Bodily control.

While it is true that the contents of this page are not about how and why people learn, as is most of the rest of this site, it is about perhaps an important type of learning. It is about learning how to be in control of our bodies and how to keep them running efficiently. This page grew out of the section of this site on self-control. Self-control is about taking control back from the automatic reactions our bodies perform when we do not control ourselves. It worked out that most of the examples involved with self-control were concerned with food, health and weight loss. Although self-control is essential to all types of learning, it was clear that the use of it in food, health and losing weight was what people were interested in. To look at self-control without addressing these important issues, it seemed, would be a disservice to those interested in learning. This is why this information has been included in this site.

Health and weightloss tips. This page then, sets out to provide a number of currently held ideas in the science of food, health and weightloss. The primary focus of these ideas is how they can be implemented to affect human healthy weight loss. Thus they can be considered to be weightloss tips. However, they also incidentally enable bodily health by means of reducing the risk of what is known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is usually understood to be five chronic conditions (obesity, diabetes, lipid problems such as high triglyceride and low hdl, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease). These are conditions, as you will discover, that were not bought about by infection and the action of bacteria, but were rather something bought on by human stupidity. We inflicted these conditions upon ourselves by means of changing both our diet and the amount physical activity we perform each day.

The following are suggestions that should help remedy both metabolic syndrome and help you lose weight safely, without anguish. Here then are ten guidelines for being well. They are as follows: 

Fasting: Time during which no eating is performed. Exercise: Increase the amount and effort of bodily activity. Eat whole foods: Every part of food is what makes it good for you. Avoid refined sugar: lack of fiber makes it poisonous. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol: They are fast acting long term poisons. Avoid sugar substitutes: They also make you fat. Avoid fast foods: They too make you fat. Slow down: You're eating too fast. Fruit and nuts between meals: If you have to have something. Take control of the chemicals that control you.    

This site has tried to to put the more important suggestions first and the lesser important ones last. In this we may not have succeeded. You will have to judge this for yourself.      

  1.  FAST. In order to lose weight you must spend more time fasting (not eating) than you do being able to eat. A good division of a day is 8 hours being able to eat and 16 hours fasting. Not eating for sufficient time allows the glycogen in your liver and muscles to gradually be depleted. Only then will the fat stored in your muscles be emptied and burnt for energy. We should normally do this while we sleep.

  2.  EXERCISE. In order to prevent the storing of more fat you must use up the glucose in your blood by means of exercise.  Exercise also causes the processing in your liver to be more efficient and so produce less fat as a byproduct.

  3.  EAT WHOLE FOODS AND AVOID THE MIDDLE ISLES OF THE SUPERMARKET. Processed foods are bad for many reasons. In processed foods the fiber is removed, they are high in refined sugar, the vitamins and minerals are in a form that our bodies cannot use properly or they are removed.

  4.  AVOID REFINED SUGAR AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Refined sugar goes into your blood as glucose really quickly, causing a lot of it to be stored as glycogen and our fat cells to suck in the fat floating around in our blood. The rest overloads the liver flooding it with fructose, which also turns to fat.

  5.  AVOID SUGARY DRINKS AND DRINK ONLY A LITTLE ALCOHOL. Soft drinks, soda and fruit juice are all sugar water. Sucrose is made up of equal parts of glucose and fructose. The glucose goes mostly straight into your blood and the rest, the fructose, goes straight to your liver. Alcohol is just another form of carbohydrate that is processed by the liver much like fructose.

  6.  DIET DRINKS AND ANY SUGAR SUBSTITUTES ALSO CAUSE YOU TO GET FAT. The body anticipates incoming sugar from the taste and begins creating fat in preparation. This lowers blood glucose making you low on energy and causes you to crave more sweetness and thus be more likely to eat sugary foods.

  7.  DO NOT EAT FAST FOODS. We eat fast food fast, which is bad because it goes into the blood fast. There is little fiber in fast food. Fast food has a lot of sugar and salt. In some places fast food is still cooked in trans fats which has no food value and is a slow poison.

  8.  SLOW DOWN YOUR FOOD INTAKE. Anything you can do to slow down and spread your food intake evenly over the day will improve your health. Its true, eating slowly, chewing your food, talking while you eat and drinking water with your food, can all help.

  9.  EAT FRUIT OR NUTS BEFORE MEALS. If you get too hungry and eat too much at meal times you can lower your hunger by snacking just before a meal. Eat stuff with fiber like fruit or nuts.

  10.  TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BODY'S FOOD CONTROL SIGNALS. Our bodies are continually being flooded with chemicals that tell us what to do and how we feel. Four of these chemicals, ghrelin , leptin, peptide YY (3-36) and cortisol are important for food. These signals can be controlled by eating slowly, regularly, and with lots of fiber and of course exercise.


