Nourish Your Body: The Next Three Rules of Nutrition

And so we will continue with the rules from my last post!

 

Rule#3 Eat Often

AlmondsThis may sound like it flies in the face of what many diet programs tell you to do; however, this is the best way to eat for several reasons.  Eating smaller meals and snacks more often helps you to increase your metabolism. It does not have to be anything big – just a handful of almonds or a few carrot sticks will do.   This will tell your body that you are getting the nutrition that you need and it is ok to break down the foods and utilize them in you body instead of breaking them down and storing them for later.  If you eat large meals with a lot of time in between each of them, your body reacts by thinking that you are starving and it does not know when you will eat again.  Of course you know you will eat again, but your body will go into a sort of hybernation and slow its metabolism down in order to save what you took in during that big meal for use later.  Eating every hour or two will prevent this from happening and allow the body to burn off and utilize more calories and nutrients.

Eating often will help to keep your blood sugar at a more constant level as well.  Without the blood sugar highs and lows you won’t start to get “the shakes” before you eat, which will help to prevent overeating – especially eating something that is not good for you that just happens to be close by and easy.  One of the best ways to stick to a good diet is to not let yourself get hungry. Once you get hungry, you will try to find and eat something and that choice may not be the best thing for you.  So instead of starving yourself in between smaller and smaller meals in order to lose weight, eat small amounts of healthy food once every couple hours.  You will actually lose weight by eating more, and you will be more satisfied.

 

Rule#4 Avoid Excess Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Lets break this rule into two parts. Lets first talk about sugar and then sugar substitutes. 

Everyone these days worries a lot about sugar and avoiding it at all costs, but sugar, when compared with other things like sugar substitutes or high fructose corn syrup, is not the worst thing in the world.  Sugar is naturally found in fruits and vegetables.  When sugar enters your body it will elevate your blood sugar and cause an increase in insulin release.  Insulin will allow the blood glucose (sugar) to enter into cells of the body.  This allows your body to use the sugar for energy instead of breaking down fat or muscle.  This is a natural process in the body and is completely normal.  If you have too much sugar or too much of a high glycemic fruit, then you will get a higher spike in blood sugar and insulin.  This may lead to a rebound effect and a couple hours later you will have low blood sugar and you will feel like you need to eat again.  This rebounding can stress out your pancreas (the organ that releases digestive enzymes and insulin to help you break down and utilize food).   So while eating foods that have natural sugar in them is not a bad thing, eating foods with too much added sugar or eating too many high glycemic foods on a regular basis will affect your pancreas and insulin receptors and could possibly lead to Diabetes.  So my advice would be to not worry about sugar as long as you are not adding too much to your foods and not eating too many high glycemic fruits (like melons or other tropical fruits) on a consistent basis.

A lot of people are aware of what sugar can do if you misuse it as I described above; so, what many people have done is to eliminate adding sugar to anything and add a sugar substitute into their food or drink instead.  This may lower calorie intake, but it can be an even more harmful thing than just adding natural sugar to foods. Splenda, for example, was originally created for use in chemical warfare.  At some point the creators of this compound discovered that it had a sweet flavor to it, and, because it had no calories, it was pushed as a sugar substitute.  Splenda, however, is chlorinated sugar. Chlorine is a huge neurotoxin and has been shown to cause severe nervous system damage and atrophy.  Splenda is not the only sweetener that has these effects. The sweeteners in “no calorie” or diet drinks, such as NutraSweet (i.e aspartame) have been shown to have very similar effects. This means that these compounds either poison the nerve, cause them to stop growing, break down their structure and membranes to make them not fire correctly (either by firing too much or too little).  These sweeteners will literally rot away your brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves. Sugar substitutes like Splenda, NutraSweet, etc. have been studied and have been shown to also contain cancer-causing agents – in particular kidney, bladder, and colon cancer. These types of negative cell changes and side effects occur in everyone. The severity of these poisons’ effect on the body depends on each individual’s susceptibility, but this happens to some extent every time you use sweeteners in place of natural sugar.  If it were me, I would much rather choose to challenge my pancreas with natural sugar than poison myself every time I use an artificial sweetener.

In addition to the harm it can cause your body, artificial sweeteners have actually been shown to contribute to increased weight gain and fat stores.  Because these products are sweet they signal the brain and tell it that the body is ingesting sugar.  The insulin is then signaled to release insulin to help and utilize the sugar. When the insulin is released it will allow blood sugar to enter cells in your body; however, because there is no sugar being taken in, your body uses up the existing sugar in the blood.   This results in you blood sugar dipping too low.  Signals in your body trigger a craving for sugar and food to counteract this and you end up taking in more calories than if you had just added some extra sugar to your beverage.  In the end it is just better to add the sugar than it is to try to trick your body.

 

Rule#5 Drink Lots of WaterWater

Depending on age and hydration levels right now, our bodies are anywhere from 50-75 percent water.  Babies are up closer to 75 percent while as you age you creep closer to the 50 percent mark.  Either way, that is still a lot of water.  Water is essential to life and if you are even a little bit dehydrated (whether you know it or not) your body is not functioning at its maximum potential.  Your immune system goes down, your nervous system does not function as well, your muscles lose hydration, and your body’s detoxification and excretion systems stop working as well as they should.  A good rule of thumb is to drink one quart of water per 50 pounds of body weight per day.  This averages out to about 10-14 glasses per day. That may seem like a lot to some people, and I have talked to many people that simply do not like to drink water; but try adding some coconut water into your water bottle.  You will get more flavor in your water, and the natural electrolytes are perfectly balanced to give you great nutrition and hydration.

 

 

Coming soon: the conclusion to my nutrition tips!

And be sure to check out the first part of this post: Nourish Your Body: The First Two Rules of Nutrition as well as the final part of this post: Nourish Your Body: Final Tips

 

Dr. Andrew About Dr. Andrew

Dr. Andrew Dodge lives in Staunton, Virginia, with his wife Nicole and their children Luke and Josie. Dr. Andrew is a graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic at Parker University in Dallas, Texas.

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