An article by Jack Challem titled A Big Fat Mistake reveals the growing acceptance that carbs, not saturated fat, contribute to poor health.
He discusses some facts which aren’t new, but that haven’t been acknowledged by the media at large. Mainly, total cholesterol is not a good indicator for heart attack risk since half of heart attack sufferer’s have normal cholesterol. What does appear to be a helpful diagnostic tool is the pattern of LDL (low density lipoprotein) that we have. Pattern A LDL is not associated with heart disease, but Pattern B LDL is.
While “pattern B” LDL consists of small, dense particles that are more likely to infiltrate blood-vessel walls and set the stage for blockages, high blood levels of “pattern A” LDL, which consists of large, fluffy particles, are associated with a lower risk of CVD.
Saturated fats increase Pattern A LDL, which isn’t a problem.
Sugar and carbs high in starches (breads, grains, cereals) drive our insulin levels up, lead to systemic inflammation and increase fat storage especially in our abdominal area.
The agenda to eat like our ancestors is sound advice, but varies depending on geography. Our ancestors came from all over and the idea that one diet is right for everyone is simply incorrect. In his Beyond Paleo article, Chris Kresser explains,
…as recent studies have revealed, we can’t really know what our ancestors ate with 100% certainty, and there is undoubtedly a huge variation amongst different populations. For example, we have the traditional Inuit and the Masai who ate a diet high in fat (60-70% of calories for the Masai and up to 90% of calories for the Inuit), but we also have traditional peoples like the Okinawans and Kitavans that obtained a majority (60-70% or more) of their calories from carbohydrate. So it’s impossible to say that the diet of our ancestors was either “low-carb” or “low-fat”, without specifying which ancestors we’re talking about.
Healthy Action Steps
What we can do is:
- Eat less refined foods. If it comes in a package, it is refined. Try to make it from scratch instead or check the ingredients to make sure the components are less processed. Avoid reduced-fat choices and foods with trans-fats.
- Eat plenty of fresh foods and don’t overcook them. Buying local foods allows you to obtain fresher, enzyme rich foods.
- Integrate organ meats into your menu once in awhile. If you don’t enjoy the flavor, chop them up finely or grind them and add them to soup, meatloaf, stew, casserole, burgers, enchiladas…use your imagination. Organ meats from healthy sources are extremely good for you.
- Eat the right diet for you. Every vitamin and mineral in food has an affect on your body. It can either push you further out of balance, push you towards balance or have no significant affect. Knowing your Metabolic Type allows you to make educated food choices so you can eat the foods that optimize your health most of the time.
- Eat organic foods whenever possible. Especially important organic choices are dairy and the dirty dozen produce.