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Understanding Carbs

Understanding Carbs


Bad carbohydrates not only cause obesity, but causes Diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, high cholesteral, high triglycerides, and other serious medical problems!


There are a lot of diets on the market and it can be very confusing which one to choose. A lot of books are very complex and confusing and are TOO MEDICAL. An article by Fred Pescatore, MD, MPH simplifies the advantages of a low-carb diet in a way that the average person can understand how food affects our body.

"Introduction: Everywhere we look, we see something about the low-carbohydrate diet - television, radio, bookstores, and newspapers. Everyone we know seems to be on a low-carbohydrate diet. But what is the low-carbohydrate diet, and how do we know which diet to follow, which is the healthiest, and most important, does it really work?

In this brief article I am going to show you exactly what the low-carb program is. I used to be the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. Yes, that is the same Dr. Atkins whose very popular diet plan has swept the nation. In the five years I worked there, I was able to learn, first-hand, the health benefits of low-carbohydrate eating.


In a nutshell, low-carbohydrate dieting consists of eliminating most forms of simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates come in many forms. They can be sugars, breads, pastas, pretzels, crackers, fruit, vegetables, and soda and fruit juices. Many people cannot believe that fruit and fruit juices are carbohydrates because they are really mostly sugar. Several recent studies even go so far as to suggest that the rise in obesity in our population is directly attributable to the rise in the consumption of fruit juices.

Sugar: For those of you who may not be aware of how fattening fruit juices can be, apple juice has more sugar in it than the same amount of soda. Sugar is the food that is eaten the most in this country. We eat 150 pounds per person, per year. That translates to 33 tablespoons each day. That may seem like an unrealistic amount, but when you begin to understand what you are eating, it is really quite easy to get to that level quickly without even realizing it. When I place my patients on the diet program I use in my practice, they come back in two weeks into the program, after having read all the food labels and tell me that they cannot believe certain foods actually contain sugar. What is worse, there are more than 300 foods that are not required by the federal government to list sugar as an ingredient, when in fact that does contain sugar.

As Americans, we consume more calories of sugar than we do of meat, chicken, vegetables, and breads combined. Different forms of sugar: One of the main reasons we do not know how much sugar we consume is because sugar has many disguises such as brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrin, raw sugar, fructose, polyols, dextrose, hydrogenated starch, galactose, glucose, sorbitol, fruit juice concentrate, lactose, brown rice syrup, xylitol, sucrose, mannitol, sorghum, maltose, and turbinado. Essentially, any word on a food label that ends in -ose or ol is a sugar in disguise.

Carbohydrates: Why is keeping a low carbohydrate level so important? The explanation requires a little understanding of the basics of how food is metabolized in the body. Our bodies metabolize food in the same manner as the bodies of our prehistoric ancestors. The body preferentially uses sugar for fuel since the body does not have to expend any energy to break it down for fuel. Next, the body will utilize simple carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, pretzels, and the like, simply because it does not take much energy to convert these into sugar for fuel. Next, the body uses complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, brown rice, legumes, and whole-grain starches as fuel because the body has to expend energy to process these foods back into sugar in order to be used by the body. The body will then use protein for fuel, and use fat last.

Fat: The reason the body uses fat last is because fat is the perfect storage molecule for the body. Fat holds more than twice the amount of energy than either a carbohydrate or a protein, so the body, in its infinite greatness, will store those bits of energy (also known as calories) for a rainy day. For most of us in this country, that rainy day never comes and it is our hips and waist that suffer the brunt of this storage of energy. The next logical assumption should be to eliminate fat from the diet and by doing so would solve the fat problem right? Wrong! Because our bodies create stores of fat molecules, namely triglycerides, we have an excess of sugar in our bodies.

The real key to dieting is therefore to eliminate the bottom of the food chain sugar and simple carbohydrates thus, forcing our bodies to utilize the complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat that we consume. Our bodies then begin to operate as they were meant to operate. Our prehistoric forefathers never had processed foods and that is all sugar and simple carbohydrates are.

