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Low-carb and Natural - the basics for better health

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There are many people who eat low-carb and there are many people who eat natural foods but not that many who put these together, although the number is growing daily, very much to the dismay of giant food processing companies.
Most people realize at this point that most of the inside aisles of a grocery store should be avoided as they contain mostly processed food (apart from toilet paper and toothpaste).
But on the outside of the store there is much wrong as well.
Unlike the preaching that we have heard for the last 30-40 years from various health organizations and governmental agencies low-fat and fat-free foods are, apart from fruit and vegetables, not natural foods.
God, in his wisdom, put protein and lots of fat in milk, eggs, meat and fish as well as in nuts and some fruit (olives, avocados). If we take this fat out we are not only changing macronutrient ratios but also affecting the availability of fat-soluble vitamins.
Fat in the form it occurs in natural foods is not harmful to our health but a great source of energy for our body IF OUR BODY IS USED TO USING IT.
If our body is getting mostly carbohydrate offers (including grains, sugars, legumes) it will be good at burning sugars, and the calories our body can store in that form are very limited to a few thousand calories. This makes us very dependent on frequent meals before and after exercise and sometimes during.
The more we shift our body from eating high-carb and low-fat to low-carb and high-fat the better our body becomes at using fat as fuel. The real gain for people who want to lose weight is that once our bodies become efficient fat-burning machines (nutritional ketosis) they don't distinguish between fat in the diet and fat stored in our fat deposits.
Being able to use fat (in the form of ketones) for energy allows ideal brain function and exercising without having to eat before and after, it makes snacking unnecessary and it keeps hunger away because the body always has a great fuel source of at least 40,000 calories (for a normal weight person, more if you are overweight).
Once we can shift our body to fat-burning (it's own) the only food that we need to add is enough protein to sustain us and grow muscle and enough fat as well as micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
The other benefit of a high-fat/low-carb natural foods diet is that none of these foods are addictive like grains and sugar are for so many of us. Eating becomes a pleasant and pleasurable experience again without the temptation of binging eating, constant obsessions about food and other consequences of calorie-restriction that so often lead to eating disorders and gaining/losing cycles.
Low-carb and ketogenic diets are at this point considered to prevent, cure or improve many diseases including, heart disease, Alzheimer's, many auto-immune diseases like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, neurological disorders, hormone disorders, dental health, diabetes and fatty liver.
They are safe to use for the rest of your life as a life-style diet.
For most people even emotional eating now becomes much easier to manage as the physical cravings are mostly gone.
For anyone who would like to learn more I recommend this video or any of the books mentioned in the first minute of it:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    love your comments. My favorite has to be the one about reducing the grocery bill by burning up the fat on the waistline. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1611 days ago
  • RUSSELL_40
    I have been doing low carb now for 53 months, and lost 159 lbs, despite straying way too often..lol. I eat a lot of canned foods, and have to pay extra for No Salt, which is funny, since they aren't salted to begin with. Finding natural foods is hard, and I am not sure I trust others to not just say it is "natural " so they can charge me more.

    I get organic, brown eggs, and Amish chicken, which isn't frozen, but I just think they taste better. Eating natural isn't my goal, tasty food is..lol.

    I am still 38 above my goal weight, and I thought it was great to point out that while we all think of a pound as 3,500 calories in terms of exercise, and calorie restriction, we never think of the fat on our midsection as calories to be consumed. My 38 extra lbs. is 133,000 calories. I don't need to eat as many calories when in ketosis, because I have a portable fat pantry on my waistline. We want to burn off that fat, but just using it to make up calorie shortfalls is just as good. That is why we have fat storage, to get us through the lean times.

    All low carb is doing for me, is creating an artificial lean time. I don't get cravings, so I eat less than I burn, and my body responds by turning my own fat to energy. It saves on groceries, and I weigh less every day. As I near goal weight, I will need to start buying more groceries probably..lol. For now, my body isn't starving because I eat 1800 calories. It is supplementing the calories I need with the calories I ate to pack on an extra 200 lbs.

