Our energy levels throughout the day are regulated by the type of food and the regularity with which we eat, activity levels and our genetic make-up. Foods are broken down into simple molecules by our stomach and intestines. Starches (from refined grains, potatoes, white pasta, white rice) and simple sugars (from cakes, pastries, confectionery, alcohol, fruit juice) are broken down very quickly into simple sugar molecules. Proteins, fats and fibre take much longer to break down.
Broken down nutrients and sugar molecules are absorbed via the intestinal wall into our blood stream and delivered to cells around the body using the hormone insulin. It is necessary that blood sugar levels are kept within tight parameters as high blood sugar levels damage important proteins in our body and low blood sugar levels affect our energy levels. Excess blood sugar from high carbohydrate meals, sugar and alcohol consumption is therefore quickly converted to fat to remove it from the blood stream. If sugar is absorbed and stored quickly, as in the case of a high carbohydrate meal, then blood sugar levels may drop and more sugar is released from stored sources.
Low blood sugar levels signal the release of the hormone cortisol which initiates the release of sugar sources stored in the muscles, liver and fat cells to restore blood sugar levels.
Inability to regulate blood sugar levels may cause irritability, anxiety, insomnia, sugar cravings, low mood, tiredness and energy dipsthroughout the day and after eating and sugar cravings.
Figure 1 illustrates how this might happen.
Regulating blood sugar levels with diet
Diets which are low in protein, rich in starchy carbohydrates and simple sugars and low in nutrients may cause poor blood sugar regulation. Foods that slow down the absorption of sugar from carbohydrate foods (such as white rice, potatoes, bread, cakes, biscuits and desserts) into the blood stream are proteins, fats and fibre.
Balancing blood sugars may be achieved by eating regular meals and snacks and adding protein to each meal. Increased intake of fruit (2 portions) and vegetables (8 portions) a day may help to support energy /insulin production and also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Have you been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome? Chronic fatigue syndrome is often preceded by a long period of stress (mental, physical or emotional) or toxic element poisoning which can affect hormone secreting glands e.g. thyroid (thyroxine), adrenal glands (cortisol/DHEA). This in turn causes dysfunction of the mitochondria (energy producing cell structures).
I would like to help you find the root cause of your CFS, support glands, detoxification (if necessary) and mitochondrial function through dietary and lifestyle changes/supplementation.
Useful tests include:
- Mitochondrial Function Profile test looks for problems in mitochondrial production of cellular energy (ATP), and in which area this production breaks down and whether the energy produced can be transferred out of the mitochondria to be used by the cell. Test results provide information on key areas for intervention (ATP profiles, NAD (functional B3), SODase, L-carnitine, Cell-free DNA, Glutathione Peroxidase
- Salivary adrenal hormone testing which assesses levels of the stress hormone cortisol and also DHEA which is the building block of sex hormones
- Thyroid Function tests ( TPO, T4, T3) available via your GP
- Toxic elements testing (hair or urine analysis)
Weight Management (see also Personal Training – weight loss)
Many of us who have tried to lose weight have found it a frustrating process of:
- Unsuccessfully trying to break unhelpful eating habits
- Yo-yo dieting
- Fluctuating weight loss/weight gain
- Feeling hungry and deprived of our favourite foods and drink
- Lack of time to exercise
- Lack of motivation
Are you doing all the right things but still not losing weight or losing so little that you lose motivation? It could very possibly be down to your genetic make-up. Very recently a genetic profile test called DNA Diet Plus has become available in the UK which explores the way a person responds to diet and exercise. This mouth swab test provides information on thirteen genes which impact on metabolism and responsiveness to exercise. In fact up to 80% of variability in body weight is due to genetic factors This helps to explain why not everyone becomes obese even when exposed to similar environment e.g. food and exercise. Genetics therefore influence your predisposition to obesity when exposed to an unfavourable situation (too much food, not the right diet or too little exercise).
The test explores genes involved in regulation of energy expenditure, appetite, and fat metabolism, fat storage, inflammation, sensitivity to insulin, taste sensitivity (sensitivity and satiety for sugar), addictions, feeding behaviour, satiety, overeating and addiction (which may help to explain your lack of discipline and inability to stop) which all play an important role in weight regulation.
If you choose to perform the test, results along with your health history enables me to provide you with a health promoting personalised calorie controlled food plan e.g. proportions of carbohydrates and protein, and proportion and quality of fats (based on your genetic ability to absorb or burn off fat), and exercise programme (number of hours that will be required for weight loss).