DAY#358 - A book you must read!
So my mind has been blown with information. Good information. This past week I read a book called "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes. Amazing Book. I believe Taubes 110% and appreciate him for all of his research and effort in the area of educating people as to why we get fat and how we can overcome it. I am going to attempt to give you the onetongorilla version of my thoughts of this book. I want you to know right now that if all you do is read my ramblings and try to follow them and do not BUY THIS BOOK you are a fool. The book is 220 pages long, is filled with tons of good solid info from 150+years of research and fleshes out the WHY part really good. But to give you a taste of what the book says here is my attempt.
Forget calorie counting and the food pyramid, throw it out the window it is not the best gauge on how fat or thin or nutritionally sound and healthy you will be. The scientists who invented it int he 1960s had no real basis It all comes down to two things 1.) carbs and 2.) your body's ' carb tolerance level' . If you can understand and master these things you life will get better.
First off no two carb foods are the same. We have good ones and bad ones. And how they are used by our bodies varies. There are ones that release a ton of energy immediately and ones that burn low and slow. If we are smart we will know the difference (read the book). It all boils down to how quickly the carbs act in our body and how much of them we eat. How quick they work in our body is measured by what is known as the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic index is a measurement on how the carbs effect our blood sugar. The higher the GI number the higher it raised our blood sugar. Some fruits, most veggies and nuts have a lower GI. White Bread, Candy, Breakfast Cereal, Baked Potatoes have a High GI. The object of the game is it is smarter to eat foods with Low GIs and try to avoid foods with High ones. Why? onto factor 2.
Carb tolerance Level. This is my own term I made up, this is my interpretation of 100+pages of Taubes book Taubes says '1+1' I am adding this as the =2. I think it is a good term. So here i go at defining my term. First you have to understand that your body uses a hormone called insulin to regulate blood sugar. When you eat food depending on how much sugar you put in your blood your body's insulin goes to work. This higher GI food you eat the more insulin goes to work. (FYI, just thinking about eating makes your body release insulin) Insulin's job is to take your sugar in your blood and store it in your fat cells. So when insulin is on the move you are getting fatter. When insulin levels are low in your blood your fat cells release their stored fat and you get skinnier.
Quote from page 10:
First, when insulin levels are elevated , we accumulate fat in our fat tissue; when these levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel. This has been known since the early 1960s and has never been controversial. Second, Our insulin levles are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat-not enirely, but for all intents and purposes. the more carbohydrates we eay, and the easier they are to digest and the sweeter they are, the more insulin we will ultimately secrete, meaning that the level of it in our bloodstream is greater and so is the fat we retain in our fat cells, "Carbohydrate is driving insulin is driving fat/" -- George Cahill Harvard Meical School
So the object of the game is to keep your insulin on the low side so your body releases the fat vs. storing it. However, everyone has a different tolerance level for this. Some people can eat tons of carbs and still burn fat while others eat very little and stop burning fat. So just like carb foods no two people are the same.
The tolerance level is based on many things. Genetics, age, other hormones in your body, like estrogen, the amount of fat you already have stored, etc. This level is different for everyone. Younger people can tolerate much more sugar than old. Skinny people more than fat. And some of us are just wired from our parents to be more or less tolerant to it than others. So the key is for us to figure out where our tolerance level is and once we do that. To eat foods that do not put us over our tolerance level often so we burn fat vs. storing it. in HCG P3 & P4 we define these as 'trigger' foods. Foods that cause us to gain weight. The good news is the book actually explains this all in detailed layman's terms and I had several aha moments while reading. (please read the book).
The worst carbs of all are: Soda in any form, Breakfast cereals, Processed grains, They should be thrown out of your diet for ever. One of the worst ingredient in the human diet? High Fructose Corn Syrup. It does two awful things in your body simultaneously. (read the book) All these things have been added to human diet by us Americans. Taubes goes on to point out in many studies of various people groups who had none of these items in their native diet and had no cancer, no Alzheimer's disease, etc., etc. Once we introduce the western diet to these people amazingly enough there people start to get cancer and other diseases. By the way, what does cancer feed on? What makes it grow and spread? sugar refined starch and high GI foods. (for the record, If i am diagnosed with cancer, I will immediately stop consuming carbs).
