25 December 2012

Diet Trends

"It is incredible that in the twentieth-century America a conscientious physician should have his hard-won professional reputation placed on the line for daring to suggest that an obesity victim might have some relief by cutting out sugars and starches."
                                                                        - Robert Atkins
My message through this blog is essentially a diet:
  • low in sugars and refined carbohydrates
  • and containing fat from animal origin (butter, eggs, meat, organ meat etc.)
I know that we are all different and some of us might need more vegetables or fruits or even some non-refined starches. But - throughout my research - I came to the conclusion that nobody benefits from the regular consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. To this I would add that anything that appeared recently in our diet - for example vegetable oils - might not be as healthy as the foodstuff we were consuming  for the most part of our presence on this planet. 

When I started my research to heal my allergies, many years ago, I had no idea that I would end up with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. At the beginning, I thought that I would find a healthier version of a conventional "healthy diet" (my plate or the food pyramid, including lots of fruits and vegetables, brown rice and skinless chicken breast). Today, I think that the high-carbohydrate diet recommended by health authorities are not as healthy as they say it is.

I think Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) summarizes the science behind the low carbohydrate diet very well:
  1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
  2. The problem is the carbohydrate in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis - the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.
  3. Sugars - sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically - are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
  4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
  5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.
  6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.
  7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance - a disequilibrium - in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.
  8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated - either chronically or after a meal - we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.
  9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer the carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
  10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
And here is an interesting talk: Stanford Health Policy Forum discusses why we get fat and how different diet trends and policies are affecting our nation's obesity rates.

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