Now that you’ve digested your box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, here’s a sane look at carbs from mainstream nutritionists and media, finally. On December 20, Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, told The Los Angeles Times:
“Fat is not the problem. If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”
Interesting, huh? Alternative health professionals have told us the same thing for decades. But few people were listening. So now we’ve got a sick, overweight, diabetic society. Again quoting from the Times article: For years we’ve been fed the line that eating fat would make us fat and lead to chronic illnesses. “Dietary fat used to be public enemy No. 1,” says Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University. “Now a growing and convincing body of science is pointing the finger at carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar.”
LiveStrong.com explains what refined carbohydrates do to our bodies: “In addition to lacking essential nutrients, …a long-term diet of high-calorie refined carbohydrates can increase the risk of developing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body ceases to produce insulin and may lead to further complications including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“The Glycemic Index is one tool used to determine which carbohydrates should be consumed less frequently. Foods with a high Glycemic Index are rapidly converted to glucose, causing a swift increase in blood sugar levels. Studies on blood sugar and hyperglycemia have linked foods with a high Glycemic Index to conditions such as triggered overeating, heart complications and diabetes…”
In Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis Balch, a nutritional consultant, writes: “When choosing carbohydrate-rich foods for your diet, always select unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans and whole-grain products, as opposed to refined, processed foods such as soft drinks, desserts, candy, and sugar. Refined foods offer few, if any, of the vitamins and minerals that are important to your health.”
Drs. James Balch and Mark Stengler writes in Prescription for Natural Cures: “Complex carbohydrates should be the dominant type of carbohydrates in the diet. They provide a longer-lasting energy source, help us to feel fuller, maintain our blood-sugar balance, contain fiber that helps us with elimination, and contain more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than simple carbohydrates do. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grains (such as whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads and cereals, and oatmeal), beans, brown rice, peas, and most root vegetables.
“Consuming carbohydrates along with protein, fiber, and fat (good fats) helps to smooth out their effect on blood-sugar levels. This is another reason why a balance of all the nutrients is so important.”
My challenge to you for 2011: Replace refined carbs in your diet with whole, unrefined foods and discover a new, healthier you—maybe even less of you! Becky