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Why Am I Talking About Nutrition? • Big Picture • Financial • Practical Preparation • Environmental News • Health
WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT NUTRITION?
Since people are joining the newsletter all the time and others may have missed the initial discussion, I'm going to take a bit of time to explain why nutrition is going to matter so much as the current system goes away.
There are two reasons. First, the way most people are eating is helping to cause an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. After a great deal of research, I believe that the conventional low-fat diet is the primary (but far from only) cause of this situation. Many people will tell you it's simply a matter of people eating too much and not exercising enough. This is far from the whole story, as I've begun to explain. Many people are actively disrupting two critical hormones, insulin and leptin, and this is helping make us fat and sick. Being fat and sick as the current healthcare system winds down will bring people a lot of unnecessary misery. We have enough on our plates already.
The second reason is because I'm personally interested in the topic. I had some weight to lose and, now being in my 40's, I thought it best to get interested in my longterm health.
Most people have seen the staggering statistics on obesity. It's not just in the Western nations anymore. Developing countries used to be concerned only about hunger but in the late 90's the World Health Organization reported that there were more obese people than malnurished people in developing countries.
And diabetes is on the rise because obesity and diabetes are closely linked:
Many of us getting ready for a contracting economy are planning what kinds of foods to store for emergencies as well as the kinds of foods we will eat outside of emergencies. Before doing my research, I thought that I would be able to get by on grains with a bit of protein from meat. Now I've come to the conclusion that this is not the healthiest diet for the long term.
I've concluded that the healthiest diet for humans, based on clinical evidence like the Stanford A to Z study I linked to in the last newsletter and on studies of hunter-gatherer societies, is one that is low in carbohydrates, low in protein and high in healthy fat. The ratio would be something like 20% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 60% fat.
This, of course, is almost exactly opposite of how we are currently being told to eat. How we got to this incorrect view (low fat, high carbohydrate) was pieced together by Gary Taubes in his books Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It and Good Calories, Bad Calories. I will do my best to explain the story in the newsletter but there is a tremendous amount of material to discuss. It's just not quick to explain, for instance, how saturated fat got incorrectly demonized, though I will cover that in the future.
At least many people are now aware that refined grains are terrible because they spike insulin. Continued spiking of insulin eventualy wears out the insulin receptors and that leads to increasing fat accumulation and many of the diseases of civilization. (I'll cover leptin resistance in the future.)
Unfortunately, many people who understand that refined grains aren't healthy think that intact grains are healthy, but they are missing the whole story. Before continuing, it's import to distinguish between whole grains and intact grains.
Whole Grain vs. Intact Grain
Whole grain includes the outer shell of the grain, the bran, but "whole" does not mean "intact." The grain can still be processed or unprocessed. For instance, whole grain bread is still made of flour, which is a processed grain, but the bran wasn't removed before the flour was made. Whole wheat flour and white flour have extremely high glycemic indexes because they were processed.
Thus, absolutely people can eat "intact grain" and the GI (glycemic index) will be lower but most of the world eats their grains in some sort of powdered (flour) or other processed form, in some cases cracked or rolled, as in rolled oats. Neither of which are in their intact form.
It's good not to continually spike blood sugar but there's more.
The glucose that makes up the starch in wheat and other grains still reacts and produces glycation, hormonal responses (insulin and leptin resistance) and epigenetic expression. So far I've focussed only on the glycemic response but there are actually two variables to track:
1. how high of a spike does the food cause (the GI)? and
2. how much glucose is going through the system in total?
When people focus on GI it's like saying that they are looking at how high a car's engine revs. If it is brought to 10,000 rpm too many times, the engine burns out quickly. But it's also important how much the engine is asked to work over time and an engine that operates at 5000 rpm will wear out before one that operates at 2000 rpm.
When a person eats carbohydrates, it's like getting the body's engine to rev higher. So, biochemically, the more glucose one eats the more damage one causes (via glycation). In societies without a great deal of spare calories and lots of manual labor, like many Asian countries in the past (but not now), this damage was tolerable. For many of us, who already have damaged metabolisms from eating too many refined carbohydrates, the extra carbohydrates still contribute to weight gain and molecular damage (glycation).
Should you cut out grains completely? Many people do but the best general answer seems to be: "reduce grain consumption significantly, especially if you are attempting to lose weight; get most of your carbohydrates from fibrous vegetables that are nutrient dense."
In the next newsletter, I'll look at how you can change from being a sugar burner (i.e. dependent on carbohydrates for energy) to a fat burner and some of the benefits of doing that.
Energy Supplies and Climate Policy | The Oil Drum, May 7, 2012
Dr. Rutledge, from Caltech, presents his updated numbers on how much coal is left in the world. His numbers generally accord with those from the Uppsala Global Energy Systems Group. The bottom line: there is a lot less than most people think. This has important implication to climate policy. Highly recommended.
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The Crisis of Student Debt in America | Global Research, May 3, 2012
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'Hug The Monster': Why So Many Climate Scientists Have Stopped Downplaying the Climate Threat | Think Progress, May 7, 2012
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