OBESITY FROM HIGH-CARBOHYDRATE, LOW-FAT DIETS
Obesity is increasing dramatically in the United States and, at the same time, the dietary consumption of fat is decreasing. At first, this seems odd. What is going on?
At the Boston meetings of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine in October 1996, three doctors, Kendall Gerdes, MD, George Juetersonke, DO, and Barry Sears, PhD, spoke about high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets causing insulin resistance syndrome, which results in obesity and many illnesses. Carbohydrates increase blood glucose and stimulate the production of insulin, which effectively stores the glucose as fat. Then, with low blood sugar, we feel tired, less mentally alert, often depressed, and we get a carbohydrate craving—so, the vicious cycle is repeated.
The first two speakers pointed out that fat patients with "apple-shaped tummies" are sure to have the insulin resistance syndrome, meaning a high fasting insulin level, which is an exceedingly accurate predictor of cardiovascular disease. The most effective way to get this syndrome is to eat concentrated carbohydrates. For example, a cup of pasta is equivalent to six cups of cooked broccoli. A person could easily eat a cup of pasta at a meal but would be really challenged to consume six cups of cooked broccoli at one sitting!
All three doctors spoke of the glycemic index, which gives the entry rate of a carbohydrate into the blood stream. White bread is arbitrarily set at "100. A high rate means quick entry.
Dr. Gerdes recommended The Sugar Trap and How to Avoid It, by NOHA Honorary Member Beatrice Trum Hunter. He and Dr. Juetersonke take their patients off all sugars, grains, including all pastas and breads, and all fruits. In the discussion they said that some fruits are probably fine for people who do not yet have the insulin resistance syndrome. They have had great success with what they call the "green diet, emphasizing vegetables, many of which are green. Compliance has been high because the patients feel so much better on the diet. They lose their tiredness and depression and do gradually lose weight. Some of them find that if they go off the diet, even with one piece of bread, they will have a major relapse, including sudden weight gain.
All three doctors spoke sarcastically about the new food pyramid, which recommends six to eleven servings of grains per day, as the base for all our diets. They called the pyramid a prescription for disaster and pointed out that we are genetically adapted to the Paleolithic diet, which consisted of wild game and fish, fruits and vegetables—no grain. In the discussion, blood types were mentioned. All three doctors had spoken about a small minority of people, who can eat concentrated carbohydrates without triggering high insulin levels. In this regard, Dr. Gerdes referred to the late NOHA Honorary Member Roger J. Williams and biochemical individuality.
Dr. Sears predicted that, in the future, nutrition will have center stage in medical treatment. The macronutrients—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—are exceedingly powerful in their effects on eicosanoids—ancient chemicals, which form and act within our cells in milliseconds and at extremely low levels. These chemicals have been around for more than 500 million years but we are just beginning to learn about them. They control many of our bodily functions: for example, some inhibit platelet aggregation, others promote it; some stimulate immune response. others depress the immune system. Food is vitally important for eicosanoid production and balance. Specifically, all the eicosanoids are formed from the essential fatty acids that we consume in our food. As we know, carbohydrates promote the release of insulin, which enhances the production of the so-called "bad" eicosanoids, which increase pain and inflammation, depress the immune system, promote platelet aggregation, constrict blood vessels, and increase cellular proliferation. On the other hand, protein promotes the release of the hormone glucagon, which stimulates the formation of the "good" eicosanoids, which perform all the opposite functions, for example, they are anti-inflammatory, decrease pain, and stimulate the immune system. Because of these powerful effects from the macronutrients in food, Dr. Sears recommended that all our meals and snacks have a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Also, he recommended that we not overeat, because simple overeating itself can stimulate the release of insulin. However, overeating would be difficult if we pursue a balance, at each sitting, of some protein, a little healthful fat, along with unconcentrated, fiber-rich carbohydrate.
All three of the doctors mentioned the importance of exercising, ingesting the micronutrients—vitamins and minerals, and avoiding the deleterious effects on our cell membranes from trans fatty acids, such as are found in margarine.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XXII, No. 3, Summer 1997, pages 9-10.