By Will Hawkins

What is Nutrition? Will's Whiteboard

The benefits of bacteria in your gut - More ways to improve your gut health

Hello everyone, it's Will Hawkins here. Push doctor's in house nutritionist. I hope you are all well.

Today, welcome to the first session of what we are doing is Will's Whiteboard. Basically, we are doing this series to give you a real general understanding of how nutrition works within the body. So to start it, we are looking to do a very simple overview of what nutrition is and break it down into three parts.

What is Nutrition?

As we know, it is vital for the human body in terms of it's development, it's maintenance and it's survival. We now know that nutrition is broken definitely into two parts, which we see as macronutrients and micronutrients.

What we find is with micro and macro, there are a lot of micronutrients that are available. So I probably would do a whiteboard video for each one and look at all of the health benefits that come with each of those micros.

To get us started, we are going to look at each macro, the health benefits and where you can get them. To start this, we would look at protein.

The Nutritional benefits of Protein

Now, protein is broken into 21 different amino acids, none of which are called essential amino acids.

What we mean by that is essential is the definition for the body cannot produce these amino acids from the body, so we have to obtain them from food. The benefits that comes with proteins is - and a lot of people think is that protein is just a product for body builders but it is so much more than that.

We are made of millions of different protein, that is what makes or human genome, our DNA and what we can see here is; sure, we need it for muscle protein synthesis, we need it for muscular hypertrophy and inducing protein in the body helps us build muscle.

Not just muscle that we see physically but the interior walls, the respiratory tract, everything that we need for modern day survival. We also have lipid oxidation, what we mean lipid oxidation is fat burn and what we find is that the effect that protein has on the body is that it increases the thermal effect.

What this means is that when we ingest protein, our body temperature goes up and with body temperature comes a greater prevalence of fat being used in energy and that forms the substrate.

Protein also helps in synthesizing DNA. Our body us made of millions of different proteins and we need every single amino acid to play it's part in the re-synthesizing of DNA, which is pivotal to human genome.

Also, a few little physical attributes, we have hair and skin regeneration, which we have shown that protein and amino acids have a positive effect on hair and skin molecules and in terms of regenerating skin pigments, helps in absorbing Vitamin D and Vitamin E and other micronutrients that I am sure we will get into in a Whiteboard Video to come.

We also have creating neurotransmitters, for those of you who don't know what neurotransmitters are, they are chemical messages in your body that we use that go from the brain to the work in muscles, to the work in organs. The more neurotransmitters you have, the more effective our body works. That is protein and in terms of what we have up there you might not see the clock at the top left, it's a question that a lot of people come up to me and ask, When is it a good time to be eating protein? When is the effective time? When should I be eating it straight up? Should I be eating it with every single meal? I will definitely say in response to every single mean, I agree with that. I think we should be looking to have a fist or a little bit more portion of protein per meal, per day.

Also, with the clock, in terms of effective timing. We have noticed with recent research that having a 20-30 gram dose of protein three times a day, once every four hours is the most effective way to keep your body in what is called a net positive protein balance. When we have that, we will stimulate muscular hypertrophy, which is muscle building and we also stimulate all the other metabolic processes that we need to help vitalize our body.

The Nutritional benefits of Carbohydrates

We go over to carbohydrates next. The main source of energy within the body and kind of a lot of scrutiny of late, is carbohydrates.

People are claiming that the low carb diets are the way for us forward in terms of the human species, I would have to disagree. I would think that carbohydrates are the main substrate that we use to convert into glycogen, which we use for exercising, concentration, any form of physical movement and to me, it's pivotal that you have a good source of carbohydrates with every single meal in your day.

There are other benefits as well that you may not know including; cognitive performance in terms of stimulating neurotransmitters, which we just mentioned in protein. Also great in what we call GLUT-4 processes. I don't want to bore you too much with the science but the main purpose of GLUT-4 processes are essentially protein carriers.

If you are someone who trains or if you are someone who has of late been feeling like in terms of ingesting protein, you might find it beneficial of taking proteins all the way to the working muscles. You will find that having a high amount of GLUT-4 processes are pivotal in reaching the prevalence of muscular hypertrophy.

What we have down there is that carbohydrates are rich in what we call fibre and you will struggle to find fibre in any of the other macronutrients. It is what we need to help bridge digestive health and research has been accelerating over the last couple of years in terms of how important gut health is to us. More than just a munching factory for food, it helps in hormone production, it helps in using energy to convert into a form of substrate we use as energy.

So many other things, I am sort of thinking out the top of my head. Again, creating neurotransmitters, creates the site of where we produce them. Everything is produced in the gut and used in the brain. You might as well call the gut the second brain. Look down there, blood glucose control.

One of the most detrimental diseases probably in our country is type 2 diabetes, heavily related to obesity. The main prevalence for obesity is the fact that we have poor glucose control.

Now, it is a big hit and miss with carbohydrates because I know that there are some carbohydrates we call simple carbohydrates that have a detrimental effect on obesity. However, there are complex carbohydrates, which have a positive effect on obesity.

