Monday, May 25, 2020

Retrospective #464: “She was only 75.”

Penny Marshall died a few years ago at age 75…of “complications of diabetes.” A commentator lamented, “She was only 75.” Nobody explained the pathophysiology, which was correct, I suppose. An obituary is about a person’s life and accomplishments. Penny Marshall was brilliant in “Laverne and Shirley” and as a movie director. “A League of Their Own” is one of my favorites, but when I saw a picture of her, I knew she was probably diabetic. She was fat.
I don’t want to blame her for that, although I regularly hector and cajole my readers for the very same thing. I do that because, like the rest of us, she probably followed “doctor’s orders,” especially when she knew she was sick and presented with unmistakable markers of metabolic disease. But when we simply gain a little weight over the years, and have no symptoms, we (including the doctor!) mark it up to “eating too much and moving too little.” We are told “diet and exercise” is the way to drop the weight. We try to lose again and again, and we fail…again and again.
So, it’s our fault. We heeded the doctor’s advice, and we tried. We went to the gym (maybe) and tried to eat less of the foods the doctors and the medical associations and the government public health establishment told us not to eat, and we lost some weight. But we were always hungry, and eventually we lost resolve and gained it back. We failed. We did as we were told, and we failed. Over and over again. Is anyone thinking of the famous Einstein aphorism?
That’s why, I suppose, there are so many different diets out there. It’s so we don’t see ourselves as doing the same thing over and over again. But, don’t you see, we are, really. WE ARE GETTING THE SAME RESULT! It’s insane.
All these “approved” diets have different names and other things that make them seem different, but they are really much more similar than we think. They are mostly “BALANCED.” What does that mean? That means that they include the ratios of fat, protein and carbs (the “macronutrients”) that government and the medical establishment have recommended, WITHOUT SOLID SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, for over half a century.
These ratios are on the Nutrition Facts panel on every box and bag that we buy at the supermarket. The daily amount recommended for every adult WOMAN is 300g of carbohydrates, 50g of protein, and +/-65g of fat, mostly polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), from “vegetable” (seed and grain) oils. That translates to 1,200kcal of carbs (@4kcal/g), 200kcal of protein (@4kcal/g) and 600kcal of fat (@9kcal/g).
Here’s the truly shocking Percent Daily Value (%DV) of that 2,000kcal diet that “women of a certain age” are thus counseled to eat: 60% CARBOHYDRATE, 10% protein and 30% fat. Did you know that? THAT’S 60% PERCENT CARBS! And for MEN the percentages are the same; it’s just that we’re allowed 2,500kal a day, as follows: 375g carbs, 62.5g protein and 83g fat. That’s still 60% PERCENT CARBOHYDRATES, MEN! Is that insane, or what?  Bonus trivia: this is how the beef industry fatten beeves on a feedlot. No, I’m not joking.
That’s why Penny Marshall was fat. Not because she ate too much and didn’t exercise enough. Her obituary didn’t say that. It didn’t have to. The simple statement “complications of diabetes” said it all. Let that sink in. Then, ask yourself, was it a Macrovascular complication (stroke, heart failure, or old-fashioned MI (heart attack), increasingly common with diabetics, or perhaps a Microvascular complication? Nephropathy: end-stage kidney disease, with dialysis, or neuropathy (with amputations), or retinopathy (with blindness).
In any case, Penny Marshall had a choice, if she had known about it. And you still have, a choice. TYPE 2 DIABETES IS A DIETARY DISEASE. It is the result of eating a “balanced” diet that includes way too many processed carbs and foods with added sugar and processed vegetable oils. What does that have to do with being fat? When you greatly reduce the amount of carbs in a meal, starting with “breakfast,” you allow your body to switch to burning its own fat for energy…so you won’t be hungry all the time. You won’t eat as much and put on those extra pounds. In fact, you will quickly start to lose weight. Have just eggs, bacon and coffee for breakfast. No cereal, no toast, no fruit, no yogurt!

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