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Breakfast -How Not To Start The Day Part I
Axiom Number Four
To have a great selling diet plan encourage people to do what they want to do anyway, even if they won't lose weight and may become morbidly obese, get cancer and have a very poor quality of life.
Question from one of our readers ...
Just read your letter "Energy That Is Stored -Must Be Utilized" Won't fasting slow your metabolic rate? Doesn't your body think you're starving when you fast and slow down to conserve energy? If not, why are so many of the latest diets centered around several small meals a day instead of 3 square meals?
Unknown reader since they did not leave their email address.
A very important question however!
Just this week in my email I got another article about eating as many as eight meals a day as a way to become thin, in shape and lose weight.
Concept one from this article ...
Fasting causes your body to "think" that it is starving which makes your body store fat and slows your metabolism.
Fasting in no way forces the body to "store fat." To begin we need to clarify that the body "does not think anything." It is a series of biochemical reactions, much the same as the brain is, although the brain is rumored to "think" in some cases. At this junction I am going to discuss some "elementary biochemistry" with an occasional quote from Stryer's Fourth Edition Biochemistry. I will leave the math to you -the reader.
fuel reserves in a typical 70-kg man
Organ ************** Available energy (kcal)
from Stryer Biochemistry 4th Edition page 771
check out that 135,000 kcal from fat ... without even a "camel's hump"
The biochemistry of starvation
"A typical well-nourished 70-kg man has fuel reserves of some 1600 kcal in glycogen, 24,000 kcal in mobilizable protein and 135,000 kcal in triacylglycerols. (see above table) The energy need for a 24-hour period ranges from about 1600 kcal in the basal state to 6000 kcal, depending on the extent of activity. Thus, stored fuels suffice to meet caloric needs in starvation for one to three months." page 775,776 Stryer Biochemistry.
The body does not begin to "starve" in the first 24 hours
As is apparent from the above quote, the body does not even start to "starve" for the first 24 hours since the metabolic needs of the body (especially the brain) can be easily met by the stored fuels. Not eating breakfast, eating your main meal at noon and then skipping dinner -is not starvation, either for you or your body.
Glucagon levels rise only when insulin levels drop. It takes at least two to three hours for the insulin levels to drop sufficiently for the glucagon levels to rise. Six meals a day plus snacks does not equal "flat abs and sexy muscles." It equals morbid obesity and hyperinsulinism and all the associated lifestyle diseases.
What glucagon does
Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas in response to a "low" blood sugar in the fasting state. It inhibits glycogen synthesis and fatty acid synthesis, just the opposite of insulin which stimulates glycogen synthesis and fatty acid synthesis. In case you don't understand what this means, it means that you are utilizing / burning fat, with high glucagon (fasting state) levels and you are storing energy (as fat) with high insulin levels (fed) state.
Epinephrine and Nor-Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
High levels of glucagon (fasting state) stimulate increased secretion of adrenalin (epinephrine and nor-epinephrine). Adrenalin in turn mobilizes fatty acids and glycogen. The main difference between glucagon and adrenalin is that the effect of adrenalin is more pronounced in muscle than the liver, where the effect of glucagon is more prominent. Epinephrine also inhibits use of glucose by muscles and facilitates the use of fatty acids by muscle. Thus the old adage about having to burn fat in the marathon. Most people can store enough energy from non-fat sources for about 20 miles, but then you have to switch to fat burning to get through the last six. This is where if you have not trained your metabolism to burn fat (trained in the fasting state), you will not be able to run well. The metabolic pathways will not be there.
Three more "multiple small feedings" concepts ...
Eating too much food results in high insulin levels which in turn causes a low blood sugar which in turn forces the body to store fat.
A little truth here -overeating does produce high insulin levels. Anyone here feel that seven meals a day is not overeating, I can't help you. High insulin levels create low blood sugar only when the food ingested is partial, processed and usually containing sugar. Eating whole foods has yet to produce low blood sugar in anyone. Low blood sugar forces the body to store fat -not according to any human biochemistry I've ever read. As discussed above, low blood sugar stimulates glucagon secretion which in turn mobilizes fat / burns fat /utilizes fat!
Concept ... Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Sorry, but the "myth" of breakfast is just that -a myth. The only thing I can say for sure about breakfast is that you will never be able to burn fat, if you eat breakfast every day. You are virtually guaranteed of NEVER entering a glucagon state. You will end up with fuel storage tanks all over your body and no way to ever get the energy from the tank to your body since you have never established the metabolic pathways to do so.
Concept ... After breakfast you can start eating the remaining six or seven meals for the day followed by a bedtime snack.
When you get done concentrating on the other 6-7 meals for the day, then you can figure out which doctor you are going to see for your obesity, hypertension and cancer. My ex-father-in-law was really excited about the Zone diet because it allowed him to eat as much meat as he wanted. He did lose a few pounds, put it back on soon, and within a year was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate. Don't mortgage your health just to lose a few pounds.
The rules of health and biochemistry
I didn't write the rules of health / biochemistry of the human species. Lubert Stryer explains them and The China Study by T. Colin Campbell shows the linear relationship between animal protein and the big three lifestyle diseases here -cancer, heart disease and stroke. We may not always like the rules but they are what we have and any attempt to alter them most often ends with serious compromise of our health.
Please stay tuned for part two of this discussion and a very important point -The Order of Fuel Utilization in the Human.
Stryer Biochemistry Fourth Edition
A final quote:
"Our distant ancestors, whose bodies we inherited ate and weighed a good deal less, than we do. They had to "earn" their subsistence by every day scouring the countryside for their scarce food. This checked their appetite and kept them lean, hungry and healthy. Adapted over hundred thousands of years and thereby setting the standards for living normally and healthily, they bequeathed their genes to us. We, not so healthy relative overweights, easily load up our shopping carts once a week at the corner supermarket and simply eat too much for our ~100,000-year-old body design."
Re-adaptation hypothesis: explaining health benefits of caloric restriction Hans Dehmelt* Department of Physics, P.O. Box 351560, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1560, USA
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Thanks for your attention.
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DrMericle.com is devoted to achieving optimal health and peak performance through diet and lifestyle change. Dr. Mericle brings together a unique blend of formal training in organic chemistry and biochemistry, medical education, 29 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions and a lot of practical real life experience.
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