Metabolism Archives

The Metabolism myth

Healthy Photo by artistlike

You eat less than your skinny friend but still put on weight – can that be true?

It is true that our metabolism – the rate at which we process the food we eat – varies from person to person.

What is not clear is why two people can appear to eat virtually the same amount of food, which causes one to be thin and the other to pile on the pounds.

We uncover some home truths…

Many of us have friends who seemingly can eat anything they want and never put on weight. Whereas there are some of us who can just look at a slice of cake and we can feel our waistline getting bigger by the second. Whilst metabolism may have some effect, the answer is not as simple as we may think.

The Test

In this test, two friends – Cindy and Michelle – were the volunteers. They both have very different shaped bodies. Cindy was very slim while Michelle was nearly 15kg over her desired weight.

They both thought that the amount that you ate was really down to your metabolic rate.

Over the course of ten days, both Cindy and Michelle were watched closely and also asked to record how much food they ate in their food diaries.

However, it wasn’t left entirely to chance, or the honesty of the two ladies! At the beginning of the test they were each given half a litre of doubly labelled water. This is water in which both the hydrogen and the oxygen have been partly replaced with an uncommon isotope of these elements, in this case a non-radioactive form of deuterium and oxygen 18.

By doing this, it was possible to see exactly how many calories each of the girls were consuming, as well as the energy they were using just by moving around, by examining a urine sample each day.

It won’t be too much of a surprise that by the end of the week, the urine samples didn’t match the food diaries! The urine samples showed that although they did much the same amount of activity, Cindy actually ate 50% less each day than Michelle did.

Here is a simple but stark fact, and it may fly in the face of a lot of things that you understand, the fact is that the larger you are, the higher amount of energy your body will use, even at rest.

This means that your metabolic rate is higher as well. If you think about it, this is obvious, because even though you are at complete rest, larger people need more energy to pump the blood around the body and keep moving. You could use the analogy of a big car, having a big engine, so it uses more fuel to move itself around. In the same way, a bigger person uses more energy to move themselves around.

So the next time you’re tempted to blame your metabolism for your weight, remember, here’s the simple stark truth.

Some people eat less.

The other thing that should be pointed out is that whilst our two friends thought they both ate about the same, remember, Cindy ate 50% less than Michelle, and no-one was more surprised about that than her!

Now it is possible to make your metabolism work faster. One of the simplest ways of doing that is by exercising to the point where you start to be out of breath.

Once your body gets the message that it needs to ‘up’ the energy level – it will continue to do so even when the exercise has stopped.

That means you’ll be using up more calories even when you’re sleeping.

How Your Body Gets Energy

How Our Bodies Get Energy

How Our Bodies Get Energy

Do you know how your body gets the energy it needs and what it does with it?

Like many people, you will probably have an idea but no real details about how our bodies get and use the food we eat. So here’s a quick resume covering the two most misunderstood hormones our bodies use.

Knowing about these will give you an insight about how our bodies convert what we eat into energy and what happens to the excess ‘energy’ our bodies produce. More importantly, it will show you just how you can gain more control over what your bodies does with what you eat and how by having that knowledge, you can get the most from the Snack Box Diet through evening out your eating habits.

Where we get our Energy

Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy to all of the cells in your body. Your cells then take in glucose from your blood and break it down for energy.

For instance, brain cells and red blood cells rely solely on glucose for fuel. The glucose in your blood comes from the food you eat.

When you eat, food gets metabolised via your intestines and is distributed through the bloodstream to the cells in your body. In all conditions your body tries to keep the supply of glucose constant, maintaining as consistent as possible glucose concentration in the blood. If it did not do this [private_silver](as in diabetes for example) your cells would have too much glucose right after a meal (particularly one that is high in carbohydrates) and starve in between meals and during sleep.

When you have an excess of glucose, your body stores this in your liver and muscles by making glycogen, long chains of glucose. Conversely, when glucose is in short supply, your body mobilizes glucose from stored glycogen and/or stimulates you to eat food.

To maintain this constant blood-glucose level, your body uses two hormones – insulin and glucagon. These are produced in your pancreas and have opposite actions.

The Pancreas

Your pancreas is formed from clusters (Islets) of alpha and beta endocrine cells. The beta cells secret insulin and the alpha cells secret glucagons. Both these secretions are protein hormones made up of amino acids.

What Insulin Does

Insulin is used by almost all of your body’s cells, but it’s most active in the liver, fat and muscle cells. Insulin has the following effect:-

  • Inhibits the liver and kidney cells from making glucose from intermediate compounds of metabolic pathways (gluconeogenesis)
  • Causes the liver and muscle cells to store glucose in glycogen
  • Stimulates fat cells to form fats from fatty acids and glycerol
  • Causes the liver and muscle cells to make proteins from amino acids

Insulin production is the signal for the body to store energy (as fat). It does so by reducing the concentrations of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in the bloodstream.

What Glucagon Does

Now when you don’t eat or eat food that have a very low glycemic index  (Are low in carbs), your pancreas releases glucagons instead which causes your body to produce glucose… Glucagon acts on the same cells as insulin, but has the opposite effects in that it:

  • Stimulates the liver and muscles to break down stored glycogen (glycogenolysis) and release the glucose
  • Stimulates gluconeogenesis in the liver and kidneys

The action of glucagon is opposite to insulin in that glucagon mobilizes glucose stored inside your body and increases the level of glucose in your blood, thus stopping your blood glucose levels from falling dangerously low.

How Insulin and Glucagons Work as a Tag Team

Under normal circumstances, the levels of insulin and glucagon are effectively counter balanced.