Losing Weight: By eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates, we can lose weight easily and efficiently. In order to explain the concept of how food is metabolized, I often measure blood insulin levels. Insulin Levels: High insulin levels have been linked to a variety of diseases: Diabetes, blocked coronary arteries, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, strokes, and most important, obesity. Insulin is the hormone in your body that reduces your blood sugar. When there is too much blood sugar, in a condition known as insulin resistance, your body becomes overwhelmed and cannot do its job. A high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet can never correct this insulin imbalance or any underlying cause of obesity because it is too high in sugar. When you eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, your body can better metabolize the food that you eat and the insulin levels return to normal, and the weight comes off. Even if you are not overweight, the proper regulation of insulin levels is the key to avoiding some of the deadliest diseases that we face in this country.

Safe and Healthy Eating: I keep emphasizing low carbohydrate rather than no carbohydrate because that is the real key to dieting in this way in a safe and healthy fashion. My theory as to why the body needs some good carbohydrates in order to get the metabolism to function efficiently. The medical literature supports the theory of good and bad fats such as omega-3 fatty acids they type you find in fish. The medical literature similarly supports the theory that there are fats you should not be consuming like the Trans fats found in margarine and the hydrogenated fats found in most oils, except for olive oil and canola oil. The current fad-diet books do not take any of this research into account when helping you devise an eating plan that is supposed to make you healthy and stay that way.

Conclusion: Do not be afraid of low-carbohydrate dieting it is healthy and it does work. Be afraid of gimmick diets."


NOTE: The more acid or fat a food contains, the slower the carbs are converted to sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream.

One of the most important factors on how good or bad a carb is, is the how quickly it enters the blood stream.

When carbs are processed (enriched, etc.) it removes the outer bran (fiber), and the vitamin and minerals, leaving starch. It is important to eat "Whole Grain" that offers what the body needs to function properly.

Why Low Carbohydrate Diets Work



Why low carbohydrate diets work better than low calorie diets: discover an amazing alternative theory about obesity and other physical factors. This interesting site approaches the topic from a physics angle and builds a case for low carb based on the laws of thermodynamics. Click Here!

Ketones and Metabolism
8/2/2007 update


A carefully designed combination of foods can increase the metabolism of fats and make it possible to lose an average of a pound or more per day. The key to a good diet can be described in two words: metabolism and ketones (or as I like to say: “Low Carb”). Your body produces more ketones when it burns or metabolizes more fat than normal. Fat is used to supply energy and when you body does not consume all the fat, the excess or waste is called ketones. If you are not feeding your body foods that convert to sugar and then fat, your body has no choice then to turn to the fat already in your system. When you are burning off more fat at an accelerated rate you change your body’s metabolism. Another great side affect of this process is that ketones curb the appetite and you have less of an urge to eat. This waste product, so-to-speak, is eliminated through the urinary tract. The right combination of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates can cause the production of ketones. Safeguards should be taken however by uncontrolled diabetics, alcoholics and third trimester pregnant women. Although the reasons for how and why alcoholism affects this process is not clearly known, it seems to have an influence on it. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels more often at first so as not to go into a low sugar. This is a problem that can easily be corrected, however, by adding a little more carbs, and a problem that can quickly resolved if trying to stay on the 20 carb, per day, initial stage.

Once a diet is changed from simple or high glycemic foods to a diet consisting of complex carbohydrates or low glycemic foods, the brain after about 48 hours starts burning ketones to utilize energy from the fats stored on the body and to reserve the glucose only for its absolute needs. By doing this, it preserves the protein that is stored within the muscles, while eating the fat stored in the body. Ketostix are test strips that can be purchased at any drug store and will allow you to see if ketosis is taking place.

My Response to the Ridiculous
6/23/2007 update


This was sent to me this morning and I just don't have it in me to sit back and not reply to it.

"If your body does not have enough carbohydrates and has too much protein, it enters into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis is the accumulation in the blood of ketones (byproducts of fat oxidation) and represents the body’s adaptation to fasting or starvation.

Ketosis increases insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease, and glucose intolerance has been linked to hypertension and dyslipidemia.

