Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sisson: "What Mike Said"

There’s a good reason so many people (mostly the sugar-burners, whose disparate group includes fruitarians, veg*ans, HEDers, body-builders, most MDs, the USDA and virtually every RD program in the country) can’t seem to grasp why a lower carb, Primal approach to eating is a better choice for health and fitness: their fundamental paradigm – the core theory that underpins everything else in that belief system – is flawed. They remain slaves to the antiquated notion that glucose is the king of fuels, so they live their lives in a fear of running low. The truth is, fat is the preferred fuel of human metabolism and has been for most of human evolution. Under normal human circumstances, we actually require only minimal amounts of glucose, most or all of which can be supplied by the liver as needed on a daily basis. The simple SAD fact that carbs/glucose are so readily available and cheap today doesn’t mean that we should depend on them as a primary source of fuel or revere them so highly. In fact, it is this blind allegiance to the “Carb Paradigm” that has driven so many of us to experience the vast array of metabolic problems that threaten to overwhelm our health care system.Read more:

This is another nice post from Mark's Daily Apple, which says in essense what Mike Eades' post said.

BLUF:  Yes you need glucose to run the brain.  No you don't have to eat all the glucose that you need each day, since your liver can crank out ketones (from fat) and glucose (from amino acids) to meet the needs of the brain (and a few other select tissues which are glucose dependent), whilst the rest of you runs "just peachy" on fat.  The fact that you can store perhaps a 1000 kcal worth of glucose, and another few hundred kcal worth of amino acids, but many thousands of kcal as fat, is a clue to how the body is designed to run.  Fat is the workhorse fuel, glucose is an expensive variant needed in relatively small quantities (note, in an emergency, aka starvation, you will also catabolize muscle for amino acids and some glucose, but this is abnormal, not normal, metabolic function). 

Why do you care?  Firstly, so you can sort through through the nonsense so widely spewed about diets needing to be carbohydrate based.  Second, if you are one of the majority of us trying to optimize glucose levels, there's a simple way to you can get a grip on this:  don't eat as much glucose as your brain needs, that way your liver will make up the difference and there will be no excess glucose in the system.

A supremely practical benefit of eating this way is that once your body regains its capacity to run on fat, you get the liberty to eat when you want to.  You can ditch the fear of hypoglycemic crashes, or the belief that you have to eat "10 small meals a minute" - or whatever other sillyness folks advocate as the yellow brick road of looking good naked. 

I don't mean to say you should never eat another carb in your life.  The point is that restricting carbs to under 100g/day sets you up for a life of glycemic control, and with few or no side effects - unless you think of leanness, good kidney function, and disease avoidance in general as a side effect. 

There's every reason to believe that our paleolithic ancestors didn't have food handy all the time, that it wasn't and isn't necessary to eat all the time in order to thrive, and that eating less often is more healthy than eating more often.

I agree with Mark - it's exasperating that so many professionals have gotten this so wrong for so long.  Please accept my toast to a big fat, healthy meal or two in your future!

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