Failed Food Pyramid
About 50 years ago, the food pyramid was compiled by the USDA with the understanding that dietary fat was the basis of obesity and that reducing dietary fat from 40% to about 35% percent would reduce obesity. The food pyramid was constructed with very little scientific evidence, and this promoted the consumption of “high glycemic” carbohydrates. However, these high starch containing foods began to lead to the phenomenon of Insulin Resistance, which eventually leads to a whole host of metabolic problems including risk of type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome etc.
Currently, up to 70 percent of the population of the United States has some degree of Insulin Resistance with about a third of the population meeting the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome. Every time the body takes in carbohydrates it requires insulin. The glycemic index of foods determines how fast sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. Over time eating high glycemic index foods such as white bread, white rice, potatoes, French fries, soft drinks etc, the body begins to becomes insulin resistant. In order to compensate, our bodies produces more and more insulin. Since insulin is an anabolic hormone, those with insulin resistance tend to gain weight, with this weight primarily distributed around the abdomen. Since abdominal fat produces harmful cytokines leading to body inflammation, it is imperative to reduce insulin resistance, and therefore reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome, also called insulin resistance syndrome, is a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What can be done to reduce the risk of Insulin Resistance?
While there are a lot of things that contributed to the obesity epidemic and metabolic syndrome, the following three principles are the key -
- High Glycemic, carbodydrate rich foods with limited protein, and fiber
- Lack of adequate Poly-unsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3's)
- And lack of Polyphenols from the plants which are anti-oxidants.
What is Glycemic Index of Foods?
Glycemic index or GI, is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI. A lower glycemic index suggests slower rates of digestion and absorption of the foods' carbohydrates. A lower glycemic response usually equates to a lower insulin demand, and may improve long-term blood glucose control and blood lipids. The Glycemic Index is also a useful tool for providing a direct measure of the insulin response to a food. For a list of low glycemic Index foods, please visit this link
How can W8MD help?
As Bariatricians/obesity medicine physicians trained in managing the metabolic syndrome and other obesity related disorders, we address all aspects of the metabolic processes associated with obesity and reduce the overall inflammation in the body.