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By Kristina Trujillo, PhD
Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
What if I told you that eating the same cake can have two very different effects on the human body depending on mindset.
Let's look at cake. It has sugar/carbohydrates, so it raises the body's insulin levels. Consistently high insulin turns on the fat making genes - this is why lots of cake results in weight gain.
But can the exact same cake induce different levels of insulin?
Imagine this - someone is at a birthday party and it's time for cake. They are on a diet, and that diet absolutely forbids cake. But the cake looks so delicious and chocolatey and they give in and have a piece.
They are stressing out before the cake even goes in their mouth because they're thinking they are 'cheating' or being 'bad'. They feel shameful and guilty that they didn't have the will-power not to eat that cake.
They have now released the stress hormone, cortisol, into their system. Since cortisol is a main player in the "fight or flight" response, it goes straight to their liver, releasing the carbohydrates that are stored there. The purpose of this carb-release is to give the muscles a quick energy source for the "fight or flight" response.
But since they aren't going to start fighting or sprinting in the birthday party (hopefully), they aren't using up those carbs. Those carbohydrates just stay in circulation.
This increases the insulin in their system before they even eat the cake. So when they do eat the cake, the stress doubles the impact that cake has on their system.
Now imagine if they shift their mindset and choose to eat that cake- guilt free. This time they are eating that cake with intention and mindfulness and enjoying every bite. No stress, no cortisol.
It is totally possible that eating cake can be part of people's weight loss goals if done with mindfulness and intention. It is completely possible to learn how cake can be eaten without derailing weight loss.
So you can have your cake and eat it too.