The only way we can get rid of the fat in our fat cells is by fasting. Fasting is not only healthy, but the normal way our bodies are supposed to lose weight. We were adapted to fast by the evolutionary processes that shaped us over millions of years. In a more natural state, before civilization we stored fat, filling up our fat cells during the day, and emptied the store during the night, while we were sleeping. We couldn't eat while we were sleeping, and the dark made it difficult to forage for food or hunt.  

Unfortunately, however, man was too damed clever for his own good. Man found ways to extend the time he had available for finding food and eating it. He found ways to create light to hunt and forage longer and he found ways to store food so there was always some available. Initially this did not make much difference and only a few got fat and died earlier. As man became civilized this meant more and more were becoming fat especially those rich enough to not need to exercise by working hard or those holding special positions in society that entailed mental work. These people had to rely on self control to prolong the period of time they spent fasting. Fortunately religion came to the rescue. Many religions recommend one day of fasting a week and special periods for eating less or fasting. This worked, but it was harsh and somewhat damaging to bodies. It also required considerable willpower and caused anxiety and mental pain. It is also not as effective as simply increasing the period of fast during each night.

There are many modern diets that use fasting and all of them are effective. There is the "The Fast Five Diet". This diet recommends that you eat whatever you want during a five hour period during the day and fast during the other nineteen hours. There is the 5:2 diet that recommends that you eat normally for five days and restrict your food intake on the other two. There is the one meal a day diet. There is grazing or snacking tiny amounts of food all day long. There is fasting on alternate days etc. Some of these are bit harsh and require a lot of willpower. If you need to use a lot of willpower, it is not likely a diet will work for very long. The most sensible of the fasting diets is "The Eight Hour Diet" a book by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore who edit "Men's Health". This diet asks you to eat only during an eight hour period and fast for the other sixteen hours. This diet only requires willpower at the beginning because you are eating out of habit and not because you are hungry. While the diet indicates you can eat whatever you like and cheat quite often it recommends you eat healthy food and that you exercise. While all these diets work if you cheat quite often, health requires a wide variety of whole foods and exercise.

It is unlikely that you can eat enough in 8 hours to prevent this diet from working, unless of course you work at it. With normal eating during 8 hours and not eating during 16 hours the glycogen in your liver and muscles (your fuel buffer) will be depleted. Once this happens your fat cells begin to drain and the fat is changed into a form that can be burnt to create energy. In this way your fat slowly ebbs away during your nightly fasts.         


It is important to know, that no amount of exercise, will by itself, enable you to lose weight. However, exercise has many health benefits, and it does help with weight loss in several ways. 

Firstly, exercise makes all body processes work better and more efficiently. In low effort situations our fuel burns in a way that tends to leave fat and other dangerous waste substances as byproducts. When we increase effort, as in exercise, the burn is more efficient, so that very little fat or dangerous waste products are produced. Obviously the greater the intensity with which exercise is performed the less there are of these dangerous waste products left behind. This is particularly the case in the liver where the the Krebs cycle or mitochondrier burn is improved greatly by exercise. In this way, little fat is produced and likewise little in the way of dangerous waste products are formed. Not only that, but this more efficient burning continues for some hours after the exercise has been completed. Again the more intense the performance of the exercise the longer this efficient burning continues through the day. The intensity with which you exercise turns out to be far more important than the amount of exercise that you do.


Secondly, exercise uses up excess glucose in the blood leaving little left over to set off insulin release that is instrumental in filling fat cells with the fat particles floating in our blood. Another way to look at it is, there is less glucose to provoke the release of insulin. In this way you greatly lower the amount of new fat that can be formed.


Thirdly, exercise causes old cells to to be discarded and new cells to form. Thus our muscles and organs are continually being upgraded and improved by the very fact that they are being stressed.


Fourthly, exercise prevents muscle cells being stripped and used for fuel along with glucose and fat. If you fast or eat a dramatic amount less, without exercising, you will lose muscle mass and end up looking like a human skeleton. Although this will still happen to some extent, exercise is the one thing that can put a damper on the conversion of your body mass into fuel. You want to store less fat not less muscle.


