Are You Eating Real Food, Or Lab Food?

Are you eating food made out a laboratory … AKA lots of ultra-processed, refined and sugar-laden foods, or more whole, real foods designed by Mother Nature?

Because apart from the fact the body struggles to break down and digest these types of “foods”, according to a French study published in JAMA (2019), for every 10% portion of our diet that’s made up of processed foods, our risk of developing diabetes jumps up another 15% right along with it.

Now this might not sound earth-shattering, but if you are a shift worker, this percentage rises even more as sleep deprivation, alone, disrupts the regulation of blood sugar levels.

This is because if you’re awake when you’re not meant to be (AKA the life of EVERY shift worker on the planet!), it leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels.

The body does this because when you’re sleep deprived, it senses that your life is in danger.

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Do You Eat Every 2-3 Hours?

To answer ‘yes’ to this question is certainly not unusual given we’ve been led to believe that we must eat regularly to keep up our metabolism.

But is this even true? According to Dr Jason Fung, author of ‘The Obesity Code’, it’s not.

It’s a diet fallacy.

A diet dogma that, for years, has never sat well with me either. It just never felt right. Never made sense.

Truth always makes sense, whereas fallacies don’t.

Historically, we would never have eaten this way. As hunter and gatherers, we would never have had unlimited access to food in the way that we do today.

Even if we go back just 50-years, very few people were overweight, and obesity was pretty much non-existent.

Back then the Keto diet didn’t exist, nor the Paleo and if you mentioned the words “clean eating or FODMAP” I’m sure people would have looked at you as though you had two heads!

So why was this? Why were few people overweight decades ago?

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Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Immunity

Something which is not often spoken about when it comes to immune function, is how our body composition can play a role in its ability to function at its optimum.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of conditions comprising of:

– excess abdominal weight
– high blood pressure
– elevated blood glucose levels
– high levels of triglycerides, and
– low levels of high-density lipoproteins or good cholesterol 

A person is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (MetS) if they have at least three of these five conditions.

Sadly this is becoming more and more prevalent both here in Australia, and overseas – also raising the risks of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Quite simply, metabolic syndrome has become a global epidemic (Saklayen 2018) – be it a very silent one.

What’s important to understand is that metabolic syndrome (MetS) negatively affects immune function, and does so by altering normal functioning of lymphatic tissues due to high levels of inflammation.

These lymphatic tissues include white blood cells (leukocytes), bone marrow, the thymus gland, spleen and lymph nodes.

So stay tuned, as over the next few weeks I’m going to share some tips and tricks on how to address all 5 of these MetS risk factors, because many people who work outside normal working hours … AKA shift workers ⏰, often present with at least 3-4 of them.

Audra x

How Fast Are You Eating?

Have you ever thought about how fast you might be eating?  

Seem like a strange question?!!

Well, the reason I ask is because according to a study published in the British Medical Journal (2018), eating speed was shown to affect obesity, BMI and weight circumference of subjects.

This is because eating quickly is associated with impaired glucose and insulin resistance, a known risk factor for diabetes – which is a condition prevalent in many who work 24/7.

Eating quickly can also lead to an increase in BMI and obesity because fast eaters may continue to eat despite having consumed sufficient amounts of calories.

When we’re running on reduced sleep (like most shift workers!!) we also don’t always receive a signal telling us that we’re feeling full because sleep deprivation suppresses an appetite regulating hormone called leptin.

So whilst we often have to inhale our food at a rate of knots thanks to time restraints around our meal breaks, being mindful of the speed at which you are eating can be a simple (and free) strategy for minimising weight gain whilst working irregular shift rotations.

Audra x

References:

Hurst, Y & Fukuda, H 2018, ‘Effects of changes in eating speed on obesity in patients with diabetes: a secondary analysis of longitudinal health check-up data’, British Medical Journal, vol. 8, no. 1.

Paz-Graniel, I, Babio, N, Mendez, I & Salas-Salvado, J 2019, ‘Association between eating speed and classical cardiovascular risk factors: A cross-sectional study’, Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-10.

Do You Really Understand The Consequences of Poor Sleep?

Yesterday I was talking to a potential client, who was bit unsure and hesitant about working with me, so I decided to ask her a few questions regarding her current lifestyle habits.

Because let’s face it, our diet and lifestyle habits are often one of the firsts thing to turn pear- shaped when we begin working 24/7!

But I also I asked her this question:

“Do you really understand some of the consequences of poor sleep?  Like really understand some of the consequences?”

Like many shift workers – she didn’t.

I mean she’d certainly heard about them, but had chosen to either ignore them or had gone into “oh, that won’t happen to me mode” – like so many people who work 24/7 do.

So let’s share some of the consequences of poor and/or insufficient sleep – and how it raises your risk of developing certain health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Weight Gain
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Depleted Immune system
  • Strained Relationships … to name a few!

Not to mention, we’re more likely to become reliant on sleep medications – many of which are not designed for long term use, and can come with some nasty side-effects.

Worse still, when we haven’t had sufficient quality sleep – we’re prone to making mistakes and/or being involved in an accident when we’re tired.

Multiple studies have shown that even moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication.   After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance is equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent.  This effectively makes you a drunk driver – without having a single drop of alcohol.

So please keep this in mind the next time you decide to sign up for a double shift!

Quite simply, there isn’t one area of your life that IS NOT affected by lack of sleep.

Now if you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that your health is important to me.  Gosh, I even walked away from a career that I loved, in order to go back to “school” and learn all that I could about shift work health, so that I could then go on, and help as many people as I could.

Right now, I’m looking for a handful of people who are committed to taking care of their sleep (and health), and are prepared to do whatever it takes NOT TO become one of the “sleep deprived statistics” that I’ve shared above.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about raising your risks of developing cardiovascular disease, gaining weight, developing Type 2 Diabetes and/or having a depleted immune system – at least do it for the sake of your relationships and/or family.  I’m sure they don’t want you to become one of those statistics – even if you don’t!

And now for the good news.

I’ve just opened up limited spots for the beta launch of my ‘7 Day Better Sleep Kickstart Program’ to take people through a step-by-step process to improve their sleep – despite working 24/7.

So if you care about your health, then let’s talk.

Book your Better Sleep Strategy session with me today (it’s Free!) by Clicking Right Here – and let’s get your sleep (and health) sorted once and for all!

Audra x

P.S:  If you don’t believe me when I say that sleep affects us in this way, feel free to read the research article below as it goes into great detail of some of the short-term and long-term health consequences of poor sleep.  The reality is, we can no longer afford to ignore the importance of sleep, and how it affects our overall health and wellbeing.  If we do, it’s only a matter of time before our health begins to suffer.

 

Reference:

Medic, G, Wille, M & Hemels, M 2017, ‘Short and long-term health consequences  of sleep disruption’, Nature and Science of Sleep, vol. 9, pp. 151-161.