Monday, 6 February 2012

Been Dazed and Confused for so Long its not True.

Eat grains! Vegetable oils! Pasta good, beef bad! No red meat! More carbs, less protein, zero fat! Work out more! Saturated fat kills!

I bet we are all familiar with the above in some form or other, aren't we? I've tried following the traditional dietary advice and it just doesn't work for me. I get hungry all the time, gain weight, become grouchy and lethargic when my blood sugar drops. For years I thought it was just me. That there was something wrong with my body, or my mind, that I was lazy, greedy, you know how it goes. All those "experts" saying what and how much you should eat...Maybe some chain smoking super model can survive a while eating like they say, but it ain't healthy...or pleasant.

When I first came across the paleo way of eating (and living) it was a revelation. All those times I'd been unable to sustain a traditional diet were suddenly exposed as "Not My Fault." It's mostly down to controlling your body's production of (and sensitivity to) insulin. There are a few others too, such as lectins, but that's for another day.

Staying on top of the insulin curve means you have more energy because your blood sugar doesn't spike and cause a flood of insulin to take all the blood sugar and store it away as fat. (Leaving you starving and without energy again).

Any time you eat grains or potatoes or sugar, your body is flooded with insulin and the above happens. That's why you can eat a massive pizza or huge bowl of pasta and soon be hungry.

It's a vicious cycle, but there is a way out of it. Turn the food pyramid on its head. Take 60% of your energy needs as protein, then the rest as fat and carbs. Only carbs from leafy plants, fruits and roots, though.

What about heart disease?  Well, again, traditional advice is counter productive. Eating a high carb diet promotes fat storage in your body. What's more likely to be bad for your heart? Your body using the energy you eat? Or locking it away as fat? I think the answer is obvious.

Most of the bad press that fats receive is almost certainly down to the grains or other "anti foods" that they are usually combined with.

Grass fed red meat will be high in omega 3 and actually good for your heart. Have you ever heard of the Gascon paradox? Supposedly Gascons have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in all of Europe. This despite their diet being heavy in saturated fat. Duck fat. No one could really understand it. After all, saturated fats are bad, aren't they?
Well, no. Saturated fat that has a high omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is very good for you and eating food that is rich in these will not make you fat.

What you must avoid are certain vegetable oils such as rape seed oil, and if you need oil to cook with, use saturated fat, as olive oil and other, similar polyunsaturated fats become toxic when heated. They turn into transfats which are only slightly better for you than eating a chunk of lead every day.

What's it all mean?
Eat more protein, don't sweat the fat, enjoy your food and substitute the bad things, like potatoes and grains for big heaps of tasty leaves and, yes, another slice of beef, with the fat left on.

Eat well.


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