Fifthly exercise tends to burn fat in and around the muscles that are active. In his book "Core Training Anatomy" Frederic Delavier says "Your body stores fat first on your least active muscles." While it is true that you will find most fat on the least active muscles, Delavier's statement makes no evolutionary sense. This site suspects that fat is, in reality, distributed equally to all muscles. On active muscles it would be burnt away by the activity of the muscles and converted to energy. This would leave active muscles only lightly layered with fat. Inactive muscles, on the other hand, would burn so little fat that the fat would simply build up and up. This would still explain why our abs and butts tend to accumulate lots of fat. However, this does not mean you can get good looking abs by exercising your abs. Most fat does not come off the muscles being used. It comes off those places where a lot of fat has built up. Exercises, that limit themselves to specific muscle groups are actually burning less fuel than exercises that use many muscle groups. The more muscles you use in an exercise the more fat you are likely to use up and it will still tend come off those places like the abs where fat tends to accumulate.

Sixthly exercise has an important effect on where fat tends to accumulate on our bodies. People who do not exercise and lead rather inactive lives tend to build up fat in every part of their bodies where fat can collect. Some of this fat builds up around our vital organs like our hearts and basically strangles those organs causing them to malfunction and fail.  If we exercise, however, fat does not build up deep within but rather just under our skin. We can can actually have quite a lot of this fat and still be healthy.


Whole foods are fresh produce, usually found around the perimeter of your supermarket. They are fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts in their shells. Basically they are food as it comes in nature with no processing. It is the food that rots and goes bad quickly so it is often kept cool or frozen to slow down the rot.

All biological processes have to be understood in terms of Darwin's theory of evolution. We are the result of adapting to the food available before civilization (among other types of adaption). We adapted to this diet over millions of years till we became perfectly suited to it. This diet of whole foods is what we are best fitted to eat, and it is therefore, the most suitable and healthy food we can consume. As omnivores we are are well adapted to both, what we can gather, and what we can hunt down.

Our bodies use two types of fuel, fat and glucose. Glucose is extracted from carbohydrates by our digestive tract. The complex carbohydrates found in most vegetables are digested slowly, partly because they are complex, and partly because they are embedded in fiber which trickles glucose into our blood in a slow, nice even flow. The simpler carbohydrates (sucrose) found in table sugar, soft drinks, and most processed foods are far more easily digested and enter the blood stream quickly. Fruit has fructose, which is an even more simple carbohydrate, and as one might expect it is digested easily. However, in fruit, fructose is surrounded by fiber, that slows down the digestion, allowing it to enter the liver and be processed into glycogen or fat in a nice even way that does not overload the liver. Our bodies still perfectly process raw fruit and vegetables in this way and indeed raw meat also.

Although raw is still the best and most nutritious way to consume fruit and vegetables, we seem to have lost the taste for raw meat. The invention of fire and cooking made meat a much safer food by eliminating bacteria and parasites. It did, however, reduce some of the vitamins and other food value of meat. Cooking was the first food process and humans have been adapting to it for a long while as well. Cooking has been around so long that we have indeed adapted to it. Although humans began cooking vegetables as well and lost more nutrients we adapted to this also.

Then 10,000 years ago humans invented farming. Farming brought with it many new ways to process and store food. 10,000 years is a long time and we have adapted fairly well to the earliest invented processes such as bread and butter. The older those processes are the more time we have had to adapt to them and thus the more healthy they are for us to eat. Not only that, but over 10,000 years we learned as cultures to mix and match foods and prepare them in ways that were also more healthy. Experimentation over the 10,000 years, noticing what worked and what did not, produced many different diets and almost all of them work very well and are nutritionally ideal for almost all humans.

With the advent of the enlightenment, and the rise of science, humans began to think that they might be able to design better food than what had been produced by evolution and 10'000 years of cultural wisdom. Unfortunately they were wrong. The scientists discovered a lot, but by looking for nutrients, (the chemicals in food that our bodies needed) they missed the essential idea, that what our bodies actually needed was the whole foods.

Scientists discovered vitamins and minerals that were essential to our wellbeing causing a whole industry to grow up devoted to producing them in supplements and reinserting them in various foods. But they did not work well in these new refined forms. What the scientists failed to understand, was that it was the way vitamins and minerals were embedded in whole foods and how they were mixed with other foods was what made them work efficiently in our bodies. By taking in these chemicals in a refined form we were running an experiment on ourselves that we still do not know the answer to. They may help, but they may also do nothing or be slowly poisoning us.


All processed food has been changed, and we now know that this change is always for the worse. Most processes for food are to enable storage and to increase shelf life. One way to increase shelf life is to remove the fiber, another is to add preservatives such as sugar or salt. Most processes also, unfortunately, destroy or remove the vitamins and minerals.

Basically, we threw out millions of years of evolutionary adaption, and 10,000 years of collective wisdom, in favor of cheap, long lasting food that slowly kills us. Sure, it has been certified not to poison us immediately, but we now know it does kill us slowly.


