This is terribly fascinating. - Katrina
©By Liz Pavek 2002
Biochemically, the preferred source of the body’s fuel since human life began has been its stored fat. Hunter-gatherers lived from one game kill, fishing expedition, or egg-gathering foray to the next. Between these feasts was a lot of famine. Their bodies were very good at utilizing stored fat, the body's way of feeding itself when game wasn't available. These bodies hummed a precision tune for hundreds of thousands of years (We’re here, aren’t we? If this low-carbohydrate diet had been so bad for humans, they probably wouldn’t have survived to have descendants like us). There really hasn’t been enough time for any evolutionary changes in our digestive, biochemical, and endocrine systems, so we are basically the same biochemically now as were our distant ancestors. This also means that we, too, are best at utilizing stored body fat as our primary fuel.
Our modern grain-based diets have caused our bodies to become addicted to the more readily available source of energy that it finds in sugary or starchy foods and the quick “energy surge” from a snack or meal high in carbohydrates.
Ever get a buzz from caffeine? Know why? Because caffeine does the same thing to your insulin that sugar does—it drives it up. If you are a caffeine junkie, and if you add sugar to that caffeine--if you drink Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or Coke--know that you are giving yourself a huge shot of sugar and insulin every time. This stimulates the brain to release serotonin, a master-neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel alert and interested in life. But the effect only lasts for a few minutes. Then the insulin tells your body to ask for more sugar/caffeine/recreational or otc drugs so you can feel that little buzz from the serotonin one more time.
The human body turns all carbohydrate--complex as well as simple--into sugars immediately. In the stomach, starches of all kinds are chemically changed to sugar by digestive enzymes in preparation for utilizing the energy thereby gained.
The body is super-efficient in its metabolism, and will make do with almost anything put into it, whether it’s optimum or not, because it breaks everything down into component parts, some of which are less constructive and healthful than others, and others of which are denatured and damaged. Carbohydrates are the easiest fuel for the body, but not the most useful or efficient, and eventually, individuals will begin to notice a gain of weight, especially around the belly, an increase in blood pressure and triglycerides, and heart disease. The body, by going to the dietary sugars first, saves itself a step and bypasses the stored fat, which not only prevents that stored fat from being utilized, but adds to the accumulation of fat through the process described below.
How it REALLY works...
If the muscle cells and liver already carry a full load of metabolically changed sugars (glycogen), or if the cells, bathed in a constant flood of insulin, become unable—by a decrease in the number of receptors--to allow it to enter the cells with its load of glucose (a condition called “insulin resistance”), then the glycogen must be stored until it can be used. To do this, the liver turns it to fat by making triglycerides out of the glucose from the starches and other carbohydrates, which the insulin then transports to the fat cells to store for future use. That “future use” never comes if the body is continually fed a high-carbohydrate diet, for the fat from the carbohydrates continues to accumulate in the fat cells with very little of it getting used up. Then the patients wonder why they are getting fatter and fatter and sicker and sicker, and never make the connection.
Contrary to what is popularly taught, high triglycerides in the blood are not a sign of too much fat in the diet, they are an indication of too much carbohydrate. What the triglycerides in the bloodstream really indicate is a load of chemically- changed carbohydrates on their way to the fat cells.
The body doesn't change fat to triglyceride. It can only change carbohydrates, because fats don't stimulate insulin, which is only produced to handle starches and sugars. But insulin is the hormone that makes the storage of fat possible. Fats have no effect on insulin. The fat in your fat cells comes from sugar and flour, not bacon and butter.
An adjustment downward in carbohydrate foods consumed, and the triglycerides will fall into the normal range quite quickly. Remove most of the carbohydrates from the diet (especially the SAD, which is almost 65% breads and grains and eleven servings of grain every day, along with six servings of fruit!), and the body immediately returns to the stored fats for most of its fuel.
Simply removing fats from the diet will do no good for blood fat problems. That’s why people with high triglyceride readings never seem to get better, even though they never taste another pat of butter or slice of bacon. Most of them continue to get worse, simply because it wasn’t the fats that were at fault in the first place. But they have replaced those fats with sugars in many forms, and then they take cholesterol-lowering drugs that force the body to make its own cholesterol by preventing the body from utilizing any from dietary sources. When this happens, the plaques continue to accumulate, and the doctor continues to raise the dosage, until the sufferer, reaching a point of toxicity, must resort to surgery to remove the plaques. Even surgery is not the whole answer, and is temporary, at best. Eventually, the accumulation is simply too much for the heart, and the sufferer has a massive coronary and is felled in an instant.
