Food is a Sink

I’m convinced that maintaining optimum weight has nothing to do with eating less and exercising more.  Balancing calories in with calories out does not equate.  The body does not operate like a scale.

It works like a sink.

Let me explain.

Most of us have heard of insulin resistance.  It is based on the idea that the body overproduces a hormone called insulin in response to eating foods that cause a spike in blood sugar:  things like breads, cakes, pastries, pasta, pizza, white potatoes and rice.  When insulin gets too high, the body gets numb to it.  This is like listening to music that’s too loud without realizing it until you restart the car.  Your ears become a bit deaf to the spike in volume.

Same goes with sugar.

When insulin is too high, it causes our body to take the sugar we eat and store it into fat.  Even worse, elevated insulin locks the fat in the fat cell so that you can’t use it as fuel.  Consequently, when blood sugar drops, all you can use to fuel your body is more and more sugar.  You crave the same carbohydrates that cause insulin to spike because it’s the only thing you can use for gas.  This carbohydrate addiction has you chasing carb’s for fuel, making you gain weight in the process.

It’s a vicious cycle that has nothing to do with scales and has everything to do with biochemistry – namely a hormonal signal that tells us to be in fat storing mode.

The picture I like to use comes from Jonathan Bailor’s incredible You Tube video, Slim is Simple.  This is a brilliant concept that explains insulin resistance.

In his words, food should work like a sink.

Think of a brand new, white porcelain sink with pristine copper plumbing.  It sparkles and shines, just waiting to do its job.  So what is that?

Turn on the cold water, what happens?

It drains.  That’s what it’s supposed to do.

How about both the hot water and the cold simultaneously?  All the way?

Water still goes through, right?

What if you get a bucket of water and pour it in while the hot and cold are still on at full tilt, what might happen?  Yeah, the level may rise a bit momentarily, but sooner or later the sink empties completely, regardless of how much you put in.

Clean water drains cleanly through clean pipes.

So what makes a sink not work?

You guessed it:  a big, nasty clog.

Once you have a blockage, what happens when you pour water down the sink?

Yup – it gets stuck and begins to back up.  Depending on the clog, the problem might be serious or slight.  Let’s say the sink is only partially blocked.  As long as you adjust the flow of water to match the drainage, you’re fine.  But what happens when you put too much in or let’s say you fill the sink with something thick and viscous?  It gets harder and harder to go down.  Backed up water makes for a dirty sink.

That’s obesity in a nutshell.  Clogged pipes make water rise.  A clog in your sink makes you gain more and more fat.

So what’s the clog?

Insulin resistance:  a hormonal, biochemically-driven response of the body to signal its need to store fat, above anything else.  You go into fat-storing mode, locking away your body’s ability to burn calories in favor of putting them away.


This signal will not only increase your body’s ability to store fat, it will also make you feel lethargic, achy, and depressed, creating continued under-the-surface inflammation in the body that has been linked to almost every major chronic disease of the modern generation.  Obesity, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, gout, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s dementia, depression, schizophrenia, even cancer have all been linked to chronic, unchecked inflammation.

The answer to this is unclogging our sinks.

How do we do this?  We certainly don’t do it by hyper-measuring food or counting calories.  We do it best by eating more foods that clear our drain.

Which ones are clog-clearers?  Let’s take a look at all the foods that turn to sugar slowly in the body:

  • Non starchy vegetables of all colors and kinds (spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, and peppers).  Eat these without worrying about serving size.  I’m also good with periodically eating small amounts (the size of a “clawed” hand) of root veggies like beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips, sweet potatoes and rutabaga.
  • Low sugar fruits like any kind of berry, small-sized apples and pears, tomatoes, and citrus.
  • High quality proteins like grass-fed beef and other wild game; fish high in omega-3s like wild salmon, black cod and sardines; shellfish; low sugar dairy (plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese); cage-free poultry and omega-3 fortified eggs.
  • Whole food fats like nuts and seeds, olives, and avocadoes, even high quality cheeses, especially ones made from goat and sheep’s milk.
  • Beans, legumes and lentils as a great high-fiber carb-alternative to pasta, potatoes and rice.

Slim is Simple is an amazing non-profit organization produced and designed by Jonathan Bailor, author of the soon to be released book, The Calorie Myth by Harper Collins.   The website was established to provide compelling media resources – free of charge – to educate people about the proven science of eating smarter and living better.  Take a look – you will not be sorry.

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