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Carbs vs. fats  RSS feed

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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As far as I can tell, carbohydrates are not essential to human nutrition. They can be completely eliminated from the diet without causing deficiency syndromes. Anecdotally, my friends that dramatically reduce the amount of carbohydrates that they eat report that they feel better than ever...



 
Lucy Gabzdyl
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Mick Fisch wrote:I'm stuck on the oil/fat production question. Carbs I can get, but historically the most prized item and the hardest thing to get a lot of was fat (ok, I can hear you guys already gearing up about olive oil in the mediteranean, pork fat in northern europe, coconut in polynesia). Every culture has come up with some solution, but we need fat. Our cell walls are made of fat, as is much of our brains (I can already hear the 'fathead' comments, I've spent too many years listening to kids and now have a perennial smart mouthed kid making jokes in my head).

Seriously though, if someone wants to be 'food independant', they really need to figure out how they are going to get their oils. Back home in Alaska we used to harvest hooligan (candle fish) and I know they were an incredible fat source for local native/homesteader populations.

I have a feeling that this is one of those areas where we might be being a little unrealistic. I buy my vegetable oil at the store, so someone somehow is making it in bulk and cheap. How hard is to transfer to a small scale? I looked up one of the sites listed on this string and it was talking about a liter or so of oil for an hours worth of grinding from sunflower seeds. Not sure that's efficient enough for me. My current leaning, in zone 4,5 or 6 is to look at lard production, but I am more than willing to be convinced that there is a better way.

Has anyone out there actually personally harvested a significant amount of oil from something other than olive or animal/fish?


Mike I would defintately go with the lard option if that's possible. Lard (especially from Iberico type piggies) is the healthiest fat of all. The Spanish take their pork very seriously, especially the salt seasoned hams which can go for 100 euros a kilo. I remember that tocino (belly fat) was the first thing they fed babies after they were weaned. Plus of course you get bacon, double whammy! Apart from olive oil, vegetable oils go rancid really quickly. Saturated fat is now back on the menu according to the experts (we never stopped).
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Lucy Gabzdyl wrote:I would defintately go with the lard option if that's possible. Lard (especially from Iberico type piggies) is the healthiest fat of all. The Spanish take their pork very seriously, especially the salt seasoned hams which can go for 100 euros a kilo. I remember that tocino (belly fat) was the first thing they fed babies after they were weaned. Plus of course you get bacon, double whammy! Apart from olive oil, vegetable oils go rancid really quickly. Saturated fat is now back on the menu according to the experts (we never stopped).

Lard is the healthiest fat of all? I'd question that claim.

Well-raised lard is certainly healthy [and perhaps more easily produced from carbohydrate windfall] but based on my own research Grass-Fed-and-Finished Tallow [ruminant fat] seems to provide superior health benefits.

But perhaps we should move this discussion to the oils board?
 
Mick Fisch
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I've eaten daylilly tubers. Not many, but I was conducting a small class on edible wild plants and so I went out and dug up a few cups. I boiled them a little and they were all eaten. They seemed to be one of the more favored items, I saw several people come back for seconds and one came up afterwards and asked if there were any left over. That said, the tubers are quite small, maybe the size of my little pinky pad.

It really wasn't any trouble to dig them because they were packed pretty tight (I dug them along a ditch near my house where they've been growing wild for I don't know how long), maybe five minutes to get a meals worth for a family if you used a shovel (they were dense, probably more tuber than dirt in the first few inches of soil). I'm guessing from their size I would leave them in the ground until I needed them because they would probably dry out pretty quickly.

I generally view day lillys as survival food/guerrilla gardening. It isn't a huge harvest for one year, but it'll just keep building up, getting denser and spreading until I need it. If someone came and took my food or I needed extra to feed an influx of hungry mouths, it would be there and easy to get and almost certainly no one else would notice it.

If you wanted an annual harvest I think it would be best to harvest an area, replant some tubers at the time (maybe 1/10) and left it alone for at least a few years to build up density again. If you did that each time you harvested it would be pretty doable, just a few more minutes while you have the ground already spaded up and a bunch of tubers right in front of you ready to stick back into the ground.
 
Jan White
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The body uses carbs broken down into glucose as its fuel, from blood sugar or from stored glycogen. This is very efficient. If you're using fat as your energy source, you still need some carbs to help break the fat down into usable form. This is hard on the kidneys. You also need way more oxygen to use fat as energy, so it's only good for low to moderate activity levels. In addition, your brain uses blood sugar for most of its energy.

