KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcasts: The Sugar Flip Flop

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Posted on 2nd November 2011 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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KC Craichy talks with elite fitness trainer Andy O’Brien about the impact of sugar on the human body.

Audio Transcript

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy with special guest, Andy O’Brien, from Calgary, Alberta…

Andy: You got it.

KC: …Canada. Andy’s a great friend and he really gets it. He’s an elite strength and fitness trainer who gets the whole picture. It’s always exciting to get with you, Andy.

Andy: Thank you, KC.

KC: We’ve done some other segments that are just fascinating, and we’ll just keep going here.

Andy: Perfect.

KC: We started a discussion about micro nutrients and how micro nutrients are critically important. You have on the top, the carbohydrates, fat, proteins, and even fiber can be considered a micro nutrient. But what we really need, with the exception of fiber, because fiber is sometimes used like it is, what we really need is what comes out of there. The 50 plus essential vitamins and minerals, plus cofactors, plus phyto nutrients, plus, plus, plus, for the body to function as it’s designed to function. We talked about athletes being the fastest growing segment of the malnourished population. I contend that most people are malnourished. If you just look at the restaurants they eat at and the fast food that a lot of us are consuming, it is deficient in so many of these required nutrients in order to perform. Today, I want to talk about the macronutrient flip-flop. The carbohydrate breaks down to sugar slowly, so the body can use it in the way it’s supposed to be used. Now, the only time sugar is really warranted is post-workout, really. Post-workout is when pure sugar is really warranted, because we know to get the insulin levels up, and muscle synthesis, and so on. People have taken this micro nutrient, and they’ve brought it out and made it a macro nutrient. Do you see this being an issue?

Andy: Yeah, it’s a huge issue. I’ve read some different studies on sugar, and the epidemic in the world that we live in. There’s sugar in everything. A lot people don’t realize, you pick up a slice of whole wheat bread and it’s full of sugar. Obviously, it’s in a lot of snack foods, it’s in a lot of sodas. You walk into a convenience store these days, and you’ve got the section that has water, and it’s about this big, and then you walk into the section that has all of your sodas, and all of your sport drinks and whatnot, and it’s just full of sugar. Our body’s become addicted to sugar, because it’s such a short lifespan nutrient. It gets in our body, and then we start craving it over and over, and it goes on to this vicious cycle. I’ve actually seen statistics, KC, that show we take almost a 300 amount of more sugar in our diet, on average, than we did about 100 years ago.

KC: A hundred years ago, on average five pounds a year.

Andy: Wow.

KC: And that was when grandma made an apple pie, or sometimes we went to the store for a piece of candy or whatever.

Andy: Exactly.

KC: That’s a micro nutrient, right? Well, today, more than100 years later, it’s 150+ pounds a year.

Andy: Wow. That’s amazing.

KC: So people are eating their body weight, for the most part, in sugar a year.

Andy: Of course.

KC: So it has literally become a macro nutrient.

Andy: That’s amazing. It’s pretty scary. I think we get familiar with sugar, it seems like a natural product, so people aren’t really that afraid of it.

KC: It’s great. Love it!

Andy: It tastes great, it’s really good. The goal for our body, every time we put some fuel into our body, whether we’re having a supplement or whether we’re having a full meal, is to try and get the release of nutrients from that meal to release as slow as possible. That’s where you can really maximize the hormonal and the metabolic process that’s going on in your body. This applies to athletes who are looking for that great response. It applies to anybody who wants to improve their immune system and become healthier. It applies to anybody who wants to get leaner, anybody who wants to put on more muscle. You want to try to delay the release of energy and the release of nutrients into your body. So when you sit down and have a meal, whether it’s meal replacement or whether it’s a full meal, you want that to try and last as long as you possibly can, and certainly to your next meal. The problem with sugar is it goes so quickly into your system, that you end up having this energy for a very short amount of time, sometimes 15 to 20 minutes, and then you go through this empty period for an hour, hour and a half. The metabolic and hormonal response during that empty period is negative. So you’re trying to decrease your metabolic rate, you’re trying to decrease the productivity of the body because your body doesn’t have any fuel, so it’s trying to decrease its energy production. If you’re body’s fueled throughout that whole period, then your body actually…

KC: Sustain energy.

