Sources of energy and how they affect your body

This blog is mostly based off of Dr. Ben Bocchicchio’s seminar “Metabolic Makeover”


To start off with, there’s a few different sources of energy we feed our bodies for it to stay alive.

The first one is protein, which main function is to build muscle. In other words, protein is our friend. Protein comes from anything that walks, swims, or flies and a serving is considered 3 oz. which is about equal to the size of a deck of cards. Protein can also come from eggs or eggbeaters, cheese, nuts and peanut butter (watch for added sugars), nutty seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame), soy and tofu, and 1/4 cup beans (frijoles, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc). Any of these things I just listed are a great snack if you get the munchies since protein takes longer for your body to digest. So stock up on your meats and cheeses to start off your healthy food stock.

Second comes fats. I know what you’re thinking- Ew gross fats aw disgusting!! Well quit it. Your body needs fats- end of story. The healthy oils in the fat category consist of olive oil, canola oil, high-oleic safflower, and other high- monosaturated fatty acids. Walnuts, nuts, and avocado are also amazing sources of fat which have other nutrients in them as well. Corn, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, and peanut oils should be avoided. Just to give you an idea of how much fat you should intake on a typical day-

  • 2 tsp oil for cooking or dressings
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 oz cream
  • 2 oz cheese
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish
  • 10 olives of 1/2 Hass avocado
  • and 2oz nuts or seeds

That shouldn’t be so bad, right?

The next thing is carbohydrates. This is the category you should be “ew-ing” and “gross-ing” because carbs increase insulin which stores carbs (energy) as fat. Your body only needs a small amount of carbs/glucose for energy to function so the excessive intake of carbohydrates in the U.S. has been blamed for one of the reasons for the huge obesity pandemic. Sugars- natural, refined and possibly artificial sweeteners are considered carbs and affect the blood sugar and insulin level the same. Starch is considered “other carbs” which are chains of sugar. When chemically broken down in the body to utilize as energy, there is no difference between sugar and starch. The sources of carbohydrates include-

  • grains- rice, whole grain breads and noodles
  • root vegetables- potatoes, beets, and carrots
  • fruits- some more than others. Take a look at my previous blog “Fruit, Fruit, Fruit” to see more in depth. Berries are always the best fruit when it comes to carb intake.
  • liquid milk- yep, believe it. Check out the nutrition label on your milk, it’s loaded with sugar. It doesn’t matter if it’s skim, whole, or anywhere in between- All of it is the same for sugar.

Now that you know what carbs are, it’s time to discuss how they affect your body. Insulin is the fat storing hormone and is made when you eat carbohydrates which are then broken down into glucose when stored. Insulin is produced to “open” the gate to the fat cell allowing the cell to store glucose as fat. High levels of insulin prevent the use of stored fat. Here’s how it works (in a nut shell)-

  • You eat carbohydrates.
  • The sugar moves from the stomach into the bloodstream.
  • Insulin (from beta cells) moves blood sugar into cells.
  • If there is Insulin Resistance, you require large amounts of insulin to move the blood sugar into cells. Insulin Resistance keeps fuel out of many cells making them hungry, which then causes low blood sugar which  makes the brain hungry. It’s a vicious circle.

One thing we forget when it comes to our diet is fiber. Adults need 20 grams per day and children under the age of 10 need 10 grams. The reason I am throwing fiber in the picture is because fiber “cancels out” carbohydrates. If you take a look at a nutrition label, take the total grams of carbs minus the grams of fiber and that is considered your net carbs, which is what you consider the total amount of carbohydrates your body is consuming. So Total carbs (grams) – Fiber (grams) = NET CARBS.

The main carbs you should be getting is from vegetables- lettuce, greens, spinach, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, peppers, chilies, cauliflower, edemame, and many others (not including the root vegetables). It’s difficult to eat low carb in today’s society, but it’s not impossible! There’s always low carb options, you just need to keep your eyes open.


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