Thiel: Cutting back on the carbs

The World Health Organization has said that North America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic.

The World Health Organization has said that North America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic.

We are indeed the fattest occupants of this continent in recorded history. Subsequently, we are a ‘diet crazed’ society. Unfortunately, there is a lot of wrong information available to be masses. No pun intended.

Just this last week I had two patients on a 500 calories a day diet, and maintaining this for over 40 days.

When one studies the physiology of weight loss with the intention being sustained weight loss, one understands that this and all diets that profoundly limit caloric intake are flawed. This is what I call “YO-YO dieting.”

In this type of dieting with extreme and rapid weight loss, the weight invariably always comes back, and with a vengeance. We’ve seen it time and time again.

In our North American diet our nemesis lays in one culprit: carbohydrates. In physiology, excess carbohydrates are turned into fat. Period.

In the diet that is readily available to us today, the profound majority of our calories is not in proteins and fats, but in carbohydrates.

If one were to limit their carbohydrates and choose their carbohydrates intelligently, with sustained weight loss in mind, they would inevitably lose their excess weight, boost their immune system and greatly reduce their chance for diabetes later in life. And most importantly, the weight would stay off for good.

In the world of carbohydrates there are good carbohydrates, bad carbohydrates and ghastly carbohydrates. It is very easy to tell them apart and therefore, make proper decisions.

Good carbohydrates are the ones that are ‘packaged by nature’.  These are our fruits and vegetables, also known as our fibrous carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are gentle on our pancreas and the demand for insulin, avoiding sudden and drastic swings in your insulin levels. These carbohydrates give us a slow burn of energy, rather than a rapid surge in energy followed by the inevitable crash of poor carbohydrates.

The exception to this rule is potatoes and tropical fruit. This group is heavily laden with sugar and not your first choice when choosing good carbohydrates.

The bad carbohydrates are those that are packaged by the factory.  This is largely anything in a box or anything that is refined or processed.

One such example would be that of breakfast cereals.  Essentially, if it comes in a box or from a factory chances are, it’s not a great carbohydrate source for you.

A reliable rule of thumb would be: Try to avoid anything that is white. This would include breads, pastas, white rice, sugar, bananas and potatoes.

The ghastly carbohydrates are the forms of sweetened juices, sugary drinks, fast food, junk food and alcohol (sorry about that). This type of carbohydrate creates an immediate and severe dumping of insulin into your bloodstream causing hyperactivity followed by burnout.

It is no coincidence that in North America we have the highest ingestion of carbohydrates per capita and also the highest incidence of diabetes per capita. Not only does this cause you to gain weight, but the overload of carbohydrates has been demonstrated to cause immune system impairment and cognitive decline with an inability to concentrate. I hate to say it, but it is just that simple. Reduce your carbohydrates and choose only the healthy ones.

You do need carbohydrates to live; it is the fuel for your brain but if you choose poorly it can also be your enemy. Now go take a look in your pantry.



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