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Chef and author Yoshiko Takeuchi
shares three essential tips on controlling
those troublesome weight gain hormones.
I was starving and depriving myself of
enjoying the food. My methods at that
time were not sustainable.
So what can we do for
These are 3 action steps to control your
blood sugar level:
1. EAT OFTEN – eat every 3 to 4 hours!
Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? Most people
eat 2 to 3 big meals per day. This means
going 6 to 8 hours without food. When
you don’t eat for that long a time, your
blood sugar level drops dramatically.
Afterwards when you eat more than 6
hours later, your blood sugar spikes,
causing there to be excess insulin in
your blood. When there is excess insulin
in your blood, your body stores fat
more easily. This is also why it is very
important to eat breakfast and have
some snacks between the meals. My
favorite snack is konnyaku sashimi. It
is extremely low GI and rich in fibre.
Simply eat sliced konnyaku or konnyaku
lasagna sheets with soy sauce and
wasabi. I am very Japanese! For you, nuts
and apple would be a great alternative.
‘So what is the fat storage
hormone? The answer is insulin!’
2. EAT FAT OR FIBRE – rich food first
Have you heard of a sequential eating
order? Basically, it means finding the
best order in which to eat your food
for weight loss. Simply by changing the
order in which you eat your foods, you
can prevent the excess storage of fat in
your diet because it avoids sugar spikes
as well as giving you want you need to
stop overeating. Eating salad (fibre-rich
vegetable and oil) before you eat high
carb foods such as pasta, rice and bread is
perfect. Every morning, I take flaxseed oil,
which doesn’t have a pleasant taste but
I eat a piece of fruit or green smoothie,
which is high GI, as a reward. The
flaxseed oil avoids a sugar spike as well.
3. EAT BLOOD SUGAR – lowering
Some Japanese superfoods are able to
lower blood sugar levels. Those foods
are konnyaku, matcha and wakame (and
other brown seaweeds).
Konnyaku (Konjac) contains almost
no calories or sugar, it is a great
substitute for carbohydrate foods such
as rice, noodles and pasta in meals.
Glucomannan, called the miracle fibre
in Konnyaku, plays a role to lower the
blood sugar level. Its bulk-forming
property delays stomach emptying,
causing slower absorption of sugar thus
reducing the blood sugar level. This
effect is particularly helpful after a meal,
because it can reduce the elevation of
blood sugar levels.
Wakame and other brown seaweeds
contain four types of natural dietary
fibre – polysaccharides, alginic acids,
fucoidan and laminarin. Their fibre-
rich properties prevent the body from
digesting the seaweed in the upper
digestive tract and help to control blood
glucose by slowing down the action of
carbohydrates in the gut.
Fucoxanthin, a carotenoid that is
found only in brown seaweeds like
wakame, aids reduction and control of
blood sugar and insulin levels in people
with type 2 Diabetes.
It has been shown that the polysaccharides
in Matcha green tea have the same
ability to regulate blood sugar as insulin.
The polysaccharides in Matcha absorb
glucose and can thus reduce blood sugar
levels in the blood. The polyphenols
(micronutrients) present in matcha green
tea also play a role in lowering blood sugar
level. Starch in any form is converted into
sugar, and this is done with the help of an
enzyme called amylase. The polyphenols
in green tea extract reduce the amount of
amylase produced, which means the blood
sugar level is also decreased.
Let’s eat the smart way so we can still
enjoy food we love and keep our shape
One last thing I want to stress is...
do not eliminate carbs completely.
‘ Too much insulin hinders the
body’s ability to breakdown fat
that has already been stored.’
Quite a few people think carbs
are evil and cut them out of their diet
completely. Well, not getting enough
sugar can also lead to putting on extra
kilos! Eating too little glucose can lead
to a low blood sugar level, causing your
body to go into “starvation mode” where
it burns your lean muscle instead of the
fat. So cutting carbohydrate completely
isn’t our answer! It is not sustainable
anyway. So just follow the three tips
above and eat carbs moderately then we
will be ok!
When you follow these tips, you
really don’t need to starve yourself to
maintain a healthy weight. I personally
hate starving – and love food very much.
Not interested in weight loss? You
can still join our healthy cooking classes
in Sydney for you to learn these Japanese
Superfoods in different ways.
For those who don’t live in Sydney
and want to know more about wakame,
konnyaku and matcha green tea, why
don’t you grab the free e-book Top 3
Japanese superfoods for weight loss by
subscribing on my website or grab a copy
of my cookbooks Japanese Superfoods
and Cooking with Soy for delicious
and easy recipes! Or stay tuned for our
upcoming online natural weight loss with
Japanese superfoods course!
Yoshiko Takeuchi is an experienced chef,
health researcher, Managing Director of
Cooking with Yoshiko and currently runs
cooking classes using Japanese superfoods
at Bondi Junction in Sydney.
Eat Smart for
he “fat storage hormone” sounds
both horrific and fictional doesn’t
it? Well, unfortunately it does
exist. I want to burn fat rather
than storing it and I believe most of you
reading this feel the same. Today, I would
like to talk about how we can avoid over
producing the fat storage hormone.
So what is the fat storage hormone?
The answer is insulin!
Our pancreas creates a hormone
called insulin, which transports glucose
into our body’s cells where it is used for
energy. When we are ingesting too much
glucose by eating sugars (dairy products
are also sugar), refined grains, or other
carbohydrate-rich foods lacking in fibre, it
leads to high blood sugar levels, which our
body can’t break down and stores as fat.
The more glucose (sugar) in your
blood, the more insulin you produce. So
getting control of your blood sugar is
Blood sugar levels can also affect how
hungry and energetic we feel.
An insulin surge can cause too much
blood sugar to be transported out of our
blood and this results in our blood sugar
and insulin levels dropping below normal.
This leaves us feeling tired and lethargic
and wanting to eat more. The unfortunate
result of this scenario is we want to eat
something else with a high sugar content.
When we do, the cycle begins all over
again. When our body does not use the
glucose in our blood, then it will be stored
as fat. This news is bad enough but it can
be even worse. Too much insulin hinders
the body’s ability to break down fat that
has already been stored.
Weight loss has been a personal
challenge for me. In Japan, social
expectations pressured me into thinking
I needed to be thin so I started my
first dieting at 13! Since then I failed
miserably many times, resulting in
putting on even more weight because
NOVA Magazine February 2017
14 JAPANESE SUPERFOODS
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