Interviewer: You talk a lot about blood sugar, and when people think about in general, it's calories. Eat fewer, burn more. It's as simple as that, is what we're told. Talk about blood sugar and how that fits into the equation and why it's so important.
Mark MacDonald: Yeah. The whole thought process of calories in vs calories out, this is all like 30 years ago. I think what we forget is that the technology has, our science has evolved greatly. So what we thought made sense 30 years ago, it just doesn't stand the test of time anymore. There's reality to it. This is how the body works. When your blood sugar is stable, you're in the right range, you're eating in threes, you consistently release stored fat. Every piece of fat that someone wants to lose, each pound of it has 3500 stored calories. So, when you blood sugar is stable, your body is triggered to release that stored fat, and that fat is then used for energy.
When you starve yourself, let's say that you're burning 2000 calories a day, and you only take in 1500, and you're skipping meals, that 500 caloric deficit, you're burning fat and muscle. Fat can not be converted to feed the brain the sugar it needs, so when your blood sugar is unstable, you burn muscle as well as fat. When your blood sugar is stable, you only burn fat, and you build lean body mass.
Interviewer: How do we know where our blood sugar's at, and how do we keep it stable?
Mark: A lot of times, like a diabetic, can measure it. Like they can do. Okay, you can test your blood, but you don't have to. The reality is this: When you're hungry, your blood sugar's around the 80 mark, and you have about 20 minutes to eat. So, when you're hungry, it's time to eat, when you're very hungry, you waited too long, whenever you're starving. If you're satisfied after a meal, you're in the right range, if you're full, you ate too much.
So, all you're looking at is from the moment you wake, to the moment you sleep, eating within an hour upon waking, every three hours, you should be ready to eat, satisfied, read to eat, satisfied. When you do that, your hormones are balanced, you're consistently releasing your stored fat, your energy's great, you have no cravings, and then that allows you to win.
And guess what? When you fall off plan, because we all will, I still have my pizza night, I still have off-plan. That's just part of life, you just quickly back on. You get educated and you take back control of your food, so that you determine where you want to take your body.
Interviewer: How tough is that to listen to your body, to know when you're hungry and when you're satisfied? A lot of people say, "I think I'm kind of hungry," or, "I'm kind of full, but I could probably eat a little."
Listening to your body and know when to do things, start and stop.
Mark: You know, the body's an amazing adapter to things. When you skip meals a lot, so many people don't eat breakfast, so they're never hungry. They'll use like a coffee, and that will suppress their appetite. And I say, "Okay, well give me a week, eat this every morning, and I then I guarantee you after that week, you'll be hungry every morning."
Your body will ignite again. Your body is a refuel-as-it goes machine, so it needs to be fed consistently. So once you start doing it, then your body will start talking to you. Now, when you wake up, if you're not hungry, just do a half meal. If it's four hours, and you're not hungry, do a half meal. And what will happen is very soon, one or two weeks, your body will tell you, "Okay, it's time to eat," and then you'll have about a 20 minute window before you drop too low, and it will tell you when you're satisfied.
We're taught that losing weight simply comes down to burning more calories than we take in. Nutritionist Mark Macdonald says it's time to think differently. He describes the importance of blood sugar when it comes to weight loss and how that determines if muscle or fat gets burned.
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