In most super markets, the middle isles are where processed foods are stocked. We are, however, better adapted to some of these processes than others. The length of time the process has been around is a good indicator of how well we might be adapted to it. Our bodies should be able to cope with it if it has stood the test of a significant amount of time.          


Sucrose (sugar) is the sweetener that makes everything taste good. Sucrose is made up of two simple sugars glucose and fructose. Glucose is the main fuel for our bodies. It floats around in our blood and powers most of our body's activity and functions. Glucose can be processed by the mitochondrier in almost every cell of our bodies. Fructose is the part of sugar that makes food taste sweet and its evolutionary purpose was to inform us that something was good to eat. Fructose, unfortunately, cannot be processed everywhere in our bodies, and in fact, can only be processed in our liver, where all of it is sent.

While most glucose goes straight into the blood a small amount of it also goes to the liver. Most of the glucose, that goes to the liver, is converted into glycogen and is stored there as a kind of fuel buffer. Some glucose is also burnt in the liver's mitochondrier to provide it with energy to enable it to function. Our muscles also act as a store for glycogen and tend to take in glucose in response to insulin release. These glycogen stores respond to the release of glucagon or cortisol to convert glycogen back to glucose thus raising the level of glucose in the blood, as is necessary when it gets low. 

Most of the glucose and fat floating in our blood is there as fuel to supply us with energy and enable us to thus move and be active. The glucose, that is not burnt in enabling movement, is mostly burnt in the  mitochondrier of our various bodily organs to provide them with energy, so they can function.

If glucose goes into the blood too quickly, the pancreas detects that our blood glucose is too high and secrets insulin which does two things. It opens up our fat cells so they can absorb the fat floating around in our blood and it also causes our muscles and liver to take in glucose floating around in our blood and convert it into glycogen. Too much glucose, too fast, ensures that the blood is cleared of fat into our fat cells so that most energy has to come from the burning of glucose. The excess of glucose is converted glycogen or is converted to fat by the liver. Thus excess glucose makes us fat instead of being burnt for energy. Glucose needs to enter our blood in a nice even trickle over the length of the day. Only in this way can most glucose avoid simply making us fat. Sadly refined sugar digests very quickly, flooding into the blood, spiking blood glucose, and thus mostly promotes fat production or is stored away.


All fructose goes to the liver, and when derived from refined sugar or fruit juice it does so quickly, and thus in large amounts. If it goes to the liver too quickly, as in these cases, and thus in too greater amount, the liver tends to be overwhelmed. The liver has to process all the fructose, but it cannot all be converted to glycogen and stored. It is instead, processed in the liver's mitochondrier, where some of it is converted to energy. However, unless a person is exercising, this burn is weak and a waste product is formed, which is then converted into fat. This fat has to be then expelled from the liver. If this fat builds up too fast, it can exceed the rate at which the liver is able to expel it. It then begins to build up and up, as the liver trys and fails to expel it fast enough. This liver fat can gradually build up over time, till it starts to clog the liver and prevent it from operating properly. When this happens, the liver is sick and we with it. But it gets worse. When the liver fails to thus work properly the pancreas trys to force the liver to work by pouring out more insulin. This of course creates even more fat and does not help the liver as it becomes resistant to insulin.

Sugars then, should be seen as a poison when consumed quickly. It is only safe in whole food, where it is surrounded by enough fiber to ensure that it only goes into the blood and to the liver very slowly.

Although the more you exercise the safer it should be to consume refined sugar, this is not really the case. Refined sugar is never really safe because it is also addictive. It has been shown in many experimental studies to induce the same craving symptoms as most street drugs where the more you consume the more you crave. (It is undoubtedly the sweetness of sugar that we become addicted to.)

Also, sugar does not make you feel full no matter how much you have. That is because it is so easily digested none of it ever reaches the end of the small intestine where the hormone peptide YY (3-36) is secreted that informs us that we are sated. Not only that, but sugar, flooding your blood with glucose, causes excess insulin release which causes glucose levels to drop too much, causing us to actively desire and seek more sweetness and thus more sugar.

Because of all this, refined sugar is much more likely to make you fat than fat is. Almost any food that we eat too much of can make us fat, but whole foods all have safety features built in that slows extraction to a slow even trickle, prevents us being hungry, makes us feel full and make us feel sated. Refined sugar does not have these safety features.  

Sugar is, unfortunately, liberally and massively pervasive in almost all packaged food, or processed food, which is to say, all the food products in the middle isles of your supermarket. Sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, cereals, sweets, sauces etc. are slowly poisoning us. 

In nature, wherever sugar is found it is very hard to get at. Sugar cane is a stick, honey has to be stolen from bees, and fruit is surrounded by fiber that causes it to digest slowly. We were prepared by evolution to cope with a lot of sugar, only either once in a blue moon, or have our bodies absorb it very very slowly. 


