Recent TV news showed that various food brands are offering low carbohydrate foods due to public demand. That just shows
how poorly informed the public can be.
The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/) tells us that
"Every day your body requires certain nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats and protein, to function properly. Too
much of one nutrient or not enough of another can influence your health."
Encyclopedia Britannica (http://www.britannica.com) tells
how carbohydrates can be classified, but they are all described as molecules of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.
"Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules in all biology."
Carbohydrates and oils are the means that plants store energy. Few plant fats are saturated.
Fats are also compounds of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, but in more complex structures than carbohydrates. The more
structural bonds, the less liquid is the fat at room temperature. Such liquid fats are called oils. Hydrogenating oils creates more hydrogen bonds to make liquids into soft or hard fats. These trans-fats are bad
for cardiovascular health. The "essential fatty acids" are the ones that the human body cannot create from other foods, such as proteins.
Proteins have many structures, but are mostly composed of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen plus Nitrogen. The essential amino acids are those proteins which the human body cannot create from other foods.
Of course, foods also contain essential vitamins and minerals. Supplements of these can be beneficial, if not overdone.
High / Low Carbohydrate / Protein diets really miss the target. Once minimal needs of each food type are met, the real issue is high or low calories compared to those used. If you eat more than your exercise can burn, you gain weight, and vice versa.
Carbohydrates as sugars are fine as nature provides them, but not as refined and concentrated by humans. Like any source of calories, excess consumption leads to body fat. The details will vary, but a five pound bag of fresh fruit contains fewer calories than a typical candy bar.
Supposed high protein diets are often filled with hidden fats. For example, consider ground beef.
Center for Science in the Public Interest, with reports on-line at www.cspinet.org, tells us "USDA allows ground beef labels to make claims that would be illegal on other
foods." "Ground beef accounts for 45 percent of the beef sold in the U.S. and it adds more fat -- and more artery-
clogging saturated fat -- to the average American's diet than any other single food." "The USDA allows no more than 10 percent fat by weight in most foods that are labeled 'lean.' But the USDA allows ground beef that is up to 22.5 percent fat to be called 'lean.'" Of course, that fat is
In contrast, protein from plants, such as grains and legumes, has much less fat than ground beef and none of it is saturated. Tempeh, an Asian food made from whole soy
beans with careful fermentation, has more protein than an equal amount (volume or weight) of ground beef, and also contains all the essential amino acids.
So try this for healthy diet rules. Eat all the vegetables and fruits you can stand, but without sauces, dressings, added sugar, butter, margarine, or cheese. The same applies to grain foods, such as whole grain breads and pastas. Get at least some of your proteins from plant sources. Avoid all
foods fried in fat or oil.
I lost weight and one third of my blood cholesterol by reducing my beef and pork consumption, increasing my use of broiled and baked fish and chicken, and learning about soy foods that are now available in North America.
Even Ph.D. scientists can mis-lead themselves with wishful thinking. A former colleague of mine was often heard to
describe his high protein, low carb diet in terms of complex biochemical theories, yet he was always at least 100 pounds overweight. He also ate and drank about three times as much as I did at shared meals. Get Real!
** Diet with FACTS, not MYTHS. **