    I find that carbs make me hungry. This is probably due to releasing Insulin, and low blood sugar, which causes hunger. At this point, we have to eat. The idea that I might eat nuts does not mean that nuts can be addictive, but just that they are available. At this point I would probably eat eggs, since I can buy them cheap, and have dozens in my fridge. This does not mean eggs are addictive.

    While I am not sure if these foods are addictive, I do believe that carbs cause cravings. Also, that if sugary treats were available after I ate something sugary ( ex. ice cream ), I would eat more of the sugary foods, before eating eggs, or nuts.

    What we need to ask, is what did your mom eat BEFORE she ate " pounds of nuts "? Also, after she finished the nuts, was she eating " pounds " of food 2-4 hours later, or did that solve her cravings? If she ate carbs, and then was hungry, and those nuts were available, she might binge on them, and 2-4 hours later have a stable blood sugar, since nuts don't spike them as much. Once that happened she resumed normal eating. Cutting out the original meal of carby foods would prevent this mindless snacking, and what you should really be happy about is that when she went crazy with cravings, that nuts were available, not ice cream, or she could have started a continuous cycle of eating, which caused carvings, which caused eating more ice cream, etc.etc., until she ran out of ice cream.

    We tend to focus on what we cheat on, and less on what we ate to cause those cheats. The food trigger was the cause, the binge was only the result. The food you ate on the binge may ALSO be bad, but it is usually what you have available, or within driving/delivery distance. The original food however, is always bad for you.

    If I eat some of my brother's corn, and that triggers cravings, and I eat 7 ozs. of macadamia nuts I have, the problem is not the macadamia nuts, but the corn. Low carb requires you to pay attention more to what food does to your body. For too long we have said '' To fat, cut fat ", or " high cholesterol, cut cholesterol.. eggs are bad ". We need to stop treating nutrition as unimportant. It is the solution to our obesity, and illness epidemic.

    Personally, I have gotten off my cholesterol, and diabetes meds, and halved my heart medications. I have a leaky heart valve, and CHF since I was 27 years old, and that is why I started Atkins ( who was a cardiologist ). I am days away from hitting Onederland, and without low carb, I am positive I would be dead by now. I had sleep apnea, and was on oxygen, and now walk 45 minutes daily.

    Natural is something I will have to work on.
    1611 days ago
    This makes me wonder why I am not tempted to go overboard on nuts. I like them a lot and I like the crunch but they don't cause a high like sugar or grain for me. On the other hand I have to admit that I've never overeaten potato chips, either. It's only the sweet stuff for me. Maybe just individual differences.

    1611 days ago
    I've been low carb for several years and I will sometimes (often?) overindulge in nuts because of the texture and the crunch. Not much that is low carb has that crunch factor. Nuts are great, but you can really go overboard quickly.

    I don't think that fats in and of themselves activate any of the known addiction pathways, so no, I don't think it's the fat they're attracted to. Neither cheese nor nuts are zero carb, so there might be something else going on.
    1611 days ago
    Pastafarian, I would say that there may not necessarily be prior problems but there may be other factors to consider. That would a be a more neutral term anyhow.
    For instance with the nuts I am wondering if it is actually the fat that makes people want to eat a lot or the fact that most nuts are salted. Many people crave salt and what their body really needs is mineral salts, which is what natural salt contains. But table salt is only sodium chloride and the craving for salt never goes away. I'm just speculating of course, although there may be research on this issue.
    1611 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/22/2013 10:10:57 PM
    I am trying to eat more natural foods, just gradually incorporating more as budget as exhausting the pantry allows.
    1611 days ago
  • LUANN7
    I eat low-carb but not necessarily natural but more natural cuz I eat a lot more vegetables that are fresh than before and less processed foods so it kind of goes hand in hand with it.!!! Nice blog!
    1611 days ago
    You raise good questions although it's unfair to use them to imply that fat can only be addictive if there are prior problems. I realize you didn't explicitly say that but it's implicit.

    Similarly, one may raise a whole host of issues that predispose one to carb-addiction. But not everyone finds carbs addicting.

    Don't get me wrong. I agree with much of what you say. I just don't want to get so caught up that I start accepting statements without scientific support.

