The world is experiencing a famine – not in the amount of food available, but in the nutritional value of the foods eaten by its inhabitants. The USDA conveyed that between the years of 1909-1999, the consumption of animal based foods, fat and sugar has amplified to more than double; the intake of soda is more than 7 times greater; salad oil use has risen more than 1300%, while fresh garden produce ingestion has declined by 1300% and grain utilization has dropped 100 lbs per person per year (source).
Why are so many Americans obese? Most of it emerges from what we eat. Ninety-three percent of the average American caloric intake comes from animal-based foods, refined and processed foods, refined oils, and refined sweeteners and only seven percent comes from fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds (Fuhrman, Joel, Eat To Live, pp. 49-50). With all the “empty” calories, individuals will and do gain weight.
Unfortunately, the real cause of this obesity is misunderstood. Instead of directing our efforts towards a balanced diet, the media and diet community incessantly scream in our ears “Carbs are bad for you–they make you fat…Lose weight by cutting out carbs…Pasta and grains are fattening – avoid them” and on and on about how they are dangerous. But you know what, the media and diet community are misinformed. Carbs are ESSENTIAL TO YOUR HEALTH! Every part of our body requires carbs. Carbs=energy. If we do not eat enough of them, our body goes into ketosis and we literally eat ourselves alive!
It saddens me when I hear individuals going on about how carbs should be avoided if they want to be slim – to be healthy. The American Heart Association explained how low carb diets actually affect the body:
These diets can cause a quick drop in weight because eliminating carbohydrates causes a loss of body fluids. Lowering carbohydrate intake also prevents the body from completely burning fat. In the diets that are also high in protein, substances called ketones are formed and released into the bloodstream, a condition called ketosis. It makes dieting easier because it lowers appetite and may cause nausea.
… These diets [also] have other effects besides inducing quick weight loss. Most Americans already eat more protein than their bodies need. And eating too much protein can increase health risks. [Furthermore], high-protein animal foods are usually also high in saturated fat (source).
What all the marketers don’t understand is that moderation is key. If we eat more protein than what our bodies needs, we put stress on our bodies. Analogically, it’s like a lock. If carbs were the key, and fats and protein the lock, then without the key, the lock cannot be opened and we cannot receive the benefits of what the lock opens, which is overall health. Therefore, for our bodies to function at its best, we need the right balance of nutrients. We not only require protein and fat, but also CARBOHYDRATES! Carbohydrates are essential!
The brain, liver, endocrine system, skin, digestive track, eyes, ears, mouth and nose all require carbohydrates; they want carbohydrates, and they demand carbohydrates to operate.
Carbohydrates should never-ever be avoided. They are vital to our health. Nevertheless, the types of carbohydrates we eat do make a difference. Candies, soft drinks, and white bread are all simple sugars; while whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and beans are all complex. Focus on the complex. I have seen individuals who say “I wish I could eat a banana every day, but it is too carby.” You know what, my mother has diabetes, and she eats a banana WITH her oatmeal every morning!
Every nutrient is imperative to our overall health and wellness. If we have an imbalance in just one nutrient (calorie, fat, vitamin, mineral, whatever it may be), anarchy takes over. It affects the whole body — if we don’t eat enough fat, we impair every chemical reaction that takes place inside the body; if we don’t eat enough carbs, we add a brick of strain to every chemical process in every system in our bodies – the heart, the liver, the brain, the digestive tract; if we eat too much protein – animal or plant source – we overload our kidneys, and our bodies enter ketosis, which stresses the liver and causes destruction of muscle tissue (source).
Therefore, it’s all about balance. Not only must we consume fat and protein, but we must eat carbohydrates. Without them, we are lost.
Balance is key.
P.S. In her latest post, Carrie from Moves ‘N Munchies opened a discussion about carbohydrates. I wanted to thank you, Carrie, for bringing this debate up. I also wanted to thank each and every one of you guys for all of your supporting comments on my Bliss Reese’s Pizzert and my blog in general. Thank you!