The main reason for this is called the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index, essentially what it means is when your body ingests food, what happens to your body in terms of how much insulin does the body need to produce to create and break down that food into glycogen. The higher the glycemic index, the more insulin we need. The lower the glycemic index, the less insulin we need and this has a big impact on how the blood glucose is controlled. Generally speaking, I recommend opting for low glycemic foods for majority of the day.

When you need to exercise, it is beneficial, it is shown in research to ingest small doses of high glycemic carbohydrates because they are converted quicker into glycogen. We will get to the sources in a second but I thought we will go through all the macros first and we will go over all the types of food and where you can get them.

The Nutritional Benefit of Fats

Finally fats, which we have shown here. Again, in the press, a lot of scrutiny, a lot of people saying that it is the number one factor of cardiac diseases, obesity, most of the epidemic diseases that are happening in this country, if not the world. Again, as we said, there are more and more studies coming out showing the benefits if healthy fats being incorporated into diet and really beneficial dietary strategy.

The benefits include body composition being a huge one whereby, we now know that fats contain 9 calories per gram. So they are quite a nutrient dense food but they are used effectively in terms of strategy because ingesting a portion of that in your meal a day makes you feel fuller for longer. What we find with that is that it allows for less binging, great satiety, which means when you feel full, therefore, you end up being in a calorie deficit at the end of the day. Our body composition is the muscle to fat ratio for those of you who don't know that.

Increase in reproductive health shows that the healthy fat, which is poly unsaturated and mono unsaturated fats have a positive impact on increase in sperm count and also in terms of anti-inflammatory properties. It allows for greater blood flow, which again is just a contribution to essential health. Joint health, just like we said in anti-inflammatory.

Especially in the lengthy years of life, we tend to get a lot inflammation around joints due to unfortunately, the degradation of ligaments and tendons. There can be arthritis, osteoporosis and the importance of anti-inflammatories allow for the production of an inflammation around the joint but also the lubrication of the joint.

Omega 3 plays a huge part in what we call the serum that allows your joint to be really smooth around the socket. Again, it allows the length of time that you would be able to maintain walking, running in the lengthy years of life. Hormone production as we mentioned.

Again, Omega 3 plays a huge part in the gut and essentially what we need to do is provide a healthy site where our bacteria can store that and start creating an area where hormones like dopamine, serotonin can be produced, our happy hormones. So that they can be sent up to the brain and used effectively.

In terms of the brain, I think I will just reiterate one more thing on that side. With Omega 3 it increases concentration, an enhanced memory, in both long term and short term and also reaction time, which from a sports perspective is great.

It might be useful in the office depending on your line of work. Reduction in heart disease, different types of cholesterol when we eat healthy fats. The negative that we tend to have from some bad saturated fats, from some hydrogenated fats come LDL cholesterol. These are called low density lipids.

Now, low density lipids have a really high melting point so we are required to work harder for our body to achieve that level of temperature to burn itself.

So you can almost imagine if you had the same level of high density lipids and low density lipids, it will take almost double the amount of time to burn the LDL than it would the HDL.

The HDL, high density lipids are essentially a healthy cholesterol. They have been shown to not only reduce the cholesterol levels but have a real beneficial role of cardiac health, which is our hearts.

Skin health, as you might see in a lot of skin products, there will always be some avocado. They recommend Omega 3, Vitamin A, all these fat soluble vitamins that we need to obtain through food in order for it to have a positive effect on our body. In this case, skin whereby we have shown that Vitamin A, Omega 3 and all the healthy fats (poly unsaturated and mono unsaturated) have a natural impact on collagen production.

Collagen production is needed to boost skin health vitality, elasticity, essentially healthy fats, which you can consider almost as the anti-aging macronutrient. Just to reiterate all of the foods that we have been talking about.

In terms if macronutrients, we have spoken about protein being the building blocks of our body and sources of where we can find it are things such as; lean meat, dark green leafy vegetables for those who are vegetarian, tofu, again for those who are vegan based or vegetarian based and dietary products.

You will find them in terms of sources of nuts to but in terms of it's of macronutrient composition, nuts are given more benefit of fats as opposed to protein, so those are basically lean sources of protein.

In terms of sources of fats, I have them on this side, we have got; diary, nuts, olive oil, oily fish and avocado. Some of many examples of where you can get healthy fats. These are basically some of the most prominent in terms of containing the healthy sources of fats, the macronutrient and some of the vitamins that come with it too.

Finally, sources of carbohydrates such as; whole grain, legumes vegetables/ fruits are what we can speak about as a low glycemic choice of carbohydrates.

Things such as; brown pasta, brown rice. Again, a really beneficial way to help, if you are somebody that has poor glucose regulation or some insulin difficulty, sensitivity. Always opt for the low glycemic carbohydrates and this slow release of energy and therefore, the spike of insulin and blood glucose is much more reduced.

What we would like to do next week is dive into more of the macronutrients, get into real details and nitty-gritty of why this is so important for our body and also, we will be looking at micronutrients in terms of what each one does, how it affects the body and how much you really need.

Then, we will be looking to incorporate other doctors, other experts in the field who want to give some insight, not only from nutrition but from a clinical perspective too. Thank you very much for you time and I look forward to seeing you again soon.