Fats used to get a bad rap, but we now know the health and food industries were wrong about fats. We know that fats are an important part of our diets. And that it’s carbs — and NOT fats — that are responsible for chronic diseases and America’s obesity epidemic.
Most people are catching on—you know carbs are making you fat and sick. But you’re only getting half the story because you’re still being told it’s OK to eat certain kinds of carbs, as long as they’re low on the glycemic index. That’s what I call a bad nutrition lie, and what I’m about to say will probably surprise you.
You don’t actually need ANY carbs in your diet.
Your body can make carbs from fat and protein.
How many carbs do we eat?
Americans eat a lot of carbs — mostly from grains. In fact, today we consume more than double the percentage of carbohydrates compared to our primal ancestors. Our ancestors didn’t eat grains. They hunted for their food. The carbs they did eat came from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Our ancestors’ bodies were high-performance machines. They were lean. Their hearts and lungs were strong and powerful. Their brains were dynamic. So why do the health and food industries keep telling us how healthy grains are? Because they want you to keep eating grains.
Why do the health and food industries want us to eat grains?
They’re cheap to produce and companies make big money selling grain for all those rolls, boxes of cereal and loaves of bread. But your body wasn’t designed to process those types of foods. You could not have eaten these processed foods in your native environment. And none of them are “healthy.” Not even “whole grains.”
Your ancestors weren’t sickly.
Your ancestors didn’t suffer from the diseases that plague us today. We know this because we can look at the health and diets of indigenous tribes.
The Masai tribe in East Africa still has a diet rich in red meat and raw milk. They eat very few vegetables and almost no grains. Yet their rate of heart disease is almost zero. They don’t get cavities. They’re all lean and strong. There is no obesity, and they don’t suffer from chronic aging problems like our culture does.
The same is not true of other indigenous peoples.
The Alaska Native population once thrived on a diet rich in fresh-caught salmon, moose, seals, ducks, geese, ptarmigan, caribou, and berries, when they could get them. As they shifted to a modern Western diet, their health deteriorated.
From 1991 through 2007, the rate of obesity among Alaska Natives rose 63%.1 Diabetes — once virtually unknown in indigenous people — is also on the rise. The Native Americans ate a diet that was stable for millennia. They were hunter-gatherers. Then the European settlers introduced farming and processed grains.
When the Native Americans sacrificed quality protein for quantity grain, they went from eating tough, hard foods to softer foods like bread and processed corn. Their jaws didn’t have to work as much to chew these softer foods. Over time, their skulls started to shrink.
This evolutionary change resulted in tooth crowding, tooth decay, fat gain, arthritis, heart disease, inflammation, shortened stature, and shorter life spans. You’ve been led to believe that modern humans are healthier, stronger and taller than our ancestors. But here’s the truth: modern humans are about 10% shorter than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our brains are about 10% smaller, too.2
The changes that destroyed the physical health of your ancestors are still taking place today. To YOUR body.
Eat healthy for optimal health.
But it’s not too late to undo the damage grains are doing to your body. Your best bet for optimal health is to plan your meals around healthy protein and fat sources. Grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, wild salmon and eggs are among my top choices.
I also recommend choosing foods that are low in both glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). The GI tells you how fast different foods spike your blood sugar. The GL measures the amount of carbohydrate in each serving of food.
You can check out my chart for GI and GL here.
When using this chart a good rule of thumb is to stick to foods with a GI of 40 or below and a GL of 10 or below.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS