If you are struggling to lose weight, you are in good company; billions of people around the globe are fighting an uphill battle in the weight loss war as well. Yes, billions!
Studies show that two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, 1.6 BILLION people worldwide are overweight. “Interestingly, however, in some parts of the world, there are societies of people who stay trim and healthy well into old age and beyond.” (“How to Get from Fat to Flat – PLR Database”) They are not plagued by many of the diseases that affect people in industrialized areas of the world, and they do not suffer many of the aging related diseases that people in Western countries suffer as they age.
Scientists have studied the diets and lifestyle of these cultures, and diet is believed to play a hugely significant role in their longevity and physical health. (“Statement of Rights”) Before we talk about the dietary selections made by these people, however, let us look at how our bodies developed over the course of millions of years of evolution, and why the current dietary choices that are available to us are contributing to the challenges we face when attempting to lose weight.
A generous portion of the foods that are available today in grocery stores are presented to us in a form that was never available to our ancestors: refined carbohydrates that have been stripped of any nutritional benefits. The breads, cereals, cakes, rolls, muffins, and donuts that are stacked on the grocery store shelves and piled high in display cases are made from refined flours.
“When this flour is processed, any health benefits that existed in the original grain is gone: these foods are all sugar and no fiber.” (“Statement of Rights”) Our bodies did not evolve to consume foods like this.
The foods that were available to our ancestors were meat, fruits, nuts, tubers, and berries, and wild grains. Thousands of years ago it was healthy for our bodies to crave and to consume carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are molecules found in fruits, nuts, grains and starch foods like potatoes and tubers. “While carbohydrates are energy sources, it is also possible to get energy from protein.” (“Statement of Rights”)
Carbohydrates deliver energy much more quickly than protein, however, and the more refined and processed the carbohydrates are, the more quickly they deliver energy. White bread delivers energy more quickly than wheat bread; white sugar delivers energy more quickly than molasses. (“Statement of Rights”) This is not a healthy process because when energy levels shoot up quickly, they then crash just as quickly.
So, after eating refined carbohydrates like donuts or cake made with white flour and white sugar, first you feel hyperactive and jittery, and then you feel tired, groggy, and irritable. (“Statement of Rights”)
Our ancestor’s bodies got energy and calories from the healthy carbohydrates that existed then. The carbohydrates in whole natural grains gave our species the energy that we needed to go out and hunt, to gather more food, to flee from predators, to reproduce, to survive. (“Statement of Rights”) (“Statement of Rights”)
The carbohydrates that are available to us today hardly bear any resemblance to those ancient natural grains. Today’s carbohydrates are refined and mixed with processed sugar so that when we eat them, we are suffering all the negative effects of carbohydrates and getting none of the benefits. These modern refined carbohydrates are high in calories, and they provide a quick jolt of energy, just like caffeine. (“Statement of Rights”)
This is followed by a crash that leaves us tired and dragging several hours later. (“Statement of Rights”) Do you frequently find that when you are at work, you run into an “energy wall” in the mid-morning and midafternoon?
Do you find that at those times it is hard to think clearly and all that you want to do is curl up and take a nap? “This is a result of eating refined carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch.” (“Statement of Rights”) That donut, muffin, or bagel which gave you a rush of energy right after you ate it is now causing your energy level to crash.
Eating refined carbohydrates causes your body to quickly produce insulin. The body uses insulin to process the sugars that you have just consumed. The insulin then lowers your blood sugar, which causes feelings of fatigue and hunger. The result is that after eating carbohydrates, you will find yourself hungry again and craving more carbohydrates several hours later. (“Statement of Rights”)
“Now, thousands of years ago it was healthy to crave carbohydrates because the complex carbohydrates that were available then provided a slow release of energy into our blood stream.” (“Statement of Rights”) Unfortunately, our bodies have not evolved to adapt to the food choices that are available to us today.
So, these days when we crave carbohydrates, we are craving food that is unhealthy for us. (“Statement of Rights”) When we crave refined carbohydrates like donuts, cake, white bread, and pastries, we are also craving food that gives us sudden sharp rushes of energy followed by an energy crash, rather than food that gives us steady energy all day long. This should not be taken as a recommendation for cutting out all carbohydrates from our diet.
Our bodies evolved to eat both meats and carbohydrates. However, we did not evolve to eat refined carbohydrates, and science is showing us these days that they not only make us fat, but they also make us sick, when eaten in enormous quantities.
The modern diet of refined carbohydrates has been associated with the rise in obesity and diabetes that is seen everywhere in the industrialized world these days. There are several other dangerous diseases that are associated with a high carbohydrate diet as well.
A recent study done by researchers at the Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, in Ohio, found a link between high carbohydrate diets, obesity and esophageal cancer. It is believed that part of the reason for this is because high carbohydrate diets lead to gastroesophageal reflux, which has been linked to higher rates of esophageal cancer.
A study of 1866 women in Mexico found that women who took in 57 percent of more of their calories in carbohydrates also had higher rates of breast cancer. In fact, their breast cancer rates were 2.2 higher than those who took in lower percentages of their calories in carbohydrates. So, it makes sense to have carbohydrates make up a smaller percentage of your diet – and complex carbohydrates at that. (“Statement of Rights”)
Best Wishes, Coyalita
See Tomorrow: “What We Learn from Healthy Cultures”
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