“People like to hear good things about their bad habits.”
Dr. John McDougall
It started years ago and continues to this day…the controversy or the conflict between low carb and high carb diets. The Standard American Diet (SAD) was, is and always will be a low carb diet and that´s because it´s based on the consumption of meat dairy and eggs…foods that have almost no carbohydrates. How healthy is that? Well, if you look at the results, for those on the SAD diet, you´ll see that chronic diseases such as heart, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer´s, etc., are not about to disappear. In fact, every year, the health situation seems to be getting worse.
Because of this poor “report card”, during the past few decades, people have been looking for and experimenting with other diet options (i.e., Atkins diet – 1972 Eat Right for Your Type – 1997, Paleo Diet – 2002, South Beach Diet – 2005). Unfortunately, these options are basically just off springs of the SAD and since the SAD is not a very healthy diet, it appears to me that the main reason for people changing diets is to shed pounds in order to look better in other people´s eyes and secondarily…to improve their own health. The initial weight loss does happen but at the expense of good health and wellness. Because of the high content of saturated fat and cholesterol found in meat, dairy and eggs and the lack of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients which is found in plant foods, it´s difficult to maintain a quick weight loss diet for more than a few weeks, without suffering the consequences. What´s the result? In most cases it´s a return to the original SAD, where pounds are put on again…or jump on to another diet bandwagon with the hope that this time it will work…long term. After all, there´s a lot of options to choose from (Wikipedia lists more than 100 different diets). You can actually pinball from one diet to another…for the rest of your life and not get the results you want.
It´s important to understand that the only healthy carbs are unprocessed ones, found in whole grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. These healthy carbs are converted into complex sugars that provide continuous energy to our cells. That´s why athletes load up on carbs before a competition, to supply their muscles with fuel. Processed carbs, on the other hand, that are found in white breads, pasta and cakes, white rice and refined sugar and other processed foods lack the nutrient density found in whole carbs.
In his best-selling book, The Starch Solution, Dr. John McDougall writes about some of the benefits of consuming complex (good) carbohydrates:
“Carbohydrates help us to radiate vitality. Every year millions of people lose weight without necessarily improving their health. In fact, these weight-loss methods often cause illness. These diets work by severe carbohydrate deprivation, which causes a state of illness and when people become sick they lose their appetite and lose weight. This method of losing weight is analogous to the weight loss seen in people taking cancer chemotherapy drugs.
A carbohydrate based diet, on the other hand, brings radiant health along with the loss of excess body fat. Endurance athletes know the benefits of “carbo loading.” In addition to enabling peak performance, a carbohydrate based diet improves blood flow to all tissues in the body. The skin glows with a clear complexion from the improved circulation. A welcome by-product is the elimination of oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads and acne. From weight loss and the resulting relief from arthritis, people on a carbohydrate based diet feel active, agile, and more youthful.”
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