Thursday, August 07, 2008

Low carb, not low fat is the best way to go

Hump Day
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Pg. D6

Although I'm not a fan of summer, I do have to say that I enjoy some aspects of it, most of it relating to food.

As the weeks progress and we move more fully into harvest season, I enjoy the smell of corn husks being opened by grocery shoppers looking for the best "ears" to take home for some good summertime eating. The presence of local strawberries, raspberries and blueberries is also a sight for sore eyes.

Nothing beats fresh, local food for its appearance, taste and quality. Frankly, it just doesn't get any better than that.

For the past year, I've been following a low-carb diet that has seen me drop more than 100 pounds (so far) with a corresponding drop in blood pressure that has allowed me to reduce my medication. I'll return to the doctor's office in a couple of months to make sure it's staying within the safe range, but the readings at my last visit a couple of weeks ago were nothing short of a home run!

Fresh food is a staple of any diet, especially mine. Since I've pretty much eliminated packaged food from my pantry, I've turned to fresh and good quality frozen food to make up the largest part of what I eat. Gone are the days of processed, high-sugar, low-quality foods. These days, I make pretty much everything from scratch.

Even though I've generally eliminated processed foods, sugar, flour, pasta, potatoes and high-glycemic fruits from my diet, I can't deny that I'm tempted every once in awhile, but it's mostly emotional temptation rather than a real craving. Once you get rid of the sugar "rushes" and "crashes" that most people suffer from, those nasty cravings disappear.

These days, I'm more attracted to the "memory" of how something tasted rather than the strong biological urge to pig out.

Emotional cravings are those where the basis is nostalgic rather than physical. For instance, I crave ice cream in the summer because they go together. There are "low-carb" or "sugar-free" ice creams in stores, but those are normally full of maltitol, a sweetener that can leave you running to the bathroom if you're not careful. I'd rather not eat any at all if that stupid maltitol garbage that manufacturers insist on putting in their products is going to force me into performing an impersonation of an out-of-control volcano.

Emotionally, I do wish someone would invent a carb-free, high-fibre potato so that I could enjoy a piping hot serving of french fries at a carnival. Those were always the best. The grease was old, the fries so hot you could barely eat them, and the atmosphere just wonderful. Once the pumpkins come out this fall, however, I'm going to try to make my own low-carb version of french fries using my deep fryer and julienned pumpkin strips. Apparently the final result is quite similar! I can't wait!

And if you're wondering why I'm on a diet and using a deep fryer (occasionally, mind you -- not every day), let me stress once and for all that I am of the firm unwavering belief that fat doesn't make you fat; it's sugar that makes you fat! I know that every dietician reading this just fainted, but all the research I've done and my own personal experience has absolutely convinced me that the low-fat diet that North Americans, especially, have been following in the past generation has caused us great physical harm.

Obesity and diabetes are now so commonplace that it's practically considered "normal" to have diabetics throughout one's family tree. It's not. But after gorging oneself on sugar and high-glycemic foods (white flour, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.) for years, what does one expect? When the fat went out of our diets, sugar came in big time. . . or foods that acted like sugar in our bloodstreams (potatoes, pasta, etc.) The low-fat experiment has been disastrous. It's a complete sham and, in my opinion, a national tragedy.

I cringe when I look through the American Diabetic Association's recipe section on its website. I kid you not that they have recipes on there that include white sugar. What's next? Serving martinis at AA meetings? Cigarette breaks at lung cancer support groups? Passing out directories of the best drug dealers in town at Narcotics Anonymous gatherings? It's baffling. Absolutely baffling.

When I tell people that I don't eat sugar, potatoes, pasta, etc. anymore, the usual reaction I get is "I can't do that!" Uhm, yes you can. Just decide to. That's all you have to do. Even though I'm not diabetic, I eat like the worst diabetic in the world. My entire diet centres on keeping my blood sugar stable. That's one of the major keys to weight loss, folks, not this wrong-headed low-fat garbage that only keeps you constantly hungry.

I realize that low-carb is not in fashion anymore. What we need to do is rebrand it to "low-glycemic", meaning that you eat to keep your blood sugar stable and avoid the spikes that cause cravings and weight gain. In fact, eating low-carb is the way we used to eat before we became fat-phobic.

Did you know that the rich were the only obese people in the late 1800s because only they could afford expensive white flower, white sugar and candy? Now, everyone can afford it. And now, everyone's overweight and diabetic. Low-fat is the "fad" diet, not low-carb. And it's been a complete and utter national disaster.

What I decided to do was to cut the emotion out of my diet and replace it with facts. That the gift I decided to give myself back on June 17, 2007, when I started down this road, and it's the gift that I will never give up.

I truly hope that society wakes up to the dangers of sugar and high-glycemic foods before it's too late or risk dying younger than the generation that preceded it. Our addiction to the low-fat, high-sugar diet is hilariously -- and tragically -- misguided.

1 comment:

Juggling Jason said...

Kind of an interesting thing you got going there Brian. Thanks for sharing your research.