I'm Darryl Edwards (aka The Fitness Explorer), founder of Primal Play, this website is no longer being updated - please check out www.primalplay.com for current details on my work, passion and lifestyle approach.

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  • Animal Moves: How to move like an animal to get you leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier for life
    Animal Moves: How to move like an animal to get you leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier for life
    by Darryl Edwards

    Animal Moves

    • improve strength, speed and stamina
    • increase mobility, flexibility and stability
    • look, feel and perform better

    Find out more and details on how to purchase at www.animalmovesbook.com

  • Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    Paleo from A to Z: A reference guide to better health through nutrition and lifestyle. How to eat, live and thrive as nature intended!
    by Darryl Edwards

    "If you are looking for a simple way to better understand Paleo concepts, Darryl's Paleo from A to Z guide is the go-to resource.
    -Mark Sisson, best-selling author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of Mark's Daily Apple

  • Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    Paleo Fitness - A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy
    by Darryl Edwards, Brett Stewart, Jason Warner

    "This book is a useful reference to enable individuals just starting out on the Paleo path as well as those who want to explore more challenging, playful and interesting ways to move."

    -Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution

     

  • 7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.
    by Darryl Edwards
  • The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
    by Robb Wolf
  • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
    by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health & Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series)
    by Mark Sisson
  • Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
    by Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie, Sarah Dopp
  • Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    Wahls Protocol, The : A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
    by Terry Wahls, Eve Adamson
  • Protein Power
    Protein Power
    by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades, Mary Deans
  • Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    by Christopher McDougall
  • In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
    by Michael Pollan
  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    by Michael Pollan
  • The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    The Paleo Diet for Athletes
    by L. Cordain
  • Vegetarian Myth, The
    Vegetarian Myth, The
    by Lierre Keith
  • The Second Brain
    The Second Brain
    by Michael D. Gershon
  • The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
    by Loren Cordain
  • Eat Drink Paleo
    Eat Drink Paleo
    by Irena Macri
  • Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is Wrong with My Numbers?
    by Jimmy Moore, Eric C. Westman

Entries in Insulin (3)

Wednesday
Nov072012

Nutrition: Is a Fruit Smoothie Better Than a Can of Coke?

 

Innocent Smoothies are a very large and successful brand in Europe selling smoothies, juices and vegetable soups.

There are a remarkable amount of similarites between both of the above products.  Both of these drinks were launched and marketed as health drinks.  

Coca-Cola was first sold at a Pharmacy in Atlanta in 1886 as a medicine marketed as a cure for many diseases such as dyspepsia and impotence.  

In 2007 the UK Advertising Standards Authority and new European laws meant that the Innocent Smoothie company had to substantiate their products "superfood" and "healthy" claims with medical evidence.  The products were relabeled based on a lack of justification for these claims.

A couple of other points:

Coca-Cola owns 60% of Innocent Smoothies;

The most interesting fact however is that gram for gram, ounce for ounce this smoothie contains 34% more sugar than in the can of Coca-Cola.  10.2g per 100ml for Coca-Cola and 13.7g per 100ml for the smoothie.  That's around 9 teaspoons of sugar in the smoothie as opposed to 6.5 teaspoons in the can of Coke.

Don't get me wrong.  In terms of overall nutritional comparison the smoothie is a healthier alternative to the Coke.  The smoothie is a much better source of natural vitamins, phytonutrients, some insoluble fibre and contains no artificial additives, caffeine, carbonated water or phosphoric acid.  However the very high sugar content means the smoothie can not be classed as "healthy" either.  Most of us already have too much sugar in our diets due to a high carbohydrate diet, a smoothie doesn't help matters.

So why isn't it healthy?  Well it isn't just about tooth decay, sugar also is one key driver behind the obesity epidemic.  The increase and prevalence of snack foods and soft drinks were first discussed in a ground breaking report written by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2003 stating that heavy marketing of high sugar energy dense foods to children was having a major impact on obesity.  Arguably even a smoothie with its high sugar content falls into this category.  

