Blame Carbs for America’s Ills
Thanks to one of our members on the discussion forum, I found this article, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times. I would have been more impressed if it was the writings of scientists I hadn’t heard of, but nevertheless, it is a nice treatment of the issue. A growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America’s ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Readers of this blog know that this is what myself and others like me have been saying for a long time now. Remove the carbohydrates and health improves.
Walter Willett, of Harvard said it best:
“If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”
That is the understatement of the year. It really is that simple. Everyone might not lose 83 pounds as I have done, but their health would be infinitely better than it is currently.
As the article relates, “Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake. The most conservative recommendations say they should eat half that amount. Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years with the help of a 30-year-old, government-mandated message to cut fat.”
My recommendation would go even lower than that. A healthy person who has never had a problem with metabolic syndrome should eat no more than 90 grams of carbohydrate per day, decreasing that amount as age increases. The reason is as explained by Dr. Stephen Phinney in the article, that all carbohydrates (a category including sugars) convert to sugar in the blood, and the more refined the carbs are, the quicker the conversion goes. When you eat a glazed doughnut or a serving of mashed potatoes, it turns into blood sugar very quickly. To manage the blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin, which moves sugar into cells, where it’s stored as fuel in the form of glycogen.
When cells become more resistant to those insulin instructions, the pancreas needs to make more insulin to push the same amount of glucose into cells. As people become insulin resistant, carbs become a bigger challenge for the body. When the pancreas gets exhausted and can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, diabetes develops.
The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag that diabetes, and possibly heart disease, is just around the corner. People are said to have the syndrome when they have three or more of the following: high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg); high blood pressure (over 135/85); central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches); low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women); or elevated fasting glucose.
About one-fourth of adults has three or more of these symptoms.
That should tell you all that you need to know. If you want to learn more, read the article!Share on Twitter
In: Cholesterol, Diabetes, Diet, Disease, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Insulin, Obesity, Sugar