Diets have never worked for people—at least for the long term. Let’s admit it. Most of us have tried high-fat, low-fat, high protein, no grain, high grain, juice fasts…you get the idea. These may work for a while, but then they stop working. The reason is that they all lead to deficiencies in critical nutrients that are necessary for detoxification, fighting inflammation, probiotic health, tumor suppression, and fat hormone optimization—all of which occur on a gene expression level. That is what my new book The Gene Therapy Plan is all about.
All of these diets are like trying to fix a leaky roof by drilling a deeper and deeper hole in your floor. If you want to repair a leaky roof, you have to go to the roof. If you want to keep weight off for the long term, you have to take care of gene expression through nutrition.
Are you frustrated every time that you look down at the scale? Perhaps no matter how hard you try, you just can’t shed those extra pounds. While there are various reasons why some people lose weight more easily than others, metabolism plays a major role.
Some people have a faster metabolism than others. Everyone knows people like this: friends who eat whatever they desire without packing on the pounds. Yet, you’re always watching your weight and carefully selecting what to eat. And no matter what, the number on the scale just doesn’t add up. Aggravating, right? The answer is not only what you’re eating, but how often are you eating.
Here are some genechanging tips to help you curb your appetite and keep your weight in check without all the worry.
Break it Up. We’re used to the notion of having three meals a day, but this doesn’t necessarily work out for everyone. Your work schedule and personal life make it difficult to eat at a specific time each day. But you still have to eat to keep your energy levels up. Three main meals a day may not work for you, so try breaking them into smaller meals throughout the day, which is also great to keep your blood sugar levels from dipping between meals.
Bulk Up Your Meals. Don’t fill up your plate with high calorie foods that lack nutrients. Instead, load up on fiber, which helps you to feel fuller for longer periods. This helps you to avoid eating too much between meals. Fruit and vegetables are high in fiber and will give you a sense of satiety because they slow down the digestive process.
Skip the liquid calories. Drink a lot of water because it will help you feel full without the calories, unlike artificially sweetened drinks and soda. Stay hydrated with drinks that contain a lot of water like tea. Green tea, for instance, contains EGCG, an antioxidant. Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation; that said, drinking red wine is good for you because it contains resveratrol, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.
Snack Smartly. Between meals, munch on healthy snacks, rather than processed foods that are high in salt or sugar. Fruits are a healthy choice because they are packed with antioxidants. Try nuts like walnuts and almonds, which contain healthy fats, too.
Enjoy Your Meal. Are you rushing through your meals? If so, you should slow down. Digestion is a complex process that starts from the moment that you even think about food. Several chemicals work to send signals to and from your brain to trigger other cells to break down food into energy. And the process isn’t only mechanical (e.g. chewing food)—it’s also sensory (because thinking, smelling, and seeing food jumpstarts cells that are involved in the digestive process). Take the time to chew your food: Taste it, look at it, and enjoy. By taking the time to enjoy your food, you’re also giving your body a chance to send a signal to your brain that you’re full.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with diets that require you to tally each calorie that you consume or leave you feeling guilty when you get off track. Aim to eat well for your health by making it a lifestyle choice that you can live with in the long term.
Unfortunately, the Western diet is made up of carbohydrate-rich foods that produce an excess amount of glucose after meals. Sugar spikes after meals result in excess sugars stored as fat, which causes weight gain and leads to obesity. Extra glucose circulating in the bloodstream also damages endothelial cells, which make up the inner wall of blood vessels. The sticky glucose molecules promote inflammation within the arteries; over time, the damage caused by excess glucose will develop into vascular disease that negatively affects the heart and brain health.
In integrative medicine, practitioners recognize that excess glucose increases the risk for many chronic diseases other than type 2 diabetes (such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer). Because glucose is a modifiable risk factor for the development of these chronic conditions, it is imperative that experts begin to recognize that a fasting glucose level below 86 mg/dL is optimal for good health.
To underscore the importance of maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, studies show that excess glucose destroys the structural integrity of arteries, which results in coronary and cerebral vascular diseases. When it comes to brain health, extra circulating sugars can interrupt normal brain function—even “high-normal” glucose levels. The amygdala and hippocampus (brain areas that are critical to memory) were noted to undergo atrophy when chronically exposed to high-normal blood sugar levels, which led to memory deficits. Numerous studies have also linked excess glucose to an increased risk of cancer.
Data are robust in showing that post-meal sugar spikes, as well as blood glucose levels that fall within today’s standard of normal, are detrimental to your health. Your risk of cardiovascular death is the greatest within the first two hours after you’ve had a meal. That’s because post-meal sugar spikes can immediately impede blood flow through vital arteries, which can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and processed foods. White flour, white sugar, white bread, desserts, pastries, bagels, and more are high in sugar and have little to no nutritional value. These foods tend to be high in salt and sugar. They’re also high in calories.
- Eat fove or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Grapes, berries, apples, grapefruit, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots, in particular, contain various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide energy and protection to the body.
- Add fiber to your diet. Fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains contain loads of fiber. Fiber helps to keep you fuller longer. That’s important, because when people experience a hunger spell, they tend to snack on starchy foods, which leads to excess sugar in the bloodstream.
- Supplement your diet. There are pharmaceutical-grade supplements that function similarly to drugs that are used to regulate type 2 diabetes. Mulberry leaf extract lowers glucose by enhancing activity of GLUT4, the energy transporter that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Similar to metformin, a drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes, mulberries also block excess gluconeogenesis (the production of glucose by the liver during fasting). Alternatively, you can eat dried mulberries, too. Although dried fruits tend to contain lots of sugar, this is not the case for dried mulberries. Dried mulberries contain less sugar, and they retain its flavor, too—now if that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is! Mulberries are also loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Another supplement is phloridzin, and it blocks a glucose transport system in the gut to prevent post-meal sugar spikes.