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It's the Carbs that make you Fat!

Great Comment from K5

Fighting Conventional Wisdom in Nutrition (4.00 / 4) (#298)
by allanone on Fri Jun 7th, 2002 at 03:05:16 AM EST

Standard disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist (thank God) and I take no responsibility for anyone doing something stupid and hurting themselves. The following information works for me, it stems from what I've read and tried, from years of intense interest in the subject, and by examining the available information from a standpoint of extreme skepticism.

Americans are getting fatter each year. Adult-onset diabetes is epidemic. The diet industry is a multibillion-dollar monster and growing as fast Americans' bulging stomachs. There are good reasons for all this and much of it stems from misinformation and the inherent complexity of the problem. Most people can't handle multivariable problems and so they buy into gross simplifications and the diet and especially food industries prey on their beliefs.

The USDA Food Pyramid is a complete joke and is partly to blame. For instance, bananas are almost all carbohydrate and are fattening. Chemically, potatoes don't belong with those green vegetables like broccoli at all. They need to be moved in with the bread and cereals. And look at the tip: "Fats, Oils and Sweets". Well, your body processes sweets as if they were in the Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta group. It's precisely this non-intuitive reality that screws people up, confuses them and destroys their health.

The last time they overhauled the Food Pyramid it was changed radically from what came before, like, threw the whole thing out and completely replaced it. The bottom line is that it's ad-hoc guesswork. It reminds me of those maps from the Middle Ages that show the edge of the world where the sea dragons live.

Obesity is unhealthy. It's not beautiful or natural. It's a symptom of illness. If you're obese, besides putting great stain on your cardiovascular system and joints, you're toting around large amounts of pesticides and other toxins in your fat cells that your body stored there instead of excreting.


What is conventional wisdom in nutrition? It basically goes like this: eating fat makes you fat. Butter, salt, cholesterol, fatty foods, saturated fat will all kill you or at least make you fat. Diet and low-fat foods will help you lose weight.

I think this is all crap and there is tons of evidence out there to support that claim.

Conventional wisdom about nutrition and diet is either confused (in the easy case of carbohydrates where the ill-informed always go off about simple vs. complex) or just plain wrong (in the complex case of the many different types of fats and oils).

The average person doesn't know beans about nutrition and I've felt for some years that neither does the typical nutritionist or doctor. Although I've found doctors have admitted it - they're simply not trained in that area - I can't imagine you'd find a nutritionist who would. If you want someone well-versed in the way mammal bodies react to food, you'll have to talk to a molecular biologist or a farm veterinarian. The nutritionists would have you believe the way to fatten up livestock would be to feed them fatty foods. The vet (or any livestock farmer) will tell you that the way to do it is to feed them grain. You know. The stuff they make bread and pasta out of: carbohydrate.

First of all, most people don't know the following: All sugars are carbohydrate and all carbohydrates are sugar. They're two different words for the same thing. So get that straight. When somebody tells you they're on a high carbohydrate diet, it means they're on a high sugar diet. To your body, there is NO difference between simple and complex carbohydrates - it all ends up as glycogen in your bloodstream, so the minute you hear someone differentiate in the context of nutrition (and in the same breath NOT differentiate between types of fats), or start talking about "refined sugars," treat what they have to say with skepticism.

People don't realize that foods long considered healthy, like corn, peas, rice and potatoes, are almost entirely sugar and have very little nutritional value. Doritos are made of corn. Doritos will make you fat. There's no real mystery. Starch = sugar = carbohydrate -- to your body it's all the same stuff. On WebMD I recently read an article by a nutritionist who said "get plenty of carbohydrates but cut back on starchy foods" and I laughed out loud. Those nutrition websites are always a source of endless hilarity.

Secondly, there is real confusion about all the different kinds of fats and oils. Part of the problem is all the contradictory studies. It's really difficult to control for nutritional studies on people, and many of the studies are funded by the food corporations that have their own agendas. The amount of money in "low-fat" and "diet" foods, the amount of money to be made by keeping the public ignorant, is just obscene.

Nutrients and the way the body uses them involve really complex processes. But there's one thing we do know: when you eat carbohydrates your body turns it into glycogen which is dumped into your bloodstream. This is the same for all carbohydrates, simple or complex: the only difference is how long it takes the body to process them. Complex, like in fruit, sit in your stomach for awhile, while simple, like in Coke, get into your bloodstream through the walls of your cheeks and tongue before you even swallow, but it's all glycogen in the end.

Your body can't handle much sugar in your blood, so the pancreas begins pumping out insulin which tells your fat cells to absorb the blood-sugar, to "load up" -- to fatten up. This happens rapidly. Minutes after drinking a can of soda or beer, the fat is going directly onto your thighs and elsewhere. You're drinking yourself fat.

It was a great coup for the breakfast cereal industry to convince Americans in the 70s that their product was health food. Soda pop, fruit juice and breakfast cereal are the main reasons child obesity has taken off in the last thirty years.

Here's what my studying has led me to believe: EATING FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Eating an excess of carbohydrates does.

Saturated fat, completely contrary to the conventional wisdom which has utterly demonized it, is the healthy fat. Lard. Butter. Nuts. This is the fat our bodies evolved to eat. It's completely natural, unmodified by technology, and the consumption of which is absolutely necessary for survival. Saturated fat only becomes unhealthy if you fry it and the oil is modified by the high heat.

If you are overweight, you are compounding your health problems by restricting saturated fat intake and at the same time probably replacing healthy saturated fat with modified hydrogenated oils in "low-fat" foods that are slowly killing you.

There are many type of fats and oils. The most dangerous are what are called trans fats. Those are what French fries are deep fried in; what you get when you heat up vegetable oil. Long term effects on the human body are unknown, but there is increasing links to stroke and heart disease.