I think the reason people feel better when cutting back on carbs is that fat and carbs don't mix well. Do high fat/low carb or high carb/low fat, but don't combine the two. I've chosen high carb/low fat as, according to the science I've found, it's healthier and easier on the body longterm. Occasionally I eat more fat than usual and invariably feel sluggish and fuzzy-brained afterwards. I also get bad morning breath, stronger body odor, and stinky bowel movements (which you all wanted to know about right ;P).
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Jan White wrote:I think the reason people feel better when cutting back on carbs is that fat and carbs don't mix well. Do high fat/low carb or high carb/low fat, but don't combine the two. I've chosen high carb/low fat as, according to the science I've found, it's healthier and easier on the body longterm. Occasionally I eat more fat than usual and invariably feel sluggish and fuzzy-brained afterwards. I also get bad morning breath, stronger body odor, and stinky bowel movements (which you all wanted to know about right ;P).

This actually makes a lot of sense. Speaking in terms of Early Hunter Gatherers, when a motherlode of carbs or fat was acquired it would have been mostly all at once, with whatever herbs/greens they had to go with them.

This excludes the autumn of course, when game and ripe fruit/mast are likely to coexist [because the first seeks out the second.]

Though it doesn't quite jive with some of what we know of some later hunter-gatherer societies diets. Pemmican, for example, was frequently loaded with powdered fruit for flavor and sugar.

Maybe a better claim would be that fat and starch are better off separated?
 
Ben House
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I eat a pretty consistent diet that is mostly protein and fats, with the occasional baked good thrown in (my wife loves baking)

I am a Carpenter and work very heavily for about 8-12 hours a day. I feel very awake and active when I mostly eat meat, fat and vegetables; but if I eat lots of starches I tend to feel draggy and slow. When I am on the high protein diet I can even skip a meal or two and feel no real loss of energy.

I usually eat two eggs and either some sausage or bacon for breakfast and meat and veggies for dinner, my lunch I am not really particular about.
 
Jan White
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:This actually makes a lot of sense. Speaking in terms of Early Hunter Gatherers, when a motherlode of carbs or fat was acquired it would have been mostly all at once, with whatever herbs/greens they had to go with them.

This excludes the autumn of course, when game and ripe fruit/mast are likely to coexist [because the first seeks out the second.]

Though it doesn't quite jive with some of what we know of some later hunter-gatherer societies diets. Pemmican, for example, was frequently loaded with powdered fruit for flavor and sugar.

Maybe a better claim would be that fat and starch are better off separated?


From what I know, fat and starch are a slightly better combination actually. Simple sugars are released more quickly into the bloodstream and if there's fat there already, blocking the insulin receptors, you'll get a blood sugar spike. If there's no fat, the sugars can be used right away or moved to storage as glycogen. Starch would release sugars into the blood more slowly and the body would be better able to deal with the fat combo.

A lot of early human diet was based on necessity and not what actually works best. Plus, they weren't rolling in food all the time the way we are now and were a lot more active, so some imperfect food combinations maybe wouldn't have such an impact -not to mention the fact that their life expectancy tended to be terrible anyway.
 
Jan White
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Ben House wrote:I eat a pretty consistent diet that is mostly protein and fats, with the occasional baked good thrown in (my wife loves baking)

I am a Carpenter and work very heavily for about 8-12 hours a day. I feel very awake and active when I mostly eat meat, fat and vegetables; but if I eat lots of starches I tend to feel draggy and slow.


I wonder if this is because, as you say, you eat a high fat diet and thus can't process the carbs properly.

Ben House wrote:When I am on the high protein diet I can even skip a meal or two and feel no real loss of energy.


Because carbs are used so efficiently by the body, you need a steadier and/or larger supply than when using fat for fuel. I'm fine with eating 1500-1800 calories, 90% carbs, for breakfast. That gets me through to dinner just fine, even when I'm working hard. Some people don't like the large volume of a meal like that and prefer to snack more frequently.
 
Ben House
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Jan White wrote:Because carbs are used so efficiently by the body, you need a steadier and/or larger supply than when using fat for fuel. I'm fine with eating 1500-1800 calories, 90% carbs, for breakfast. That gets me through to dinner just fine, even when I'm working hard. Some people don't like the large volume of a meal like that and prefer to snack more frequently.


I don't know, I would guess that I would need a good deal of energy to make it through the day I am about 6' tall and 259 pounds. I regularly move 80# bags of sackcrete, 6x6 posts, and telephone poles(we build houses on peirs) etc. Not light work, I figure I should burn through the calories if I don't eat as many as with carbs. I rarely lose weight but don't really gain either. I will say that since I hit 30 years old I noticed my boys eat more than me at the table. I rarely eat more than one helping.