Humans, unfortunately being very clever, learned to refine sugar and make it easily available in massive quantities. We then allowed it to be put in most of our food. An unfortunate contributer to this situation has been, the popularity of, and government/health care experts approval of, the low fat diet. Most governments forced the big food companies to lower the fat content of their foods. When they did this it tasted like cardboard. To improve the taste of their foods and increase its self life the food industry added sugar. They did this more and more till the middle shelves of the supermarkets were riddled with sugar.  


If any one thing can be said to be responsible for the current epidemic of obesity, it is the modern habit of drinking soda, soft drinks, fruit juice and any other sugary drinks. In truth, only unadulterated water is truly what we are fully adapted to drink. Sugary drinks go into our blood as glucose faster than anything else and overload our livers as well.

While in the past people drank water, alcohol, tea and coffee they did not drink the sugar waters of the modern age. A little sugar was added to tea and coffee but the amount of sugar consumed this way was small because of the expense. Now sugar comes in everything. Sugar comes in our milk, in our in our soy milk, in our electrolyte drinks, and extra in our juice.

While most people are well acquainted with the idea that coke, Gatorade etc., are bad for them, they are quite often under the delusion that this does not apply to fruit juice, and that fruit juice is some how healthy. This is a serious mistake. The juice from fruit has the same fructose molecule as any other sugary drink. What it does not have is the fruit's fiber. Without this fiber it is as dangerous as any other sugar laced drink. If the juice is freshly squeezed it has little or no fiber. If it comes out of a blender the fiber has been chopped up and destroyed, indeed, any vitamins that were in the fruit were probably also destroyed by the blades of the blender. On the supermarket shelves it has extra sugar added to preserve it. Fruit juice is just sugar water without the fiber, little different from coke.


A personal note: "The one thing I found, that I could not completely give up, was the sugary drinks. My solution was to find a drink I liked and then dilute it with water. The result is a liquid that is 90% added water. This liquid is hardly sweet at all, but it does stop the craving of sweet drinks." 

We all know that a lot of alcohol is bad for us, not just because it affects our brains in bad ways, but also because it can make us fat and destroys our health in the same way as does sugar. While a small quantity of alcohol is good for us, a lot is bad because it is processed the same way as fructose. It all goes to the liver to be processed and it goes there in too large a quantity to quickly. This overloads the liver much the same as fructose does. Alcohol is a form of carbohydrate, and it it can only be burnt in the liver's mitochondrier. Also, like fructose, it produces a waste product in the burn, which is then turned to fat.


The function of bodily systems is to maintain a balance, usually a balance of chemical levels in those bodies. When we move glucose is burnt creating energy and the the insulin levels in our bodies drops. Also another hormone called glucagon is secreted by the pancreas if the amounts of glucose, LDLs or triglycerides gets too low which has the opposite affect causing fat cells, to release fat back into the blood and causes glycogen to be converted back into glucose and released back into the blood. This insures that very little of blood glucose is being absorbed by our muscles and liver so that there is plenty of glucose available to be converted into energy. This system, not only reacts when we begin to move, but also before we begin to move. Our bodies anticipate that we are going to move. This is a process our bodies learn over time. 

Our bodies detect certain bodily changes that precede action or effort each time, and use these to release the hormone cortisol in anticipation that action or effort will follow again. In much the same way insulin levels tend to go up automatically at meal times, because our bodies have learned that there will be a glucose and fat influx at those times of day and cues that proceed meals. Regularly scheduled, orderly activities, allow bodies to more easily remain chemically balanced. Sudden, unexpected and large influxes of some substances, can throw our systems and body chemicals out of balance. For instance, the liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen. The liver and muscle tissue react to drops in blood glucose levels with the secretion of glucagon and prepares for intense activity with the secretion of cortisol. Both of these hormones stimulate the conversion of glycogen back into glucose, and the release of it into the blood to restore blood glucose levels to their normal balanced state or boost it in preparation of intense activity. The liver and muscle tissue not only replace glucose that has been burnt for energy, but also anticipates such short falls increasing glucose levels before they begin to fall.


It follows from this, that the mere taste of sugar, can and will cause our bodies to react by making us fat. Our bodies do this because they anticipate an influx of glucose. In other words we do not have to swallow and process sugar for it to make us fat, the mere taste of sugar may make us fat. This makes sugar substitutes likely useless and even counterproductive. When we taste something sweet it is normally the fructose that we are tasting. In all probability, our bodies have learned over time that the sweet taste of fructose in our mouths is normally followed by a load of glucose flooding our system. It follows then, that when we taste sweetness our brains send some kind of chemical signal to our pancreas to release insulin or maybe the sugar is tasted in our small intestines causing insulin release. IN any case this insulin causes our blood to be swept clean of large amounts of both fat and glucose. In turn this reduction in body fuel prepares our bodies for, or anticipates an influx of new glucose. In this case the glucose never arrives. Low glucose levels make us crave more sweetness. This starts the cycle over again. So it is, the mere taste of sugar will cause fat to form. Sorry, its not the number of calories that are important. Its the imbalances in the system that are important.

