If you were a kid growing up in New Zealand like me, when you hear the word enzymes, it's likely you imagine little green and purple Pac-man things eating up the dirt on your clothes like the Persil washing powder adverts.
By all means continue to imagine enzymes as little green and purple Pac-men, but existing throughout your digestive system and within the foods that you consume rather than in your standard laundry cycle —provided the foods are natural whole foods and void of any processing. Imagine them breaking up the bonds between substances holding your food particles together rather than eating up dirt and stains.
All REAL foods have their own self destructive sequence written into them and it is all augmented by these enzymes within them.
This is why you see fruit start to ripen –also an action of enzymes– and then decay and rot once it has been picked from its life supporting branch. It is enzymes that are responsible for all of it; the change in colour, texture, firmness and of course the change in taste!
Sure our digestive systems produce a few vital enzymes themselves, but not ALL the possible enzymes to cover breakdown for every substance within every type of food we consume.
Whats my point?
My point is that this is why processed food is rightly vilified, OFTEN on my blog (No IIFMM bullsh*t here) due its lack of its nutritional content.
Whether you like the 'Paleo' label or not, this is why it can not be discredited and is superior above all other 'diet' methods based on its core principle to avoid all processed foods.
You see the majority of food companies are not interested in your health -duh.
They want to improve the yield and and shelf life of the products they sell because that increases revenue.
Remove enzymes= delay decomposition= increase shelf life= increase profit. Business principle 101 people. The food isn't going to decay with its self destruct mechanism removed, so it's a win-win.
If a food lacks the specific enzymes for breaking down its own content and the enzymes are not naturally occurring within our digestive systems, then whatever worthy nutrition is left within the man-tampered food will not be broken down and absorbed.
The caveat is all the calories, they ALL still get absorbed. Sorry.
A popular example of this which most of you have probably all seen on the internet is the photograph showing a McDonalds cheese burger on day one and then 365 days later looking EXACTLY the same. It doesn't rot because it's enzymes that help it rot/digest have been removed. This is also why eating these types of foods does not satisfy you for more than 5 minutes. Your body isn't stupid, it knows whether it is receiving adequate nutrition –and for good reason obviously. Once it detects the lack of enzymes, it sends a message back to the brain along the lines of:
'What the f*ck am I supposed to do with this? I need nutrients! switch the appetite hormone back on, now!'.
Your body is not only hungry for calories or energy – it knows it has fat stores for that in time of emergency– It is actually primarily hungry for nutrients. If you do not satisfy this requirement, guess what? you stay hungry.
So to reiterate, although you may receive enough calories through crap food, you will be nutritionally deficient and so more likely over consume calories –and gain fat as a result– all because your body is trying its best to reach its daily nutritional quota.
But what about my cereal? it's refined and processed but its been 'fortified with vitamins and minerals' so it's good right?
You see companies 'fortify' their cereals, breads and other refined carbohydrate products because without the added vitamins and minerals the products are so low of any real nutritional value. 'Big Food' companies (Kellogs, Kraft, Nestle etc) use the cheapest forms of vitamins and minerals they can find, they aren't in their natural form accompanied by synergist enzymes nor are they 'chelated' to help with absorption. These 'fortified foods' with 'amazing', 'essential' added minerals and vitamins will simply pass right through you.
On the bright side, at least you will be able to claim you have the most nutrient rich urine.
Summary: Eat real food.