 
Jan White
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Ben House wrote: I will say that since I hit 30 years old I noticed my boys eat more than me at the table. I rarely eat more than one helping.


Haha - yeah, I don't know anyone over 25 that can eat like a growing kid.
 
Ben House
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What amazes me is that my 6 and 7 year old boys out eat me when their roughly a quarter of my weight!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I choose to live primarily on fat. I can go a week at a time without eating, and have plenty of energy the whole time to run, to lift heavy things, and to get a lot of manual labor done on the farm. If I ever have a time when I really need to get a lot of work done, I make a point of more meticulously avoiding grains, and other carbohydrates. If I eat very many carbohydrates I definitely feel the "draggy and slow" feeling that Ben mentioned. I like being able to work a whole day, or a whole week, without having to go find some carbohydrates or other food to get me through the next hour, or the next week.

A few minutes ago I came across a web page that said: "a lot of these low carbohydrate diets encourage you to go into the state of ketosis. Your body is forced to break down this fat abnormally, which results in headaches, nausea, low energy - you know, side effects.". Among people that advocate low-carbohydrate diets, this cluster of side-effects is often called "The Low Carb Flu". It is as predictable as getting wet in a rainstorm. Some people don't experience it at all while transitioning. Other people take two or three weeks to work through it. For me, it was about 3 days when I transitioned from high-carbohydrate to low-carbohydrate for the first time. I feel great on a low carbohydrate diet. I feel better. I look better. I think better. I get more work done. I suspect based on our biology, and history as a species, that being in ketosis is more normal for humans than eating carbohydrates. I still eat carbohydrates from time to time for social or family reasons. But I don't get the low carb flu any more when transitioning back to my normal low-carb diet.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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So are the melons and squash and corn you grow more for market [and occasional home treats] than staple foods Joseph?
 
Jan White
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote: If I eat very many carbohydrates I definitely feel the "draggy and slow" feeling that Ben mentioned.


I'm curious what else you're eating when you eat what you consider to be high carb. I'm curious because of what I was saying above about fat and carbs not mixing well. I've noticed that many people who say they're eating high carb are actually eating high carb AND moderate to high fat. I wonder if it's the combination, not the carbs themselves that is making them feel unpleasant.

All food has some amount of fat in it. Sometimes I track my meals on one of those calorie counters. I've had up to 7% of my calories coming from fat while eating nothing but fruit and vegetables. To get over 15% from fat all you need to do is an one avocado to that day, or one sausage, or 1/3 cup of walnuts. Very easy. So I'm skeptical that the average person eating buttered toast, potatoes with sour cream, etc. is actually taking into account all the fat they're actually taking in as well as carbs.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:So are the melons and squash and corn you grow more for market [and occasional home treats] than staple foods Joseph?


On my farm, the melon season is a few weeks long. I enjoy every bit of it!!! I'll often eat only melons during melon season. Five or more per day!

I feed my community. My community eats a lot of carbohydrates. During the winter, when squash, garlic, and onions are the only fresh vegetables available to me, I eat so much squash that my skin turns orange. Squash is about 10% carbohydrates/fiber by weight. Squash has a lower glycemic index and glycemic load than foods derived from grains. Squash is a relatively low calorie food. Bread is about 50% carbohydrates. I figure that squash is a healthier carbohydrate than wheat. I can eat squash for every meal, without getting the sugar rushes and draggy feeling later that I get when eating breads.

The corn that I grow primarily becomes chicken food. Then I eat the eggs and birds. I wish that I could entice more people to eat more grain corns. I think that it would be healthier for them than eating sugar and wheat. I have a very unfavorable attitude towards wheat as a food for humans.

And just to show how I am... I grow wheat for seed. If it weren't an heirloom variety that has been in the family since the 1880s I wouldn't be growing wheat. I consider wheat to be a low-level chronic poison to humans. I finally came to terms with my feelings that I am poisoning my community... Because I don't try to interfere with family members that are poisoning themselves with tobacco, alcohol, or prescription drugs... So why bother with trying to interfere with community members that want to eat lots of carbohydrates or wheat? If people want to grow my family's wheat, I'll make it available to them. If someone gives me a loaf of bread, I'll give it away to someone else -- that is already eating bread anyway...

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Thanks for the explanation Joseph, much appreciated.

