Vegetarianism

FAQ:  Some of my friends are going more into vegetarianism. I am a Body Type One and you suggested that Type Ones have a hard time properly breaking dawn carbohydrates. I would like to become vegetarian or going gluten-free. What are your thoughts about it?

ANSWER: As a doctor of both nutrition and health science, I can only answer your question based on my years of research and clinical findings. First, let’s look at how the body uses the food we eat for energy – this is based on the idea that we all properly break down the food we eat:

  • Carbohydrates break down into smaller sugars (glucose, fructose, and galactose), which are absorbed and used as energy.Any glucose not needed right away gets stored in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. The body stores glucose derived from dietary carbohydrates. Once these glycogen stores are filled up, any extra gets stored as fat.
  • Dietary fat is often blamed for many health problems; however,fat is an essential nutrient for optimal health. Adipose tissue {stored fat) provides cushion and insulation to internal organs, covers the nerves, moves vitamins (A, D, E, and K) throughout the body, and is the largest reserve of stored energy available for activity. Fat is stored when we consume more calories than we use. I think we all know the body stores fat.
  • Dietary proteins are broken down into amino acids, often called the building blocks of the body because their combinations combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair,etc. They serve other functions as well including nutrient transportation and enzyme production. Unlike carbohydrates and fats. which are stored i n the body for use when called upon. dietary proteins (essential amino acids) are neither stored nor can they be synthesized (produced) by the body.This is why they are called essential.

Eating complete proteins is required because our body doesn’t store protein. Foods supply protein in varying amounts ranging from complete to incomplete proteins.

Complete proteins contain 9 essential amino acids and come mainly from animal products such as meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. Incomplete proteins lacking one or more essential amino acids come from sources such as vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Since our body doesn’t store proteins at all, and we have chosen not to eat animal protein, it is important that we mix and match our meal to make sure we get the nine essential amino acids for good health.

I am going to use exercise to explain my apprehension. We all need protein to repair and rebuild muscle, which is naturally broken down during exercise. If there is not enough protein (complete essential amino acids) available this becomes harmful to our overall health. Our body’s requirement of protein to repair and build when there is not enough complete protein available leads to crisis. The body’s natural response involves breaking down our own muscles to get the necessary protein. This is referred to as catabolism.

One would need to be knowledgeable and disciplined in combining the proper foods for our body to get its essential amino acids. The biggest challenge for most Vegans (a strict vegetarian who does not eat animal products) is getting the proper amount of protein (building blocks of amino acids) in their diet for repair and health. Poorly planned vegan diets tend to be low in vitamin 812,Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and iodine. Many vegetarians consider ovo-lacto vegetarianism, eating of dairy and egg products to supply the essential proteins. An egg contains all nine of the essential amino acids.

My answer to your question about vegetarianism depends completely on your willingness to combine plant foods at a meal, such as black beans and rice, or consider ovo-lacto vegetarianism. As a Type One, your predisposition is to be low in Vitamin 812, Vitamin D, and body muscle for health. There are blood tests available which measure nutrient balance. A Body Comp Analysis can measure the amount of muscle on your body.This is important because many who become vegetarian and then begin an exercise program tend to lose more muscle than fat.

Vegetarians require supplemental digestive enzymes with meals especially if they have a problem adequately breaking down carbohydrates. As a preventative measure, adding proper protease supplementation between meals is another good suggestion to balance the immune system, assist to maintain muscle, and remember that all enzymes are proteins. I will address gluten-free food and sensitivities in another post.

©2012

 

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