Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diet Advice from Your Small Intestine

One of your digestive system’s limitations is that the body parts in charge of picking, identifying, and enjoying what you eat (your brain and your mouth) sit a great distance away from the parts that actually process and absorb your meal (mainly, your small intestine). So it’s no wonder that this system so often slips out of sync, sending you hurtling straight into dietary trouble.
The real problem is that your brain and mouth follow a somewhat outdated ingredient list. They’re always searching for the immediate gratification of sweet, calorie-dense foods. The rest of your digestive system simply processes whatever it gets. In 100,000 years of human evolution, it never occurred to anyone that people might somehow be able to consume vastly more food than they need.

The only antidote to the rampant abuses of modern eating is to simplify your diet with a few common-sense principles. And now that your small intestine has broken your breakfast down into its essential parts—protein, fat, and sugar—it’s easier to pick out these principles, and to separate what your body eats from what it needs. Here’s what your small intestine would ask for if it had a voice:

• Natural, unprocessed foods. Industrial processing—the sort of thing that changes a box of ordinary rice into a package of breakfast cereal— amounts to pre-digestion. It takes responsibility for breaking down foods away from your small intestine, and it can eliminate trace elements of hundreds of different nutrients—all for a product that tastes like flavored packing material.

• Plant-based foods, with small quantities of meat. Unless you’re a weight-training athlete, your body can get all the protein it needs from two servings of meat per day. (That’s a piece of chicken, beef, or fish that’s the size of the palm of your hand, without the fingers.) Dieticians often suggest treating meat as a condiment—in other words, as something you add to flavor a nutrient-rich plate of vegetables.

• A rich variety. Rather than obsess about the nutritional merits of squash versus sweet potatoes, strive to incorporate a range of healthy food into your diet. Highly varied dining offers another benefit: The sheer amount of healthy food tends to crowd out other, less desirable foods.

• More complex carbohydrates, less sugar. Your mouth, stomach, and small intestine eventually break down all carbohydrates into sugar. The more refined the carbohydrate, the faster the conversion, and the quicker you absorb it. This is a problem, because your digestive system is all about pacing (as demonstrated by the careful, one-squirt-ata- time food transmission from your stomach to your small intestine). Heavily refined foods leave your stomach more quickly, which reduces your body’s ability to pace itself and leads to see-sawing levels of blood sugar that your liver must work hard to adjust. But if you fill up with complex carbohydrates like vegetables, whole wheat flour, and brown rice, you’ll have a tankful of food that will fuel you with a slow, steady supply of sugar for hours to come.

• Water. If your food comes premixed with fluid, you need less saliva and gastric juice to create the creamy paste your digestive system expects. And although well-meaning nutritionists sometimes warn heavy drinkers (of water) that they can dilute their gastric acids at mealtime, the effect is minor and has little effect on the average stomach.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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