and health issues.
- Processed foods often contain high levels of glucose and fats, overwhelming our cells and leading to storage in adipose tissue. This overload can trigger inflammation and disrupt our body's natural mechanisms.
- Opting for unprocessed, whole foods is a powerful way to counter the effects of caloric excess and processed foods. These foods trigger satiety signals, reducing overeating, and supporting our cellular health. Foods grown in nutrient-rich soil provide essential micronutrients and antioxidants, amplifying their positive impact.
Dr. Latt Mansor:
From a nutritional point of view. It's very much an excess of calories, regardless of whether it's excess of glucose or excess of fats. Most of the time, people with processed food, they have both high glucose, high fat diet, right? So when that happens, you are essentially shoving all these. Access of substrates inside the cell, the cell has to essentially process them, but at the same time, because they are so full and the storage is so full and then when you think about it, majority of the calories is going to be stored in adipose tissue as fats.
And when you have the overload of storage system is adipose tissue. it starts to leak out, leak out all these adipokines and, you know, diacylglyceride that will essentially drive up inflammation. And that inflammation in turns send other signals to really try to compensate. But instead of compensating, because you are constantly causing insults to the cells and the mitochondria and your body, that it instead of compensating it, it's just Becoming a vicious cycle that that asked your your pancreatic beta cell to like to create more insulin There's only so much your body can do in order to filter out the insults and toxin before it's broken So I think that's that's where I arrived to
Dr. Casey Means
It's exactly yeah No, I think that's actually a really nuanced point around.
It's not just the glucose and and refined carbohydrates, it's it's really the hyper concentration of All the substrates that the cells are being tasked and calorie dense process. Exactly. Yeah. And, and actually that, that's another kind of conclusion. I arrived to also after writing this, this, this book, which was that this is why our focus on unprocessed foods and actually even, even more detailed than that.
Unprocessed whole foods grown in the best possible soil. are so critically important for getting us out of this biologic crisis that we're in right now of chronic metabolic disease. And the reason is because whole unprocessed foods cue our satiety mechanisms, which are So beautifully evolved they, they cue them in a much more nuanced way than ultra processed food, which hijacks our reward circuitry and totally sort of barrels over our normal satiety cues by triggering all these other pathways, like our reward and addiction circuitry and makes us just want to eat, eat, eat, eat, eat.
But if you're eating natural, unprocessed whole foods of really, and I believe any macronutrient ratio, whether it's. Or even any dietary philosophy, keto, vegan, if it's unprocessed, whole foods, your satiety mechanisms will be triggered and you are much less likely to overeat, which means less overall concentrated substrate for your cells to process.
And so You know what goes in is what you need and you use it and you process and there's not a lot of excess to Store there's not a bunch of excess reactive metabolic byproducts because you're overloading the system and things start working Really well again, and the reason I mentioned the soil piece is because In the food that's grown in the best possible soil.
So like either I mean organic is great regenerative is better which basically just means like farmers that are really focused on the the the by the Biodiversity of their soil and keeping it as healthy as possible. Those foods are gonna have the most Micronutrient, antioxidant, polyphenol, omega three levels, these really important other non macronutrient, more micronutrient factors that are gonna basically be like sparkle dust on the whole system to make it work better from the microbiome level to the mitochondrial cofactor level. And so in many ways it's just seems like such, the answer is like, if, if, if you don't know what to eat, 'cause. The nutrition world is so confusing right now. Just start with whole, unprocessed, natural foods, ideally like from a farmer's market, and life will just get so much easier because you will, you know, you will be cueing your satiety signals, you will be improving your microbiome, which in turn will make you more regulated in terms of appetite, and start taking off some of that, those pounding.
overwhelming signals from processed foods to ourselves. And again, going back to that idea of like being a parent for yourselves, it's one of the most loving protective things you can do for those 37 40 trillion cells is give them whole foods. Cause it's basically saying, you don't need to work so hard.
I'm going to give you what you need. I'm going to give you stuff that. It will make you naturally not feel like you need to overeat and gavage yourself. And you're going to be able to kind of like take a breather and just do the work that you know how to do as well as possible.
Dr. Latt Mansor:
That is such a great point because I think there is a study that compares same calories processed food versus whole foods, just exact same calories, but those with processed food end up eating more just feeling more hungry.
Over the day, just because of the compounds and the, the, the, you know, how the processed foods are being made. So that definitely contributes towards the over consumption of foods and calories.
Dr. Casey Means
That's exactly right. That there was a, I think you're referring to a study that was done at the NIH run by Kevin Hall, which was really interesting.
It was one of the most controlled nutrition studies like ever done where basically they took people and. They, they put them in a lot, like they were like in, in a prison in the NIH, like they could not leave, they could not bring in food, and for the first two weeks, they gave them a processed food diet, and this is basically what you'd be getting in a school lunch or a hospital, I mean it's just like You think like white bread and yogurts that had processed fruit and sugar in them.
So it's not like it was all just like fast food. It's just like a lot of the normal foods in America, which actually are ultra processed. You know, gravies that came from a package and processed deli meats and things like that. And that was for two weeks. And then they switched them to an unprocessed diet, which was like chicken breast and broccoli and potatoes and Fruits and vegetables and omelets and things like that. So, so just normal American foods, but one that was unprocessed, minimally processed, and one that was processed. And on the two weeks where they were exposed to the, and they could eat however much they wanted. It wasn't calorie restricted. It was just like they could have seconds, whatever.
The, in the two weeks that they were eating the processed food, people ate on average 500 calories more per day and gained I believe two kilograms, and then they lost that to it might have been to found it might have been to found pounds. But I think it was 2. 2 kilograms. And then they basically lost that during the unprocessed.
So it's just 500 calories might not seem like a lot, but that's actually a huge percentage of our daily calories. And over time, of course, that's gonna be the difference between like a healthy life and a not healthy life. So really fascinating. Yeah.
I mean, 500 calories, if you just times that, if you've been doing that for the past 10 years, that makes a lot of difference.
It does. And you literally, it's not like people, people were not trying to diet during that two weeks of Whole Foods. They literally just did not want to eat that extra 500 calories. I was just doing my calculator. What's 500 times 365? Like it's almost 200, 000 extra calories per year, which if a pound.
Yeah, which is maybe the difference between like 50 pounds or I mean, it's kind of crazy, right?
Dr. Latt Mansor:In one year, in one year, imagine if you've been doing that for a decade.
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