So the goal? Cut back on your High GI carbs, eat the Low GI ones( Most fruits, veggies and nuts). Avoid the High GI Ones(Bread, Sugar, anything processed) and limit the mid GI ones(whole grain pastas). Take some time to figure out your 'tolerance' level. Record your diet on a nutritional calculator that figures out consumed sugars & carbs in a day. Experiment. Start out killing off carbs for a week or two. Maybe go down to 20 grams of sugar carbs a day and less than 100 other carbs total. See how your body reacts. (Be warned if you drastically cut sugary/starchy (HIGH GI)carbs, your body will detox just like an alcoholic you will feel like crap for a few days) But you will start loosing weight. Feel free to adjust your carb intake higher as time passes. Once you stop loosing weight you have hit your tolerance level. You then know if you want to loose weight you need to consume less carbs than that number and you will gain if you consume more. (once again, this is my simplified version of a way more complex and interesting book, read!) The other thing you need to realize is that your tolerance level changes based on a number of factors. The older you get the less tolerance you will have. This is why all those skinny 20 year olds become pudgy 40 year olds. And women who have hormonal changes later in life also see their tolerance change. etc.
There are a ton of other factors and interesting tidbits. Carbs are also directly tied in to Cholesterol, less carbs = lower cholesterol. etc. (read the book). He discusses exercise. Fats & protein etc. etc. All the popular diets that have tapped into this type of eating in the past like Atkins, etc. Lots of more stuff (read the book)
What this all has meant to me in Phase 3 is when my weight started going up I recorded all my food choices took a look at my carbs & sugars and adjusted accordingly. I had issues on P3 for about a week before i read this book. After I figured it out and took the steps this past week since I started this book my weight has come back to my 2lb range and I have kept it there despite going on a work trip for 5 days and eating out every day. I came home and my weight was rock solid. How freaking awesome is that. And think about it, just about every successful correction day in Phase 3 are high protein & fat and lower in carb. Sounds like Simeons was onto this in someway too. Makes sense.
What does this mean to me now, going into Phase 4 and the rest of my life? My regular day to day life and food choices are gonna be lower carb, and lower GI (Glycemic Index) There will be a ton less sugar. Alternate NATURAL sweeteners will play a higher role. HOWEVER, NO BLUE PACKETS OF ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER, PINK STUFF OR YELLOW STUFF. High Fructose Corn Syrup Food Items in my house will be banned. Soda will be banned. We will consume many more eggs & protein smoothies for breakfast. I will have an occasional meal of high Glycemic Index foods and some desserts. But I will follow up my crazy carb days with more reasonable days to balance myself out. I may need to rethink this as I move forward cause the addictive qualities of sugar may suck me in big time. Kinda like offering an alcoholic an open bar for the night. I will let you know.
For my family I want to educate them on the Glycemic index and help them understand carb tolerance levels. Right now my kids are young and can get away with more stuff than I can. (younger = more tolerance) So they can still enjoy some of the food that I find off limits, but I think it will be good for them to understand how this all works. So 1) they have the power to not let it get out of hand in their life. 2) When they get older and their tolerance drops they may remember what they learned. Healthier Alternatives will also cost us more money as a family. Crap Carb food is cheap. A box of cereal makes for a cheap breakfast. But in the end all that money we are saving may not pay for the open heart by pass surgery we will need in the future or early death.
On a fun note I am buying this book for my doctor. I have an appointment to get my blood work done this next week and an appointment with him the following week. I plan on giving him this book and asking him to read it. and printing out my post for him to enjoy. I have no idea if he will read it, we shall see.
So to recap in food list short form.(read the book)
Refined sugar & white flour is bad. Leafy veggies are wonderful. Protein is necessary. Fats are fine, trans-fats are bad.
Fruits and other grains, according to your tolerance level. Good fats are fine, Starchy veggies limit.
OK, one more thing, as I write this. Dr. Oz had Taubes on to talk about his book this week. I was amused and watched the 15 minute part of the show. I felt like Oz was very polite towards Taubes but they butted heads on a few issues. I was not impressed that Oz took Gary's diet suggestions to an extreme and showed a big bowl of fruits in front of himself(OZ) to represent his beliefs and a big steak with three huge pats of butter & a plate of bacon and pork rinds on top of it to represent Gary's. In all truth Gary would be good with fruit and veggies too(they are not bad, you jsut need to know how much you can tolerate). Just from my point of view I thought that part was a bit over the top showmanship that misrepresented Taubes and painted him more as an extremist. Which I guess to some he is.
The book is also available for kindle and it is how i read it: :)
If you want a good intro to the book here is a video of Gary speaking a few years ago after his first book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, which I am reading next. His newer book is shorter and written more for the layman.