Why is nutrition so important? Well there are several reasons. The most important is energy. Our body is like a flower. During the day we wake up and are expanding a lot of energy, we are in catabolic mode. Meaning we are constantly breaking down. At night we close up, sleep and turn anabolic and move into repair mode. Now some of us have a hard time sleeping, we'll get into that another day, because yeas that's a big, common problem.
So we burn energy, sometimes lots of it depending on what we are doing, all day to sustain our biological activities. Some you might not even think about. Oh did I say think, like using our brains to basically do everything from all that stuff you do automatically to taxing our brains to do our jobs. Now what if I told you that the human brain consumes the most amount of energy in the body, approximately 25-30%, that's a lot. When we are pushing ourselves both mentally and physically we're draining those energy stores. What if we could program or hack, as some call it our body, to burn fuel in the most efficient way, pretty good idea right? Not as hard as you might think if you know biochemistry. That's my job to teach you how to do this.
Think about this for a second...have you ever lite a pile of dry leaves on fire? You get this big burst of flames, i.e. energy, but then it burns out really fast. Now what if you light one of those old fashioned oil lanterns, you know the one with the wick. Yup it burns really steady for days. Do you follow where i'm going with this...fast burning, dirty fuel compared to long, steady, clean burning fuel. Do you want to be a pile of leaves or an oil lamp? Ahhh I think the oil lamp makes better sense and here's the cool part if we want to we can turn on the fast burning fuel if we want to sprint across the parking lot and then turn it off again. But if we're the pile of leaves , no such luck, your stuck in that glucose burning mode. Biochemically the body won't let you do it.
Back to the brain...if you're like the pile of leaves and burning that fuel pretty quick the brain is constantly hitting a wall. Ugg brain fog, loss of concentration, darn where did I just put my keys oh and that great feeling of fatigue. It's like that 5 hour energy commercial where your yawning and falling asleep at 2 in the afternoon until you reach for the next carb filled meal to get that fast energy again. Only to repeat that cycle throughout the day. You're brain isn't real keen on this idea. You're stressing it out.
Now let's think about being that oil lamp that holds the steady burning fuel all day. We don't need to refuel that much. We're not hitting the wall with our brains, no crashes. And we aren't stressing the heck out of selves with the yo-yo effects of sugar highs and sugar lows. Trust me this is a huge difference in how you feel, how you think, how you concentrate, how you remember and on and on.
If we switch things around a bit and feed the body mostly fat, good fats, approximately 70% fats, keep protein to about 20% and the remainder carbs you are changing your biochemistry to producing ATP via beta oxidation. It's faster, easier and more efficient and you can create 4 times the amount of energy than producing it with glucose in the krebs cycle. But most of us like the breads, cereals, cookies, bagels, soft drinks, candy, chips, ice-cream, rice and potatoes and are stuck in the glucose burning mode. Why can't the body burn any fat on that diet. The answer is one single hormone....insulin. Yup it takes a lot of insulin to shunt the sugar out of the blood stream and into the tissue to store the glucose until you burn it off. Now the answer becomes why can't the body move from burning predominantly glucose on the diet I just mentioned to burning fat and switching back and forth. If I'm burning predominantly fat or ketones I CAN switch to glucose and back to fat. But I CAN'T if I'm eating mostly carbs. Why??? I'll let you know in part 3 of this series. It's all about biochemistry. Learn it, understand it and yes you can hack your body and more importantly your brain.