All cells must have the triglycerides turned to glycogen in order to utilize them. The process goes something like this: Carbohydrates consumed + insulin = triglycerides >> body fat. Then the reverse: Stored body fat + glucagon = glycogen >> energy. None of those triglycerides came from fat, but they did come from carbohydrates. So if you have high blood triglycerides, don’t blame that extra egg and slice of bacon you sneaked for breakfast yesterday. Blame that 1-pound cinnamon roll with the sugar glaze you had this morning, the orange juice you had with it, and the coffee sweetened with sugar that you drank to wash it all down. (Incidentally, a "breakfast" like this will put you to sleep by 2 pm. Guaranteed. Ever wonder why you can't stay awake in the afternoon? Next time, check what you had for breakfast.)
Incidentally, your body can automanufacture in a day more cholesterol than you could eat, because cholesterol is the main ingredient of every cell in your body, as well as all your hormones, nerves, brain tissue, and neurotransmitters. It is the most basic of the nutrients, giving cells their shape and structure. In order to consume enough cholesterol to furnish all your body's needs, you'd have to eat about 40 eggs in a day. The body must make up the difference between the cholesterol you consume and the amount of cholesterol it requires to maintain itself. Cholesterol is such an essential nutrient that if you don't provide enough of it in your diet, your body's factory will kick into overdrive. If you don't want your body making more cholesterol than you can imagine, simply feed it enough of the right kinds of nutrients (natural fats, meats, eggs, vegetables) to provide the building blocks of new and renewed cells.
And, those plaques found in your arteries? They are composed of unsaturated fats, and more than half of those are polyunsaturated. Saturated fats, like those in butter, coconut oil, and lard, are liquid at below body temperature. How does a natural liquid turn to a solid when it is at its melting temperature? Vegetable oils, on the other hand, are so unstable that they must be hydrogenated, and do not liquefy at body temperature.
Adding fat to the diet at the same time as removing the carbohydrates results in a satisfyingly rapid loss of stored body fats, especially since research shows that dietary fat appears to stimulate the process. Consumed saturated fats are metabolized by the tissues—hair, eyes, hormones, lymphatic system, skin, etc. This is a desirable situation, since these tissues are usually depleted and brittle on a low-fat diet. When you remove carbohydrates from your diet, your body will go to the fat cells once more and utilize the fuels stored there, just as it was created to do in the beginning.
Proof of the suitability of fats for fuel is demonstrated clinically by the restoration of health and energy and the minimizing of negative metabolic symptoms such as hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, heart problems, atherosclerosis, diabetes, etc., in people who remove simple carbohydrates from the diet and concentrate on meats and vegetables. Further proof of this suitability is the fact that if the same patients, once recovered from these metabolic afflictions return to their old “White” diet (bleached, refined flour, sugar, pasteurized milk, dry beans, hydrogenated fats, refined rice), the symptoms all return quickly. The above-mentioned disorders are symptoms of a dietary imbalance in favor of high-carbohydrate foods.
Recent studies have found that Americans are fatter than ever, but they never mention the fact that for the last 35 years the food industries have been all but forcing a high-carbohydrate, hydrogenated-fat, denatured diet on the public. Type II Diabetes? Up dramatically, more than three times the rate in the 60’s. Cardiovascular disease? Also up drastically, more of the same. Morbid obesity? Look around yourself. Have you ever seen so many grossly obese individuals? Obesity in children? Up alarmingly. (Sadly, the combination of a high-carbohydrate diet and a sedentary habit from television, video games, and computerized everything have created the fattest generation of children in America’s history).
" -- Oct. 2, 2000 -- Now, even more adults are overweight. The CDC finds the level of obesity among Americans 18 and over has grown again -- up almost 6% between 1998 and 1999 -- with all regions, every state, and every age group affected. [in ONE year!]
