Monday, 29 June 2015

The perfect diet Part II - Energy and Hormones

So I mentioned in the first part of The Perfect Diet Series that the way your body preserves and uses its energy supplies (and many other important metabolic processes) is managed by hormones.
Ok now, just to be clear, I am not talking about sexual hormones, those that bomb teenagers, cause some people might be confused.
So, there are a couple of hormones that decide what to do when energy comes in and what to do when energy has to go out (to be consumed).

The Perfect diet

Energy sources

When we are talking about energy, we are talking about macronutrients. There are three macronutrients: protein (4 kilocalories/gram), carbohydrates (4 kilocalories/gram) and fat (9 kilocalories/gram). These are called macro because the body needs them in large quantities in order to function properly.
When you offer your body more energy than it needs, it stores it for later use. When you offer your body less energy than it needs, it burns the energy from its deposits: fat, glycogen, muscle etc.
Sounds pretty simple till now, right? Well, this works only in a perfect world, cause energy is not the same. For instance, 100 kilocalories from an apple are not the same with 100 kilocalories from a refined donut.

Protein

Protein is the main building block. Our body needs protein, amino acids, to grow and recover. Amino acids play an important role in the immune function, hormone, and enzyme secretion, lean muscle mass preserving.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main energy source and the body needs them in most amounts. That is because all our cells feed with glucose and glucose is a carbohydrate. Although, everything is finally converted into glucose, it's much easier for the body to skip the conversion part and use glucose from carbohydrates, cause conversion involves energy use and the body does not want that.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple - sugars (short digestion and rapid absorption) and complex - fiber (long digestion and slow absorption).

Fat

Fat has a body reputation, cause people associate fat with body fat. IT'S NOT THE SAME THING.
There are three types of fat: saturated, unsaturated and trans.

Saturated fat is indeed not good for the body in large amounts and trans is not good at all.
On the other hand, unsaturated fat is useful for proper body functions: growth and development, energy boost, vitamin and mineral absorption, recovery, prevents inflammation, protection by making powerful cell membranes.

Hormone management

Every metabolic process and body function takes place in the presence of hormones: what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, if you're not eating, if you workout, how long you workout, at what intensity you workout, if you're sleeping, when you're stressed, when you're happy, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IS DONE IN PRESENCE OF HORMONES.
Judging by their effects on our body, there are "good" hormones and "bad" hormones. Don't get me wrong, all hormones are good, but, again, IN A PERFECT LIFE. In this life, there are the good guys and the bad guys or the good guys gone bad to be more precise:

Good Hormones Gone bad

  1. Cortisol
  2. Estrogen
  3. Insulin

Good Hormones

  1. Leptin and Ghrelin
  2. Adiponectin
  3. Glucagon
  4. Growth Hormone (GH) and Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF)
  5. Cholecystokinin (CCK)
  6. Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and Norepinephrine
  7. Testosterone

Cortisol

This guy has gone worst. It's also known for "the stress hormone", cause it's released during long-term stressful moments and situation. It's primary function is to inhibit metabolic processes such as digestion, growth, immunity, reproductive and so on. It also promotes protein burn for energy.

Estrogen

Estrogen is not so bad...if you are a lady and you are pregnant. The primary function of estrogen is the development of female secondary sexual characteristics: breasts, endometrium, regulation of the menstrual cycle and so on. The bad part is that estrogen promotes fat storage, cortisol release and slows down the metabolism.

Insulin

This guy is good and bad at the same time. It depends on the perspective. Insulin is released after every single meal and its main role is to lower blood sugar by feeding the cells and converting the excess glucose into fat.
It also inhibits the conversion of fat into glucose. In other words, you can't burn body fat if insulin is in your blood.
Ok! Enough with the bad stuff. Let's get to the good hormones!

Liked this part? Wait till you'll hear the next one! Keep in touch!


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