I recently had a consultation with a new female client. Let’s give her the fictional name of Isabel. At our meeting she informed me that she had been on a low-fat breakfast cereal diet.
Three servings of cereal, along with two breakfast bars, can apparently help people lose weight “as part of a calorie-controlled diet”. Or so she told me.
Isabel had a fear of fat and the slick marketing of the breakfast cereal diet led her to believe that weight loss could be so easy if she followed the programme. The reality could not be more different.
The legacy of the 1980s’ anti-fat campaign has left many women frightened of eating foods that contain fat. However the truth is when you see a label ‘low fat’ you should think ‘high sugar’.
Isabel told me she had followed these programmes for years with no success but thought, with optimism, that maybe this time it would be different.
Isabel is apple-shaped which is referred to as android in medical literature. This body shape is synonymous with people who consume a lot of carbohydrates, which turn into sugar very quickly.
The more sugar you consume in your lifetime, the harder your panceas has to work to produce insulin – which is referred to as the hormone of ageing – to bring blood sugar back down to normal.
The more frequently you do this the more resistant your body will become to getting insulin where it is really needed – into the muscles.
Since fat was demonised over 20 years ago, there has been an increase in the amount of sugars and refined carbohydrates that we consume. As time goes on and your cells become more resistant to insulin, the sugar is automatically sent away to the fat cells where it is stored.
This is why we eventually start to store fat even if we’re not eating a lot of it – we are converting our sugar into fat.
The good news is that this process can be reversed if we are willing to do two things.
First, we must limit our intake of sugars and refined foods. This will give the pancreas a chance to recuperate. In turn this will limit the need for large amounts of insulin to be produced.
With less insulin being produced, the muscle cells no longer feel so overwhelmed. This in turn allows them to start being receptive to insulin again.
Secondly, we must exercise with the goal of training hard; we want to build lean muscle through weight training. This increases the demand for sugar that’s available and if we build more muscle cells then we have more takers for the insulin being made.
It’s like knocking on someone’s door but they’re not there. Insulin is knocking on the door of the cell. It knocks louder by secreting more insulin because the cell did not respond the first time.
What we need to do is make the cell ‘hear’ the signal better and we do this by eating the right food and exercising correctly.
Isabel’s body is no different to yours. It runs well on the right fuel but it will burn out quickly if you use the wrong fuel or wrong maintenance.
A breakfast cereal diet is the wrong fuel, particularly for insulin-resistant people – it will ruin your engine.
If you want to learn more about nutrition that will help you achieve your weight loss goals, watch this short video.