By Kevin Daugherty, CHHC, CH, CHMI
With all the different kinds of food out there it can be a little confusing and overwhelming on what is good for you and what isn’t. My intention with this is to help you find the difference in the foods.
To break it down there are just two categories of food: Junk and Food. No such thing as junk food. Just JUNK and FOOD!
Junk is what most people eat and live on (I use the word “live” very loosely). Junk is food that has been ground down, torn apart, synthesized, isolated, separated, modified, packaged, bagged, and created in a lab. Junk is something that can sit on a shelf for years and is riddled with artificial colors, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, white flour, hydrogenated oils, and other mysterious ingredients.
When something is artificial is not real. Artificial ingredients mean artificial food which means it is not food. It is junk. The junk will say "enriched" on the package because it has been so processed that the vitamins and nutrients have been destroyed so they add some nutrients back in. One problem with that though, the nutrients they put back in are synthetic and isolated. Not even in its real and natural form. Still junk!
Food is something that is in its whole and natural form. Food is something that doesn’t have a very long shelf life because it doesn’t have any chemicals added. Food is chocked full of vitamins, nutrients, and all its natural co-factors to deliver to the body in need. Food is perfect because it will not only nourish you and give you energy, but it will also have the enzymes to help it break itself down in the body. A carrot has enough enzymes in it to break down THAT CARROT. I would like to see a Pop Tart do that!
Just about everything we eat, both junk and food will break down into glucose. Glucose tends to be the primary source of fuel. When you eat junk it typically breaks down to glucose too fast. To carry the glucose into the cells the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin has the job of transporting glucose and too much glucose too fast means too much insulin. Insulin is also a fat storage hormone. All the extra glucose has to go someplace, and it does. All to the liver and then to be stored as fat on the body. Here is another kick for you. The extra fun artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils and bad fats in the junk clog up the cells. Cells that get clogged up won't allow insulin and glucose into them. No glucose equals no fuel. Hence all the sluggish people out there and all the afternoon energy crashes. All the extra glucose and insulin in the blood mean high blood sugar.
The term for this is insulin resistant or type 2 diabetes. Many Americans are out there right now with cells clogged to a point where they are considered pre-diabetic. The majority of these Americans are not properly diagnosed, and it will turn into full-blown diabetes in their future.
Junk does not have the vitamins and nutrients to combat any of the diseases and sicknesses that result from eating...JUNK. Double-sided hit on that one.
Food (real food) doesn’t break down fast in the body like junk. Food breaks down nice and easy allowing the pancreas to pump out a nice easy stream of insulin and taking the glucose to the cells just like nature intended. Like an I.V. drip of energy carrying you throughout your day.
Food also has both soluble and insoluble fiber in it. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like and is fermented by the bacteria in the digestive tract. This fiber can help lower blood cholesterol and balance out blood sugar levels
Insoluble fiber DOES NOT dissolve in water and once it hits your digestive track it adds bulk to your stool which on its journey will cleanse the intestinal walls of debris left over from junk. The added bulk of your stool will also soften it and will decrease the chance of constipation and keep your body flowing as it should.
Fiber aids in weight loss as well for a couple of reasons. First, it takes longer to chew foods with more fiber in them so your body will have time to realize when it is full and prevent overeating. Second, the bulk of the fiber will make you feel fuller longer decreasing the amount of extra food that you will eat. High fiber foods typically have fewer calories than other "Junk".
Junk has some fiber but only if it is added by the manufacturer in the process. Much of the junk we eat is void of any fiber and the only way to get the fiber needed would eat the box that it came in.
Food has one ingredient. Apple has an apple in it. Simple as that. Avocado is made of…. you guessed it, avocado.
If you put in something unnatural into the body (JUNK) the body does not function right. The body will have to adjust and struggle to break the Junk down, it will not know what to do with some of the ingredients and everything goes haywire. It creates an acidic environment inside the body, cells malfunction, inflammation gets turned on, and sickness and disease result. Do you see the picture I am painting here? Not pretty!
So, I will sum it up here. You are what you eat……do not be junk.
If you put in food, the body will be nourished and flourish. If you put food in, and especially high-quality nutrient-dense food, the body will work at its optimal level and beyond. The immune system will be working top notch and be resistant to sickness and disease. Your energy levels will be off the charts and your digestive track will function like a well-oiled machine. Your mood and attitude would be positive, your sleep would be perfect, and everything would be working as nature intended. Anytime you do the opposite and put junk in the body it is like trying to row a boat upstream. There is nothing good upstream so just let go of the ores, let the current spin you around and carry you downstream to health and wellness.