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Ever Experienced a “Food Coma?”

grandcanyon-colorinthecanyonWhile on a bus tour to the Grand Canyon, we were offered our boxed continental breakfast. It contained a large muffin, peanut butter crackers, chocolate chip cookies, an apple and OJ. Being “others centered” I was relegated to the 1/2 seat left next to a gentleman that took up 1.5 seats.  Fortunately I long ago learned not to count on meals like this, so I had consumed a filling, balanced breakfast befor enjoying the tour. Therefore I was awake and intrigued by the stories and information our fine tour guide had to share.

Remember when you were a child playing the Jello game in the car? Whenever the car turned the objective is to lean and squish the person next to you as if you were a large, unsupported mass of Jello. This game provides hours of entertainment for children, unlike my two hour bus ride. My Jello game partner was a large lifeless, formless mass after consuming a large quantity of simple carbohydrates unbalanced by any sort of protein or good fats. He was in a deep “food coma!”

After the unbalanced, hthe_jello_kingigh carbohydrate meal my Jello game partner certainly experienced a large insulin dump which led to very low blood sugar in the brain (hypoglycemia). Unlike literally every other organ in the body, the brains only energy comes from blood glucose.  The other organs can metabolize proteins or fats for energy when necessary. Since the brain does not, low blood sugar symptoms are primarily mental emotional. Symptoms like the inability to stay awake. poor focus, anger, frustration or even minor seizures can manifest when the brain becomes unfed in a hypoglycemic state. I’ve heard expert criminal witness’ testify that virtually every hate crime done occurs while the offender is in a hypoglycemic state.

Another intriguing concept that my Jello partner experienced is the accumulation of fat. Insulin is a self preservation hormone. When insulin is secreted it causes nearly 40% of that meal to be stored as fat, like triglycerides. The perceptive mind can then recognize that this is part of why the 1980’s low fat mentality led to the fattening of America. If my Jello Partner had simply consumed a good source of protein like eggs, or turkey with some good fats like olive oil, avocado, or almonds he may have also learned from our fine tour guide and if done consistently, would not likely require 1.5 seats.

The take away: When you get sleepy after a meal, something in that meal caused an insulin dump. That insulin dump starved your brain of energy and will likely be stored in large part as fat. The better you learn to manage this experience the better you can capitalize on this God given life and the better your long term health outlook will be.

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THE BEST TIME TO CONSUME SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES

As soon as exercise begins, the body down-regulates its need for insulin. The hormone used to carry blood sugar into the cells. Therefore, during exercise sugar intake produces smaller increases of this hormone because muscles become more sensitive to increased amounts of insulin and permeable to glucose, reducing the need for large amounts of insulin that normally are required to escort the sugar into the muscle. This is good news.

These same receptors are exponentially more sensitive for 30 minutes following, and up to 2 hours following exercise.  So the good news is that there is a “good time” to consume those yummy simple (sugary) carbohydrate foods. When not participating in exercise,  foods should be FAR more protein oriented. This will help to keep those nasty carbohydrate

Make good choices

cravings (and this one’s waistline) controlled.