Recently the LA Times published an article, A Reversal on Carbs, alluding to what most Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) members already know: carbohydrates are NOT the body’s preferred method of fuel and is, in fact, the number one reason why America is fat.
Yet many people think they “need” carbohydrates to function. The accepted knowledge is this: it doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you stay within your daily nutrient allowance of so many calories. What does science have to say about the role of fats versus carbohydrates in the body?
Firstly, in the whole history of man-kind, it has only been since the mid 1900s that carbohydrates (not including vegetables and, to some extent, fruit) become the “norm,” so this “scientific study” in the LA Times is only bringing us back to what has been normal for thousands of years.
If a person consumes a balanced diet which is about 30-80% healthy fat, protein and no or very few carbohydrates their body will automatically find it’s healthy weight. Without effort.
Carbohydrates turn into glucose in the body and insulin comes in to turn it into energy or storage, right? Healthy fat, on the other hand, is usable from the minute it enters the body — the body and the brains’ primary source of fuel is designed to be fat in the form of ketones — not glucose!
Furthermore, if one is not consuming enough healthy fat, ones own body will synthesize fat from other sources, most notably, carbohydrates, and absorb and store this unwanted fat. Grains (most common source of carbohydrates) cause many health problems due to its ant-nutrient content, its tryptophan-poor profile, high omega-6 levels… it’s an allery and sensitivity potential to tons of people. One only feels like one NEEDS carbs to get through the day when ones body is in glucose-burning mode (sugar addiction). Then one will have cravings. When one body is in fat burning mode, one can last without food longer between meals and will have more energy because ones body isn’t spending energy converting glucose into something usable.
Just to clarify about “healthy” fat, this includes saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and certain essential polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3s but stay away from the poly-unsaturated vegetable oils. These last oils are simply damaging to ones body. Most of ones fat consumption should be from animal fats though, it’s only natural. Unadulterated animal fats, preferably, are the best source of fat for ones body… so yes: butter, raw full fat cheese, raw milk, etc. God made it that way, that’s the way humans ate for thousands of years… what’s wrong with it? SCIENCE has proven it’s healthy even. It’s basic biochemistry.
As far as exercise goes, it’s good for keeping a value of life–being flexible and able to run, jump, sprint, etc and lift things, but I put very little value in exercise as far as weight control. Exercise can never compensate for an unhealthy diet, any more than supplements and drugs can. To get/maintain a healthy body and healthy weight it’s 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. I see physical activity as a fun thing, not do-it-or-you’ll-get-fat type of a thing.
About the whole calorie in/calorie out idea: if this worked, a lot of people would be normal weighted. BABIES are overweight these days, do we have a plethora of under active babies? Uh, no. They just eat, sleep and poop as they are programmed, yet they are fat. Being fat must not be about willpower or exercise. I think we have to dig deeper.
What exactly is a calorie? A calorie is the amount of energy required to heat 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius in a bomb calorimeter. Every gram of protein and carbohydrate takes about 4 calories to heat the water while every gram of fat takes about 9 calories and alcohol takes about 7. BUT, the human body doesn’t burn calories the way a bomb calorimeter burns calories. The human body is complex with multiple organs, enzymes, hormones, brain chemicals, and more – every day new cells are made, hormones are manufactured and toxins are neutralized. On the other hand, the bomb calorimeter is a tank. Food goes in and then goes out in the form of heat. There is no manufacturing going on, no thyroid glands or hormones to contend with.
So just because a gram of fat produces 9 calories in a bomb calorimeter doesn’t mean the body will store 9 calories from that same fat gram. Calories are used for other things in humans other than storing fat and providing energy for exercise.
Then where did the calorie in/calorie out come from? Let me quote from Nora Gedgaudas: The first law of thermodynamics states that energy in a closed system at thermal equilibrium is neither created nor destroyed. Energy can be transformed. First, is the human body a closed system? Nope.
So what does the law of thermodynamics and caloric deficit have to do with calories and weight gain? NOTHING. This law really says that the calories we eat can be stored (in fat or glycogen), burned off with work (as in exercise or digesting food), or burned off as waste (as in carbon dioxide or sweat). It simply says not all calories will go to the fat stores in our hips because some of those calories will be used to do work and some will be discarded as waste.
Animal fats are healthy and necessary for the human body and carbohydrates are not, exercise is not necessary for weight control but is good for quality of life, a calorie of food in a human is much different than in a bomb calorimeter, and the first law of thermodynamics (caloric deficit) has nothing to do with calories and weight gain.