Maintaining a state of ketosis can also result in mild dehydration because the kidneys are burdened by having to rid the body of excess nitrogen. This can cause dizziness, headaches, confusion, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems, and worsening of kidney problems.

Low intake of fiber can cause constipation, and may contribute to the development of hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, polyps, colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

High protein intake is also associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis due to calcium loss. When protein is digested, amino acids break apart and pass into the blood making the blood slightly acidic. Since your body needs to have a balanced pH level, calcium is pulled from the bones to neutralize acidity.

Therefore, the more protein you have in your diet, the more acidic your blood will be and the more calcium that will be needed. Animal proteins (i.e. meats) are the main culprit of this cycle. Grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits act as calcium savers.

In addition to calcium loss, maintaining a low-carbohydrate intake may be associated with an increase in blood pressure with age due to deficiencies of high-carbohydrate, high-fiber foods that protect against hypertension."

My Response

On this one I have to agree and disagree both, some info is correct; HOWEVER, the diet he/she is talking about is completely wrong. Ketosis is correct, but whoever wrote this did NOT do their homework first, which is typical when it comes to eating low carb. The majority of low carb articles written are by vegetarian groups who are against eating meat, period, or by lobbyist groups who fields have decreased in funds because people have gotten smarter and are choosing to eat healthier. Although it is true that the first two weeks you do enter a state of ketosis so as to change the metabolism, anyone that understands the diet will also know that carbs are definitely added slowly back into the diet - but healthy carbs instead of the unhealthy ones people were eating before. This article was definitely written by one of those people who go around saying on a low carb diet you can only eat meat, eggs, and salads because they never bothered to REALLY check beyond the first two weeks. Millions of dollars have been spent by companies that sell milk, orange juice, and other high carb foods, such as potato growers, etc. so as to put more money in their pockets instead of educating people on proper eating.

The low carb diet, if done correctly absolutely, positively is the best diet there is for a diabetic, or anyone else who cares about their health. This has been proven over and over again by diabetics who have their blood work done every three months, like I do. I know people who have been able to get off their insulin shots and/or oral medications by going on this diet, and years later they have more energy and feel better and are enjoying much better health while eliminating little aches and pains that come with age.

If one were to eat nothing but fatty meat for years then of course I would agree that it may burden the kidneys, but again, this is not how to do the diet.

Low fiber can cause a lot of problems but that is not caused by following a low carb diet, but by not eating healthy. Fiber comes from true whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. All of which a diabetic can eat. There are a small number of people who will experience constipation the first two weeks, but flax seed can take care of that problem very quickly and people should eat it anyway because the average person who even eats whatever they want, including high carbs, still does not eat enough fiber. A whole lot of studies have been done on this subject alone.

Again the writer is wrong because at one point I was on high blood pressure pills (it was never real high but higher then it should have been), and once I started eating low carb I was able to get off blood pressure medicine and thyroid medicine, and five years older, it is still good, as well as a decrease in my cholesterol and triglycerides.

People get it in their head, by writers such as this one, that it is a high protein, no carb diet and that is the farthest thing from the truth. I get so upset when I read things like this because these writers are aiding in the killing of diabetics and everyone else, the same way that the American Diabetic Association's diet does. I think they should all be locked up in jail for contributing the the murder of innocent people.

I have tried and tested and experimented with my own body to make sure that what I say on my site is correct and true, but just as importantly, can be backed up by blood tests. I've used myself as a human guinea pig and spent years on accumulating my knowledge. I have talked to doctors and nutritionalists, and I would challenge this or any other writer who puts things in print that can hurt a fellow human being.

Do I eat meat - yes I do, but not for every meal. Do I eat carbs - yes I do, but only healthy ones. Do I eat vegetables - yes I do, and a lot of them. I also eat TRUE whole grains and cereals, again in moderation. I also eat Dreamfield Pasta, and desserts galore, but it is the ingredients that makes the difference, not necessarily the type of food one eats. One must be wise in choosing their food, but our bodies need some carbs, some protein, some fiber, etc. to work and all of these can be consumed on a low carb diet.


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