And so ends a decade that in public health terms could be referred to as the Bloating '90s: Since 1991, the CDC says, adult obesity -- defined as being about 30 pounds overweight -- has risen an astounding 60% in the U.S. The average weight of American men is up to 190 pounds. For women, it's risen to 151 pounds. And there's no sign it will get better anytime soon."
-- By Jim Morelli, RPh
WebMD Medical News
By making carbohydrates more than 65% of the daily diet, the food gurus are fattening Americans up as never before. We are consuming a thousand percent of the sugar now that we did a century ago, and eating it in literally everything that comes off the store shelves, to the tune of one hundred and fifty pounds of sugar a year for every man, woman, and child in the country! (This is for "normal" eaters, and does not include sugar addicts, who probably eat twice this much in a year. It also does not mention the consumption of starches and other carbohydrate foods, like beans, breads, and pasta, which are all metabolized by the body as sugars. The aggregate totals would stagger the imagination.)
The fats we are eating are hydrogenated or polyunsaturated vegetable fats, already proven to be toxic. Butter, for instance, was vilified early on as the saturated-fat creator of those plaques in the arteries, until researchers discovered more and thicker plaques in the arteries of eaters of margarine, shortening, and hydrogenated oils, all heavily loaded with trans- fats.
Animal proteins and fats, the body’s building blocks, are highly digestible, more so than any carbohydrate food. (Why do cows have to chew their food over and over? Because it’s indigestible, even for animals with metabolisms that are created specifically for that food. A human has a digestive system which much more closely resembles that of the wolf than those of the sheep or cow.)
When the human body is consuming meats and animal fats, is it taking in the fuels it needs to energize itself and to rebuild lost tissue. “You are what you eat” is really true. Our bodies are made to consume and digest meats and fats. When you need to repair a crumbling brick wall, you don't use leaves or paper, you get bricks and mortar. If your body needs to be rebuilt, give it the materials it needs to make the repairs, not grass and sugar. To ask the carnivorous, muscle, bone, and fat body each of us lives in to exist on cellulose and sugars is to expect of it that which it was never designed to do.
If we were meant to be herbivores, we’d have had more than one stomach, an intestinal system much longer than we possess, or the ability to regurgitate and chew a cud. A rhetorical question or two: Why are cattle, sheep, and other herbivores grazing continually? I won’t tell you the answer, except to remind you that carnivores in the wild generally only feed every couple of days. Ever see a fat wolf? How about a fat beef cow? And, what do feedlots give to cattle, sheep, and pigs to fatten them up? You guessed it: Whole grains.)
A large part of a primitive diet is the protein in milk and eggs and the butterfat in cheeses, all foods from animal sources. Fat, guts and their contents, organs of ALL kinds, and even small glands are consumed in some cultures. Grains, when found in these diets, are whole and minimally processed, generally sprouted before cooking.
Asians are small in stature because of their diets, which are mostly rice and vegetables, with occasional fish included. As soon as the children of Japanese immigrants to America began to eat the American high-protein diet, they experienced growth spurts, becoming head and shoulders taller than their parents. In one generation the proof was established. Indians from the Subcontinent are mostly strict vegetarians. They are slightly built, prone to disease, and have short lifespans. But even they consume butterfat, which contains the vitamin A that is essential for life and fertility. Eskimos, on the other hand, whose traditional diet consisted of meat, fish, fat, and little else, were seldom if ever obese and ages of 100 or more were common on the traditional diet. As soon as they began to consume the White man’s food (flour, sugar, rice, beans, hydrogenated fats) however, they began to get the White man’s diseases: hypoglycemia, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, alcoholism, and obesity. And their metabolic systems are the same as ours.
Anthropologists can tell the difference between hunter-gatherers and farmers when examining fossilized bones simply by the composition of the bones. Heavy, straight, dense bones and cavity-free teeth belong to the meat-eaters, while the frail, crooked and thin bones and decayed teeth are all identifiable quickly as belonging to agricultural tribes who subsisted mostly on grains.
Another plus in a low-carbohydrate diet is the fact that when the body is burning its fat, it is not “hungry,” and the temptation to snack on sugar-foods is not present. Just like in the “cave days,” the body, in the absence of carbohydrates, thinks it’s in a “famine” phase, and goes to the fat cells for fuel to carry it until the next hunting trip, fishing expedition, or egg-gathering outing.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
This is terribly fascinating. - Katrina