It actually reflects my own thoughts, fruit being somewhat separated out from dense starches like grain or potatoes. I'm also trying to learn to use squash for otherwise flour-based products [sandwiches, pizza, etc] that are part of my lifestyle and going to be difficult to change.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Jan:

In the standard Amerian diet, high fat and high carbs pretty much go together: Bread and butter, cakes, pastries, muffins, burgers, french fries, deep-fried breaded vegetables, ice cream, funeral potatoes, etc, etc, etc... So when I eat with family, it is both high fat and high carbs.

If I have to eat a piece of bread or a gravy for a social occasion, I'll add more calories of fat to it than are contained in the high carb food itself...

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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When I started paying attention, I noticed that some people in my family would serve wheat as a main dish (pasta), wheat as a side-dish (garlic bread), and wheat as the desert (bread pudding). Eventually, I simply had to start saying "I don't eat wheat, it makes me sick.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes my muscles ache.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes me hold water and become bloated.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes me fat, and I really enjoy being fit and trim." When I stopped eating wheat, I didn't substitute a different grain. So basically, I'm not eating grains any more. That drastically reduced the amount of carbs that I am eating. I replaced them with fats. Some from my own body, some from my food, mostly coconut, olive, and butter. I still enjoy popcorn from time to time, or tacos, or a bowl of rice. They were never a big part of my life, so they continue to be minor foods for me. I lost 55 pounds effortlessly. I suppose that potatoes are my biggest source of carbs these days. I stopped eating refined sugar decades ago.

For my body, it seems like there is something going on with wheat besides the carbohydrates. I don't get bloated, or achy when I eat other types of carbs.
 
Lucy Gabzdyl
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

For my body, it seems like there is something going on with wheat besides the carbohydrates. I don't get bloated, or achy when I eat other types of carbs.


I think modern wheat is very problematic as it has been bred to have so much more gluten plus it has gliadin which is also a problem. I don't eat a lot of wheat but when I do I'm substituting it with spelt.

I think that people have different body types. The blood group diet made a lot of sense to me - both me and my partner are O type or hunter gatherer and the high fat diet suits us both very well and at 62 like you I don't get bloated and I don't put on weight (still the same weight as when I was in my twenties). And I'm not on any medication prescription or otherwise and haven't seen a doctor in nearly 30 years! But if I overdo the carbs especially wheat, I put on weight straight away. I particularly noticed that when I had a carb breakfast I was hungry within a couple of hours.

'A' blood types on the other hand were the farmers and do better with a more carb based diet. With the 'B' blood group being the nomads.

The Ayurvedic system is also very interesting and again I found I really related well to my type. But I have always been very savvy when it came to listening to what MY body needs.

Dr Mercola has his own version which roughly corresponds to the blood group diet and is again in 3 different types with high/medium/low carb requirements.

Interestingly I am of Eastern European descent so do quite well with potatoes, whereas my partner has a Mediterranean dad and does much better with all the different pulses.

Most important is to listen to our bodies as we all have unique requirements.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Jan White wrote:not to mention the fact that their life expectancy tended to be terrible anyway.


Only compared to modern industrial humans; compared to agriculturists they were healthier and lived longer.

http://discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race
 
Tyler Ludens
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My own experience is that I feel healthier when I limit grain products and when I eat more fat. Fats I eat are olive oil, organic butter, and chicken fat, also sometimes a small amount of peanut oil. I'm of the personal opinion that grain (grass) carbohydrates are not especially healthy for a lot of humans, who may not be adapted to them. Carbohydrates in the form of tubers, roots, some fruits, nuts, and leaves may be healthier for many people. I seem to be noticing a pattern when I eat more wheat I get more aches and pains. So I might be jumping on the "wheat is evil" bandwagon. I'm being more successful lately reducing the amount of wheat we eat because I've been able to grow more of our food. Tubers, bulbs, squash, and leafy greens grow well for me, but the one time I grew wheat the squirrels ate it. Maybe they were trying to tell me something
 
Jan White
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Jan White wrote:not to mention the fact that their life expectancy tended to be terrible anyway.


Only compared to modern industrial humans; compared to agriculturists they were healthier and lived longer.

http://discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race


I was comparing them to modern humans, though. The 26-year life expectancy that the author mentions for hunter-gatherer group in an American region is exactly what I was referring to. A 26-year-old is only just barely an adult as far as the genetic potential age of humans goes. Not much time to see longterm effects of lifestyle.

