The following article is a guest post from Paul Hess, of www.primalrejuvenation.com. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of myself. But, I am always open to new information and ways of being, which one can experiment with to be the healthiest version of themselves.
In general, when it comes to nutrition, I am utterly confused, and living experimentally. The Vegan camp claim their way is the only way to erradicate disease and live to the fullest. They show all the evidence for how meat and animal products poison us. At the same time, in the Primal camp, they tell us that their way is the only way to restore full health. They also present all their findings on how terrible grains are. Meanwhile, books such as the Starch Solution, claim that switching to an entirely startchy diet void of animal products, heals patients and reverses serious health problems. Make your own decisions, because like you....I am in a cluster fuck on confusion. Enjoy Paul's take on this. If it resonates, give it a go :-)
Over to Paul -
Low carb was the beginning of my nutrition and health journey that made a difference with more steady energy, clearing up brain fog, and eliminating allergenic foods. Many people have experienced a wide range of benefits and going low carb is probably the single most beneficial dietary trend I have observed.
Low carb diets can be used to improve just about any health condition, if that is a diet strengthens your body. Your body can heal itself when it has all the nutrients it needs.
Low carb can be defined in terms of:
1. Qualitatively as no starches: grains, beans, potatoes and other root vegetables. This is part of paleo and primal diets.
2. Counting grams of carbohydrates from all sources including vegetables, fruit and milk. All carbs break down to sugar so it’s all sugar in the end that affects blood sugar levels.
Low carb is not everything or for everyone, but there are 7 reasons to consider it. The most important thing is to notice how your body responds.
Eating high levels of carbs can destabilize energy because too much sugar enters the blood stream that the body cannot handle and then it has to be cleared out by the hormone insulin secreted by the pancreas, which delivers what it can to the cells for energy and stores the rest as fat. The problem is that blood sugar is often lowered too much and then one feels a craving for sugar for a temporary energy boost and the cycle repeats itself.
Blood sugar imbalances are often part of a complex set of symptoms known as “metabolic syndrome.” Blood sugar problems are also more commonly seen as“pre diabetes” leading to diabetes.
Risk of Diabetes
A long term problem than can develop is diabetes when the pancreas is too exhausted to produce insulin so it needs to be injected. Insulin injections can control some symptoms effectively but does not address the whole problem like neuropathy pain or numbness in the feet or hands, with circulation problems that may lead to a need for amputations.
One problem not addressed is “insulin resistance,” which is when insulin cannot get energy into the cells through cell wall receptor sites that fail to receive it. Cell walls can malfunction due to nutritional deficiencies and toxins that have damaged cell wall membranes. Nutrition and toxicity can be seen as two sides of the same coin as healthy versus toxic molecules competing to occupy the body. You need nutrients to detoxify and repair damage from toxins.
There can also be problems with organs in diabetes: the kidneys, liver and pancreas that are involved in varying symptoms patterns that reflect that there is a systemic problem like a toxic load and nutritional deficiencies that cannot be cured with insulin injections.
Excessive blood sugar is stored as fat rather than utilized as energy. Not everyone gets fat from eating carbs, but if you are overweight, consider trying this as part of your solution. There are plenty of skinny people who eat rice, for example, and that is easier to do in a hot climate with a lot of sun. There are other factors that determine weight gain so addressing all your root causes is important.
Food allergies and intolerances can crash energy and lead to weight gain. Eliminating foods to which one is allergic or intolerant this is the low hanging fruit of nutrition because you can begin to experience benefit immediately by doing nothing, just eliminating.
Some of the starchy foods like wheat, corn and soy are more highly allergenic or create intolerances. Most notably, the gluten in wheat, but also rye, oats, and even the fabled quinoa in lesser amounts can bother people. Many people feel better going gluten free.
What gluten does is damage your gut creating bigger holes than should be there, a condition called “leaky gut.” The food and other particles can pass through that are not fully digested and or tolerated well, so the immune system responds to eliminate but it does not do so perfectly. Inflammation can occur as part of this response for bloating in the gut or pain anywhere in the body. Damage to protect membranes also occurs around the brain with the blood brain barrier.
And yet there is an even bigger source of leaky gut and brain barrier damage:
Many grains contain toxins like glysophates found in the herbicide Round Up made by Monsanto. Herbicides act like gluten to damage the gut and brain barrier and can have an estimated ten times the impact.
This occurs with GMOs, genetically modified foods, that where designed to withstand herbicides that are generally non-selective plant killers to put down weeds that compete with food crops. GMO foods generally means herbicides are being used.
Any non-organic grains and beans are likely to be GMO with herbicides, pesticides, or non-organic fertilizer. If you are going to eat grains or beans it is best to avoid restaurant food unless they say it is organic.
Low Nutrient Value
Grains, beans, and even starchy roots like potatoes are not as nutrient dense as other foods like vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, and raw dairy.
Low carb diets generally replace carbs with more protein and a lot more fat. Avocados are a good food but also have carbs and are not the most valuable fats which are saturated fats with cholesterol found in meat, eggs and raw dairy. Yes, cholesterol is healthy.
This refers to how quickly sugars enter your body relative to how much you eat. There are glycemic indexes on-line to look up. It is determined generally by how much fiber is in the food.
• Grains are very high on the glycemic index, and beans are less but pretty high too when eaten alone as the protein source.
• “Complex carbs” in unrefined grains like brown rice and brown bread are still very high on the glycemic index.
• Green vegetables are generally very low on the glycemic index.
• Fruits vary with how much sugar they have.
• Juicing fruits and carrots removes fiber and turns them into a sugar bomb for those who have blood sugar problems.
You can also slow down and balance absorption by eating fats and proteins while following the rules of food combining.
The once popular Zone Diet was based on balancing the macro nutrients protein, fat and carbs in 30 30 40 percent ratios in each meal to balance hormones and energy in a special and precise way and it works wonderfully for doing that.
HOW LOW TO GO?
The qualitative route is easiest because you do not have to count calories but replace starches-- grains, beans and some root vegetables—with vegetables and fruits. This increases nutrient levels. Be sure to learn food combining principles or you may get indigestion, for example, fruit with meat is often not good.
Getting the optimal amount of grams of carbs a day can be necessary with chronic health conditions until you gain strength. This can vary by season with more in the summer and less in the winter. You must look-up carb / sugar content of foods until you can memorize it. Keep in mind the glycemic index.
I test people energetically to get an exact number as your daily target to get near, and then how much of each category of food is ideal, approximately.
Ketogenic diets are the lowest, with an average of no more than 40 grams of carb / sugar a day.
Ketogenic means that ketones can be measured in the blood as a sign of fat burning. This forces your body to burn fat. Keto can be good for stubborn health conditions but not everyone can do it or does it properly.
The originator of this diet, Dr Atkins, insisted on taking extra alkaline minerals with it: calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. I rarely hear about people doing that. I find it is necessary to take some of these minerals on any diet.
With Keto people lose about 5 pounds on average immediately in water weight that the carbswere holding in. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing. Some people cannot adapt to ketoand there are some tricks to it. Some people have weak muscles on this and loss of muscle mass as Atkins admitted, although it can be better than what people were doing before.
How to Choose
You can experiment for yourself starting with the easiest qualitative option and then try the more disciplined options to see if you get a better result.
Lower carb diets can help improve any health condition if that is what strengthens your body. When your body has all the nutrients it needs it can heal itself.
I test individuals for what amount of carbs are ideal for you and which foods and supplements to use. If you have numerous health symptoms this can be most helpful. I offer a free consultation to hear what you need and discuss how I work.
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