How to use Science to Lose Weight #2 – carbohydrates

So your body runs on glucose. Glucose belongs to a class of chemicals called carbohydrates. And before we go any further we must look at what carbohydrates are and how they work.

Carbohydrates are very sensibly named – as their most basic structure is carbon + water. That is, their basic formula is CH2O, and every carbohydrate has this basic formula, but only in multiples of 6. So glucose is C6H12O6.

Image result for glucose

This 6 – carbon unit is the most basic structure possible, so it is referred to as a monosaccharide.

Table sugar (sucrose) is C12H24O12 and looks like this:

Image result for sucrose

So sucrose is a disaccharide, and is composed of two monosaccharides.

And the sky’s the limit – saccharide units can be added together to infinity, like chemical lego blocks. An example of a polysaccharide is starch:

Image result for starch

So a complex carbohydrate like starch is made up of many glucose units. Before your body gets fuel, therefore, it must break these complex molecules into its component glucose molecules.

But the real question is – how quickly does this happen? If the breakdown happens quickly, then your blood is flooded with glucose.  This can cause a serious medical condition called hyperglycemia, so your body removes the excess glucose by releasing insulin into your blood from your pancreas.

This has two long-term effects – firstly it causes you to put on weight, as the excess sugar is converted to fat. But it can also cause you to become a diabetic, as your pancreas eventually gets overloaded and just gives up – this is why fat people are often also diabetic.

The rate at which a food releases glucose is referred to as its glycemic index (GI), and is the single most important factor in determining whether the food is fattening or not.

Now, this results in some weird outcomes. For example, look on the label for Nutella and you’ll see it’s loaded with sugar and fat – but it’s low in GI. And the reason is simply that the fat slows down the rate at which the sugar breaks down.

And this is a pattern – often the fibre in something slows down the sugar absorption rate, so you are far better, for example, eating whole fruits rather than fruit juices.

For further reading, have a look at Eat Yourself Slim, which explains all this in fine detail

How to use Science to Lose Weight #1

The human body is the most complex chemical reactor in existence. Ultimately, the amount of fat on your body is the result of multiple factors, many of which are poorly understood in the marketplace.

The purpose of this series of posts is to explain what those factors are, so you can make informed lifestyle decisions decisions when choosing how and when you exercise, and what type of food you eat

This has been a particular issue for me for many years now, as I am one of the small number of men to have suffered from an eating disorder. Eating disorders are almost exclusively the domain of women (97%). I am one of the 3%.

If you are reading this article to quickly get to the bottom line (as I often do) I will very quickly summarise the conclusions I have come to, and the rest of this article and the ones that follow it will explain the logic behind those conclusions

In summary:

1. The concept of calories in, calories out is wrong. The number of calories a food contains doesn’t mean much,

2. The glycaemic index of a food is everything.

3. When looking at a food label the amount of sugar a food contains is far more important than the amount of fat it contains.

4. When selecting foods based upon the type of fat they contain, where possible consume monounsaturated fats.

The first issue to is how the body gets its energy to operate. In other words, where does the body get its fuel? Your car gets its energy from either petrol or diesel – what is the fuel that your body runs on?

The answer is that it is mostly glycogen (a form of glucose). I say “mostly” because under some circumstances the body has the ability to switch to different fuels, but for the purpose of this discussion we can stick with glucose as the main source of fuel.

In simple terms there are two main of glucose – carbohydrates and fat in extreme circumstances muscle tissue can be broken down to provide glucose, but this is not the normal mechanism of operation.
In my next post we’ll consider this fuel system in more detail, and start to understand how we can manage it to control our waistlines.

How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

If you drive your car for any length of time then sooner or later your alloy wheels will collect grime. The front wheels will be worse because of the brake dust. That is, as you brake, most of the work is being done by your front brakes, as obviously the weight transfers to the front of the car as you brake.

With normal carwash it does not come off very easily, and is very greasy in nature. Even if you go to one of those DIY carwashes and use the foaming brush even then it doesn’t come off very well.

So use oven cleaner. Spray oven cleaner onto it, leave it for a couple of minutes, and it will just wipe straight off. At the DIY carwash, it will just blast off with the high pressure water cleaner

How to stretch leather shoes that are too small

A little while ago I bought some RM Williams boots on Ebay that were just the style I like and were surprisingly cheap.

Small problem – they were a size too small. I could get them on, but after a couple of hours it hurt so bad I had to take them off. So I hunted around for a way to stretch them. There are lots of ideas out there, and it took a while before I found that I thought would work: rice.

Fill the front half of the boot with rice, sit the boots up against something so that the toes are pointing to the ground, and fill them with water. The rice, of course, soaks up the water and expands, and in doing so moistens the leather and helps it stretch.

I left them overnight and it worked – my boots are now a comfortable fit.

Shannon Lush gets it wrong #7

Shannon Lush once again regaled us with her advice on home cleaning on 6PR on Monday.

One listener called in and said that he had a shirt that had one white sleeve and one black sleeve. He wanted to know how to wash it such that the brightness of the white was enhanced. Shannon’s answer referred solely to the washing temp, and suggested that if the water was “blood temperature” that this would achieve the desired result. This answer is partly right – with modern detergents warm water produces optimum results. But the point is that such a detergent is required. Premium brands such as OMO or Biozet contain optical brighteners that not only will make the white brighter, but will also make the black a more vivid black.

Next a listener wanted to know how to get a wasp nest off the cement rendering of his house. He said that he had used high pressure to remove it but it hadn’t worked. Shannon’s answer was, firstly, that high pressure cleaning only “forces dirt in further.” I’m sure this information would be news to the many businesses that use high pressure water to clean houses and driveways. We were then told that the wasp nest would release endorphins. I think she meant pheremones – endorphins are the natural feel-good chemicals that your body releases as a response to intense exercise.

The advice to use glycerine/tea tree oil to dislodge the nest is sound, however. Glycerine has pretty good stain removing properties due to its de-facto surfactant structure. But caustic soda would work better. Spray the nest with an oven cleaner, wait half an hour or so, and then blast with the HP cleaner and it will come away.

Then came a pantry moth question. Shannon’s answer was to use Bay Leaves, as they “release enzymes that render moths sterile.” This sounded a little far-fetched to me, but I don’t know everything so I investigated. I asked Bryce Peters, a well-known entemologist at UTS in Sydney.

His verbatim reply was:

I have not heard that one. I know some people claim Bay leaves repel moths. I have not seen any evidence of that.