People will often ask me, "What is the best diet for fat loss?" Much to their frustration, the blanket response I give them everytime is, "Whatever works for you! Yet no matter whether you are strict paleo or one of those 'carb-loving-fat-haters'; there is a trick I learnt long ago that not only works a treat in eliciting fat loss, but also passes on a multitude of other health benefits to boot!
It is important to understand the relationship between how what we eat influences not only our physiology, but how we feel. This comes as a result of two primary influencers; and they are our neurotransmitter makeup and hormonal balance.
If you were to take away but ONE thing from this article today, then let it be this: the food you eat acts as a signalling mechanism to the body, through which hormonal output is triggered and gene expression is modulated. Simply put; everything you eat either helps promote either health or disease.
Recent findings in one study conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology, has shed light on this connection. By following a low carbohydrate diet; where the total macronutrient split was into equal thirds between carbohydrates, protein and fat, they discovered an overall reduction in activity from gene groups that are directly responsible for triggering inflammation. The same gene groups were linked to the onset of dementia, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer..... When it all boils down, it is basically the sum majority of all degenerative illnesses plaguing mankind today.
HOW FOOD AFFECTS HORMONES
To give you an example of the delicate relationship between food choice affect our hormones, then consider if you will the effects of eating a standard western diet. By definition, we are talking about a diet high in carbohydrates from processed foods, grains and refined sugars alongside moderate to low vegetable intake and little fat. Now although this appears to be fairly standard and accepted as normal to the general population, the consequences of eating in this fashion can have dire consequences when you consider the following:
#1 ACIDITY & FOOD CRAVINGS
A diet high in carbohydrate rich foods containing grains and sugar all flood the bloodstream with glucose causing constant spikes and crashes, activating the brains pleasure centres and driving food cravings. These foods also acidify the blood, and begin driving the cycle of inflammation in the body. Sugar and gluten are also notorious for causing gut permeability, leaving one vulnerable to the development of auto immune disorders, and issues with malabsorption of vital micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium.
#2 INSULIN RESISTANCE
Over time, chronically elevated blood sugar levels can lead to varying degrees of insulin resistance, a condition commonly caused as a result of a diet high in carbohydrates. Insulin is a hormone whose role is best described as being key that opens the door to cells of the body to allow glucose to be assimilated in for energy production. In the case of insulin resistance, the body becomes desensitised to insulins presence in the blood and that door remains locked tight. This means there is less glucose shuttled into cells, and a higher likelihood of calories from carbohydrates in the diet being stored as adipose tissue. Fat. If insulin never did it's job, and blood sugar was allowed to escalate then it would kill you.
#3 ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
Fat cells function as endocrine organs, and a higher body fat percentage will coincide with increased secretion of estrogen, as well as inflammatory proteins called cytokines. Increased estrogen is known to cause water retention and weight gain, particularly driving fat storage around the thighs and buttocks.
A higher ratio of omega 6 fats; such as those found in grains, vegetable oils and nuts to omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, also causes an inflammatory effect in the body which drives up cortisol levels, and lowers testosterone. Commonly ingesting food that are sources of food intolerance such as dairy or whey protein,
But all that aside, here is what I know for sure; if your priority is to get lean and build muscle then give yourself a running headstart by beginning each day with a high protein, high fat meat and nuts breakfast. Pioneered by the one and only Mr Charles R. Poliquin, the meat and nuts breakfast I believe is THE best way to begin your day if optimal health and body composition is the ultimate goal.
BENEFITS OF THE 'MEAT & NUTS BREAKFAST'
What you eat in the morning will make or break how you feel for the rest of the day.
Red meat is nutrient dense and contains zinc, iron, carnitine, vitamin B12 that are all essential for immune function, cognition, detoxification and testosterone production. It also provides the body with the essential amino acids it requires from protein, for muscle growth and repair. Among these amino acids is L-tyrosine, which is also crucial for thyroid hormone synthesis, helping regulate metabolism, and also acts as a precursor to the bodies catecholamines - epinephrine and norepinephrine. Otherwise known as adrenaline and noradrenaline; these two essential non steroidal hormones play a central role in fatty acid mobilisation and oxidisation during exercise.
