Why A Low-Carbohydrate Diet is Best For Health & Prevention of Disease

A Low-Carbohydrate Diet has long been considered the optimal nutritional support for human health and disease prevention.  

The escalating rates of common diseases of 'Western Civilization' came about as a result of increasing availability of processed carbohydrate-rich foods, refined grains and sugars, refined and hydrogenated plant oils, and a decrease in consumption of animal proteins and fats.

A low-carbohydrate diet runs counter to the mainstream narratives that are perpetuated in all forms of media, and hence it is seen as controversial.  However, low-carb diets have been followed as the natural diet for humans for likely hundreds of thousands of years.

"Today it seems that the only medically accepted hypothesis about nutrition and disease is that fat is responsible for all that ails us.  There is great pressure to conform to this theory, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  Carbohydrates have been completely ignored as a potential problem in human diets." ~ From Life Without Bread

One of the main books I recommend in The Trust Your True Nature Low-Carb Lifestyle is Life Without Bread ~ How A Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life, cowritten by Christian B. Allan, Ph.D., and Wolfgang Lutz, M.D., linked here, and below.  It is an enjoyable and interesting read, with explanations of why low-carbohydrate diets were able to help thousands of Dr. Lutz's patients overcome a wide range of diseases.

Dr. Lutz successfully treated adult and childhood obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension, endocrine disorders, digestive disorders including gas, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulosis, and Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and much more with a low-carbohydrate diet.

Can you get enough vitamins and minerals on a low-carbohydrate diet?  

One important myth that Allan and Lutz ~ and now many others ~ have debunked is the belief that you MUST eat lots of fruits and vegetables to get your daily supply of vitamins and minerals.

As the authors state, "While we do get some vitamins from fruits and vegetables, we can get most of them from animal foods."  

"Even more importantly, there are many vitamins and cofactors that we only get from animal foods.  This means that if you don't eat any animal foods, you will probably develop a deficiency in some vitamins."

Vitamin C is the only vitamin not found in measurable amounts in animal foods, although there is Vitamin C in animal meats that the USDA doesn't report on its data bases.  

Traditional Hunter Gatherer tribes consumed the organ meats.  According to one American Indian tribe, the adrenal glands were consumed to avoid scurvy, apparently containing sufficient quantities of Vitamin C.

Don't worry if you don't want to eat the adrenal glands of an animal!  You can get plenty of Vitamin C from adding what you enjoy (and well tolerate) of seasonal berries, citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, or even rose hips and/or hibiscus tea to your diet.

The Seven Countries Study and (erroneous) correlations made between consumption of fat, especially saturated fats, and heart disease.

A lot of our current nutritional advice stems from data recorded during the 1940s and 1950s, and analyzed in 'The Seven Countries Study,' Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease, published as a book in 1980.  

In a nutshell, correlations were made indicating that nations that consumed larger quantities of animal fats and cholesterol had higher rates of heart disease. Much of our current nutritional advice (and what drives sales of statins, the most prescribed prescription drug) stems from this landmark study.  

Unfortunately, there were many flaws, and crucial omissions to the above study which has since been discussed in many articles, and even a follow-up book to the study, Lessons for Science from the Seven Countries Study.  Allan covers this in greater detail in Life Without Bread, however, I will summarize it here.

Over 12,000 men from 16 countries were observed as a ten-year evaluation of cardiovascular heart disease, or CHD.  The original intention for the study was to find correlations between what types of foods were consumed, along with other lifestyle factors, such as smoking and death rates among the differing population groups.

Rather than consider all three macronutrients in the diet ~ protein, fat, and carbohydrates ~ the researchers focus solely on total fat consumption.  They put together graphs highlighting just seven of the sixteen countries observed as countries in which there was a positive correlation between consumption of saturated fats, and CHD, meaning the more fat consumed, the greater the risk for heart disease.

The devil to this is largely in what was omitted.

Some countries which consumed 40% or more of total calories from fat had lower death rates.  While other countries with low-fat intake had high death rates, both the reverse of what was reported.