When you eat, your body metabolises the food quite rapidly and registers the presence of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids absorbed from the food. This causes the pancreatic beta cells to release insulin into your blood and inhibit the pancreatic alpha cells from secreting glucagon.

As the levels of insulin in your blood begin to rise they act on the liver, fat and muscle cells in particular causing them to absorb the incoming molecules of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids. The insulin acts to prevent the concentration of glucose, fatty and amino acids from increasing too greatly in the bloodstream.

In this way, your body maintains a steady blood-glucose concentration. This action occurs when you eat a properly balanced diet as opposed to the high carb diet of today. Unfortunately, where the diet is high in carbs (or there is just too much food) it has to go somewhere and inevitably, it is deposited as fat in just where you don’t want it to go.

Between meals, or when you are sleeping, your body senses that it is effectively starving. However your cells still need a supply of glucose to keep going. So while in this condition, the slight drops in blood-sugar level stimulate glucagon secretion from the alpha cells in the pancreas and in turn inhibit the release of insulin.

This causes glucagon levels in the blood to rise and start acting on the liver, muscle and kidney cells to mobilize glucose from glycogen to make glucose that’s then released into your blood. Such action prevents the blood-glucose levels from falling too much.

This change occurs many times throughout the day with the secretion of either insulin or glucagons helping to keep your blood-glucose level relatively constant, typically in the range of 90 mg per 100 ml of blood.

However, seeing as the secretion of the pancreas lag behind the blood glucose levels, the action of eating large quantities of high carb food will drastically disturb this. Simply put, when the blood glucose level is overly high more quantities of insulin will be produced than are needed as the glucose will have been dealt with. So more glucose will have been absorbed than was necessary. This will cause a dip in the blood glucose level causing us to feel a lack of energy and trigger a production of glucagon.

Sunday Lunch Syndrome

This is something I call the “after Sunday lunch syndrome” as it is most often seen after a big meal. You will most likely have noticed that 30 – 60 minutes after eating far too much (as in a typical Sunday lunch) and then not moving a great deal either, you tend to feel really sleepy and quite soon many will also start to get the munchies and go looking for that last roast potato or piece of pie. In fact the body is wanting anything that will get the blood sugar up again – and so the cycle continues…

What Can You Do?

Well, the most obvious first step is to cut down on foods with a high level of carbohydrates in them.

The nest thing would be to even out the amount you eat by eating smaller quantities more regularly throughout the day.

Just by taking these two small steps in cahnging what and how you eat will make a masive difference to how your body reacts to what you eat. And that will be shown by improved or more even energy levels and slowing down or even reversing the process of fat gain.  I.E. You will start to lose fat instead of putting it on.[/private_silver]

 

The Metabolism Myth

Fit-and-Fat-photo-by-TipsTimesAdminYou eat less than your skinny friend but still put on weight – can that be true?

It is true that our metabolism – the rate at which we process the food we eat – varies from person to person.
What is not clear is why two people can appear to eat virtually the same amount of food, which causes one to be thin and the other to pile on the pounds.

We uncover some home truths…

Many of us have friends who seemingly can eat anything they want and never put on weight. Whereas there are some of us who can just look at a slice of cake and we can feel our waistline getting bigger by the second. Whilst metabolism may have some effect, the answer is not as simple as we may think.

In this test, two friends – Cindy and Michelle – were the volunteers. They both have very different shaped bodies. Cindy was very slim while Michelle was nearly 15kg over her desired weight.

They both thought that the amount that you ate was really down to your metabolic rate.

Over the course of ten days, both Cindy and Michelle were watched closely and also asked to record how much food they ate in their food diaries.

Continue reading…

Does Fibre Make a Difference When Dieting

Healthy Food Photo by stevepb

It’s a fact that many folk on diets don’t take enough notice of how much fibre they eat. If this is left to the extreme it can cause many problems.

However, as we will see from this short article, the remedy is simple and effective.

Should you eat fibre?

According to dieticians in the UK, their recommendation is that people should be eating between 18-24 grams of fibre a day. However, a recent survey sponsored by one of the large supermarkets has shown that the average UK intake is just 12grams. So the question is: can changing your diet and increasing your fibre give your digestive system a new lease of life?

Studies have shown that one way of decreasing colon cancer is to ensure that the food travelling from the mouth through the digestive system to the anus, when kept on the move, will prevent potentially harmful waste products from being easily absorbed. In a recent test – Dr Mark McAlindon, who is a consultant gastro-entroologist at the Royal Halampshire Hospital in Sheffield, carried out a recent test showing that increasing fibre can indeed quite dramatically change the way our bodies handle food.

The Test

In his test, he took two lorry drivers, who both had a high-fat, low-fibre diet, and tracked their bowel movement as they took one of their international journeys from Southampton to Turin. They were given a special pill which was used to measure the transit time of the food as it passed through the digestive system.

Before the diet, it took Don 22 hours and 39 minutes to allow the pill to go through his digestive system. Wolfgang, however, took an amazing 42 hours and 25 minutes. For the next ten days the truckers were given a diet that ensured that 50grams of fibre was consumed each day. The test was carried out again with both drivers showing a significantly quicker transit time. After increasing their fibre intake, the time taken for the pill to pass through their digestive systems had been reduced to an average of nearly 21 hours.

One of the things to bear in mind here, though, is that the two guys who were chosen to do this test do have a job that involves them sitting down for most of their working day. There is a direct correlation with how active you are as to how quickly your digestive system works. It should also be borne in mind that they were given 50g of fibre a day whereas the recommended allowance is between 18-24g per day.

Please do see our article on Fibre, available from the website.