Modern Western breakfasts which typically consists of cereals, breads, toasts, pancakes, waffles and all amount of grain-based, carbohydrate-loaded foods is by many people labeled as healthy simply because it is relatively fat free being served up with just a dash of low fat milk and margarine instead of butter. Therefore according to them – it must be good for you.
But you might have noticed over the last few decades that the popularity of these types of breakfast has reached the point where now it’s almost THE universal breakfast fair.
But really in many ways the increase in this type of food is just an indication of the huge increase in consumption of carbohydrates that we in the West have slowly been accepting as the norm. At the same time the incidences of diabetes and related conditions have also gone up. In fact if you put the graph of the consumption of carbohydrates next to the graph of the incidence of these types of diseases, there’s an uncanny relationship.
Consumption of carbohydrates
The curious thing about eating carbohydrates is that even though you might eat large quantities of them, very quickly afterwards you become hungry, and there’s actually a physical reason for that. The consumption of carbohydrates results in the release of insulin. This has the effect of removing nutrients from the bloodstream simply because the body is expecting more to arrive.
The net result is that instead of feeling satiated very soon after eating a carb-loaded meal, breakfast being a typical example, we feel like we’re hungry again and of course by being hungry so soon after just eating, the tendency is to eat more even though in reality the body doesn’t actually need more. So you can see a vicious circle occurring and the only result that can happen from that is a slow but sure increase in body weight.
From more of my years’ experience in helping people work out a natural way of eating for themselves, I’ve seen that the excessive consumption of carbohydrates by many people would, if they were any other substance, be called an addiction. The reason for that is that when we eat carbohydrates the body releases serotonin and serotonin is the chemical in our brain that improves our mood and has a relaxing effect. It has a tendency to decrease stress and anxiety and to a certain extent will also alleviate pain. But the level of serotonin in our diet is also determined by the other things that we eat and if those other things are forced out by an increase in consumption of carbohydrates then it follows that our levels of serotonin maybe less than usual. The body’s only recourse is to encourage us to start eating the things that give it the quickest fix of serotonin which turn out to be carbohydrates, just as a vain attempt to feel better and again you can see that this can only lead to one thing – increased weight gain.
So what’s going on here?
How is the body doing this? Well, quite simply, after eating carbohydrates, our pancreas kicks in and starts producing insulin and that’s responsible for regulating the blood sugar levels to the process of breaking down carbohydrates into sugar. Typically, this would then enter the cells of the muscles and the liver and are used for energy by the body. But insulin also is used by the body to regulate our fat storage.
Now if we’ve had a meal high in carbohydrates, it’s obvious that the body is not going to immediately use the sugars that have been broken down through the action of the high levels of insulin that eating those huge amounts of carbohydrates have produced. Now what’s going to happen is the increased levels of insulin combined with the increased levels of sugar in our blood will mean that the body will store the excess as fat.
Putting in simpler terms, higher consumption of carbohydrates than the body needs promotes the release of higher levels of insulin which then promotes a higher level of fat storage and I’m sure you can see that the reverse is going to be true, lower levels of carbohydrate consumption will result in lower levels of insulin production which will result in minimal, if any, storage of fat.
Excess weight and diabetes
Now the exact cause of diabetes is unknown but many studies attributes diabetes to excess weight and lack of activity and current research indicates that nearly 8% of the population in developing countries will be diabetic within probably less than 15 years. Now the thing is, people suffering from Type II Diabetes in particular have been shown to have, in general, high blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance. This is where insulin becomes less effective at lowering our blood sugar levels. So it follows then that if your body is less effective at lowering blood sugar levels, it makes sense not to raise them in the first place through eating carbohydrate-loaded meals.
So what should you then if you’re diabetic? Well, simply put, if the diet that you’re following now isn’t working for you, perhaps it may be a wise decision to change it to something that will work for you. Many diabetics have found that a low carb way of eating has not only brought their diabetes under control (meaning they no longer need tablets or shots), it has actually made it go away entirely. That really is food for thought.
A traditional Japanese breakfast for a tourist at buddist temple Chion-in. Rice, Japanese pickles (umeboshi and takuan), a slice of grilled salmon, egg, nori, some vegetable (perhaps a kind of いんげん (Phaseolus vulgaris）with sesame powder
idli and sambar – a south indian breakfast