I started writing this article a couple times. Every time I divagated from the main team, as I was either digging way too deeper in science researches or trying to catch every thought that is running through my mind and then write it down, and thus confusing even myself and what’s left for my readers… That’s why I closed my computer, closed my eyes and remembered what a really well known journalist told me at a seminar I attended a year ago. He said, that when I write, I have to close my eyes and imagine I am trying to explain my grandmother whatever I was writing about. He told me to keep it as simple as I can. So I decided that my grandma wouldn’t care for adenosine triphosphate, mitochondria, triglycerides and similar stuff. I guessed that you wouldn’t care either, so here is what I managed to do:
First of all, in order to understand why there is such war between high carbs followers and high fat followers, let’s reveal what stands behind each one of them.
The fat paradigm, claims that the fuel which our body prefers are fats. This is a result of our evolution, where our genes were pre-programmed to function optimally, when we consume fats. In reality the energy for our daily activities could be provided by fats and ketones. According to this paradigm the only time when we need glycogen, as a main fuel source, is when we need an immediate energy( meaning a burst of energy in an emergency situation)
The high carbs paradigm, claims that the fuel which our body prefers are carbs. Actually the followers of this paradigm, consider that the brain and other organs can’t function properly without carbs. They also believe that fats are what is gonna lead you to death, caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and all kind of diseases you could think about!
But let’s look deeper in the two paradigms and find out which one is more trustworthy!
First of all, let’s research my favorite primal people. 😉 Do you think that they had a structured menu, where they ate every two or three hours, so they could be sure that their blood sugar levels will be constant, so they didn’t go in starvation mode? Do you think they ate oatmeal for breakfast, so their muscles couldn’t break down? Do you think that their wives cooked potatoes or rice, in order to be sure that her hubby will have his carbs doze just in time, so he could feel in shape and have strngth for hunting? I doubt it! Let’s find out why! Without getting too deep in scientific researches, let’s follow the logic. We all know that our body is adapted to store fat, which could eventually be used in case of prolonged stravation. Therefore if we do not have food for a longer period of time, in order for our organs to function properly and in order to provide energy for our daily activities, the body is gonna use those stored fats! Where did carbs go? If they are the fuel, which our body prefers, why the liver- the main place where glycogen is stored- can only store about 100 grams of glycogen. That is less than a day’s worth! Plus our muscles can store between 350-500grams more, but this glycogen is not available to be provided to the brain. On the other hand our body has unlimited capacity to store fat- about 100,00grams which equals a million calories!! If carbs are the preferred fuel, why the body has such big capacity to store fat and not carbs?
I know that if your whole life you’ve been on the SAD, which claims that you should eat carbs and limit the fat, you probably adapted to use carbs as your main fuel source, but that does not mean that you function optimally and that this is the prefered fuel! Eating mainly carbs, you send signals to your genes to up-regulate the enzym segments and receptors, included in the burning of carbs and storing of fats and to down-regulate those included in burning fat for energy. It takes time to preprogram your body to use fat as fuel again, and what you should do to achieve it is limit the carbs and eat more fat.
Besides that eating carbs, leads to high levels of insulin in your body. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, which your body produces in order to lower your blood sugar. The blood sugar rises when we eat and mainly when we consume carbs. What happens is – your pancreas produces insulin, which will take glucose away from the bloodstream. Then the cells can use glucose to produce energy if it is needed. If they do not use it for energy, glucose is send in the liver, where it is stored as glycogen. Besides that insulin interferes the body to use fat for energy. In the absence of insulin, the cells do not use glucose for fuel and thus the body renews the usage of fat as main fuel source. High insulin, lets glucose to enter the fat cells, converting it in trigycerides. This right here is the main problem! Triglycerides are simply fats, circulating in the bloodstream. As everything else in our body they have an important function, but when the levels of triglycerides are high- there is a reason to be worried! Actually the best way to find out if you are threatened to have a stroke is not high LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins), but the ratio between triglycerides and HDL cholesterol(high-density lipoproteins).Though insulin is essential to life, chronic elevation of insulin will decrease cells sensitivity to it! This is known as insulin resistance. This leads to a lot of diseases like Diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, coronary heart disease and so on…
As I started drifting from the topic again and making my explanation complicated I will stop here. In the future I will keep on writing on the topic but as a beginning that is enough information to give you some food for thought! If you wanna know more why your body functions better when fats are the main fuel source, read this article, which I read every time I get a chance! It is written pretty simple and in the same time it throws a lot of light on the topic. Of course this is far from a complete information on the topic but as I said it is a good start in understanding what carbs cause you!