The article was interesting; thanks for posting it. I notice the author of the article also wrote Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I enjoyed. My first instinct (because this is how I test ideas) is to come to a different conclusion than the author. I think the problems he attributes to agricultural societies may be more to do with power structures and poverty. He uses an example of women being beasts of burden in modern-day New Guinea farming communities. Women have that role in plenty, if not most, of cultures, though. Look at some of the nomadic tribes in Africa. Notice who does the packing up, who rides the animals (or doesn't), and who carries. It's possible agriculture made it easier in some cases for these power structures to arise, but it seems to me to be an inherent human weakness.
 
Jan White
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Jan:

In the standard Amerian diet, high fat and high carbs pretty much go together: Bread and butter, cakes, pastries, muffins, burgers, french fries, deep-fried breaded vegetables, ice cream, funeral potatoes, etc, etc, etc... So when I eat with family, it is both high fat and high carbs.

If I have to eat a piece of bread or a gravy for a social occasion, I'll add more calories of fat to it than are contained in the high carb food itself...



Thanks. This is what I've noticed most people to do. I wonder why it is then that everyone still says "I feel better eating more fat than carbs" when it seems no one is really comparing the two separately to find out if that is actually the case.
 
Travis Schulert
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I hope this is relevant, but I always find the "human life expectancy" of a certain time period to be misconceiving. Its not like once you hit 26 you were considered old. Its just that in a time before hand washing and an understanding of infection and bacteria, many many many more children died at childbirth, along with their mothers in most cases. Add in malnutrition and many children that survived infancy died before adult hood because of disease and sickness.

So for me at least, its hard to understand the argument that so many people make about past life expectancy and a comparison to their diet. When just because you lived to 45 in ancient times did not mean you were old. This is often used to say that our modern system has a higher life expectancy, when if you took out the babies dying at childbirth factor, the life expectancy is almost always higher than it is today. A good example I heard recently was using the founding fathers (who even being wealthy had the same poor medical help everyone else had), which was saying that very few of them died before 73, several lived to late 80s and 90s. and that the actual average of the life expectancy in the 18th and 19th century was higher than it is today, as long as you dont include the amount of children that died due to infection at childbirth.

I just look at how we evolved and what we ate, and you know what? The human is so well adapted to eat a huge array of different things, if they werent we would have never left Africa and colonized the world. But, one thing is for sure, grains were not a staple in most cultures diets until breeding of ancient grains and agriculture started to take form. Which when you look at the evolution rate of mitochondrial DNA, which is what is largely thought to control the metabolism, changes at a rate of 1%-2% every 100,000 years. So if you believe that, than a paleo type diet would fit most of us.

If you can imagine, you would wake up and start tracking animals as soon as the day began. As you tracked the animal you would be passing by mostly wild greens and fungi that you would consistently nibble on as you sought your kill. So towards the end of the day, if the hunt was successful, you would then feast on meat and fat at night, and hopefully plenty of greens that you brought back with you from your trek that day.

Some days you would not eat, some days you would only eat greens. Some days you might even find fruit (fruit is not ripe throughout the year or season, most fruits all ripen in a 1 or 2 week window of the year.

So a diet diverse with many greens, fungi, meat, fat, and fruit with occasional fasting seems to me at least as what would be the healthiest diet if you believe the whole thing about mitochondrial DNA. Also, another tid bit, is that one of the early Spanish explorers to the Americas had noted in his writings that the natives have over 900 different edible wild greens that they can eat throughout the day. So that should tell you right there that greens are the most important staple in our diets. And everything else is needed a little less sparingly. Feast and famine, like the ancestors for good health. Carbs were rare until breeding of ancient grains took over as the staple crop.

Thats my two cents anywway.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Travis Schulert wrote:Carbs were rare until breeding of ancient grains took over as the staple crop.

Perhaps except for the Andes in Tuber Heaven.
 
Jan White
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Travis Schulert wrote:I hope this is relevant, but I always find the "human life expectancy" of a certain time period to be misconceiving. Its not like once you hit 26 you were considered old. Its just that in a time before hand washing and an understanding of infection and bacteria, many many many more children died at childbirth, along with their mothers in most cases. Add in malnutrition and many children that survived infancy died before adult hood because of disease and sickness.


Thanks, this is a very important reminder and, I think, relevant for sure.

Travis Schulert wrote:
I just look at how we evolved and what we ate, and you know what? The human is so well adapted to eat a huge array of different things, if they werent we would have never left Africa and colonized the world. But, one thing is for sure, grains were not a staple in most cultures diets until breeding of ancient grains and agriculture started to take form. Which when you look at the evolution rate of mitochondrial DNA, which is what is largely thought to control the metabolism, changes at a rate of 1%-2% every 100,000 years. So if you believe that, than a paleo type diet would fit most of us.

