Posts Tagged 'carbohydrates'

Food is not Medicine

Or is it?  The article does not address the benefits of whole foods.  However, it is good to see this subject matter becoming more mainstream.

Don’t be misled by these food label tricks.

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It’s not candy. It’s candida.

Yeast Reduction Diet: An all too common and frustrating health issue these days is Candida or yeast overgrowth in our bodies. It’s a fungus that steals our nutrients and therefore our energy then leaves us with toxic, even carcinogenic waste material to deal with. Our immune systems have a very hard time dealing with this type of infection because of the cell walls that yeast have; we are underequipped to penetrate those walls. There are a variety of treatments available to combat the yeast and break it down allowing our immune systems to clean out the waste and get rid of the toxic buildup. Those options are for another article, however it is always conducive and sometimes necessary to not only kill the yeast but also alter our diets so that we do not continue to feed the yeast and thus continue the problem. Yeast eat sugar and other small carbohydrates, the simpler and more refined the carbohydrate the more likely it will have an exacerbation effect on the yeast. This can be a variable target to hit as everybody will respond differently to dietary changes and treatment options. Removing all processed sugar, starch, dairy, and alcohol is a great start and one that most people would benefit greatly from. If more strictness is needed for individual cases then even whole foods like fruits and all but the most fibrous of vegetables must be eliminated. This type of restricted diet is obviously not for the long term as many of our most important nutrients are packed most densely in fruits and vegetables, it can however be very useful in eradicating a very pervasive pest and eliminating the symptoms that accompany it.  The typical diet for today is a tough one.  Can’t live with it, can’t live without it!

Alkaline Diet

Most of today’s diets tend to emphasize foods that have an ability to form acid in our bodies.  Balancing those acidifying foods with those that alkalize or even consuming predominantly alkalizing foods can go a long way to making us healthier.  The idea behind this diet is though homeostasis will maintain the blood pH relatively tightly between 7.35 and 7.45, the amount of stress and thus raw materials within our bodies that is used to maintain that pH by our acid base balance systems can be influence by the diet we eat.  In other words, wouldn’t you rather have your organs do something other than fight the acids you eat?  The more acidity the food the more it drives the system and causes certain minerals to be used at increased rates depleting other areas in the process.  The kidney is the prime organ involved as it has most of the responsibility of regulating long term acid base balance.  People who suffer excessive fatigue, muscle soreness and stiffness, bone loss, mineral imbalances, and kidney dysfunction may especially be helped by using this therapeutic diet.  The diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and tubers while avoiding grains, meat, dairy and salt.  Really though, nothing is off limits with this diet, rather it is the emphasis on consuming many more calories from the alkaline list than the acid list.  

One footnote is that the food in raw form may be acid, but if it’s turned to an alkaline ash when broken down, then it’s ok.  Thus, citrus is actually quite alkaline forming.

Tryptophan and the “turkey snooze”

Just so everyone knows, it’s not the tryptophan in turkey that makes us so tired after our Thanksgiving meal.  So, what is it then?

We know that Tryptophan is an amino acid present in many foods. However, in no way does turkey have an unusually high concentration.  In fact, many beans and even beef has more tryptophan than turkey. It is true that tryptophan can help put you to sleep only because it feeds a pathway that creates melatonin (the sleep hormone).  Scientifically the conversion goes like this: 5 HTP converts to serotonin which converts to melatonin and that equals “lights out.” The problem is that amino acids are absorbed at different rates and tryptophan is very, very poorly absorbed.  If there were a race with different amino acids trying to get through one door, tryptophan would be the slow runner who is also wearing lead shoes.  So, in fact, not very much tryptophan at all is absorbed when taken with a meal.

The answer to the snooze after the fabulous dinner lies on the plate in front of us.  That wonderful plate usually contains a mound of carbohydrate-rich foods (that converts to sugar) which lead to a surge in insulin levels.  Our pancreas is not always adept at matching the release of insulin, to our sugar intake, especially when large quantities of sugar are ingested. Many times the insulin surge is much too large; far exceeding the amount our bodies actually need, causing a sharp drop in blood glucose (sometimes referred to as bonking).  This is called “reactive hypoglycemia” and we are all susceptible.   As we start to store all that carbohydrate induced sugar, along with the tryptophan are some other amino acids that also get stored.  This can increase the relative concentration of tryptophan, and even when running slow in lead shoes the tryptophan can still win the race .

So it’s a complex combination of many factors, two of which we discussed here, that create the turkey snooze. Most biochemists would agree that while the tryptophan plays a role, the sugar rollercoaster that the carbohydrates puts us on is the major causative factor.

Now, while we would usually advise that you avoid all those simple sugars and the subsequent “snooze” on that celebratory day, enjoy the food, the fun, and the nap.

Happy Thanksgiving


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