Eat This: Metabolic Flexibility

If you’ve been here before, welcome back if you’re new, welcome! As we record this, it’s the beginning of January 2023, and here we go with EAT THIS with Lianne into yet another year. Chris and I have been at this since mid-2019 and are up to almost 150 episodes and have an incredible following of Lovely Loyal Listeners, who I have come to learn call themselves LLL’s. 

A quick intro to myself for those who are new around here, and why do I do this and what I hope to get out of it. We all have our why, right?! I’ve been a Registered Nutritionist since 1999 when I graduated from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Putney, south London. My course spanned over three years and since then, I’ve spoke with, taught, counseled and educated 10s of thousands of people about what to feed themselves, and their families. Why? Eating is something that we do every day, multiple times and day and while food can heal, it can also harm. Emotions are tied to eating, food and well, there’s a lot to it. I started SproutRight in 2004 after I had my first daughter and had no idea what I was doing when it came time to feed her, but I know that ultra processed rice cereal, boxed stuff wasn’t going to cut it, so I did it my own way with the help of my naturopath. For all those years in between as she’s now 19, I taught parents to cook for their babies and toddlers, as my kids grew from babies to beyond toddlers. I’ve written two books, one of which won an award, I’ve become a media expert, being on national TV and Radio, and doing all that I can to empower people to take charge of their health in a way that they don’t usually hear. I’ve come to learn that there are many instances that following the ‘standard’ or typical ways isn’t always best, and I have learned far more in the past 25 years than I could have ever imagined, and I’m still learning. When I started EAT THIS with Lianne, I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I do and that it would be as expansive a journey as it has been. And that we’d still be here.

 Working with Chris is a blast; if you don’t know about my wizard producer, he is just that. An incredibly talented executive producer and voice behind the alter ego of my healthy ways that bring fun to the seriousness of health issues. EAT THIS wouldn’t be what it is with out you, Chris. 

Alright, you’re here and I’m sure you want to know more about why you’re here other than learning more about me, so let’s jump right into a topic that one of our regular guests asked me to talk about with you and it’s to do with your metabolism, which we will explain so you are very clear on it. Dr. Davis Brockenshire, a functional medicine expert, wants to talk with us, my lovely loyal listeners, about Metabolic Flexibility. While you might have pictured a twerky yoga pose or taking a different route to work, it’s about using multiple fuel sources for energy. We all want to feel energetic and balanced throughout the day, without the highs and lows of keen focus and productivity, to grumpy, feeling jittery, getting a headache, or wanting to lay your head down and have a nap. There is a state where you won’t always be looking for the next food ‘hit,’ coffee or something to keep you going, and you are even-keeled ALL day long. When your body can be in a stable state like this, you’ll feel like a different person; it’s likely something that you can’t even imagine as you sit there feeling older than your years, and you’re wondering why you don’t have the energy that you once did, and put it down to middle age and figure that this is just what happens. Or you’ve noticed that your mood has changed to a more blah, grey than you once did and are in need of some serious laughter and joy.  

9 out of the top 10 killers of people are related to metabolism, is what I heard on another podcast, said by Dr. Sara Gottfried, an expert in metabolism, and when I heard that, I knew why Dr. B wanted to talk with us about this. So today, on EAT THIS with Lianne, metabolic flexibility – what is it, do you have it, why should you care, and what can you do about it?  

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Again, if you’re new here, you won’t know yet how incredible of a clinician and speaker Dr. Davis Brockenshire is. He blows our minds every time he graces these airwaves, and please know that listening to episodes more than once is the norm on episodes like this. His clinic in Plymouth, Michigan, called Innovative Health Solutions, is somewhere I have driven from Toronto – an eight-hour round trip, in a day, with my kids so that he can see and test us. He is a mentor, a respected colleague, and a great friend. Welcome back, and Happy New Year, Dr. B!