According to Allan:

"Even more interesting is that the authors state, in one paragraph in the middle of the book, that sugar intake was correlated with heart disease.  They offer no data for this, even though the book is over 200 pages long.  Nothing else is ever said on the subject, and no other reference is ever made to this amazing statement."

There were other problems with this study.  Suffice it to say, it would appear that the conclusions drawn were the ones that were desired from the outset.  

What About Cholesterol?

We have all now long been programmed to believe that fat is bad for you, especially saturated fats from animals.  This is largely a result of the Seven Countries Study!

The data collected linking cholesterol to CHD was reported as statistically insignificant, yet the authors continued to focus on cholesterol as a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease!

Cholesterol provides many important functions, including production of reproductive hormones.  When we consume a low-fat diet, rather than a low-carbohydrate diet with plenty of animal protein and fat, our body will have to produce more cholesterol to compensate for getting too little of it in the diet.

Lutz documented the lipid profiles of several of his patients, and found that those who followed a low-carbohydrate diet had lower cholesterol, especially lower triglycerides, which is a more accurate marker for potential heart disease risk.  "Yet" as Allan points out, "it is well known that triglycerides arise primarily from carbohydrate in the diet.  Triglycerides are the stored form of carbohydrates in adipose tissue."

In actuality, there is no known level at which consumption of saturated fats has been found to be toxic!  The same can not be said about carbohydrates!

So what causes atherosclerosis?

The overproduction of catabolic hormones, such as thyroid and cortisone, causes a slow erosion of the inner arterial lining.  This tissue breakdown, coupled with a decrease in the levels of growth hormone are both attributed to overconsumption of carbohydrates, which leads to arteriosclerosis. 

Excess insulin produced by the pancreas in response to high-carbohydrate diets, and to a lesser extent, high-protein diets in the absence of adequate fat is also now believed to be the main cause of many diseases.  Insulin is a fat-storing hormone.  Continued over consumption of high-carbohydrate diets can upset the endocrine system, leading to blood sugar imbalances, hyperinsulinemia, insulin insensitivity, excess inflammation and many other problems that undermine health.  

Other doctors and researchers, including Dr. Mary Newport, author of The Complete Book of Ketones, and The Coconut Oil and Low-Carb Solution for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Other Diseases: A Guide to Using Diet and a High-Energy Food to Protect and Nourish the Brain also share recent studies of the use of ketones and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets, with the inclusion of coconut and MCT oils for helping reduce symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Evolution & Ketogenic / Low-Carbohydrate Diets

While many people believe that we evolved eating a mostly fruit and vegetation diet, similarly to our chimpanzee cousins, it is an illogical conclusion.  For starters, humans would not have survived the many ice ages eating fruits, greens, leaves, roots, and nuts!

Secondly, these foods are only available seasonally.  And, the wild fruits and roots were much smaller, higher in protein, and less sweet than modern hybridized versions of fruits, vegetables, and tubers now sold in grocery stores.

All animals, including humans are hard-wired to get the maximum reward for the least effort.  Humans, and all animals  strive for maximum efficiency of efforts ~ or calories expended ~  which surely was an essential mechanism of survival!

Humans have been hunting, fishing, and gathering animal foods and wild land and sea plants for hundreds of thousands of years.  It is believed that the most energy dense foods contributed to our larger brains, which, ironically, are now shrinking again!  Fossils have shown that early humans broke open the bones and skulls to get at the marrow and brain, both very energy-dense, fatty foods.

Simply put our physiology has not adapted to diets high in plant foods, especially refined, processed grains, sugars, and plant oils.  

You can keep eating those carbohydrate-rich foods, believing any ill can be cured by Western medicine.  Or you can experiment with a low-carbohydrate diet, and free yourself from the addictive nature of carbohydrate-rich foods, all of which break down into sugar.  

One thing is certain.  You won't know how different you may feel until you try!  Want some help!  Contact me!  I am currently offering low-carbohydrate diet health coaching specials!  Learn more.

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