Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

Tag: food pyramid

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes and our priorities are all wrong. With T2DM, a condition brought on by years of sugar and carbohydrate loading, we continue to shovel in more refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars. We hope it will […]

Low carb diets set up your environment to cope

Low carb diets set up your environment to cope

When it comes to weight loss advice we are often told to stop and think about what we are about to do, when we reach for food and snacks. This is supposed to stop us from overindulging through mindfullness. Mindfullness is a big buzzword of […]

…but you “just can’t cut out a whole food group”.

…but you “just can’t cut out a whole food group”.

Every day I hear the scoffing phrase “you just can’t cut out a whole food group” or “you just can’t demonise a food group”. It is an inbuilt, long-ago-learned phrase that you will often hear said against those improving their health by reducing their carbohydrate intake. I have heard it a lot recently in response to the recent BBC documentary “The Truth about Carbs”.

At first it makes me laugh and then it makes me so frustrated. What do you think you/we/all of us have been doing to FAT for decades? Exactly that, cutting out a whole food group, demonizing a whole food group. And how did that go for us? 435 million people with diabetes and one third of the world’s population obese or overweight. That’s not to mention those suffering with hypertension and stroke, heart disease, gout, PCOS, metabolic syndrome and maybe even some cancers and Alzheimer’s (blog on that to come).

And you never hear yourself saying these words to vegetarians or vegans, who for their own reasons have chosen to improve their health by cutting out whole food groups and probably not, only because these are more socially acceptable.

Here’s the thing though. Fat is an essential nutrient. We need fat in our diet (proper fat, not the processed seed oil crap). What we don’t need, and what you might not have heard before, is that there is NO essential requirement for carbohydrate. There is no disease of carbohydrate deficiency. Our bodies can and do make the tiny amount of glucose required from fat and protein.

I’m not saying I never eat any of it. I’m not a carnivore and I eat plenty of broccoli and green beans, but I don’t subscribe to the “but the children need the sugar for energy” bollocks.

We SHOULD be demonizing the processed, sugary, starchy food group – or we will remain fat and sick.

Eat the bacon.

Suzie

Is the UK leading the way in a grass roots LCHF public health solution?

Is the UK leading the way in a grass roots LCHF public health solution?

This week has been a very positive one. Could the UK be leading the way in a grass roots low-carb public health solution? Listening to the KetoWoman Podcast at the end of last week was a treat. Daisy and Louise had been at the Public […]

We need to talk about breakfast.

We need to talk about breakfast.

We need to talk about breakfast. The most common question I am asked when it comes to diet is what to eat for breakfast, especially by those seeking a low-carb option. When you’ve got a whole family to sort out before school and work, breakfast […]

Why you won’t lose weight trying to balance with will power.

Why you won’t lose weight trying to balance with will power.

Go find yourself a beam, a branch or one of those slack-lines and try balancing for a bit. How long can you last? Probably not as long as you’d like because chance are, like me, you are not an Olympic gymnast. Sure, you can engage your core and last a bit longer but you’re going to fall off. Do you think your falling off is due to your lack of will power or could there be other factors at play?

The concept of trying to balance anything will set you up for failure. No more so than the concept of a balanced diet, where you want to lose weight. Take a look at the “eat well” plate. I am reluctantly calling it by it’s name here but I don’t think it represents eating well at all.

If you follow this “eat well” plan, with its huge proportion of carbohydrates, by trying the balance macros, no matter how much you restrict calories, you will struggle to lose weight in the long term. Sure, calorie restriction and moderation of all these foods can lead to short term weight loss and you can quote the names of many CICO friends to me if you like but have we not grown out of the miserable self-loathing calorie restriction by now?

Look at the beige block of carbohydrates on that plate (the breads, cereals, pastas and biscuits). That’s a big chunk of stuff that there is actually no essential requirement for in our bodies. There is no disease of carbohydrate deficiency. The tiny amount of glucose that the body does need (in the blood represented by the blood sugar measurement) is used only by mitochondria-free red blood cells and can be manufactured by the body from other nutrients when it is needed. You don’t need to add extra, you don’t need this stuff, yet you keep coming back for more. Why is that?

Every food item that you choose to eat will set off a hormonal response within your body. So when you start your day with Special K, or dare I say it, “healthy” low-fat yogurt with bananas and raisins you will stimulate a big insulin response. Increases in insulin will, amongst other functions, signal to the fat cells around your body to keep hold of their fat. There’s no need to give up ANY precious fat stores when there’s carbohydrates about and winter is just around the corner when fruit might be scarce! When the job is done and the insulin levels drop and you run out of high levels of glucose (and all those carbs become glucose, even the whole grains) the response from your body is to find yourself some more of that feel-good stuff. Your body will make you need more of the feel-good stuff. If you ignore or fight those signals, you’ll feel hungry and miserable. Does this sound familiar?

What I am trying to say, is that this is not about any lack of will power. It is not a lack of will power that leads to your mid morning cheeky snack, it is your hormonal response to what you ate for breakfast and what you always eat, if you are following the recommended “healthy eat well plate”. That snack, even if it is a bunch of fruit (especially if it is a bunch of fruit) will set off the whole process again.

Finding a balance is hard and miserable and if you want to lose weight, it is nonsensical. Doing so by trying to moderate a carbohydrate-heavy insulin-inducing “eat-well” plate is nuts. You should eat more nuts.

If you are shaking your head and telling me that you couldn’t possibly give up bread or pasta (or those sugar filled bananas and raisins) then maybe you just don’t want to lose weight? Then again, maybe that’s not will power, maybe that’s a reliance on a food stuff that has no essential requirement by our bodies but we really like how it makes us feel. If this conversation was about cocaine, you’d be shocked.

Suzie

Some resources:

Low Carb diets lower insulin from Diet Doctor.com

Jason Fung on physiology, satiety and hormones.

Some more on insulin in this video by Dr Eric Berg:

 

Navigating Keto and lchf with sugar-filled kids

Navigating Keto and lchf with sugar-filled kids

Navigating the food pyramid with the next generation is really hard, especially when you are trying to turn it upside down. The next generation, and by that, I mean my kids, are going to need a lot of help. My children are already being taught […]

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