In the meat & nuts breakfast, your primary morning energy source will come from......dun dun DUN! Fat. Yes, FAT! This is not a typo. Eating higher amounts of dietary fat in the morning has a multitude of benefits such as stabilised blood sugar levels and supplying your body with cholesterol which is the building blocks of all the bodies steroid hormones. However for fat loss, stabilising blood sugar is the key focus here. Higher fat in the morning means lower insulin for the first half of the day, stabilised energy levels and no mid morning carb crashes as you would experience from eating the cereal or other common breakfast alternatives such as bagels, muesli, yoghurt, fruit juice or toast.
Commonly referred to as carb backloading, this style of eating will dramatically increase your bodies glucose tolerance simply by saving your carb meals for later in the day. My personal recommendation, would be to stack your carbs at night after your workout. Providing you train hard enough, you will have depleted muscle glycogen enough to the point you are leaving your muscles perfectly primed to more efficiently utilise glucose for energy replenishment rather than storing it as fat. So the lesson here: save your starches 'till after you train.
OPTIMISING NEUROTRANSMITTER BALANCE
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of your bodies nervous system. They have a direct correlation with cognitive function, mood and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Neurotransmitter imbalances are commonly caused as a result of impaired gut function and poor nutrition. Simple as it may seem, the meat & nuts breakfast essentially sets up your mood for the entire day by giving by feeding your brain the nutrients needed for neurotransmitter synthesis first thing in the morning.
It accomplishes this in the following ways:
- L-Tyrosine, acts as a precursor to the production of dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure and drive.
- Nuts and eggs yolks are excellent dietary sources of choline, a water soluble nutrient and precursor to acetyl-choline production - a neurotransmitter that improves memory and cognition. Acetyl-choline controls the speed at which information is processed in the brain. Low acetyl-choline is associated with mood swings, memory loss and attention deficit. Choline is also a methyl donor, and plays an important role in metabolic processes within the body including the transportation of fatty acids into cells to be burnt as energy.
So to summarise, you can expect better focus, motivation, training drive and concentration - the perfect mindset for a successful training session!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Search my site to find articles on a variety of topics, including fat loss, workouts, nutrition, recipes and much more!
FIND ME ONLINE
MAKE AN ENQUIRY
Here's how to put the meat & nuts breakfast together to begin to work for you:
- Choose your animal protein source
- Choose a source of 'good' fats
- Serve with a side of greens
- Rotate your food selections daily to avoid developing food intolerances
It's actually that simple!
Some sample meat & nuts breakfast combination you could try could include:
- Beef rump steak, broccolini & macadamia nut butter
- Kangaroo fillet, grilled zucchini & raw almonds
- Baked salmon, sauerkraut & coconut oil
WHAT IF I HAVE NUT ALLERGIES?
So what do you do if you are allergic to nuts? If this is the case, Charles recommends substituting low GI fruits. I would encourage you to read his original article on his website for more information about what to do in this circumstance and for more information. I have also included a video link above where Charles is being interviewed firsthand on the many benefits of the meat & nuts breakfast.
If you would like to learn more about the Meat and Nuts Breakfast, then I would recommend taking the time to read the original article penned by Charles Poliquin over at his website. You can access the original article by clicking the link below:
- The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919073845.htm>.
- Poliquin, Charles R. "The Meat and Nuts Breakfast." Http://www.strengthsensei.com/the-meat-and-nut-breakfast/. Strength Sensei, 2016. Web. <http://www.strengthsensei.com/the-meat-and-nut-breakfast/>.
- Poliquin, Charles R. "A Few More Reasons To Adopt The Meat & Nuts Breakfast." Http://www.strengthsensei.com/a-few-more-reasons-to-adopt-the-meat-and-nuts-breakfast/. Strength Sensei, 2016. Web. <http://www.strengthsensei.com/a-few-more-reasons-to-adopt-the-meat-and-nuts-breakfast/>.
- Leidy, H. J., H. A. Hoetel, S. M. Douglas, K. A. Higgins, and R. S. Share. "Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26239831>.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE. Information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare practitioner or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information within this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. You should always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement or adopting any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.