This is part of a series. If you have not please read Another way first.
I thought, hormones, really. The only other times in my life as a 29 year old male that I have thought about hormones had to do with women and the concept of menstruation, as it starts, supports birth, and then goes away. Something wonderful happened to me as I looked into low carbs and Atkins. I realized I knew very little about my body. This realization was the splitting of a mental atom that has resulted in an explosion of ideas and interest. I'm greatful that I was open to and comfortable with being wrong and accepting that I knew very little.
I had always been interested in thinking for my self and coming to conclusions because I felt they were logical, defensible, and consistent. I had done the same with politics that turned into philosophy.
I had always thought that fat on the body was the result of extra food energy that I did not burn during that day. You go about your day you eat you live your burn energy, if at the end of the day you burned less than you took in you retained that energy as fat. Over time this excess energy accumulates and you grow in your fat. Period. Its all about the first law of thermodynamics. Calories in equal calories out. This is easy to understand and seems to make sense. This is why dieting is all about being a little bit hungry all the time, because after all hunger is a psychological sensation, its not really real...its just a desire. This is why we make fun of fat people as being lazy, and having no self control. I mean when we don't do something in life that we know we should, it comes down to self control, why should diet be any different. So put in less gas in the tank but run the engine more through exercise. All of this is sorta true, but really when it comes down to it, at BEST its half the story and largely miss's the mark. Look back at this paragraph, thats it. There are more metaphors and other tricks, but this is the story you have seen repeated and repeated and repeated. So much so that everyone believes is to be true. People who know almost nothing about human biology and nutrition will tell you what is healthy and that this is the way to lose fat. I've come to believe that its missing something.
What makes your fat cells able to release fat from storage? Its not just burning calories. You can burn plently of calories and not release fat from storage. This must be something good to learn.
I learned about Insulin, Leptin, Ghrelin, Thyroid hormones, enzymes, the differences between the macro and micro nutrients. I learned that real fat is not bad for you and that carbs are not a good alternative. I learned about the liver, the gut, the pancreas, the gall bladder, the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, the portal vein. I learned the difference between saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, and trans fats and not just the chemical difference but how they interact with your body. I learned which foods fit into those groups. I learned about sucrose, glucose, fructose, and long chain polysaccharides, and again not just chemically how they are different but how they interact with your body differently. I learned how food naturally has different amounts of these macro and micro combinations. I learned how these things affect our hormones differently. I've learned that mother nature is brilliant, and that there is more going on than meets the eye. I leanred that your body will give up its fat while staying nourished in a way that does not require hunger.
Here is a main point. Yes a calorie is a calorie, but what does that tell you? Not much. I put on a table a calorie of gasoline, a calorie of wood, a calorie of alcohol, a calorie of glucose, a calorie of stearic acid. Do all of these things contain the same amount of energy? Is a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, yes, But so what? The point, the primary and most important point is, what are these calories made of, what do they do to you? Each of them is metabolized differently and therefore affect out bodies differently. It is an over generalization to think of food as just how many calories of energy they represent. It is an over generalization that has lead to failure in people's ability to change the % of fat they carry on their body, and worse. This idea combined with the idea that fat is bad for you and will clog your arteries is as bad of an idea as the following out dated and bad ideas.
1. If you have red hair you are a witch.
2. The earth is flat
3. If you were to travel faster that 15mph you would disintegrate
4. putting leaches on you and draining your blood when you are sick is a good way to gain health.
5. De sterilizing the delivery room is not important.
6. Slavery is ok.
7. Women are worth less than men.
When you saw a very tall person growing up did you think they were tall because they ate a lot? No
When you saw a short person did you think. Wow, they must be undernourished? No
We didn't think that because we were not taught that. Actually those two ideas seem sorta funny don't they? Then why did we think that fat people are fat because they eat too much and they are lazy; Because we were taught that. I ask you, why? It is generally correct that fat people eat more and move less, but why? Its not because of a psychological problem is it because of a hormonal problem.
This post is ultimately about this fact. You DO affect your hormones and therefore your body and mind by the type of calories that you put in your body. When there is choice, quality is more important a concept and quantity, its not an either/or point, quantity is important too, but quality is more important, it is primary and our focus should start there. This is true in all aspects of life, everything, When there is choice, quality over quantity...OH Whats that?? reality is consistent??...yea it is. This fact is the most important concept to grasp when it comes to the idea of health. Do not boil down your body's energy storage and release mechanism to the crude image of an engine and a gas tank. If you do so you will most likely reach some very bad problems. The real kicker is that there will be multiple problems that seemingly have no link, and these problems according to your mechanism will only have one solution, eat less and exercise more. Take pills where this isn't enough. Fail.
The new paradigm. Your body, like your mind, is a long series of feed back loops, an input has an output this output in an input that creates an output that is also an input, and so on. In fact there are MANY of these loops going on at once. Some of them are the same process some of them are different. Some of these loops are very old. Work with your body, learn about your body. Things happen for a reason, when it comes to your body those reasons are amazing, intertwined, and complex. When you get this concept you look to work on the cause and not the effect. You gain this appreciation of your genetics. You see how complex and intertwined everything is. You see that this system must have been developing over time. You realize that your body is set up to be optimally healthy under a certain food and emotional environment.
Throughout this blog we will dissect issues that are science, chemistry, and biologically based. We will also look at related issues that are anecdotal based. If these ideas are good they will be aligned, they will be consistent. For instance you are the result of 77,000 generations of homosapien, our genetics have generally been the same for millions of years. With that in mind, what do you think you should eat. Should it be food that has only existed for 5, 10, 15, 20, 100, 200, 10,000 years? Do you think when you decide what to eat based upon that historical anectdotal idea that the biological, hormonal, and chemical ideas that we can test today will be consistent with them. Yea they will.