Are Carbohydrates Necessary For Life? FAQs About Low-Carb Diets

After a tumultuous vegan era, much scientific research and self-experimentation, I have adopted a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar (apart from the occasional cookie) diet. I stay away from grains, rice, starches, fruit juices, sweets, and processed foods, but eat animal foods, veggies, fat, and not-too-sweet fruits galore.

I get questioned about my low-carb lifestyle by readers, friends, or people who barely know me but think it’s weird that I am melting butter into my coffee (especially waiters, it’s always the waiters).

The questions go something like this: “But where do you get your fiber?” “Doesn’t your brain need sugar for energy?” “Won’t you develop nutritional deficiencies?” “So you are saying the Food Pyramid is wrong?”
Or, summed up: “Aren’t carbohydrates necessary for life?”

And in case you were also wondering, here are my answers!

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10 Reasons Sugar Is Bad For You

My first video series on Instagram explored 10 detrimental effects of sugar on our health. Here are the scientific references behind each of my 15-second videos (and my face, courtesy of yours truly). Enjoy!

 

NUMBER 1: It is absolutely unnecessary. Table sugar (white sugar) increases the caloric content and sweetness of foods, without giving your body anything it needs. As a counter example, consider raw honey. It is sweet but also contains vitamins and amino acids. It’s a better option!

 

Sugar is calories. That’s it. Adding to this fact, people who eat a high-sugar diet also reduce their intake of nutritious foods, making their overall diet even poorer in value. 

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Diabetes at 36,000 feet

Last weekend, I ordered a diabetic meal on my flight from Washington to London, just to see what it would be like. There are many less-than-ideal recommendations for diabetics from health establishments, ranging from hospitals to doctors to the media, and I wanted to see how they crystallised in this airplane meal.
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Other than the berries for desert, all the other components of my meal were worse for diabetics than the regular meal my fellow passengers were enjoying. The systemic failure in healing the diabetics of the world extends up to 36,000 feet.
Here is the breakdown.

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Listen To Your Heart: Feed It Bacon

This morning, you might have had an egg white omelet cooked in canola oil with two pieces of whole wheat toast, lightly ‘buttered’ with margarine.

I had a lard-greased pan of bacon and eggs.

Who had the healthier breakfast? The answer might surprise you!
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Behold: a brief history of saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease (and how rabbits are not humans).
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Correlation Is Not Causation: Let Them Eat Meat!

In the first pages of The China Study (aka the ‘vegan bible’ which blames the rise of chronic diseases on animal protein consumption), Dr. Colin Campbell presents the following graph:

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What do we see? An almost perfect correlation between daily meat consumption and colon cancer incidence in women. The countries in which people eat the most meat have the highest incidence of the disease. Therefore, if we want to avoid colon cancer, we should eat less meat.

Simple?

Not so fast.
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How the Media Misleads the Masses: ‘High-Fat’ Diets and Cancer

Observational studies linking diet to illnesses are, at best, flawed. Usually, an observational study works this way: a sample group of people are asked to fill out a questionnaire which prompts them to remember what they have eaten and in what quantities over a past arbitrary time period. (This is usually filled with memory mistakes- try and precisely tell me how many 3.5-ounce serving of lean red meat you have had over the past 30 days)
Then, researchers let some time go buy (it could be years) and observe who of these people develop the disease they are interested in. They then try to find a correlation between what these people reported as their diet a few years back, and the illness they developed.

It is very difficult to isolate single variables (for example, if you find that people who ate 20+ servings of red meat per month have a 7% increase in atherosclerosis, how can you be certain that the red meat is causing it and not the carbohydrates, alcohol, or poor exercise regime which usually accompany it?)

May I introduce the second most common type of research which tries to inform us on the way humans work: mouse-model studies!

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Omega-3’s, Omega-6’s: A Balancing Act

My late uncle, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, was the author of a book called Anticancer. In its pages, he spoke at length about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. This post explores why they are so important, and how they can help you.0d0f4d61a0616cca3233e68c45abca70

Both omega-3’s and omega-6’s (also called PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids), or n-3 and n-6 fatty acids), are essential to our body. They control gene function, regulate our immune system, impact the speed and efficacy of our metabolism, and are a vital component of the cell membranes that cover every single one of the 100 trillion cells in our body.

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