If you can imagine, you would wake up and start tracking animals as soon as the day began. As you tracked the animal you would be passing by mostly wild greens and fungi that you would consistently nibble on as you sought your kill. So towards the end of the day, if the hunt was successful, you would then feast on meat and fat at night, and hopefully plenty of greens that you brought back with you from your trek that day.

Some days you would not eat, some days you would only eat greens. Some days you might even find fruit (fruit is not ripe throughout the year or season, most fruits all ripen in a 1 or 2 week window of the year.

So a diet diverse with many greens, fungi, meat, fat, and fruit with occasional fasting seems to me at least as what would be the healthiest diet if you believe the whole thing about mitochondrial DNA. Also, another tid bit, is that one of the early Spanish explorers to the Americas had noted in his writings that the natives have over 900 different edible wild greens that they can eat throughout the day. So that should tell you right there that greens are the most important staple in our diets. And everything else is needed a little less sparingly. Feast and famine, like the ancestors for good health. Carbs were rare until breeding of ancient grains took over as the staple crop.

Thats my two cents anywway.


Carbs in the form of grain were indeed rare until agriculture. Carbs in the form of fruit were plentiful year-round until humans moved north.

I agree that humans are well adapted to be omnivores, but one thing I think people forget is how long evolution really takes. Homo sapiens, like other primates, evolved from herbivores. Evolution can only add to what's already there. So while humans can now function in a ketogenic state, have an ability to digest lactose (in certain populations anyway), etc., our basic physiology and anatomy are still those of a herbivore. For instance, herbivorous mammals will develop atherosclerosis when fed meat, a disease that doesn't occur in carnivores. Since herbivores generally only have access to large amounts of fat seasonally, I question whether high fat/low carb is healthy longterm for humans, even with our more recent adaptations.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jan White wrote:It's possible agriculture made it easier in some cases for these power structures to arise, but it seems to me to be an inherent human weakness.


Some people argue that hunter-gatherer societies tend to have more gender equality, as well as more recognized genders than just two.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Jan White wrote: So while humans can now function in a ketogenic state, have an ability to digest lactose (in certain populations anyway), etc., our basic physiology and anatomy are still those of a herbivore.


I don't agree. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/meat-eating-human-evolution/#axzz410uoMcgR

This debate needs to move to the cider press!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jan White wrote:
Carbs in the form of grain were indeed rare until agriculture. Carbs in the form of fruit were plentiful year-round until humans moved north.


The staple carbohydrate in my region, Sotol, is available year round. Fruit can be a challenge to collect because of all the critters. Easier to let them gather the fruit and then eat the critters.



 
Lucy Gabzdyl
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Jan White wrote:
Travis Schulert wrote:

I agree that humans are well adapted to be omnivores, but one thing I think people forget is how long evolution really takes. Homo sapiens, like other primates, evolved from herbivores. Evolution can only add to what's already there. So while humans can now function in a ketogenic state, have an ability to digest lactose (in certain populations anyway), etc., our basic physiology and anatomy are still those of a herbivore. For instance, herbivorous mammals will develop atherosclerosis when fed meat, a disease that doesn't occur in carnivores. Since herbivores generally only have access to large amounts of fat seasonally, I question whether high fat/low carb is healthy longterm for humans, even with our more recent adaptations.


I don't know which study you are referring to (atherosclerosis) but if it's the one in Nature Medicine by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic there are concerns about the conclusions. In particular subsequent studies have proved that fish can produce 100 times the TMAO of red meat and also vitamin B2, something that vegetarians are often deficient in, is a co-factor in TMAO production.

In defense of an ominivore diet I would point out that none of the longest lived peoples studied are vegetarians (Okinawans/Meditarranean/Hunzas etc). We have been eating meat for more than 2 million years. Many of our ancestors only surived as you say when they moved north because they ate meat. I think more importantly we need to focus on the quality of our food and our fat in particular, eating olive oil, coconut oil or lard is not the same as eating hydrogenated vegetable oil or even many of the seed oils high in Omego 6 that go rancid so quickly. This is particularly important when it comes to our meat consumption. Eating meat raised in cafos is not the same as eating grass fed meat. Quantity is also an issue.

As I mentioned in my previous post I don't think there is one size fits all and that the blood type diet or similar high/med/low carb from Dr Mercola could be useful. As I said it works brilliantly for me. I have met quite a few vegetarians who have had to go back to eating meat (against their moral principles) due to health reasons, the majority were O blood group types. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat on the recommendation of his doctors (I would imagine that coming from Tibet he would be probably B blood group nomad type and would be used to eating meat and dairy).

