Today's Post: Thursday, 6-2-2011
A. First, here is what the consensus on low carb diets is beginning to be:
Despite their differences, many writers on good health and weight loss and low carb diets share some things in common.:
1. As my wife pointed out they virtually all say that too much sugar or virtually any foods made from refined grain flour are bad for you and fattening.
a) So, you will be far healthier if you almost never eat high fructose corn syrup or drink anything containing it.*
You will be far healthier if you only eat a small or moderate serving of a food with sugar and do so between once and only a few times a month instead of several times every day!
*(Because of the cheapness of high fructose corn syrup, foods with it often have more sugar. A good bit of high fructose corn syrup was tested to contain mercury. And despite only having a bit more fructose -- because it is free fructose, high fructose corn syrup boosts your insulin more and is far more fattening than regular sugar. So, for good health and not being fat, never ingest the stuff!)
Soft drinks are the worst case kind of sugar to avoid. You experience zero reduction in hunger while taking in a lot of calories. But you also get a blood sugar surge followed by a surge of insulin to control it. Then you get rebound hunger later. And, the extra insulin causes your body to store fat and not release it. So you take in more calories and turn virtually all of them into hard to lose fat.
And, just today, I found out WHY diet soft drinks fatten. In addition to having artificial sweeteners that may well not be all that safe for everyone to ingest, diet soft drinks cause your body to crave more sugar. So you may well eat more and make up for the sugar not in your soft drinks. But the scary thing is that your body causes this by boosting your insulin when you fool it into thinking sweets are coming. That extra insulin plus any sweets you eat later is WHY diet soft drinks are fattening to drink. Just like regular soft drinks, the extra insulin causes your body to store fat and not release it. So you take in more calories and turn virtually all of them into hard to lose fat.
b) Most people today eat foods made from refined grains several times a day. They will be far healthier and much less fat if they eat none instead. The blood sugar and insulin surge from eating them is just as fattening as if you ate sugar. And with refined grain foods, it may even be MORE fattening than sugar!
Whole grain foods also boost blood sugars. The best solution is to not eat whole grains either and eat vegetables or beans or nuts instead. If you want fat loss, the least needed cutback is to only eat whole grains once or twice a day and not at all at least half the days of the week.
2. As Dr Al Sears pointed out in his email today, eating enough protein and fats prevents your body from triggering its famine response that stops fat loss.
Protein and fats, along with fiber, also allow you to eat without feeling hungry because protein and fat turns off your appetite and unlike carbohydrates you avoid any hunger rebound later.
According to the research found by Gary Taubes we reported on in our post last time on Tuesday this week, you may even be able to create and sustain fat loss without cutting calories AT ALL if almost all of what you eat is protein foods and fats or oils.
Without the fast or excessive carbohydrates to trigger insulin surges, your fat storage response and denied access to using your fat for energy no longer happens!
3. Gary Taubes also writes that fast carbohydrates or excessive amounts of carbohydrates are far more potent heart disease creators than fats ever were.
The research on this is so persuasive this is becoming a consensus view.
4. Virtually all competent writers on good health or effective weight or fat loss also say that a wide variety and substantial daily intake of nonstarchy vegetables is extremely important.
You get massive amounts and multiple kinds of health supporting nutrients by eating a lot of nonstarchy vegetables each week.
But since they are mostly nutrients, water, and fiber, they have virtually no calories.
So you can eat all you want to eat and turn off hunger for awhile with NO addition to your fat stores.
Nonstarchy vegetables release what little carbs they do have from their fiber so slowly that there is no insulin surge from eating them.
B. But eating a lot of grain fed meat and a high intake of saturated fat from animal sources does tend to cause health problems.
Research shows that people who eat any meat only once or twice a week are often healthier than people who eat meat at least once a day.
And, people who eat more monosaturated fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados and omega 3 oils from wild caught fish or supplements are far healthier than people who get their fat from sources of saturated fat or omega 6 oils.
The good news is that the danger from saturated fats from naturally fed animals is far less dangerous than was recently thought. So if you have cold butter or butter melted at low temperatures or sour cream on occasion, it isn’t quite the danger that it was once thought to be.
In both China and in France the parts of those countries who ate the most saturated fats had the most heart attacks however. In addition, a lot of meats and dairy products come from grain fed animals which harm you with excess omega 6 oils too.
But the danger from the omega 6 oils and other pollutants in meat from grain fed animals is far worse for your health and heart than was ever imagined. It causes heart disease and very possibly brain damage and cancer because it causes high levels of chronic inflammation.
So, Dr Al Sears and cardiologist Dr Arthur Agatson’s emphasis on the more health supporting kinds of proteins and oils IS correct and worth using instead of just eating a lot more meat and dairy foods.
So for a health supporting low carb diet:
Eat protein from eggs, wild caught fish, sustainable & unpolluted seafood, some lowfat dairy, nuts, and beans and lentils – along with some meat from animals fed only grass or their natural foods a few times a month or a week. Eating cheese from animals fed only grass also works.
All those foods plus avocados and extra virgin olive oil and purified omega 3 supplements all provide health supporting oils.
C. Partially starchy vegetables such as squash and yams and sweet potatoes as well as many kinds of whole fruit contain carbohydrates and can slow fat loss.
To a lesser extent so can beans and lentils.
But people who get a lot of fiber are far healthier than those who don’t. And people who get the nutrients in those foods are healthier than people who don’t.
In addition, many people drop out of low carb fat loss programs. Some do it because they really have no clue how seriously harmful sugars and refined grains are. Some do it because they haven’t learned to focus on the consequences of foods instead of only their taste.
But some do it because they don’t eat enough nonstarchy vegetables and get a bit too hungry.
And, some quit because they begin to question not eating any of these health supporting foods.
So, the third way to make low carb eating good for you AND sustainable is to include some partially starchy vegetables such as squash and yams and sweet potatoes and whole fresh fruit such as berries.
Eating beans and lentils is even better because they have protein and a lot of fiber and are inexpensive to buy. Beans and lentils also are much more sustainable than even grass fed meat let alone grain fed meat.
In fact, beans and lentils release their carbs so slowly they actually help people lose fat almost as well as health OK protein foods, fats, and nonstarchy vegetables.
D. The other major way to make low carb dieting produce better health without losing less fat is to do regular exercise.
You gain muscle and bone weight and increase your metabolism and get multiple health and self esteem benefits from regular exercise.
You don’t burn enough calories with exercise to make eating sugars and refined grains less fattening. Gary Taubes is likely right about that.
But you do burn enough more calories to make eating some partially starchy vegetables such as squash and yams and sweet potatoes and whole fresh fruit doable without stopping your fat loss – IF you do enough regular exercise. And if you keep doing it every week.