    1612 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/22/2013 4:17:33 PM
    You raise a very legitimate question about whether some high-fat foods are addictive. I suspect that it may depend on several factors:
    - Is the person eating an overall very low-carb/ketogenic diet with no more than 50 grams of carbs/day, for some people as low as 20 grams? This keeps insulin levels low and most cravings away.
    - Does the person have a long-standing history of disordered eating patterns like binge eating, anorexia, bulimia or extreme dieting for many years that have done a lot of damage to normal metabolism? If that is the case low-carb may not work as well, but will still work better than anything else in my opinion as it still maintains lower insulin levels and therefore more balaned blood sugars.
    - Does the person occasional carb binges (once a week or even once a month)? It can take up to several weeks to switch the body back to ideal fat-burning and some people will have carb-flu symptoms (carb withdrawal) every time they return to low-carb eating. Skipping high-carb foods for life is the only answer.
    - Does the person overeat on high-fat foods that also have some carbs to where the total carb count is still too high? This can happen with some types of nuts, especially cashews and also with some seeds like sunflower seeds.
    There are other possible problems and mistakes people can make when they switch to low-carb, most are addressed in the book by Phinney and Volek "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living".

    1612 days ago
    Are you sure about your statement that high-fat / low-carb foods are not addictive? My mom eats pounds of nuts every day! We'll finish dinner and she'll pull out another huge bag of nuts and eat more. Thankfully, she is very active so she is not overweight. Nonetheless, she sure seems addicted to me!

    My dad is the same way with cheese, another high-fat / low-carb food. I swear both my parents are addicted!

    1612 days ago
    great blog so true thanks for posting
    1612 days ago
    Great blog! You're absolutely on-point.

    I wish we could get this info out to the masses who are still struggling to apply the commonly recommended diet in their lives. Well -- one person at a time, we can make a difference! I'm always happily surprised when someone responds positively or at least with interest when I'm asked about my nutritional habits.

    I will add to other commentary about health conditions responsive to diet (are there any which aren't?): autoimmune conditions, which are typically management and not curable, frequently are improved by switching to this lifestyle. It helps the body help itself, insofar as it's able. I promote it avidly on the disease-specific forums where I'm a member.

    Too bad we can't post this sort of thing on the open forums here. But I know where that would get us!
    Thanks for your words of wisdom as counterpoint to all the ubiquitous mythinformation!
    1612 days ago
    I switched to a no grain diet (Primal) back in August, which kind of naturally puts me low carb due to the foods. My highest carb is the banana that goes in my protein smoothie.

    1612 days ago
    It is a process. Education first, then trying it and find out it actually works! :o) And then realizing it's o.k. to stumble until you get on your feet.
    We are worth it!'
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1612 days ago
  • ERIN1957
    I could not agree more. It does take a little work retraining ones mind and as well medical care provider's as well.
    Low carb alone doesn't always mean healthy. Especially when using processed foods as our source of foods. Nature provides all we need to live very healthy and to be out in nature sure helps for health as well.
    I find it sad, that even our world famous clinics still don't always get it...or maybe don't want to.
    Thanks Birgit!
    I am working toward this and know it is the only way.
    1612 days ago

    I keep trying to tell people all this stuff. This has certainly been my experience. Never in my life have I been able to sustain a "diet" for more than about 3 months. I'm too hungry!

    Now I have tons of energy, no more cravings, I feel satisfied after a meal. It's amazing. I was able to go off my medications for triglycerides and cholesterol and my doctor was virtually speechless after the last time he reviewed my blood work.

    One other illness that is very positively affected by switching to low carb is PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome). PCOS causes acne, insulin resistance, weight gain, fertility problems. Since I have been eating low carb/natural, my acne has cleared up, I have lost 91 pounds to date, my insulin resistance is gone. The one time in my life that I was able to get pregnant, I was on low carb (which I quit when I got pregnant because I was afraid it might be unhealthy for the baby. Now I know better).

    Keep spreading the word! Everything we have been taught about low fat and healthy grains is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
    1612 days ago
    I also eat low carb & natural. I am aiming at organic. Too.

    1612 days ago
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