Monday, March 4, 2019

Retrospective #16: Diets and Dieting

I started the Nutrition Debate with the story of William Banting, a London undertaker who in 1863 published a pamphlet, “Letter on Corpulence.” He followed a diet his doctor had heard about at a medical meeting in Paris and lost 50 pounds. Scroll down to Retrospective #1 for the details. It is not recorded if he gained any of it back…
Every few years a new diet catches the public’s imagination. Why is that? The answer is that most diets don’t work permanently. We lose weight temporarily, but we usually gain it all back. So, we continue to look for “a diet that will work for us.” It doesn’t occur to us that, after we lose weight, if we go back to eating the way we ate before…
This brings me to “the way we ate before.” The conventional wisdom is that “before” we got fat by eating too much and not moving enough. The familiar solution, therefore, is to “eat less and move more.” The energy balance equation: Calories is = Calories out. Get off your butt and eat fewer calories (on a “balanced” high-carb diet).
This diet would be sustainable except that we get hungry, especially if we exercise enough to work up an appetite. Besides, don’t we deserve a reward for working out so hard? I certainly would, if I ever exercised to lose weight.
Why do we get hungry? Scroll down to #11 (“Why We Get Fat”) for my POV. Carbs make us hungry in part because they burn up quickly, causing a quick drop in blood sugar calling for more “input” to get back into energy balance. The problem is, most of us are eating a VERY high carb diet (most people do, 55% to 60% or more carbs), and we get the signal to load up again every few hours since that’s how long it takes for carbs to be digested and absorbed.
BUT “more input,” if you are a “sugar (carb) burner,” means more food by mouth, since fat stores we put away as another “input” between sometimes long intervals between meals (ancestrally speaking), aren’t available. For the explanation about fuel partitioning, and how our body fat becomes available for fuel to maintain energy balance, see Retrospective #10, “Carbohydrates, Insulin and Pre-diabetes.” Or my version of “Energy In = Energy Out” (#6).
These days the overweight and obese cohort is more than fifty percent of the US population. The incidence of morbidity as it relates to Type 2 diabetes and the lesser recognized Metabolic Syndrome is also increasing at an alarming rate. Associated co-morbidities include hypertension (high-blood pressure) and cardio-vascular disease (CVD). Other Diseases of Civilization, including Alzheimer’s dementia (Type 3 diabetes?), many cancers and numerous lesser known diseases (e.g., NAFLD) are also frequently associated and are increasing dramatically.
But we all still get fat because we follow the recommendation in the “Dietary Guidelines” to eat a plant-based diet, very high in carbohydrates, including sugars and ultra-processed refined foods and fake fats made from so-called “vegetable” (seed) oils, all from less expensive plant sources produced by U. S. Agribusiness. The plant-based diet gets protein and fat from less expensive plant sources: “beans and peas, nuts and seeds,” as well as “fortified soy beverages.” It’s a clever device to promote a meat-free diet and the vegan agenda. Our government has been snookered, and we’ve swallowed it whole. They want you to believe that you can’t afford to eat a truly “healthy diet”. But you can. You’ll “eat less” and not be hungry. You’ll burn stored fat, and you won’t need to exercise.
If you are not overweight, you may already “eat right.” You still might benefit from avoiding foods that may harm you in ways other than making you fat. The Diseases of Civilization, attributed to the Western Diet, are frequently independent of a tendency toward overweight. They are multifarious and increasingly deemed of metabolic origin.
Maybe it’s time for you to assess your diet and consider what makes sense for you. You have “an interest in eating,” as a newspaper publisher once sardonically told me. But I also have a special interest in eating well, both for my pleasure and for my health. I have lost a lot of weight (170 lbs.) by adopting a Way of Eating that works.
More importantly, your health will be much better by all the metrics a doctor uses: your lipid panel (cholesterol), your blood sugar (A1C), with no meds or only Metformin, your inflammation markers.  My A1c was recently 5.0% (non-diabetic)! I feel great, and I’m never hungry. My “diet” is very high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. 

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