Hello - you probably got referred to this page by a friend that seemingly without effort suddenly dropped a lot of weight and perhaps can’t stop talking about how much better he or she now feels. You might have asked why, and got a lot of enthusiasm, references to giant books and a whole universe of blogs. This page is the short version.
So - the whole world is getting ever fatter, diabetic and demented. These stats are astoundingly scary, especially when we realize we've been bombarded non-stop with advice to eat less, less fat, move more, exercise harder etc. Either we are not listening or the advice is just not working. It turns out that we have been listening, but that the advice was wrong.
Now, I don’t need to convince you that what your friend is doing is working - you've seen it already. But the next step is believing that most current health advice & associated foods are actually harmfully wrong. To convince yourself of that, stare at the graphs a bit more. The two explanations for it are 1) a collective loss of willpower leading to massive overeating 2) the advice and the food are the problem.
Americans with diabetes
So what do your friend and many of us now do? We eat real food. The stuff our bodies were made to eat. Stuff like nuts, meat,fish, vegetables, full fat yogurt, fruit, eggs, butter, beans. Note the stark absence of cereals, bread, pasta, sugary soda, candy, oreos and generally processed food, or as we like to call it “not food”.
We believe that lots of our weight and health issues did not come from a lack of exercise or because we just could not force ourselves to eat less. We believe the issues came from eating the *wrong* things. We believe you can gain health in the gym and lose weight in the kitchen.
The industry narrative is that you need to exercise off any excess food you eat, get vitamins from pills, fortified cereals or giant amounts of vegetables and fruits. Meanwhile, actually eating eggs and meat is then sorta the “bad food”, from which you can recover by eating “heart healthy whole grains” or other food products with logos on them lauding their health effects.
But if you look up the numbers, you find that actually, so called bad foods like butter, eggs, nuts, bacon, liver and fish abound in nutrients we need to thrive. And it has now also been confirmed that the reasons (cholesterol, saturated fat) we were warned not to eat these foods were false. Meanwhile, most grain based or highly processed foods are nutritional wastelands. Margarine is so bad it needs to have vitamins added back to it - and even then it remains a product that comes out of an oil refinery. Eat butter already.
Now, the story above may be hard to swallow. Especially that the hallowed whole grains turn out not to form a healthy diet. So to explain that a bit more - most grain products you are consuming aren't actually anything like whole grains to begin with. Finely milled grains, even if you leave the bran in the final milled product, are virtually identical to sugar. Nobody is denying this anymore. For a long time, it was assumed that the fiber from the bran would sort of magically change the situation, but it doesn't. The fiber sits next to the sugar, it is there in addition to it. Anything finely milled is not a “complex carbohydrate”. It is glucose. Sorry.
We only got in this place because previously both fat and proteins were thought to be bad for people, and simple carbohydrates (‘sugar’) also had a bad rep. So out popped the complex carbohydrates - and they do exist, in vegetables and intact fruit (not fruit juice or concentrate!)
Getting back, your friend lost weight and is feeling a lot better because he or she is getting the nutrients he needs from real food, the kind of food our bodies not only need but know how to deal with. This in turn reliably leads to a spontaneous reduction in hunger and breaking the “three-hour feeding cycle” which requires food at 9AM, noon, snack at 3PM, dinner at 6PM and snacks at 9PM. You think that ever made any kind of biological sense? Actual food powers you throughout the day, without leaving you tired afterward.
So do we have all the answers? Do we know exactly why we got fat and (pre-)diabetic? Was it the (high) fructose (corn syrup)? The sugar in anything? The mutant dwarf grain that is used to make our pasta and bread? The lack of nutrients from highly processed food? The excess of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids? Or more out there, lack of sleep, late night overexposure to bright light?
While we all have our theories, your friend and I have found that “just eating the real food” is a plausible solution that works for us, especially if combined with sufficient (quality) sleep.
Great resources to learn more are:
- Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz - a lovely and very well researched read explaining how we got to be in this situation.
- The Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet- a relentlessly logical book on what we should all be eating.
- Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Garry Taubes - the book to end all arguments with science
Good luck and most importantly.. enjoy!