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Saber-Toothed Tigers and Your Waistline:
Why Your Ancestors Are Making You Fat Today!
If you're human, chances are you eat when you're stressed. There's a reason for this, which we'll get to in a minute.
Most importantly, overweight or just maintaining, stress is easily 70% of the reason you're struggling with your weight right now!
Man Vs. Food
- Back in the 'olden days' when man lived in caves and hunted saber-toothed tigers for food, nature stepped in to make sure he was more hunter than prey.
You see, many years ago man hunted for food. Studies have shown that before man learned the art of throwing a weapon to kill food (our Cro-Magnon brothers, specifically), that his earlier cousins, the Neanderthals suffered more broken bones (and skulls) from physical encounters with larger prey that they tackled for food.
On more than rare occasions, our Neanderthal cousins had to flee the scene - quickly!
Nature devised a system by which man, when he needed to, could use stored energy reserves to either "fight or flight" - either stand his ground or get the heck outta there!
You know them as hormones.
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The Human Body Can Use Stored Energy
Reserves To Either Fight Or Run From Predators.
- Norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol are all released by your adrenal glands whenever you're faced with "certain peril" (i.e. getting away from that saber-toothed tiger that didn't die when you wrestled him to the ground).
Norepinephrine and epinephrine cause several changes to help you survive the danger, including a pause in insulin release so you have lots of blood sugar available for energy, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and a suspension of your appetite.
The brain rationalizes that it's more important to get away and eat later than to be eaten now!
The Cortisol Effect
- After the danger has passed, cortisol tells the body to stop producing norepinephrine and epinephrine and sends a message to the brain that it's ok to eat in order to replenish the energy that was spent escaping certain death.
But what happens when there's no "tiger" to get away from?
What happens when the kids always need to be fed, when your boss always needs something from you yesterday, when the traffic never lets up, when you lie awake in bed listening to all the things you have to do again the next morning when you wake up?
The cortisol just sits in your blood, building up with nowhere to go. Soon, it turns into fat, increasing your cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods.
- And when you give into those cravings the brain steps in again.
This time, the brain unleashes more chemicals, specifically serotonin, dopamine, and opiate peptides. In plain English, when you eat, they make you feel good.
Combining a high-stress lifestyle with the happiness you feel after eating and you've got a recipe for obesity that is sweeping the United States at an alarming rate!
A potentially-dangerous addiction to food begins to develop that, if left unchecked, can lead to such obesity and worse!
Alarming Fact: Did you know that one in six teenagers in America today is clinically obese? It begs the question - how much perceived stress are these kids under... and what are the adults (the responsible parents) doing to correct this weight problem?
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Combine A High Stress Lifestyle With The Happiness
After Eating And You've Got A Recipe For Obesity.
- Maybe now you're trying to justify what you do, saying, "I only drink diet soda! I only eat No Sugar Added stuff! Why do I still have a weight problem?"
Here's a little more 'science' for ya regarding aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, cyclamate, and acesulfame K.
As it stands, saccharine presently carries a government mandated warning label that it is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals (you've probably seen it on the side of a Mr. Pibb can).
Aspartame is broken down in the body to wood alcohol, subsequently broken to formaldehyde, a fixative and a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent). Formaldehyde is then broken down into formic acid, which is the same strong caustic used by fire ants to administer their sting.
In fact, most recently, a Purdue University study released in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience showed that rats given artificial sweeteners gained more weight than rats given the real thing. Why?
One simple word: Insulin.
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Aspatame Is Eventually Broken Down Into Formic Acid,
Which Is Substance That Gives Fire Ants Their Sting.
The Skinny On Insulin
- You often hear about 'insulin' as it applies to diabetics. Perhaps you've felt the effects of it when you're blood-sugar levels have gotten too high or low (hyper- or hypoglycemia).
When you consume anything (food, drink, etc) your body begins the digestion process. There are several "traffic cops" along the way, telling the food and resulting nutrients where to go and how to get there.
One such "traffic cop" is insulin.
Insulin directs the sugar in the food you've eaten to various organs, including your liver.
When you ingest an artificial sweetener, the brain (aka the Chief) sends a message downstream, "Hey! We're eating sugar! Get the insulin ready to send this stuff where it needs to go!"
The pancreas responds by creating massive amounts of insulin. Insulin then waits for an onrush of sugary traffic.
When the artificial sweetener hits your stomach, insulin levels increase due to the perceived demand for glucose in your blood stream (our bodies turn it into energy).
Problem is... the insulin's got nowhere to go!
Over time, this leads to insulin resistance within the body and can potentially lead to... pre-diabetes!
Insulin resistance isn't what's making you fat, though. Its something hidden right on the front label of the diet soda can.
It's a big, fat zero.
The Zero Calorie Lie
- A calorie is a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree at one atmosphere pressure (Source: Wikipedia).
It is physically impossible for anything you put in your body to have zero calories. The diet drinks, the diet foods, the gum, the snacks - they all have to go somewhere and they all have to be either used, stored, or eliminated by the body in some fashion.
The truth is that, thanks to artificial sweeteners like those listed earlier, your body is being tricked into believing that you're receiving something sweet and reacting accordingly (remember those rewarding brain chemicals?).
- Limit your daily intake to few (if any) artificial sweeteners. Check labels carefully. Even most protein powders and shakes contain them (Some brands have an unflavored protein powder which contains no artificial sweeteners - add some organic cocoa powder or fresh strawberries or even your own flavors to make it the way you want it)!
- If you need a degree in Advanced Physics to read the label - stay away!
- Make sure you're not skipping your workouts! The endorphins released during your workouts can stave off stress and keep excess cortisol at bay!
- Try to find at least 60 seconds in your day to shut out the world. Quiet your surroundings, your thoughts, even (dare I say it?) turn your cell phone off and make time for you. Unless you're a neurosurgeon, no one's gonna die if you don't answer your cell during those 60 seconds. You're important and deserve time for yourself!
- Consider yoga. With few jarring movements and a focus on inner and outer health and fitness, it's a great way to stay calm and relaxed while getting a whole body workout in at the same time!
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