Fat vs. Carbs
The controversy over fat in the diet has arisen again. The fat-free craze of the 80’s and 90’s gave way to the high fat diets like Atkins, the Mediterranean Diet and South Beach Diet. Then The China Study showed how consumption of animal fats and flesh increased the incidence of disease and plant-based diets started gaining in popularity.
High Fat/High Protein
High fat and high protein diets usually go hand-in-hand. In 2005 Dr. Russell Blaylock wrote that Atkins had turned conventional wisdom on its head by demonstrating that high fat diets could reduce body fat, lower cholesterol, and triglycerides.
However, the long-term effects of the diet were harmful. Dr. Blaylock listed the ill-effects of a high fat diet including; significant increase in inflammation leading to heart attack, stroke, and cancer; fat absorbs and retains mercury, pesticides and herbicides and by eating animal fats these are transferred into the fat and brain; high fat diets contribute to insulin resistance; because a high fat diet usually includes high animal protein, there is an increase in kidney disease, acidic blood causing osteoporosis, and increase in glutamate which worsens neurodegenerative diseases; high fat diets usually include too much red meat which causes increased iron levels which cause cancer and arthrosclerosis.
The China Study, published in 2005 is the most important study on nutrition ever published. What made it so impressive were the 350+ parameters observed, and the uniqueness of the population of China. The nutrition of the people of China is unique because there is so little migration in China. The population of a region eats the same food based on supply. For example, people in the north eat wheat vs. people in the south eat rice as a staple in their diets. There are similar regional differences for consumption of red meat, chicken and poultry, fish, dairy, as well as fruits and vegetable verities. The study showed a correlation between increase in animal products and increase in ALL diseases. Above 5% of calories from animal products increases the incidence of diseases.
High Carb/Low Fat
While high fat/high protein diets do more harm than good in the long run, there are also drawbacks to eating high carb/low fat diets. Dr. Blaylock writes that fats give food flavor and extreme low fat diets deprive the body of the essential components need to make hormones, prostaglandins, and other vital biochemicals. Whereas, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Collin Campbell, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Caldwell Essylstein have all done studies which have shown the vast benefits of a well balanced plant-based whole foods diet which includes ample fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados.
In a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Neal Barnard, 100 participants with type-two diabetes were randomized to eat a conventional diet with limited calorie intake or a low-fat vegan diet with no calorie limits. The participants were studied for a year and a half in which the low-fat vegan diet produced more weight loss, lower LDL cholesterol, and lower Hb A1C (insulin). The specifics of the low-fat vegan diet were not mentioned but having read Dr. Barnard’s work before, I am sure it was a plant-based, whole foods diet with no refined oils or other processed foods, and was high in nuts, seeds, and avocado for healthy fats.
That is a tease. There is no bottom line. There is a bottom gray area though. ;-) The extremes are bad. A diet with excess flour and sugar is just as bad as a diet with excess fat and protein. THE SOLUTION is simple but, like any significant change, there is a learning curve. Once you learn how to do it life is slimmer, healthier, and much easier.
Eat food the way it grows. Eat oats, corn, rice, quinoa and other grains whole, not ground into flour. Eat olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds whole, not processed into oils. Avoid or completely eliminate animal products including milk, cheese, fish and eggs. To “avoid” means to consume only on special occasions not daily or weekly. Studies show that eating this way will reduce weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and reverse disease without limiting calorie intake.
To eat this way subscribe to these websites for recipes and tips:
Tips in the Meantime
Eat salads with vinegar, mashed avocados, or salsa for dressing. Eat potatoes plain or with mashed avocado or pinto bean gravy instead of butter and sour cream. Eat nuts or seeds plus avocado at every meal to feel full. Also, I believe it is very important to take Omega 3 fish oils (Omega Pure 820 by Xymogen is my favorite). Plant-based omega 3 oils are not effective enough.
Try these oil free recipes:
Creamy Zucchini and Spinach Pasta