The words are infamous; the statement, a jump-out-of-your-bed nightmare, screaming “Noooooo!”
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!
Is this statement valid? With this blog post, I charge myself with the duty to answer truthfully, resolutely giving peace of mind to my fellow man and woman! But, before I answer, let’s first talk about what happens in-between your mouth and your hips…
After you swallow your food it goes through digestion. Through a process of mechanical and enzymatic activity, the food is broken down into smaller pieces which then can be absorbed by the body. It takes about an hour for your stomach muscles to churn and mix the stomach acids and enzymes that turn your food into absorbable nutrients. Depending on the type of nutrient, it also may be subjected to more digestive enzymes in the upper intestines. While some nutrients are absorbed in the stomach, the majority occurs in the small intestine, the gastrointestinal tract(GI Tract). Whatever part of the food that could not be digested or absorbed enters the large intestine for you to eliminate, which of course, has its own “process.” So in a nut shell, that’s what happens to food after you swallow it- sexy huh? Now let’s learn briefly what happens to each kind of food we eat in this digestive process because yes, it will answer our dreaded conundrum!
All our food falls in three categories which are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, also called macronutrients. Each macronutrient has it’s own breakdown “process” where ultimately the nutrient breaks down into the smallest version of itself. Carbohydrates will become glucose, proteins become amino acids, and fats become different forms of fat. (For ease of reading I have simplified these processes, for a little more scientific detail please go to the end of post.) Once the macronutrients have gone through their transformation they are absorbed into the blood and transported to various parts of the body awaiting their final fate. As it happens, all macronutrients have one of three fates which are:
- Used as immediate energy!
- Stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle for energy soon to be used.
- Converted into fat and stored as adipose tissue for energy later.
- Primarily used for building and repairing other proteins.
- Can be metabolized as energy when carbohydrate stores of energy are low.
- Converted into fat for later energy use.
- As a carrier for other substances, like fat-soluble vitamins.
- Used for energy if energy stores are low.
- Stored as fat for later energy use.
First, the answer of whether the statement, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!” is valid, is not as simple as a yes or no answer because it’s both. Think of this statement as a “buyer beware.” Where yes, if you eat too much and don’t move enough it will sit on your hips like a bad fanny pack- not cute! And no, if you eat in moderation and bust a move on the gym floor on a regular basis you can indulge your lips!
Second, now that you know that every food you eat has one of three fates, plan out your meals to choose the right fate for it and you. For example, if within 2 hours of eating you know you will be sleeping for 8 hours, you wouldn’t want to load up with high starch carbohydrates because you will not be needing that type of energy. Conversely, if within 2 hours you will be working-out with your trainer, carbohydrates would be a good thing! Then of course after your high-intensity workout, you would want to load up on protein and carbohydrates so that your body will have the nutrients it needs to repair and recharge!
Last thought, after all my education and extended learning, I realize it’s not about how much I eat that has caused me problems, whether they be weight gain, digestive, and / or allergy issues, but it has really been about what I eat. I have found that when I eat for my body type, which means eating a specified formula of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and avoiding foods that “I” don’t metabolize well, I don’t have to worry about my food sitting on my hips. I finally understood that if I give my body what it needs, no more, no less, it doesn’t have “excess” that it needs to store. Then, what you have is what’s called harmony, a well-balanced exchange of energy in and out.
TNT! (Till Next Tuesday =)
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When carbohydrates are ingested, enzymatic break down begins in the mouth and runs through the process explained above until the carbohydrates are turned into simple sugars. Through various processes the simple sugars find their way into your blood and are transported to your liver where if they are not already, are converted into glucose. Glucose is then transported to various bodily tissues where it has one of three fates.
When Proteins are ingested, the break down and absorption process occurs mainly in the stomach and upper portion of the small intestine. In the stomach, proteins are broken down into smaller proteins, and then into even smaller units called amino acids in the small intestine. The amino acids are then absorbed in the intestines and into your blood to be transported to your liver and muscles joining all other amino acids in what’s called your amino acid pool. Amino acids in the pool basically have one of three fates.
When fats are ingested, breakdown begins in the mouth and continues in the stomach. In the stomach, Triglycerides become diglycerides, then into glycerol, monoglycerides, and free fatty acids after being subjected to other digestive enzymes. The water-soluble glycerol and short and medium fatty acids are then absorbed into the small intestine then into your blood stream. While the monoglycerides and long-chain fatty acids are absorbed by the small intestine, having to go through another process to change them into chylomicrons which at some point, through your lymphatic system will end up in your blood stream being distributed to the rest of your body where they will have one of three fates.