In summary our bodies needs to release the hormone insulin to drive the sugar out of the blood stream.  When insulin levels are low and we require energy - we can burn body fat for fuel.  In the presence of too much insulin our bodies will convert some of the excess blood sugar into body fat.  Constantly spiked and high blood sugar levels means a tendency to store body fat. It isn't just sugar in the form of sucrose, but natural sugars such as fructose and indeed any carbohydrate will have this effect - the only difference being the rate at which insulin needs to be released to deal with an increase in blood sugar levels.  Liquidised concentrated carbohydrates in the form of juices or smoothies will have a very high impact as the body will absorb this faster, hence the sugar rush and sugar crash.  You can find out more about the role of insulin here.

I used to love smoothies and believe that they were a healthy food choice.  However there is a healthier way.  If you want some fruit forget the liquidised version, eat the fruit in its natural form - buy an apple or a few berries instead.  

Wednesday
Dec142011

Nutrition: The Role of Insulin

Nutrition: The Role of Insulin

The 2nd in a series of blog posts based on a recent question of the week: 

  1. Calories-In vs Calories-Out;
  2. The Role of Insulin;

 

Ever wondered why even though we consume foods that are fat-free one can still store fat?  

Well given we are bombarded with messages that "eating fat means we get fat" or "a low-fat diet leads to weight loss" - how could a zero fat food (for example a bag of sweets such as Skittles) increase levels of body fat?  

Well the answer is pretty straightforward: an excess of carbohydrates (glucose) provided by your diet will be stored as fat.

So how does this happen?  Well let's get back to (not thinking about) eating those bag of Skittles.  Once digested the carbohydrates are released very quickly into the blood stream via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract otherwise known as the digestive system.  Your body has to remove this blood glucose, as high concentrations of blood glucose are dangerous.  This detection of blood glucose triggers secretion of the hormone insulin which is released by the pancreas.  

Insulin signals to the body that muscle and liver cells should accept and absorb this blood glucose.  This blood glucose is then converted by the liver into glycogen.  Glycogen is a stored form of energy that can easily be converted to glucose and used by the body as required.

Glycogen levels will continue to increase - however there is a upper limit to how much we can store.  Once the glycogen reservoir is full the body has an alternative mechanism for managing excess blood glucose.  The excess blood glucose which can not be converted into glycogen is decomposed into smaller molecules by the liver which are then reassembled into fat.  This is then dispersed into the bloodstream and inserted into adipose (fatty) tissue cells around the body.

Due to high levels of regular refined and processed carbohydrate consumption in the modern diet - wheat, orange juice, processed snacks, sodas, etc  - many people live with full glycogen levels for 24 hours a day.  Any exercise performed are also usually countered by consumption of istotonic or sugar based drinks or justification to 'treat yourself with desert' which maintains this highly glycogenic state.  

In the presence of full glycogen levels and an excess of insulin in the body (hyperinsulinemia) any carbohydrate consumption (even a small bag of Skittles) will lead immediately to fat storage and a difficulty in the body of utilising it's fat stores for energy.

This is one reason a paleolithic type diet is renowned for it's success in reducing body fat, as it is more likely to maintain healthier blood sugar levels - with less reliance on carbohydrates as the main source of food.

Wednesday
Dec142011

Question of the Week: Calories In vs Calories Out?

Question:  Darryl, recently found your blog and love it. Over the last year I have been reading a lot and reading more and more about how weight loss is so much more than calories in vs calories out. That it is the type of calories. I have been eating primal for the last four months and love it, but have been stuck somewhat the last two or three weeks. 

I am currently studying for my NSCA-CTP cert and in the book it drills over and over and over that weight loss is 100% calories in vs calories out. But I don't exactly believe this is true.

Where do you come down on this and why?

Thanks
Dean Ouellette

Answer:

Dean, like most questions in life the answer is not that straightforward.  

Let's get the obvious out of the way.  If one restricts calories and/or increases activity exceeding your daily energy requirements you can (and usually will) lose weight.  This is the conventional route but let's face it most people eat too much - even when consuming healthy foods.  

But there are some who don't eat too much (or indeed too little) and yet they still have issues with managing a healthy body composition.

There are also those who exercise excessively and they too can have issues with maintaining a healthy body fat percentage.  

Calorie intake vs calorie expenditure is definitely not the only factor (and is usually not the most important area) for most people to consider when looking at this equation.

Well there are a few other main considerations in my opinion:

I will post a reply to each point above over the next few days.  As each item is worth discussing in its own right.