A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that the more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Downing just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Why? Artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body's natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of foods, suggested an animal study from Purdue University. That means people who consume diet foods might be more likely to overeat, because their body is being tricked into thinking it's eating sugar. This in turn causes low blood glucose and a craving for more sugar.

A separate study found that even just one diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, the group of symptoms including belly fat and high cholesterol that puts you at risk for heart disease.

When a body is tricked into lowering its own glucose levels, balance has to be restored. One has to ask then, what happens if no sugar arrives as expected. Obviously it leaves the body with low blood glucose and low energy. This in turn makes us very hungry and causes us to crave more sweetness. As long as we don’t eat or drink more sugar this may not be overly dangerous but this is not what usually happens. One assumes the liver and muscles would eventually be signaled that the blood sugar is low, and they would restore balance by using their glycogen storage to restore blood glucose to normal levels. The use of sugar substitutes, then, may cause this up and down of blood glucose until such time as the body eventually relearns that the taste of sugar does not indicate incoming sugar and stop anticipating. This may still greatly increase the likelihood of metabolic syndrome despite the lack of calories.


We are fairly well aware that fast food is bad for us, but it is important to understand why and how it is unhealthy. It has a lot of fat in it but that is not an important reason. The whole idea of fast food is wrong because it is fast. It comes fast, no waiting for your food. You can eat it fast and you are encouraged to do so. All this leads to glucose spikes in your blood and the inevitable fat it produces. Another good reason is all the refined sugar in fast foods. There are the sugary drinks, the sugary sauces, sugary deserts etc. etc.. This results in more glucose spikes and fat. Also all the fiber is removed from fast foods so it will keep, causing even more glucose spikes and fat. Remember all this sweetness makes fast food very addictive.

The only significant vegetable you get with most fast food is the fries. The potato has very little fiber for a vegetable and masses of carbohydrate, which is not very complex, (basically starch) so it digests quickly and enters our blood as glucose quickly, especially when fried. The burger bun is the worst form of fiber less bread. Bread, of course, is almost pure starch and is normally made with little or no fiber. In this case all the wheat fiber has been removed. Consequently, the glucose from a burger bun enters our blood even faster. This is why these two foods are so fattening and why they are bad for your health if you have too much of them. 


All this sounds bad, however, eating fast food once a year or even once a month probably won't harm you much. What is really bad is eating fast food on a regular basis where your body has no way or time in which to recover. Unfortunately, fast food is both convenient, somewhat addictive, and the fast food companies do everything they can to keep you coming back as often as is possible. It is best to just avoid them and never start the addiction.  


Modern man is ever in a hurry, but we now know that we are not well adapted to eating fast. Eating quickly means that food goes into our system quickly, and for carbohydrates this means glucose spikes which creates fat.

Rapid eaters are often heavier than slow eaters, according to research from The University of Rhode Island. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you have eaten enough and are satisfied. If you rush your meal and eat rapidly, your body's satiety cues won't be tuned in to those feelings of fullness yet and it's easier to overeat. Try slowing down by chewing each bite at least 10 times, putting your fork down in between bites, and fostering a relaxing eating environment rather than eating on the run.

There are many ways to slow down your intake of food. Talking while you eat and drinking while you eat also slows down food consumption. Water is essential for keeping the body hydrated and we're actually more likely to retain "water weight" by not drinking enough of it rather than by having too much. The needs of each person will be different, but the general recommended daily amount is 64 ounces. It also takes up space in your stomach so you'll feel fuller while taking in less calories.

Obviously you can simply eat slowly, however, chewing takes time so chewing also forces you to eat slowly. Chewing can also act as a reminder to slow down, savor and chew consciously which may help you realize you’re fuller sooner than you thought you’d be and then wind up eating less!

(However this suggestion is not meant implemented as a diet. Like most of these suggestions it is meant to be used sparingly and carefully. It should be understood that chewing too much can be dangerous. It tends to make eating unpleasant and can cause the hormone that tells us to stop eating to activate far too soon causing us to loose weight far too quickly and in too large an amount. It also causes stomach acid to build in anticipation of having to deal with difficult to digest food which is not the case. Thus it can cause all kinds of stomach problems and indigestion.)