Our increasingly sedentary natures don't help, and the ingestion of incredibly dangerous trans fats and other harmful fats have much to do with our declining health, but obesity in Western society is mainly about carbohydrates.

At the turn of the century the average American ate two pounds of sugar. Do you know what it is now? 160 pounds, and for many of us it's probably twice that. The human body didn't evolve to handle that kind of input. The pancreas works overtime to flood your system with insulin several times a day, every day. By the end of each day, it's completely exhausted and your bloodstream is still jacked up with dangerously elevated levels of sugar. Eventually your pancreas functionality is borderline to failure and you've got adult-onset diabetes. Eventually it fails for good and suddenly you're a diabetic.

A study about a year ago got a lot of press. It showed that a child who drank two cans of soda a day WILL be overweight. That's two cans of soda, not "lots of high fat foods."

At the turn of the century something like 2 or 3 percent of people were dying from heart attacks and stroke. What is it now? 70% and rising? You don't go from 2% to 70% with a slight decline in lifetime physical activity. But what about a typical lifetime sugar (carbohydrate) consumption increase of eight thousand percent?

What do YOU think the connection is?

I've come to the conclusion that healthy diet means emulating, as closely as possible, the way our ancestors ate; eating the foods we literally evolved to eat. And I'm telling you right now that's not hydrogenated oil process cheese spread and non-dairy whip topping. It's the foods that were available in our ancestral environment: fruit and berries and lean meat and eggs and butter and cheese and cold, clear water.

Education and carefully conducted studies are the key. Unfortunately even once something has been determined scientifically, it takes at least a decade -- probably two -- for it to filter down and become common knowledge. I mean, how many of you still think eating whole eggs is unhealthy because of their cholesterol when it was determined unambiguously three years ago that dietary cholesterol has NO effect on blood level cholesterol? The cholesterol you eat is broken down and doesn't get into your bloodstream undigested. Whole eggs are about the healthiest thing a person can eat.


I'll keep this brief and won't offer much justification, as I've already gone on too long.

1) Go buy a big bottle of Evening Primrose Oil 500mg gelcaps from Costco. Start slow and work up to about four a day. You should find your cravings for carbohydrates drastically diminished and your overall appetite reduced almost immediately. This is natural oil, like you find in eggs and fish. It's not a drug. It's food and you can't overdose. You can take this stuff every day for the rest of your life and you'll be healthier for it. Taking regular spoonfuls of Cod Liver Oil or other fish oil is also beneficial.

2) No soda pop. None. And no fruit juice or beer. Swear off those things permanently. They're liquid obesity. Little or no calories should come from your drinks. Make water your official beverage. Get a Brita and keep cold water in the fridge.

3) Cut back absolutely as much as practical bread, cereal, pasta, rice, peas and anything made from corn or potatoes. Eat more nuts, fruit, cheese, green vegetables and lean meat.

4) Never eat margarine again. Only butter. If you have to fry, use butter. Don't use vegetable oils. If you have to deep-fry, use peanut or palm oil. NEVER eat a product that has the word "hydrogenated" in its ingredient list. Scan the ingredients list of foods you buy for this word. You can read this little thing about butter.

5) Never eat NutraSweet, Aspartame, Sorbitol or any of those chemical sweeteners. Regular soda is healthier than diet soda. If you need sweet, use sugar --the Evening Primrose Oil should reduce sugar cravings anyways. Use Google and look up "Nancy Markle" and "Betty Martini" to find out about NutraSweet.

6) Forget about drinking milk for health and cut back of you drink lots. It's not healthy. Most adults can't digest it, and you get virtually no calcium from it - it's not chelated, not bio-available. If you're worried about calcium, eat broccoli, which contains massive amounts and has plenty of other excellent nutrients.

7) Stop eating in the evening. Get your eating over with at least four hours before you go to bed. If you can, stop reading or watching TV while eating so you break the association between those activities.

What about exercise? If you keep your house clean, vacuum regularly, that kind of thing, you're probably already getting enough exercise. But it's hard to get too much; try going for walks now and then. I know that sounds glib, but diet is the crucial thing.

If you do these things, you will approach your ideal weight and become much healthier in the process. If what I've just told you changes your life, tell me about it. I'm always happy to hear that what I rant about to people works. Email me at

Here's a book for you. It's the de-facto authority on fats and oils.
Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill: The Complete Guide to Fats, Oils, Cholesterol and Human Health by Udo Erasmus

It's hard to find but if you can get it, Beyond the Zone by Brian Peskins is a fascinating read and will change the way you think about what you eat. His basic thesis is that conventional wisdom in nutrition (eating fat makes you fat, margarine is healthier than butter, eggs are unhealthy, saturated fat is unhealthy) is causing skyrocketing obesity, strokes and heart attacks.

I also suggest having a look at The Zone books, the work of Dr. Barry Sears. The Zone is a bit complicated, but the science is correct. A previous poster said "The Dr. Sears Web site has some info, but seems to have strayed from its original message to some outlandish claims about fish oil." That's funny. What's actually happened is he hasn't strayed at all: he's elaborated and incorporated some of Peskin's research into his own. Now, he's completely on topic.

And finally, one last thing: Unlike all the other types of nutrients, you will never find a minimum daily requirement for carbohydrates. The shocking fact is: you don't need ANY! Absolutely ALL the carbohydrates your body needs can be derived by your body from digested fats and proteins -- the body is an amazing molecular assembly factory. I'd like the carbohydrate promoters to put THAT in their collective pipe and smoke it.


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Last update: 05/01/2003; 3:26:16 PM.