Pasta, Not Bacon, Makes You Fat. But How?
by Joseph Mercola: Cancer
Alert: Beware of These 5 Home Appliances
- A wonderful
infographic based on Why
We Get Fat by science writer Gary Taubes, explains exactly
why eating fat doesnt make you fat but eating carbs can
carbohydrate-rich foods can prevent a higher percentage of fats
from being used for energy, and lead to an increase in fat storage.
It also raises your insulin levels, which in short order can cause
insulin resistance, followed by diabetes and other chronic diseases.
to experts, carbs should make up only 20 percent of your diet,
while 50-70 percent of your diet should be healthy fats.
- Fat is
far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs
and feel ravenous, this is a sign that you haven't replaced them
with sufficient amounts of healthy fat.
the low-fat craze has ended and more people are embracing healthy
fats in their diet, there's still a sizable group that has not heard
the news yet
will not make you fat as quickly as eating carbs will.
This, in a
nutshell, is what you need to recognize if you're struggling with
your weight, as limiting non-vegetable carbs is crucial to weight
If you're having
trouble getting your mind around this, a wonderful infographic created
by Column Five for Massive Health, based on Why We Get Fat
by science writer Gary Taubes, explains exactly why eating fat doesn't
make you fat but eating carbs can kill you
Killing You and Making You Fat!
Today, I believe
it's safe to say that most people eat far too many carbs and not
enough healthy fats with about 50% of the average American's diet
consumed as carbs.
grain carbs and sugars, while simultaneously increasing your fat
consumption can be the U-turn you've been looking for if you are
currently overweight and/or your health is suffering.
COURTESY OF MASSIVE HEALTH.
READ ABOUT THIS
above does a great job of simplifying an otherwise complex concept,
specifically the role of dietary carbs in increasing insulin levels
and weight gain/obesity. I highly recommend reviewing it now
overconsumption of carbs is the primary driving factor for insulin
resistance and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, the conventional
medical wisdom has unwisely been extolling the virtues of carbohydrates
for years, even placing them as the "foundation" of the highly flawed
If you are
seeking to lose weight and optimize your health, foods like bread,
rice and pasta should comprise very low percentages of your diet.
Virtually anyone who bought into these high-carb, low-fat dietary
recommendations has likely struggled with their weight and health,
wondering what they're doing wrong.
is that overeating carbohydrates can prevent a higher percentage
of fats from being used for energy, and lead to an increase
in fat production and storage. It also raises your insulin levels,
which in short order can cause insulin resistance, followed by diabetes.
Insulin resistance is also at the heart of virtually every chronic
disease known to modern man.
Stores Excess Carbs as Fat
Your body has
a limited capacity to store excess carbohydrates. This is one of
the reasons why elevated blood sugar follows their overconsumption.
One of the ways your body avoids dangerously elevated blood sugar
is through converting those excess carbohydrates into excess body
fat primarily in your belly. The way it works is that any carbohydrates
not immediately used by your body are stored in the form of glycogen
(a long string of glucose molecules linked together). Your body
has two storage sites for glycogen: your liver and your muscles.
Once the glycogen levels are filled in both your liver and muscles,
excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in your adipose,
that is, fatty, tissue.
carbohydrates are "fat-free," this is misleading because excess
carbohydrates end up as excess fat. Puffed rice, in fact, is capable
of making your blood sweeter than white sugar, due to the fact that
it is higher on the glycemic index all the more reason why refined
grains are "hidden sugar," and sugar is in many ways "hidden fat."
not the worst of it. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates will
also generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this
rapid rise, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream,
which then lowers your levels of blood glucose. The problem is that
insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess
carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of future famine.
So the insulin that's stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively
promotes the accumulation of body fat!
In other words,
when you eat too much sugar, bread, pasta, and any other grain products,
you're essentially sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to your
body that says "store more fat." This is actually a highly beneficial
response in certain scenarios such as when calories are very scarce.
This provides a major survival advantage but for nearly everyone
reading this, having insufficient calories is not an issue, so this
protective mechanism actually sabotages your health.
increased insulin levels also:
- Make it
virtually impossible for you to use your own stored body fat for
two important hormones: glucagon and growth hormone. Glucagon
promotes the burning of fat and sugar. Growth hormone is used
for muscle development and building new muscle mass.
hunger: As blood sugar increases following a carbohydrate meal,
insulin rises with the eventual result of lower blood sugar. This
results in hunger, often only a couple of hours (or less) after
the meal, in a vicious endocrine rollercoaster that takes us from
meal to compulsive meal without ever feeling satisfied.
So, all in
all, the excess carbohydrates in your diet can not only make you
fat, they can make sure you stay fat. Cravings, usually for sweets,
are frequently part of this cycle, leading you to resort to snacking,
often on more carbohydrates. Not eating can make you feel ravenous
shaky, moody and ready to "crash." If the problem is chronic, you
never get rid of that extra stored fat, and your energy and overall
health is adversely affected.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat and Still be Healthy?
