The science of food

Smiling Woman Making Smoothie
Smiling woman making smoothie with watermelon and carrots

Digestion is a vital part of keeping our bodies healthy. Knowing how our bodies absorb nutrients and which foods can help you lose weight is important for a healthy lifestyle.

Control of food intake is via the hormone leptin. Leptin alerts the bran when energy supply is low or high, meaning the body needs less or more food. Consistent over eating decreases responsiveness to leptin, causing excessive eating although energy stores are full. This results in weight gain.

 

Why our waistlines are expanding:

When more calories are consumed than burnt, they are stored as fat. Fat cells expand, rising to the skin surface, causing the body to appear fat.

Our supermarket shelves and restaurant menus are filled with high fat and high calorie products, lacking nutrition and micronutrients. This is causing the prevalence of overweight yet malnourished people to rapidly increase.

Cycle of food:

  1. Food is broken down by the teeth and saliva. It then travels to the stomach
  2. Nutrients are extracted and pass into the bloodstream, travelling to the required location.
  3. Undigested materials are passed out as stool.
  4. Gut bacteria split food into smaller molecules

Tips for losing fat:

  1. Get active- aim for 120 minutes of exercise per week
  2. Limit intake of high fat and sugar food
  3. Have a glass of water before each meal: Hunger can be mistaken for thirst
  4. Use traffic labelling for basic nutritional profile of food and what should be eaten regularly or rarely
  5. Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day

However, weight loss is not as simple as just cutting down on calories, but rather what type of calories are consumed.

160 calories of almonds slowly increase blood sugar levels, prolonging energy levels. Whereas 160 calories of fizzy drinks spikes blood sugar causing immediate short bursts of energy, then a fall. These spikes cause sugar cravings and increased consumption of high sugar food. This increases daily calorie intake and weight gain.

Healthy weight is achieved by balancing energy in and out. This is accomplished by eating a diet high in vegetables, lean meat and limited processed food and saturated food.