Food Matters: What you eat affects more than waist your line.

Our bodies are clever, super sophisticated machines. They are fine tuned to excrete the right amount of saliva at the right time; breakdown foods for energy; absorb vitamins and nutrients; pump blood to our limbs; send right amount of insulin when it’s needed … the list of miracles our bodies perform every day is endless.

To keep the body running in like a well oiled machine, it’s crucial you fuel it with real food, filled with nutrients. Every bite of food you consume initiates a digestive reaction. Depending on the type of food you choose, you make it easy or not so easy for your body to do its work.

However, as wise and capable as our bodies are, they cannot deal with packaged, prefabricated, processed foods. Believe me, your body knows when you eat sugar substitutes, preservatives and excess fat. Cravings for junk food are your body’s signal that it’s not getting the nutrients it needs. You end up eating more than you intended because your body is trying to get its needs met.

What your body needs is real food: fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats. We are not made to consume hydrogenated oils and aspartame.

Once you change your diet to real food, you will notice you need less food to feel full.

What you eat matters. For example, eating a large amount of protein is not the best choice for insulin control. Did you know that you need more insulin to digest your steak than you need to digest candy?

A diet high in protein and simple sugars (or sugar substitutes) messes with your insulin metabolism. Simple sugars are in foods such as white bread, white rice, potatoes, pastries, candy, or ice cream. After you eat foods made from simple sugars, your pancreas struggles to guess how much insulin you need, and it works overtime. Usually, the pancreas excretes a bit more insulin than is needed, which can lead to sugar cravings out of the blue — and in extreme cases, fainting. This affects your mood as well. You feel either high and euphoric or down and depressed depending on the insulin cycle.

Recent research has shown that our mental function is closely associated with our intestinal function. For instance, scientists have discovered a many patients with schizophrenia also suffer from Celiac disease.

But, there’s good news: This effect of overconsumption of simple sugars is reversible. Once you turn your diet around, your body happily follows suit. Your intestines will learn to do their real work again, your pancreas and liver will also automatically adjust themselves to accommodate the healthy food you consume.

The secret to successfully transforming your diet is to take it slowly. Make progress by changing one bad habit at a time. Don’t expect too much, too fast. You might experience, mood swings, cravings and frustration now and then, but that’s normal. It takes time to create a new equilibrium.

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