It Is A Matter Of Life And Death

It really is a matter of life and death, I am not being too shrill. I am reading Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and the current chapter is discussing the likelihood that diabetes and metabolic syndrome are precursors and predictors of a host of horrific diseases in both diabetics and the population at large.

Both diabetes and metabolic syndrome are associated with an elevated incidence of virtually every chronic disease, not just heart disease. Moreover , the diabetic condition is associated with a host of chronic blood-vessel-related problems known as vascular complications: stroke, a stroke-related dementia called vascular dementia, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage in the extremities, and atheromatous disease in the legs that often leads to amputation. One obvious possibility is that the same metabolic and hormonal abnormalities that characterize the diabetic condition— in particular, elevated blood sugar, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance— may also cause these complications and the associated chronic diseases. And otherwise healthy individuals, therefore, would be expected to increase their risk of all these conditions by the consumption of refined and easily digestible carbohydrates, which inflict their damage first through their effects on blood sugar and insulin, and then, indirectly, through triglycerides, lipoproteins, fat accumulation, and assuredly other factors as well. (bold not in original)

Taubes, Gary (2007-09-25). Good Calories, Bad Calories (Kindle Locations 3996-4004). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Please re-read that bold section. Otherwise healthy individuals (you) increase their risk of debilitating illness through the habitual eating of sweets and starches.

Your daily smoothie is sweet, because you put ‘healthy’ fruits in it. The sweets in your smoothie are causing you harm in the future, as the insulin you secrete to process todays smoothie wears out your ability to process the carbs into fats in the future. Eating your morning smoothie not only causes a problem with increased insulin both long and short term, but the increased insulin stimulates your liver to produce triglycerides, which are combinations of fat molecules that are too big to fit into fat cells. Triglyceride is the form of fat that is in fat cells, but it must be broken down for the fats to get back into the blood for use as energy. Triglycerides in circulation in the blood are a tell-tale for the risk of heart and artery disease in your future. Triglycerides in the blood are not normal, they are a warning sign. If you eat carbohydrates every day in every meal, in every sip of your sweetened drinks or beers, you will have elevated triglycerides in your blood.

When I speak face-to-face with people about the foods they eat, just about to a man they claim to be eating healthier than ever. We are all eating fruits and vegetables, cutting down on fats and meats, maybe cutting way back on sugar. The thing they don’t realize is that fruits are sugar. Honey is sugar. There is not a healthy sugar that you can eat. Sugar in the raw is not health food. Eating orange juice is not health food. No carbohydrate is any different than the sugar in your coffee, the only difference is in degrees of speed by which they become fat and triglyceride. Eventually, every single molecule of fruit sugar (fructose) you eat will become either fat or triglyceride. Every molecule of table sugar is 45% fructose and 55% glucose. The glucose will be turned into fat by insulin secreted to deal with it, the insulin will stimulate triglyceride production. It is machinery, it is inevitable if you eat carbohydrate of any kind these same reactions occur.


Eventually your body stops responding to the normal amounts of insulin so even more insulin is secreted to deal with a constant amount of blood sugar. Triglycerides rise too, as a function of your liver. Heart disease risk rises in direct proportion to triglyceride. Metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe the disease at this point. As soon as the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to keep blood sugar in bounds the person is now diabetic. Now his diabetologist will recommend low fat and high carb diets. The very thing that got him sick. Supplemental insulin will be prescribed to keep blood sugar in check. Insulin levels in this person are already abnormally high, but more insulin is administered, as well as more carbs and less fats. Extra insulin means extra triglycerides will be secreted from the liver. Damage to health and circulatory systems accelerates.

All of these whereases and therefores are contained in this hair-raising chapter of the book I am reading. I cannot shout loudly enough that you must give up the daily consumption of carbohydrate. Your healthy sweets should be treated with the cautious respect they deserve. Fruit can be safely eaten, but eaten whole, the way that nature intended, and in season. Eat peaches for the three weeks or so that they are available on trees in your state and you won’t have a problem. Eat them every day, because somewhere on earth peaches are always getting ripe and you are tempting fate.

Drink Mexican Coke because it contains real sugar instead of high fructose corn sweetener, because it is ‘safer’, and realize that the only difference is the HFCS fructose percent is 55% instead of the real sugar’s 45%. If you drink a quart of Mexican Coke per day, your body won’t notice that small difference. You will be diabetic and overweight by your 40s, just like two thirds of your neighbors.

Eat processed foods that contain carbohydrates, be they sugar or flour, and your body will respond by secreting insulin. There isn’t one kind of insulin for sugar and one kind for flour. There isn’t one kind for candy and one kind for fruit. A slice of rye bread contains 15 grams of carbohydrate, the two slices to make your sandwich are 30 grams total. That equals greater than seven teaspoons of sugar. Your new daily recommended dose of sugar for the day is ten teaspoons. One sandwich and you are done with your carbs for the day.

Nowadays if I eat one sandwich that contains two slices of bread I will suffer immediate symptoms. First my heart will hammer, like I have been given a dose of adrenaline. Next my fingers will swell and I can feel tightness if I clench a fist. Then my face will flush. If you do not get these reactions to eating two pieces of bread it is because you have a tolerance for the drug that sugar is. I hear that people that drink liquor every day don’t feel the effects of it the same way that someone who never drinks does, either. Probably the same kind of thing if you ask me.

Processed foods, especially those that contain health claims on the label (low-fat, gluten-free, etc) will contain something to make it taste good. For eight out of ten products manufactured, that added thing will be carbohydrate. Eating processed foods adds to your health problems despite the Big Font exclamations to the contrary. They can’t add enough vitamins to a breakfast cereal to make it health food.

Health foods exist. They come with no carbs in them, and they are single ingredient foods. Kale, lettuce, celery…steak, pork chops, bacon and eggs are all health foods. The government no longer warns against the cholesterol in your egg. They no longer warn against meat and fat because they are not healthy, but because raising meats leads to increased greenhouse gasses. We have bigger problems right now. One third of us are obese. Two thirds of us are overweight. All of us that eat carbs every day have excessive triglycerides in circulation in our blood. We are all on the way to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, maybe diabetes and high blood pressure.

You can jump off the bandwagon any time you want. Eating a low carb diet is the best path to long, heathy, high quality of life living into your eighties. It’s too bad that it has taken so long for dietary scientists to retake the floor in the discussion of what is and is not healthy to eat, but at least it is happening in our lifetimes.


About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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1 Response to It Is A Matter Of Life And Death

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