Also using chopsticks requires a bit more attention in picking up food from the plate. The portions are smaller, and eating with them takes more time because you have to closely watch each bite so the food doesn’t fall off. Another way to slow down is grazing. This is eating tiny amounts of food whenever you feel hungry and having no main meals at all. (This also has a few problems as it makes it very easy to eat the wrong kinds of food but is effective if done right.)

People who ate a low-calorie vegetable soup before a meal consumed 20% fewer calories at the meal, according to research from Penn State University. Have a low-calorie broth-based veggie soup before your largest meal of the day to reduce calories and lose weight without feeling hungry.

If you just have to eat sweets or cakes the following may help you slip away from the habit and reverse and rectify the bad effects it can have. Portion out one serving of your favorite treat, taking a minute to smell it, look at it, and think about it. Take one small bite. Chew slowly, moving it around your mouth and focusing on the texture and taste, then swallow. Ask yourself whether you want another bite or if that one satisfied you. If you still want more, repeat, this time chewing the food 20 times. Continue this eating exercise for as long as you want or until you finish the serving (it should take about 10 minutes). These suggestions come from results found in an experiment conducted by Lesley Lutes, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University. She says: "When you take the time to slow down and be more mindful of what something really tastes like, you'll feel more satisfied,". "Many of our participants told us that after a while, they didn't enjoy the treat as much as they thought they would, or they were content after just a couple of bites and were better able to stop eating when they were satisfied." (Note the previous warning about chewing.)


What mother said about spoiling your meal was right. You can spoil your meal by snacking before a meal. But you can also make this work for you by snacking on the right types of food. By snacking on food that digests slowly we make sure it goes into our blood and to our livers in a nice even steady stream. When you snack on healthy food a little before a meal you can reduce your hunger so you eat a lot less during the meal.

Fruit and nuts make the best kind of healthy snacks because they are tasty and satisfying. They may cost a little more than cakes or biscuits but they put glucose in your blood much more slowly and are therefor much better for you. Remember, nuts are far less healthy when covered with salt or sugar or smoked. Nuts in their shells are the best way to buy them and breaking each shell also slows down your eating.


Chemicals that are secreted by various organs in our bodies tell us how we feel and what to do. They in turn are controlled by electrical signals from our brains when these signals are activated or not activated in response to external events. Our decisions to circumvent these promptings are an uphill battle, because they are are attempting to go against processes that are automatic.  Four of these chemicals, ghrelin, leptin, peptide YY (3-36) and cortisol are important to how food is processed in our bodies.

Ghrelin. Our stomachs secrete a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger and drives our appetite. The secretion of ghrelin is really just informing us that it is time to put more fuel in our bodies, so that our bodies can function. Obviously, this signal is only concerned with the time since we last had food in our stomachs, and does not concern itself with the amount of extra fuel we are carrying around in the form of fat. So this signal can deceive us into believing we need more fuel when that is not the case.

Even the most motivated and focused dieter will struggle to be successful at weight loss once hunger takes over. If we don't understand, monitor, and control our ghrelin, we can forget about losing weight. Science tells us that the best way to control ghrelin is to eat small, balanced meals about every 3 hours or so. That's because ghrelin will spike after about 3 to 4 hours of fasting, so eating with regularity helps keep this eating trigger at bay. Unfortunately this is not practical in modern western society but snacking every three to four hours is. Two main meals with snacks in between can lower your hunger considerably. If the snacks are healthy fiberus foods this will help you lose weight.

Leptin. Our fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin. It circulates in the bloodstream and is detected in the brain by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus uses lepton level to determine whether our bodies are in a state of energy or fuel surplus or energy or fuel deficiency. So, when our fat cells fill up they should secret more leptin, and our hypothalamus should determine that we feel full and do not require more food. Unfortunately, insulin is also detected by the hypothalamus for much the same purpose. High amounts of insulin in the blood actually block the hypothalamus detecting leptin (leptin resistance). 

Leptin also acts on the brain in another way. The ventral tegmental area detects leptin and reduces the reward provided by food accordingly by suppressing the release of dopamine. Dopamine in this case allows the pleasure center of the brain to be activated. The pleasure provided by food should drop the more we eat and the more fat on our bodies. Unfortunately, it is insulin's job in the brain to clear this dopamine. If insulin does not do this, the dopamine builds up and the pleasure provided by food increases. Insulin resistance again stops leptin from doing its job (leptin resistance). The result, we eat more and get fatter.

