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Balancing your Diet

By Kathy Emiko
How many times have you followed a diet without fully understanding the difference between a protein and a complex carbohydrate, what each of them do in the body, or in which foods they are found? No dietary plan is ever going to be successful if you don’t have the basics in place. Often, I hear people say they don’t have anything to do with carbohydrate, blaming their weight gain on it.

But, the truth is, it is their abuse of carbohydrate, feeding on the wrong type and in excess, which has caused their weight gain. You cannot eat healthy and be strong without GOOD QUALITY COMPLEX CARBS!

If your diets over the years have been on devil foods, fizzy drinks and occasional fruits and vegetables, then you need NUTRITIONAL REPENTANCE through a detox programme that will usher you into DIVINE HEALTH with clean eating, so your body can look and feel better.  You’ll also realise that it is not worth going back to old habits. EMBRACE ANGEL FOODS!

All food types are split into three main categories: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Some foods can fall into two of these categories. Beans (lentils), for example, are a complex carbohydrate but they also have protein content, making them a well balanced food. You will also find a complex mix of food types in meat, fish, chicken or dairy produce.

PROTEINS: The word ‘protein’ comes from a Greek word ‘protos’ meaning ‘first things’. Three-quarters of all the solid matter in your body is protein, which form the building blocks and repairing material for our bodies. Without sufficient proteins, the body actually breaks down faster than it repairs itself.

All animal proteins are complex proteins. That is, they contain all eight amino acids that the body needs. The breakdown products of proteins, i.e. amino acids, can’t be made in the body and must be derived from the food we eat. Proteins should form around 25-30 percent of your food intake (depending on your body type); whether derived from animal or vegetable sources.

While lack of protein in a diet depresses all our functions, long-term high protein diet places a strain on the body as it leads to high level acidity. This could be harmful to body tissues. The body, in turn, has several buffering systems to prevent excess catabolism (breaking down of tissue), and will use calcium as a main buffering mineral. The calcium is taken out of bones and teeth. Consequently, one of the side effects of long-term high protein diet is high risk of osteoporosis. Nothing better illustrates the importance of maintaining a balanced diet.

CARBOHYDRATES: There are two main types of carbohydrates – complex and simple. Basically, complex carbohydrates are those in whole grain form and simple carbohydrates are those that have been processed and broken down before being put back together again.

Examples of complex carbohydrates are brown rice, whole grain bread, porridge oats, sweet potatoes and yam, while simple carbohydrates include commercial cereals, white bread, white rice, biscuits, cakes and pastries. Most of the simple carbohydrates also have added sugars and often include preservatives, because they are more likely to become stale than their complex counterparts.

The role of carbohydrates is to produce energy. All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose molecules and are the body’s preferred source of fuel. In biochemical terms, they go through several stages, broken down, in the process, into the simplest of molecules. With the help of a number of different nutrients (both vitamins and minerals), carbohydrates then create energy in the form of ATP (Ade-no-si-ne-tri-phos-phate).

The production of ATP is fundamental to a healthy high-performing body such that a deficiency of any of the essential nutrients that go into forming ATP will inhibit your body’s maximum performance. In order to maintain the body’s optimum ATP production, it is vital to choose mainly complex carbohydrates because, these are far richer in nutrients and don’t have the additives and preservatives that their simple counterparts do.

Note: Balancing your blood sugar levels is the key to maintaining a healthy diet. The body chooses carbohydrates, simple or complex, as its first source of fuel for energy, which are all broken down into glucose in the digestive tract and transported into the blood stream and to wherever it is needed at the moment.

The more broken down and refined the carbohydrate (think white flour, white bread, white rice), the faster it releases its sugars into the blood stream. The pancreas releases insulin to “carry” the glucose into the organs for energy production, and to help blood sugar levels to remain constant.

A quick rise in blood sugar challenges the pancreas to release a high dose of insulin to regulate these fluctuating levels. If you live on high refined-carb diet (e.g. commercial cereals, white bread for breakfast, white rice for lunch and pounded yam for dinner), it becomes difficult for your pancreas to keep up with the demand for insulin and it starts to respond inappropriately. You experience this as the highs and lows of energy throughout the day, which become progressively more pronounced.

This is known as insulin resistance and is the first stage of potentially type 2 diabetes. At this stage, adjustment in your diet can help to re-regulate insulin production until it returns to normal.

However, if such changes are not made, the fatigue becomes overwhelming and eventually develops into non-insulin dependent diabetes. Replace refined carbohydrate with complex carbohydrate like brown rice, whole grain bread and sweet potatoes.


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