A Truly Balanced Diet

Imagine a dual fuelled car. It has an electric motor, which provides powerful torque and powers the onboard computer. Then it has a petrol engine to keep it going for miles.

Now look at the human body. It has a big brain that likes carbohydrate for fuel, and needs glycogen for intense muscular contractions. However, it only has 2000 kcals of carbohydrate in reserve. In comparison, we have ample fat reserves, often in excess of 100,000 kcals.

Insulin is the storage hormone; when we eat it is released to put what we have eaten into our reserves. Some foods cause the release of more insulin than others. If we eat foods that spike insulin levels, we can’t burn fat for fuel because the hormone is telling our cells to store the fat.

Keeping protein out of the equation, because it is ideally only used for maintenance and repair, about a third of the fuel most people use in a day is carbohydrate, with the remaining two-thirds fat, either ingested or from stored body-fat. This is the ideal; the more we deviate from this, the greater the problems we have in trying to attain balance.


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18 Replies

  • Wow. Food for thought there! Thanks for a very informative post!

  • So what's your plan?

  • Portion control with foods that satiate appetite, because they provide the nutrients my body needs and minimally disrupt hormone levels.


  • Interestingly I think I'm just about doing most of this. The amount of fibre in this is doing wonders for my skin etc.

  • Good; don't be lulled by just fibre though. Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, wholemeal bread, baked beans and potato jackets are all high in fibre yet all spike blood glucose along with insulin/IGF-1.

  • That's true, I couldn't believe the amout of sugar in the plain wheetabix and the 0% fat free natural yoghurt I buy, so have switched to oat bran, bot found a sub for the yoghurt though

  • Hi Angela, I had the yoghurt dilemma too, I'm not a huge fan of yogurt in general but really loved the liberte Greek style ones however once I started to really cut down on sugar realised the sugar content was too high . I tried the plain low fat which was just disgusting and went in the bin after a couple of spoonfuls. My discovery was the plain full fat version of Greek yoghurt ( the Fage Total one) it's still only 96 calories per 100g so can easily be incorporated into a calorie allowance, but the extra bit of fat gives it a wonderful flavour and you can add fruit too, I'm currently loving the strawberries while they're in season.

  • I'm going to post something about this on the LCHF forum healthunlocked.com/lchf-die... , because in all fairness I have been reminded previously that this weight loss forum is for supporting people on the 12 week NHS plan, and some people may find my comments critical or discouraging.

  • I was disappointed to find the weight loss forum to be basically the 12 week forum. Would have been nice to discuss different approaches as one size certainly does not suit all in losing weight.

  • Agree with that - I think it's really useful to be able to find out what's worked for other people, then you have a wider range of things to try to see what suits you best.

  • Any thoughts on the 'heathliest' sweeteners? I'm using slender at the moment. I'm no a fan of cereals so am eating pulses and beans. Working wonders.

  • I don't use any. I was that person that couldn't stop eating a packet of sweets once I'd started, and thought eating six biscuits was demonstrating willpower. Now the only sugar I have is fruit, and only in small amounts. I'll have a small, barely-ripe banana for instance most days, because of its higher glucose (starch) to fructose ratio, yet still relatively low Gi.

    Recently I've had blackcurrants and blackberries fresh from the garden.

  • I suppose it's like giving up table salt, just get accustomed to it. I've noticed that there's loads of salt in stock cubes too.

  • I am using a teaspoon of manuka honey on my breakfast as it's a good sweetener and has other health benefits

  • It's still sugar :-)

  • Great post and your subsequent comment about hormones completely matches the podcast I listen to - the other day they interviewed two guys who have written a book called The Metabolic Effect which basically says that we should be aiming at hormonal balance in our bodies which in turn will create weight loss instead of just focusing on calorie reduction.

    Interestingly weights and resistance work really well to burn fat long after a work out is finished because during a work out sugar/glycogen is burned and because the body instinctively protects an energy source that has been depleted it turns to burning fat while it works on replenishing glycogen.

    I am finding this kind of research fascinating at the moment - thanks for your post.

  • Will check it out. Still enjoying the mini fast.

  • Too much science on here for my liking. Of course everyone is entitled to their view but for every scientist saying one food source is good you will find someone who says it's not.

    I think most of us know what is fattening and what is healthy or we have a good idea.

    Smaller portions, avoid sugar, everything else in moderation and move more is about it as far as I'm concerned.

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