Dr. Ron Rosedale,
the physician who first educated me about the importance of insulin,
has used low-carb diets to treat his patients with obesity, diabetes
and chronic diseases for over two decades. He argues that there
is no such thing as a "safe" non-fiber starch (such as rice or potatoes).
consuming starches, especially potatoes and rice, will disrupt both
your blood sugar and insulin levels the question is only
a matter of to what degree? My guess is that from a biochemical
perspective he is probably right, and if you need to lose weight,
there is no question that limiting your sugar and starch intake
is crucial. However, if living longer is not your primary objective
and you are seeking to optimize fertility or athletic performance,
then this most likely is not your best choice.
I realize that giving up virtually all non-veggie carbs can be a
so how many can you realistically eat and still be healthy?
Paul Jaminet, PhD. in his book Perfect
Health Diet, a 20 percent carb diet is healthy for nearly
everyone. He also believes that 50-70 percent of your diet should
be healthy fat (healthy fats include not only monounsaturated fats
like olive oil but also saturated
fats, like those found in raw dairy products and grass-fed
I keep very
careful track of my diet with one of the best diet apps on the iPad
(in my opinion) called Calorie Counter and Fitness Tracker. My guess
is most people are not keeping such detailed records of what they
eat. I typically have about 60% of my diet as healthy fat and about
25% of my total calories as carbohydrate. This amount is in line
with Perfect Health Diet recommendations, but in my diet, most of
the non-fiber carbohydrates are from veggies and about one cup of
rice a day to help fill my glycogen stores that get depleted from
my intense exercise regimen.
If you are
already healthy, are seeking to maximize your longevity and take
it to the next level, and are willing to experiment then give Dr.
Rosedale's suggestions a try by eliminating nearly all non-fiber
carbs. This will be very challenging to implement in the beginning,
but as your body grows accustomed and satiated from these extremely
nutrient-dense low-carb foods, it should get much easier and will
provide you outstanding health results that will be a continual
source of encouragement.
A Word about
Fructose (a Common Sugar in Soda, Fruit Juice and More)
You will want
to be very careful about the amount of fructose
you consume as part of your carb intake, as it is by far the worst
type of sugar there is in terms of both your health and your weight.
is quite different from glucose (dextrose) metabolism in that it
places the entire burden on your liver, and this accounts for many
of its devastating health effects. Furthermore, people consume fructose
in enormous quantities these days, which has made the negative effects
that much more profound. Without getting into the very complex biochemistry
of carbohydrate metabolism, it is important to have a general understanding
of how your body handles these sugars.
Below is a
summary of the main differences between glucose and fructose metabolism,
which explains why I keep repeating that fructose is by far the
worst type of sugar there is:
- After eating
fructose, virtually all of the metabolic burden rests on your
liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20
- Every cell
in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore,
much of it is "burned up" immediately after you consume it. By
contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL
(the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get
stored as fat.
- The fatty
acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets
in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance
and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance
progresses to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose
converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used
to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the
more fat you store. Glucose simply does not do this.
- When you
eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as
fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored
as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
- The metabolism
of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products
and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives
up blood pressure and can cause gout.
suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and causes resistance to
leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect
on ghrelin and by interfering with your brain's ability to use
leptin, results in overeating.
If you want
to shed excess pounds, maintain a healthy weight long-term, and
RADICALLY reduce (and in many cases virtually eliminate) your risk
of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, then get serious about restricting
your consumption of fructose to no more than 25 grams per day, with
a maximum of 15 grams a day from fresh fruit. If you're already
overweight, or have any of these diseases or are at high risk of
any of them, then you're probably better off cutting that down to
10-15 grams per day fruit included.
If you believe
you are an exception to this rule then you can measure your uric
acid level. If it is below 5 when you are eating loads of fruit
then you are metabolically ok with it, as elevated uric acid levels
are a strong indication of fructose toxicity.
to Let Go of Your Fear of Fat
When you cut
carbs, you need to replace those calories with healthy fats. Both
are sources of energy, but healthy fats are far more ideal than
carbs. However, not just any kind of fat will do. The Atkins Diet
is one popular example of a low-carb, high-fat diet that has helped
many shed unwanted pounds. Unfortunately, Dr. Atkins didn't pay
much attention to the QUALITY of the fats, so while his recommendations
worked in the short-term, many who tried it ended up experiencing
Many do not
realize this, but frequent hunger may be a major clue that
you're not eating correctly. Not only is it an indication that you're
consuming the wrong types of food, but it's also a sign
that you're likely consuming them in lopsided ratios for
your individual biochemistry.
Fat is far
more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and
feel ravenous, thinking you "can't do without the carbs," remember
this is a sign that you haven't replaced them with sufficient amounts
of fat. So go ahead and add a bit more healthy fats from the list
and Olive oil
and coconut oil
made from raw grass-fed organic milk
nuts, such as, almonds or pecans
pastured egg yolks
organic nut oils
fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency
in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health
problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying
factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. As mentioned,
emerging evidence actually suggests your diet should be at least
half healthy fat, and possibly as high as 70 percent.
diet is about 60-70 percent healthy fat, and both Drs. Jaminet and
Rosedale agree that the ideal diet includes somewhere between 50-70
percent fat. It's important to understand that your body requires
saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat,
dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) for optimal
functioning, and if you neglect this important food group in favor
of sugar, grains and other starchy carbs, your health and weight
are almost guaranteed to suffer.
2012 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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