There are so many hormones and chemicals at play in your body after you ingest something it takes a very interested mind to see the big picture but there is definitely a picture emerging…
Some of the hormones and chemicals include:
- Glucagon: the nutrient usage trigger, triggered when blood sugar is low.
- Leptin: the body-fat feedback gauge, low leptin means hunger.
- Insulin: the nutrient storage trigger (including fat), triggered primarily by glucose
- Dopamine: the ‘fix’ giver, triggered by high sugar
- Ghrelin: the empty-tank guage, high ghrelin means hunger.
There are many other hormones/chemicals at play caused by exericse, stress, illness, sleep, light levels, even cold that all cause various reactions within our bodies.
If you think about it, your body is like a church with an amazing organ located within, where various chords cause different resonances in the building, a big bass note might shake the windows, a high pitched note might cause a chandelier to ring, but various chords cause various responses and reactions.
Mother nature used to be the church organist of your body, with her seasons playing a lovely song from season to season, where the song played guaranteed your survival.
Consider how the song might go…
- In spring we had very little vegetation but plenty of young animals to hunt, so we get high protein diets, triggering both insulin and glucagon chords, which means amino acid storage but retarded sugar/fat storage. Muscle protein synthesis also kicks in more as we become catabolic and we release testosterone and growth hormone from hunting and so we become strong and fit.
- In summer, berries and fruits appear, causing a greater insulin response from the glucose in the fruit, we also begin to want to store more fat again as fructose causes leptin levels to dip, making us want to eat things that will make us put up some weight, the note being played here has us our internal fat gauge set to believe we have less body-fat than we actually have. The insulin response facilitates fat storage. There is also more light now causing us to sleep less, potentially making us eat more as leptin levels are further reduced. Ghrelin also increases with sleep deprivation causing more hunger and we become gorgers.
- In late summer/early autumn, ghrelin is even more volatile with high carb bounce backs, causing more frequent hunger at this point and carbs+fat trigger large dopamine response so that we tend to comfort eat and gorge. We become total truffle snufflers with the chords being played now. With leptin low, ghrelin high and dopamine response, we are primed to gorge and continue to store white body fat (WAT).
- As autumn progresses and more white fat is stored, the shift happens between fructose and glucose and starchy carbs and leptin levels rise again and at a crucial moment, reacting with insulin, the chord triggers BAT fat activation, which is critical to our winter survival.
- As winter approaches, and insulin levels drop but cold increases BAT activation is further triggered by the winter song and becomes fueled by body-fat and nuts we stored up in autumn. Our diets now become ketogenic and our metabolisms rise so that we become insulated furnaces, burning 300 calories more per day in order to generate protective body heat. Our BAT fat layer is activated around our neck and shoulders, covered by our long natural hair and so we have our attic insulation in place, stopping the unnecessary loss of the heat we are now generating from escaping.
All of these chords were played in sequence by nature in a complex song, which is over-simplified above, but gives an idea of some of what is going on. Now that we have heated homes and carbs and high fructose snacks available every day, total confusion/exploitation with regards to diet, artificial lights in our rooms, and less activities and more stress etc. it’s like as if the church organ is being played by a lunatic banging random keys and notes playing multiple chords at once with leptin down, ghrelin up, cortisol up, testosterone down, dopamine up, insulin up, more fat floating around in our bloodstreams and in our white fat cells and littler or no brown fat activation, it’s no longer music anymore, it’s noise.
I believe this to be the major factor in the current crisis facing our planet, with chronic health issues such as obesity and diabetes now at epidemic levels, all because we have strayed from nature’s song.
Now that mother nature no longer plays these chords, it’s up to us to become the church organist of our own bodies, learn to play step by step from lesson 1 and play a new song so that we become what we are supposed to be… It isn’t that hard with a little bit of knowledge….
Don’t Eat for Winter, not all of the time at least…