“Our bodies are precise computers directing us to the exact amount of calories that we need each day… If you have gained weight you would have eaten outside of the demands of true hunger.”
Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD, widely published nutritional researcher, recently appeared on WEDU Tampa, which aired his PBS Special “Three Steps To Incredible Health”. The special outlined his program on how to reverse disease and regain incredible health by eating a micronutrient rich diet. His plan is a result of Dr. Furhman’s life work of nutritional science and 25 years of watching people regain their health after suffering for so long. Dr. Oz of the popular The Dr. Oz Show says of Dr Fuhrman’s plan “A medical breakthrough. If you give this diet your complete commitment, there is no question in my mind that it will work for you.”
In this second step, Eliminating Food Addictions, Dr. Fuhrman gives an explanation that helps us understand the scientific reason why we overeat and have food addictions… and how to get rid of them!
Dr. Fuhrman says our food addictions have a scientific cause in which he called the Anabolic/Catabolic curve.
He explains that there are two stages of digestion, the anabolic stage and the catabolic stage.
Anabolic stage is when you’re eating and digesting. It’s like fueling your car. This is the stage when you are filling up the gas tank! In ths stage, you are breaking down food and turning it into… you! So you can absorb it. For example, glucose. Your body takes in glucose from your bloodstream and when it is not burned it stores it as glycogen in the muscle tissue and the liver. And when we need it turns it back to glucose again. During the anabolic stage when the body is busy digesting, it is not repairing, not detoxifying, not healing.
When you stop eating you enter the Catabolic stage. This is the stage when we are driving the car and burning off the gas! We are burning off what we have stored and saved from the food we have digested. This is the stage when the body can more effectively heal, detoxify and repair itself. When people enter this phase they start to feel uncomfortable because the body heightens its repair and circulates the toxins to remove them. When we eat a lot processed foods that are not micronutrient rich we build up a lot of toxic free radicals. So during this stage when the body tries to repair and clean itself of these toxins, we may not feel so good, which, as Dr. Fuhrman reminds us, is withdrawal symptoms as with caffeine or drug withdrawal!
But what makes us feel better is eating again because it stops the catabolic stage which stops that the healing process which is making us feel uncomfortable and puts us back into the anabolic stage. And now because we are feeling better we think that the bad feeling was hunger! Dr. Fuhrman calls this Toxic Hunger, that uncomfortable feeling when entering the catabolic phase. So instead of burning off what we have stored, we feel like eating again!
So how do we stop this cycle?
Dr. Fuhrman explains that as we start eating more micronutrient rich foods and less of a processed, toxic diet, when we have finished eating and enter the catabolic stage, there will be less repair needed and less toxins to be eliminated. So we will feel fine during that stage. We ate and we are not hungry anymore! Life’s good!
Now, during the catabolic stage, we have a chance to burn off that glycogen we stored in our muscle tissue and our liver.
What is True Hunger vs Toxic Hunger?
Now, we are eating healthy and feeling great! And during the catabolic stage we are burning off stored glycogen. However if we continue not to eat, the glycogen will get used up. Since the brain can only be fueled by glucose, the body may have to break down muscle tissue to make glucose for the brain. The body cannot use fat to make glucose for the brain. You can use the fat for exercising and other activities but not to make glucose for the brain.
However, the body does not want to break down muscle tissue to make to glucose for the brain. It prefers that you eat to get the glucose. That’s when it sends out a signal that you are hungry and that is True Hunger!
Why Do Diets Fail?
Dr. Fuhrman says most people think that getting back to your ideal weight is eating less and exercising more. But how many times did that not work?
A simpler way to do it is to eat the right kinds of foods that are rich in micronutrients. What are micronutrients? They are compounds found in food which contain no calories but contain disease fighting and antioxidant properties essential for good health. They are abundant in fruits and vegetables and most common of these are vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, bioflavonoids, and lignans.
Dr. Fuhrman says the secret here to good health and your ideal weight is achieving micronutrient adequacy to get back in touch with true hunger! Once you get rid of your food addiction, weight will just melt off of you.
Our bodies are precise computers directing us to the exact amount of calories that we need each day within 25 calories each day to maintain lean body mass.
But you must get rid of your addictions. Yes, there may be a few days of feeling bad but in the long run it will be worth it!
How do you know you are getting all the nutrients required for incredible health?
You may want to use a free online nutrient calculator such as The RightTrak.com. The RightTrak.com will calculate your Recommended Daily Allowances(RDA) for over 30 nutrients while it is calculating your BMI. You can select a variety of foods and The RightTrak will add up the nutrient values of your selected foods such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, beta carotene…and more. The RightTrak will turn Green if those allowances are met or Red if those allowances are not met.
Spend some time on The RightTrak.com and do several food searches. You will quickly learn and understand what favorite foods are giving you the most “Nutrient Bang for Your Buck!
Dr. Fuhrman offered an Incredible Health Combo Package which included some 6 DVDs of the program and additional information that was not aired, Incredible Health books, recipes and meal plans and memberships to Dr. Fuhrman’s health and wellness website as a donation gift exclusive to the viewers of this PBS Special. The package items were offered in various levels of donations. Please contact your local PBS Station, WEDU or Dr. Fuhrmans’s website to see how to obtain these products and services.
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