I’ve found myself reading quite a bit more about health, diet and general fitness related things lately. I think part of it is my own curiosity, part of it is trying to be more knowledge since I write daily about health and fitness, and also a large part because people have been forwarding me links quite a lot more frequently since this blog has gotten going. It is pretty exciting to see that people are reading these articles about health, thinking about it and then sending them on to me.

This morning Adrienne forwarded me a New York Times article that talked of a recent clinical trial looking at the different types of food. Fats, carbohydrates and proteins, all of which according to conventional thinking were equivalent once converted by our bodies. Once the fuel has been broken down into its lesser parts, it’s treated equally by our bodies. This study looked at how the metabolism of people on varying diets adapted to different post-weight loss diets, each focusing on either carbs, proteins or a balance. The idea was that if they were all treated equally by the body, then if calorie count remained steady, the metabolisms should see roughly the same effect. They arguably didn’t.

The way the body stores the energy from food is a very complex and intricate system. There are many hormones, importantly insulin, which promotes the long-term storage of fat deposits in a cell by taking up glucose from the blood and storing it as glycogen. On top of that, insulin also inhibits the use of fat as an energy source.  This all matters quite a bit, because different food sources affect insulin secretion levels differently. A high-carbohydrate diet promotes the secretion of insulin, which as described above can promote fat storage.

Not to get too technical, and to the point of this blog post, the conclusion is simply that what we eat obviously matters. Where I wanted to make my comment on this is something most of these diet studies don’t address.These articles all point to this new diet or that old diet, looking for that magic balance. The reality of it is a balance of good eating and daily exercise is the only true way to get in shape. In my opinion the body is a very versatile machine that can function on a whole spectrum of different food sources, but the one thing that it universally needs is exercise. We aren’t designed to sit in offices completely sedentary for eight hours a day, and then another three hours on the couch at night. No matter what we eat, with that sedentary lifestyle we simply cannot be healthy. We are built around being used. We get stronger from that use. We get more efficient from being used. We are the same as a car really, consistent use keeps the system functioning. Park it too long and random things will break.

Just my 2 cents!