Insulin is a hormone produced in the body that regulates the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Its primary function is to absorb sugar from the bloodstream for storage in the tissues. The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood sugar levels. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly and promote weight gain. Low glycemic index foods help you to control your weight as they are more slowly digested, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and help you manage hunger and eat less over the course of the day.
“It’s excess amounts of insulin that makes you fat and keeps you fat. Your body produces excessive amounts of insulin when you eat either too many fat-free carbohydrates or too many calories at a meal. “ (Spears)
The Macros...Food Quantity and Quality Matters
Foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other substances the body needs. Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups (macronutrients) : proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. They are a key form of energy for the body.
Sources of Carbohydrates:
Fruits, Vegetables, Starches (potatoes, rice) and Grains (cereals, pasta, bread)
What’s most important is the type of carbohydrate you choose to eat because some sources are healthier than others. The healthiest sources of carbohydrates-unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables and fruits -promote good health.
“People are genetically designed to eat primarily fruits and vegetables as their major source of carbohydrates… the great majority of individuals have still not genetically adapted to eating high-density forms of carbohydrates, such as grains, starches, bread and pasta.” (Spears)
We get proteins in our diet from meat, dairy products, nuts, and certain grains and beans. Proteins are important building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Sources of Protein: Eggs, almonds, peanuts, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, lean beef, fish and shrimp
“Never consume more low-fat protein in one sitting than you can fit on the palm of your hand.” (Spears)
The body uses fat as a fuel source, and fat is the major storage form of energy in the body.
Sources of “Good” Fats: Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans), vegetable oils (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil), peanut butter and almond butter, avocado
But not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better for you than others, and may even help to promote good health. This type of helpful fat is present in a variety of foods and oils. Eating “good” Fats slow down the entry of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, thus, lowering insulin levels.
"It takes fat to burn fat.” (Spears)
The Nutrition Basics
Southern Pines CrossFit recommends Barry Sears's Book, The Zone Diet: A Dietary Road Map. This book describes how to balance the three macronutrients needed to fuel your body at every meal. This in turn, produces a steady hormonal state in your body suitable for muscle gains and fat loss.
1. Sears, Barry and Bill Lawren, Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road Map. Regan Books, 1995.