Andy: Exactly, sustain energy. Your body’s actually increasing its energy production.

KC: So how do athletes get on the thought that somehow, if I have this sugar it’s going to help me, it’s going to fuel me during my athletics, or it’s going to help me.

Andy: I think some people feel like, because it’s quick energy, that it works really well. Unfortunately, it’s short-lasting energy. This is the problem. If you’ve got a hockey game, and it’s a 7:00 game and it’s 6:00, and your belly’s growling a little bit, you’re saying to yourself, look, I need something quick, so I’m going to grab a quick protein bar. You eat that protein bar, you’re going to feel great for about 20 minutes, half hour. Then you’re going to feel empty again. Not only are you going to feel empty, but the physical adaptation to the exercise is going to be negative. Instead of producing more muscle and having a great physiological response to the movements that you’re doing, you’re actually producing less. You’re actually decreasing your energy, decreasing your metabolism, decreasing your response to exercise because you don’t have the fuel to be able to sustain that high energy production in your body.

KC: What about the weekend warrior who’s running a weekend 15K race, or even a marathon, and they really are just going with liquid sugar with no protein in it?

Andy: It’s probably the worst thing you can do. I think what happens with a lot of people is they get the quick sugar, and then they run out and they take more. Then they run out and they take more, and they take more, and they take more, and before too long you’re just getting on this continuous circle of short-acting sugars and short-acting fuel. Very often, not only do you not have the vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that go along with that, that real food typically has, but you’re also creating a metabolic and a hormonal response, and a response for your central nervous system to decrease productivity. If I’ve got fuel in my body consistently, I’m always increasing my productivity. Increasing my hormonal response, increasing my metabolic response, increasing my adaptation to exercise and to stress. If I’ve got zero energy, my body’s saying, “Look, I don’t have enough energy to do what I want to do, so I’m actually going to decrease my physiological response,” so you don’t get that adaptation that you’re looking for.

KC: People don’t realize that in a long-term endurance event like that, 15% of your energy comes from muscle, comes from protein.

Andy: Of course.

KC: So they’re actually not getting any protein, they’re really tearing it down. They’re really tearing down the body. What about carbo loading the night before? Talk about that.

Andy: It’s a similar concept. People try to load too much with carbohydrates. We really don’t have the science to be able to support the fact that the carbohydrates is going to provide them with that long-term sustained energy that they’re looking for. Really what they want to try to do, is they want to get low-glycemic, high-fiber carbohydrates with plenty of nutrients, and they want to combine it with healthy essential fats and high-quality protein. The fats and the protein are going to bind to the carbohydrate and slow it down. What we’re really looking for from a carbohydrate is low-glycemic, high-fiber, low sugar. If you combine healthy fats, healthy low-glycemic carbohydrates that are high in fiber with healthy protein, you’re going to have that long sustained energy that you’re looking for.

KC: The fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates, and it works just perfectly.

Andy: Of course. It works great.

KC: Amazing.

Andy: What’s really interesting, and I encountered this a little bit this year, is that you also get, on the other side, you get people who are trying to lose weight. They’re trying to restrict their calories, and sometimes they’re not getting the quality of the food that they need or they’re not getting that sustained release of energy that they need. Then, on the other side, you get people trying to gain weight. Young athletes or young people that are just trying to put on some muscle mass, and they take in tons of sugar because for them, they feel like, well, I’m burning off everything I’m taking in anyway. They’ve got the high-end protein powders and the really high calorie meal replacements that are just packed with refined sugars. But, what they’re not realizing is that, if you have that type of body type, in taking sugar’s actually going to make you lose weight, because you don’t have that hormonal release and the metabolic release to be able to get the growth hormone and the growth factors from your training, because you have this constant sugar and you’re always in that empty state. Instead of having that continuous fuel of energy, you’re in a catabolic state because you’re body’s running empty of fuel because your metabolism’s so fast. Ultimately, they get hypoglycemic, and that hypoglycemic response is not conducive to putting on muscle mass.

KC: Hypoglycemic equals cortisol, equals breakdown, more further. Fascinating stuff.

Andy: Thank you, KC.

KC: Thank you for being with us.

Andy: My pleasure.

KC: We just hope you enjoyed it and wish you a great day. God bless.

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