So leptin failure or resistance leads to both a feeling of starvation and increased pleasure from the taste of food. This is a kind of double whammy for dieters. The combination of a starvation feeling and increased pleasure from food is almost irresistible for dieters. The trick, of course, is to get our insulin down. If we do that leptin resistance disappears. So what causes our insulin to go up? The answer is glucose going into blood too fast. What brings insulin down? Answer, when our energy expenditure matches the glucose going into the blood. And how do we get this evenness of energy use and glucose levels? We get it by eating foods that convert to blood glucose slowly over long periods of time (food with fiber). Or we can simply burn the glucose by exercising more.

Peptide YY (3-36).  Peptide YY (3-36) tells us that we are sated. Ghrelin not being secreted tells us we are no longer hungry, but does not stop us from eating. We don't eat only because we are hungry. We keep on eating even though we are not hungry. We finish what is on our plate. If there is food we can help ourselves from in the center of the table we will eat more. People always eat more when they they go to a 'one price as much as you want buffet'. But our bodies do get a signal to stop eating eventually. This signal hormone has the chemical name peptide YY (3-36) and is the signal for satiety. It turns off our desire to eat.

Unfortunately, peptide YY (3-36) is secreted by cells at the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the colon. Between the stomach and these cells, there is twenty two feet of small intestine, and it normally takes about twenty minutes for food to reach those cells, after you start to eat. 

There are, however, a number of things we can do to facilitate this hormone in being active and prevent us eating too much. Firstly, we can eat foods that have soluble fiber with each meal. Soluble fiber hastens food on its way through the small intestine shrinking the time it takes to reach these cells. Secondly, we can refrain from putting serving food on the table so limiting the the cues or temptation to have seconds. Similarly and thirdly, we can determine that food servings be smaller and served on smaller plates. Finally, we can put off having that second helping until 20 or so minutes are up. If we do this we will find we are no longer interested in food.     

Cortisol. The hormone cortisol has many functions for our bodies, but its main function is to orientate the body for action. It speeds up many bodily processes. It makes us alert. It prevents muscle and bone repair so that they are fully prepared to be active. It increases blood glucose levels by causing glycogen to be broken down in the muscles and liver and released back into our blood. It prepares us for expending large amounts of energy, and it works to do so in concert with the release of adrenaline. Cortisol is called the stress hormone as it prepares us to deal with stress. For short term stress it is the ideal pick me up. Chronic stress of modern life, however, make it something of a poison that causes our muscles and bones to be unable to repair themselves. It keeps our blood glucose too high which causes increased insulin release and eventual insulin resistance and thus the inevitable increase in fat. It also increases hunger and causes stress eating. Worry is the big stressor in modern life, and unlike short term stress it it does not go away after a while. 

Surprisingly, there is a simple, cheap and effective way to lower your cortisol: exercise. Although exercise raises your cortisol while you are doing it (to mobilize glucose and free fatty acids for energy) it reduces cortisol levels for the rest of the day. It also burns off fat in your muscles to improve insulin sensitivity and and in your liver to to improve heptic insulin sensitivity.


To lose weight and live a healthy life the information presented on this page appears to be the current state of thought in the sciences of food, health and weight loss. So let us summarize what we have learned:

  1. FAST. Fasting is essential to weight loss and bodily health. When performed daily it allows the glycogen in our livers to be depleted and fat to be released from fat cells to be burned for energy. 

  2. EXERCISE. Exercise enables health by ensuring all our bodily processes are fully functioning. It also prevents the creation of new fat by converting the glucose in our blood into energy.

  3. EAT WHOLE FOODS. Processed foods lack vitamins and put glucose in our blood too quickly ensuring its conversion to fat. Every part of food is what makes it good for our health.

  4. AVOID SUGAR. Refined sugar is an unhealthy concentrate that floods our blood with glucose ensuring its conversion to fat. It also causes massive fat production in our livers.

  5. AVOID SUGARY DRINKS. The only time it is quite safe to drink refined sugar is just before or just after exercise when glucose levels are about to drop or have already dropped.

  6. AVOID SUGAR SUBSTITUTES. Our bodies anticipate incoming sugar by means of the taste and begins storing fat in preparation. So we still get fat.

  7. AVOID FAST FOODS. Fast food is bad both because it's fast and also because it floods our blood with glucose ensuring its conversion to fat instead of energy.

  8. EAT SLOWLY. Slow eating means better digestion and slower intake of fat and glucose. This slower consumption means better health and less fat formation.

  9. EAT FRUIT OR NUTS BEFORE MEALS. To lose weight we should eat less. To do this we can spoil our meals with food that digests slowly but moves through our digestive tract quickly.

  10. CONTROL YOUR BODY'S CHEMICALS. These signals can be controlled by eating slowly, regularly, and with lots of fiber and of course exercise.

The above suggestions are, current as of the 1st of January 2014.

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