In defense of saturated fat (me and my partner eat a lot of Iberico pork leaf lard as well as olive oil in salads) there is a very successful treatment of epilepsy based on eating large quanitites of animal fat (the film First Do No Harm with Merryl Streep (based on a true life story of a friend of hers) they use a number of 'actors' who were cured using this method, definately a film worth watching.

All in all it's about quality, quantity and getting the right bacteria in our guts. And most importantly we need to connect to our body wisdom to work out what's right for us.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
When I started paying attention, I noticed that some people in my family would serve wheat as a main dish (pasta), wheat as a side-dish (garlic bread), and wheat as the desert (bread pudding). Eventually, I simply had to start saying "I don't eat wheat, it makes me sick.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes my muscles ache.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes me hold water and become bloated.", or "I don't eat wheat, it makes me fat, and I really enjoy being fit and trim." When I stopped eating wheat, I didn't substitute a different grain. So basically, I'm not eating grains any more. That drastically reduced the amount of carbs that I am eating. I replaced them with fats. Some from my own body, some from my food, mostly coconut, olive, and butter. I still enjoy popcorn from time to time, or tacos, or a bowl of rice. They were never a big part of my life, so they continue to be minor foods for me. I lost 55 pounds effortlessly. I suppose that potatoes are my biggest source of carbs these days. I stopped eating refined sugar decades ago.

For my body, it seems like there is something going on with wheat besides the carbohydrates. I don't get bloated, or achy when I eat other types of carbs.


This really resonates with me.
I feel so much better when I don't eat any wheat in any form and no sugar, even honey. I'm just now getting back on track after falling into the trap again around the holidays...I definitely crave wheat and sugar when I'm eating any wheat and sugar at all. If I just cut them out completely, no cravings.
 
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I have been eating a cyclic ketogenic diet ( high fat low carb) off and on for over a year. It has had a huge positive impact on my mood and energy. That being said one thing that I have learned is that it is best employed on a base of a large amount of leafy green vegetables. We now know too that bacteria in the colon can convert indigestible fiber into short chain fatty acids which are readily converted into ketones. This is how ruminants generate a lot of their energy. They do it far more efficiently than we do but it makes me think that changes in our microbiome may explain our inability to extract large volumes of energy from "indigestible" fiber. Indigenous populations tend to have a more diverse microbiome so my hypotheses is that they are able to extract more energy from indigestible fiber than modern populations can. Long term consumption of large amounts of varied plant matter may reverse this trend to some extent.

As a side not the short chain fatty acid butyrate can be found in relatively high amounts in grass fed butter.

It should also be noted that ketones have a protective effect on our neurology and the brain actually uses ketones more efficiently than glucose. Ketones metabolism is also associated with less free radical formation which means less inflammation and cellular aging.
 
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Studies have long proven that carbs are not essential for life, as opposed to proteins and fats. Some of the studies were based on a group of Eskimos that lived only on meat and fat, with fat being the preferred of the two. I don't know anyone that has switched to a paleo-type diet that didn't feel much better than when they included grains in their diet.

I would be very interested to see any study or research that says our basic physiology and anatomy are still those of a herbivore.
 
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Todd Parr wrote:Studies have long proven that carbs are not essential for life, as opposed to proteins and fats. Some of the studies were based on a group of Eskimos that lived only on meat and fat, with fat being the preferred of the two. I don't know anyone that has switched to a paleo-type diet that didn't feel much better than when they included grains in their diet.

I would be very interested to see any study or research that says our basic physiology and anatomy are still those of a herbivore.



On the 1st of Jan, my wife and I switched from high carb low fat to low carb high fat. WOW we feel so much better. The energy levels are amazing, and we get to eat some really good food.

Just fill up with at least 6oz of nutrient dense greens before any meal. Most times the greens become the meal because you are fulfilling the nutrient gap your body is experiencing, instead of starting your day with carbs, which triggers you to continue eating them all day. Its a basic survival instinct. Because carbs are easily digested, and your body burns less calories to metabolize carbs, your brain tells you that when carbs touch your tongue, to eat as much of that as possible simply because instinct and evolution says that carbs are extremely rare in nature. because while burning carbs your body stores fat for later use during famine. But in our modern system carbs are everywhere and in everything, so we never get that famine.

