2 Being Well
Digestion, Health and Nutrition

The Deadly Low Fat/High Carb Myth

Misinformation about which foods to eat and when to eat them arose in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Health gurus promoting foods low in fat/high in carbohydrates were publishing book after book and were seen in infomercials touting the slenderizing effects of low fat/high carb eating. That philosophy is directly responsible for the obesity epidemic in our country today.

Americans have become CARBOVORES™, addicted to the wrong kind of carbohydrate (simple sugars and refined flours). Simple carbohydrates can overwhelm the body with a high glycemic load, shoot blood sugar sky high and encourage fat storage NOT fat burning. Removing fat from foods can also increase the glycemic load. A high carb diet should really mean eating a variety of vegetables (4-5 1/2 cup servings daily), legumes, whole grains and fresh fruit. Fat is a necessary macro nutrient and should also be a part of a balanced meal.
If you have not read information about fat go there now.

Metabolic Syndrome or Insulin Resistance
(for basic information on Insulin Resistance first read Facts About Glucose)

Insulin resistance (IR) is a term coined in the 1980’s by Gerald Reaven, M.D., PhD a Stanford medical researcher, to explain a variety of health disorders that he related to high levels of insulin in the blood. Dr. Reaven’s work led him to conclude that frequent blood sugar elevations, like those seen in patients consuming a diet high in refined carbohydrates, begins to blunt the role of insulin, making its job of lowering blood glucose levels less effective. Insulin lowers the amount of glucose and fat (triglycerides) in the blood by storing these nutrients in your body’s cells. Over time, the constant output of insulin into your blood stream in response to escalating glucose levels from eating high glycemic foods renders insulin increasingly ineffective at storing glucose. The resulting insulin resistance interferes with insulin’s ability to lower blood glucose. The blood stream of an insulin resistant individual is loaded with glucose and fat yet their tissues are starved for glucose because the insulin delivery mechanism has become ineffective.

Long before an individual is diagnosed with IR, there will be a history of chronic consumption of simple carbohydrate foods leading to carbohydrate sensitivity or intolerance. A visual indicator that a person is developing carbohydrate intolerance is trunkal obesity as increasing fat storage is seen as increasing abdominal girth or as ever expanding buttocks.

If you think your weight or health issues may be associated with carbohydrate intolerance that is leading to insulin resistance, begin substituting simple carbohydrate foods and snacks with complex carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes and whole grain foods. Educating yourself about the glycemic load of various carbohydrate foods will guide you in a healthful direction when making food choices. As I mention several times in Nutrition 101, breakfast is the critical meal of the day. For an individual who is carbohydrate intolerant breakfast is a very important meal because it sets your glucose levels for the rest of the day so choose foods high in protein and the good fats that promote fat burning.