There are countless ‘diets’ out there these days, and the biggest problem with most of them is that they miss one very important factor…
We are all different – None of them address our biochemical individuality or our unique lifestyles and environments.
There is no point starting any kind of eating regime, following any kind of eating model, without first determining your macronutrient profile. Or, in simpler terms, what foods you need to thrive. We all have differing needs based on what nature has passed on to us, in the form of genes, from our parents. What they received in the form of genes from their parents. And so on. Your genetic makeup should, more than any other factor, determine what you do put into your body.
If you aren’t eating the right food for your particular biochemical makeup, firstly you won’t lose any weight, and secondly you won’t enjoy optimal health or energy from your food. It can be far more serious than that - in hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide, eating the incorrect food for a particular metabolic type has proven to be the pathway to chronic illness.
This is at the core of the BePure eating philosophy. We know there are foods which are more nourishing than others. For a run down on which foods form the base of a nourishing nutrient-rich diet you can recap our clean eating - what you need to know blog.
However, what your diet looks like comprised of these nutrient rich foods is entirely individual. Some people thrive on a protein or fat-rich diet, while others function optimally with a large amount of high quality complex carbohydrates.
All of us are genetically suited to eating somewhere on a continuum between protein and fats and carbohydrates. This means, some of us will do well eating most of our diet at the protein/fats end of the scale and are considered “protein types”, while others thrive off plant-based proteins which are higher in complex carbohydrates and are “carb types”. Another group of people will be “mixed types” who need an equal amount of carbs, fats and proteins at every meal.
Watch this video to learn more.
When you buy a car you make sure you find out whether it takes petrol or diesel, right? The same principle applies to humans. If you are not giving your body the right fuel for its engine - your metabolism - you are just going to splutter along.
I was a vegetarian for six years. During that period I was always hungry. During that period I was also overweight - not what would be classed as obese, but when I look at photos of myself back then I was heavier than I am now. I had too much body fat. I thought I was eating healthily - most people would associate vegetarianism with healthy eating choices, right?
But eating healthy is not as simple as that. There is no one perfect diet, because we are not all the same. It turned out that, on a vegetarian diet, I had been eating pretty much the opposite of what my metabolism required to function properly. I learned this through a process called ‘Macronutrient Profiling’.
Macronutrient Profiling is a series of very simple tests that measure how well your body responds when you eat either fat, protein or carbohydrate. In our BePure programme I walk you step-by-step through the process of finding what your own ideal ratio of macronutrients is.
Everything we eat is broken down into macro and micronutrients. Micronutrients relate to the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and nutrients within our food - they’re like the nuts and bolts of how our bodies work.
If micronutrients are the nuts and bolts, macronutrients are like the bigger building supplies. They’re the timber frame, the roof and the exterior walls of your structure. You’ve probably heard of them; Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates. Getting the right ratio of Protein, Fats and Carbs for you is vital for gaining optimal health and energy.
I found out that I was in the first group - I am what is known as a ‘Protein type’, my metabolism functions much better on animal products. And I hadn’t eaten any in six years! Needless to say, this discovery was a turning point in my journey to the good health I enjoy now.
It all boils down to nourishing your metabolism so that it can function optimally. Meaning it can produce insulin effectively - but not more than you need - and the rest of the time reverts back to burning stores of fat and glycogen within your body.
The right foods for you will naturally do this by balancing out your blood sugar levels.
Recently, a group of Israeli researchers confirmed the inherent differences in our metabolic processes. They found that different individuals could have vastly different blood sugar responses to the same plate of food. One individual may have had a big blood sugar spike to a plate of meat and vegetables, while having a small to moderate response to a bowl of fresh fruit salad and oats.
The key then, appears to be, finding your own unique combinations of food to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
We all probably know what it’s like to feel like we are on a blood sugar rollercoaster. You feel ravenous one, two or three hours after eating a substantial meal and need to get food quickly. So you grab the nearest thing you can find; often sugar or refined carbohydrates. Immediately your energy picks up again and you’re fine for another one, two or three hours until the cycle repeats itself.
Unstable blood sugar levels are responsible for those 3pm chocolate or lollie cravings and usually are the result of eating a lunch that is unsuitable for your needs.
But here’s what is actually happening to your body on a cellular level while you go up and down this rollercoaster….
When we eat, food is broken down into it’s macronutrient parts and released into our bloodstream for “processing”. Carbs break down to their simpler forms; glucose, fructose or lactose, proteins break down to amino acids and fats become lipids or essential fatty acids.
Our clever bodies release insulin in response to this incoming food. More insulin is released to deal with carbs but some insulin response is also triggered for proteins and a lesser response again for fats.
If you eat a food and your body can’t ‘find a home for it’ in your cells or glycogen stores, it will be stored as body fat. All of these actions require more insulin to be released. Therefore, the more insulin your body needs to produce, the more body fat you will store. Consistently eating - or being on the blood sugar rollercoaster - requires your body to produce insulin with very little break.
The right food for you will be processed in your body with very little difficulty, therefore requiring less insulin.
So in my example above, my vegetarian diet left me forever hungry and thus eating more frequently. I was producing more insulin to process the glucose from all the plant foods, I had less energy and it had a negative effect on my body composition.
Some people thrive on a carbohydrate rich diet. For these people, carbs will keep them full for longer periods of time and the same food for them will produce a smaller insulin response than in me.
Ultimately, the right diet for you is the one that keeps you the fullest the longest.
If you’d like to start tailoring your diet to your needs, join us in our challenge this week of experimenting with different types of meals and monitoring your bodies response. Over the next 7 days try a range of meals including, protein rich, low carb meals, or a plant based meal full of complex carbs. After each meal, take notice of how you feel. Do you feel sleepy? Are you hungry two hours later? How is your mood?
To help with this challenge we’ve put together a helpful blog about how to tell if your diet is working for you.
Be sure to check in to our BePure - Ben Warren, Facebook page as we will be posting helpful tips and inspiration for this challenge as well as a weekly prize.
We’d also love to see all the delicious meals you’re experimenting with. Share your pics with us on Instagram using @bepurebenwarren.
This blog is part of our 10 pillars of health series. Each week we will deliver content, recipes and challenges relevant to each pillar of health that we believe are the foundations for living a healthier, happier, more energised life. The idea being that if we focus on making progress in one area each week it will be easier, and more sustainable, over the long-term.
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