I love Abel James's description of intermittent fasting, he has a book out and a pretty good podcast. He has helped me learn a lot. But, he does not claim to be the one inventing this, he clearly states this information has been around since Weston A Price, and that the agricultural industry has suppressed the information so we all eat the big 3 of grains (corn, soy, and wheat).
 
Dougan Nash
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I would like to weigh in here. First off I will say that even though in the most honest sense carbs are not essential nor necessary for survival having them in your diet is great. But like every other macro-nutrient, not all carbs are alike. Simply focusing too much on carbs, protein, or fat is reductionist and destructive. I would say that aiming low carb is in general good, but those carbs should come from nutrient dense vegetable matter and fruits in season rather than grain. Grains seem to be terrible for the human body. Even though we can grow them in amazing quantities and they store well most cause inflammation (even whole grains). The book grain brain delves into this quite extensively and I think it is an amazing source on the matter. I am fascinated by growing grains and will continue to do so. They seem to be great for soil, compost, and I believe the majority of grain-related research only studies modern highly hybridized grains. I would love for more research to be done on ancient/landrace/heirloom varieties.

I have been on and off paleo for a while - mostly due to weakness of will and being the only one in the house who takes it seriously. But I still feel amazing when I follow the diet and as one anonymous voice once said "Paleo is not low-carb, it's low crap". I think even a diet high in squash, root vegetables, legumes, leafy greens, etc is still amazing for you. In the same way that when you choose foods from any other Macro - you want quality. A high fat diet still sucks if you use processed vegetable oils, factory farmed animals, and feed-lot butter.

Like everything else in life, it's all about balance. A bowl of brown rice here and there will not kill you, but the SAD which is high in pizza, pastas, sweets, sugar, etc is very unsustainable and unhealthy. I would recommend anyone interested, but not very informed, to read the book "Grain Brain". It's actually quite troubling the effects our daily bread has on us. "It starts with food" is another great book.

Funny this thread popped up, my wife and I just began Paleo again as of Sunday night. I do tend to shed fat very quickly on the diet.
 
Jan White
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Lucy Gabzdyl wrote:I don't know which study you are referring to (atherosclerosis) but if it's the one in Nature Medicine by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic there are concerns about the conclusions.


I don't recall having seen this study, actually. I generally don't place much weight on individual studies since, as you say, there can be concerns about the conclusions. There have been multiple studies done on this topic, however, and much practical use of the concept in medicine.

I don't want to discuss this further here, though, since I think it will muddy the topic at hand. I did enjoy your thorough response, but I'm not going to address any of it because, again, I don't want to muddy things.
 
Jan White
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Travis Schulert wrote:On the 1st of Jan, my wife and I switched from high carb low fat to low carb high fat.


Thanks very much for posting this! This is the question I'm most interested in answering - have people actually tried high carb/low fat and compared it to low carb/high fat to make an informed decision on whether it's carbs or a fat/carb combo that doesn't work.

Can I ask what percentage of your calories was coming from fat on the low-fat diet and what percentage is from fat now?
 
Jan White
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As I mentioned above to Lucy, I don't want to muddy the topic at hand - Carbs vs. fats - so I'm not going to address some of the responses to me on this thread. Most of what I said was more to explain my position than presented as a debating point, although I was probably sidetracked a bit as well. Based on the pro-meat eating community here it was silly of me to think my posts would be taken that way. I would like to say, just for the record, that I held many of the same opinions as all of you until 10 or 12 years ago when I started really objectively looking at the science as a whole, not just the studies currently getting airtime, and ended up vegan because of it. I don't see much point in discussing any of this further on these forums, but will if asked - just not on this thread.

The real question I'm curious about is has anyone other than Travis Schulert actually tried a high carb/LOW FAT diet and compared it to low carb/high fat?
 
Lucy Gabzdyl
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Jan White wrote:

The real question I'm curious about is has anyone other than Travis Schulert actually tried a high carb/LOW FAT diet and compared it to low carb/high fat?


Yes, Jan both my partner and I have tried high carb low fat diets on a number of occasions and we both put on weight very quickly, especially if we eat bread (potatoes are also a problem for my partner). We both also put on weight if we eat too much fruit. As I explained in a previous post the 'O' blood group diet suits us very well (it was what I had worked out before I even read about it). so when I read about it, it was just confirmation of what I already knew. Both our parents were passionate about proper nutrition a passion that we both inherited and continued with. We have 2 generation of research and experimentation with our bodies. We are not just following any particular fad diet, but have given our diets a great deal of thought. We are very open to the idea that your ideal diet may well be vegan, but it doesn't suit us.
 
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