Benefits of a Glucose Monitor

This dashboard of how food affects you, is a fascinating experience for anyone who wants to know more on a physiological level as truly, you won’t know until you see what happens when you have a banana or apple, for instance. 

A glucose monitor is a device that measures the level of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. It is typically used by people with diabetes to help them manage their condition, as they need to regularly check their blood sugar levels and adjust their insulin doses accordingly, but can be used by people who do not have a diabetic diagnosis.

For someone without diabetes, using a glucose monitor can help them better understand how different foods and activities affect their blood sugar levels, which can ultimately help them make healthier choices. It can also help them identify any hidden blood sugar imbalances or prediabetes, which if left untreated can progress to type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important for overall health and longevity, as elevated blood sugar levels have been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

However, it’s important to note that a glucose monitor is not a substitute for regular check-ups with a healthcare professional. If you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or a diabetes specialist.

Insulin Resistance 

Insulin determines how much glucose can actaully get into your cells. Glucose doesn’t know what to do unless it’s bossed around by insulin, so it’ll hang around in the blood stream, not where it’s needed, and not get into your cells to be used as energy, but drive up inflammation and damage to arteries. Insulin tells glucose to get into the cells or store as fat, and as insulin works tirelessly as you have yet another carbohydrate rich meal, another chocolate brownie in the afternoon or in my case, shortbread with my cup of earl grey tea, or deal with yet another stressful situation at the office or with your teenager at home, insulin keeps on working and eventually cells become resistant to insulin, so your pancreas produces more to do the same job as 4 or 5 years ago. It’s not a quick fix sadly, and as IR can lead to type 2 diabetes, and further health issues, it’s important to get a handle on. It is possible to reverse it, with focus and daily attention to all of the below. 

Why don’t you want high blood sugar levels? 

High blood sugar levels can lead to a process called glycation, in which sugar molecules attach to proteins and lipids in the body, leading to the formation of “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs). These AGEs can cause damage to cells and contribute to aging and age-related diseases. By keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range, you may be able to reduce the formation of AGEs and the associated damage to cells.

  1. Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in whole, unprocessed foods and low in refined carbohydrates and added sugars can help to improve insulin sensitivity. This can include eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  2. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  3. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese: Carrying extra weight, especially around the abdomen, can contribute to insulin resistance. Losing weight can help to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
  4. Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to insulin resistance. Try to find ways to manage stress, such as through meditation, yoga, or exercise.
  5. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can contribute to insulin resistance. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  6. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to insulin resistance.
  7. Consider taking supplements: Some studies have found that supplements like chromium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids may help to improve insulin sensitivity.

It’s also important to remember that reversing insulin resistance may take time and effort, and it’s best to work with a healthcare professional to create a personalized plan that takes into account your unique health needs and goals.

It’s worth noting that some of the above-mentioned steps may not be suitable for everyone, and it’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Metabolic health 

You may be wondering, “what is metabolic health and why is it important?” Metabolic health refers to the body’s ability to efficiently process and use energy from food. In simple terms, it’s how well your body can turn what you eat and drink into energy.

Having good metabolic health is important for maintaining overall health and preventing certain diseases. One key aspect of metabolic health is metabolic flexibility, which refers to the body’s ability to switch between using different fuel sources, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, for energy. A high level of metabolic flexibility is considered beneficial for overall health, as it allows the body to adapt to different situations and fuel needs.

Another important aspect of metabolic health is insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to the body’s ability to respond to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. When the body is insulin sensitive, it requires less insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, which can lead to improved blood sugar control and reduced risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

Poor metabolic health can lead to a number of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. By understanding more about metabolic health and how to improve it, you can take steps towards optimizing your overall health and reducing your risk of developing these conditions.

In upcoming issues of our newsletter, we will be diving deeper into the topic of metabolic health, providing you with information on how to improve your metabolic flexibility and insulin sensitivity through diet and exercise, as well as discussing other related topics.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for future newsletter topics, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We value your feedback and are dedicated to providing you with the information and resources you need to improve your health.

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