Hopefully you are on a role as we enter week #4 of the TLS program. By now you have a clear goal, increased your protein intake, include healthy fats and have done a gym homework session or two on your own:)
As eluded too last week with the quote from Gary Taubes, this weeks challenge relates to carbohydrate consumption. If you missed it, here it is again,
“In other words, the science itself makes clear that hormones, enzymes, and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat. The science tells us that obesity is ultimately the result of a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one—specifically, the stimulation of insulin secretion caused by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: refined carbohydrates, including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. These carbohydrates literally make us fat, and by driving us to accumulate fat, they make us hungrier and they make us sedentary.”
The key understanding here is understanding the role of insulin with the goal of making ourselves insulin sensitive. Insulin is an important hormone secreted from the pancreas that helps regulate our blood sugar and absorb nutrients from food. Too much of it (as a result of bad carb choices) makes us store body fat, reduces insulin sensitivity, and could even lead to obesity and diabetes.
So what are the “good carbs” and how do I make myself insulin sensitive ?
Lets start with being clear about the “bad carbs”. In short it typically comes back to any processed foods (not “real food”), sugar, breads, pastas, baked goods, cereals, desserts, rice and soft drinks. Good carbs include the full spectrum of fruits and vegetables, keeping fruits, and starchy foods such as potatoes to a limited amount.
Making ourselves insulin sensitive does not mean we can eat unlimited amounts of “good carbs”, instead its eating just the right amount given your goal and activity level. Essentially you have to “earn your carbs”. Although insulin sensitivity is most improved with physical activity, adequate sleep,and simple carb reduction, it can also be improved with adding in cinnamon, green tea, apple cider vinegar, fish oils and magnesium. For 9 tips on improving insulin sensitivity read this article.
In closing this weeks challenge is understanding the role of insulin and applying 3 things that improve insulin sensitivity.
Here is a funny bonus video by Charles Poliquin on timing, type, and deserving post workout carbs