I’ve never been a big practitioner of turning comment replies in previous posts into full blog article discussion, but lately I’ve felt the “bug” to do so. This started with the Finer Points of Nutrition, and it continues today. Hopefully I can keep things concise and to the point, unlike self-generated posts that turn into 8,000 word extended essays that seemingly try to debunk gravity =).
Reader Jeff says…
Either way, I personally thrive on natural carbohydrate.
Actually, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single human being on the planet that thrives off of carbohydrate instead of fat as their primary source of calories. Survive? Sure, couple billion people actually. But thriving and surviving are two very different concepts.
For example, I could probably survive off of enough insects in a starvation situation, but thrive? Doubtfully. Eating two thousand and something calories a day of roaches and worms would be a horrendous task given my cultural and “culinary” history, assuming I could even find that amount to begin with, and wasn’t throwing up half the time in the process.
Thriving on the other hand, is a different story. Like all humans, I thrive off of animals that preferably eat what they are meant to in the first place, and not what we shove down their throats and inject into them.
Why is this? Because humans are carnivorous by design, and omnivorous by necessity. When animals are not available, for whatever reason, we can temporarily survive off of plant based “foods”.
Again, preferably ones that do not play chemical and hormonal warfare with our bodies (in other words, plants that have been around for a very long time, and passing through our digestive tracks for a very long time, and have not been meddled with by modern technology to any significant degree).
Anyway, I think my point is clear.
As for an individual “thriving on natural carbohydrate”, I believe this could be more adequately labeled carbohydrate addiction.
This is not to single out Jeff, as this is (was) probably applicable to everyone reading this, myself included. From the day we are weaned off of human breast milk (assuming it was there to begin with), we are hooked onto a nutritional umbilical cord of carbohydrate.
From day one, the solid foods we eat are rich in the macro nutrient that was rarest in the human diet for millions of years. As a result, we become addicted. Our bodies learn to survive off this sub-optimal nutrient for energy, and we suffer as a result.
From obesity, to heart disease, diabetes … right down to our unnatural, ravenous, and frequent hunger for MORE carbohydrate, coupled with head aches and physical pain when we resist.
And the more we eat, the further we sharpen that sweet (or even not so sweet) tooth of carbohydrate addiction.
Day by day, month by month, year by year.
More and more carbohydrate, in amounts that were never even available pre-agriculture, from sources packed with all sorts of toxins (fatty and otherwise).
In any case, that was a long and drawn out way of telling you Jeff, that you do not “thrive” on carbohydrate, “natural” or otherwise. No one does. It is an unnecessary nutrient, and no where near as efficient at fat, especially the saturated kind. Is it inherently evil? No, unavoidable in fact. But that doesn’t change all that was just said.
I have tried your preached ‘ketosis’ and perform much more poorly in anaerobic-sport competition when in this process. I THRIVE on carbohydrate. I agree SOME benefit, from ‘ketosis’. Others like myself, perform much more consistenly on carbohydrate. It all depends on the person.
“Your preached ketosis”?
Since when did I take ownership of this process and optimal adaptation? It was here long before I, or anyone else on the blogosphere was even born. I’m honored that you think I somehow invented or discovered ketosis, but I certainly did not.
As for performing poorly in “anaerobic” activity, I would bet my life that you were not keto-adapted. Adapting to produce ketone bodies and run primarily on fat for fuel takes at least a few weeks, if not longer, of limited carbohydrate consumption.
In the mean time, your brain is going to be starved for fuel as your body adapts to produce ketone bodies, which is made more troublesome by the commonly found SAD magnesium deficiency. Running around on a football field with “brain fog” and a possible head ache is not recommended during this interim period.
Your body is also learning how to run off of fat more efficiently in this multi-week process, in absence of the standard, yet abnormal consumption of vast quantities of carbohydrate, in all it’s forms. This is a pretty dramatic shift, and it takes time. Do not expect to go from Gatorade sugar/salt junkie to sweating butter in one days time.
As for any of this depending on the individual … perhaps to a small degree, but ultimately we all work and function as “healthy individuals”, relatively the same. Give it a fair shot. I promise it is well worth your time and effort.
With that said, carbohydrates never caused Diabetes for ANYONE. Chemical sugars like high-fructose corn syrup and refined starches, did.
If one lives off of nothing but oranges, watermelon, and apples, for a prolonged period of time, do you believe they will not end up with “diabetes”, or even dead? If so, you are sorely mistaken, and I would caution you to never try such an experiment. While I would agree that “sugar is not sugar”, and that things like agave nectar and high fructose corn syrup are especially bad “sugars”, any copious amount of carbohydrate is prone to causing problems in humans. The source is not as important as the amount, pure fructose aside. Carbohydrate from cane sugar and corn have the same effect on the human body, “natural” or otherwise. Eat 300 grams of the stuff every day like most Americans and you WILL have problems eventually (if not sooner from all of the other poison that will come along with that carbohydrate).
This is obvious as carbohydrate have existed for millions of years while diabetes did not originate until ~2,000 years ago.
I hate to be the one to point this out, but are you suggesting high fructose corn syrup was around ~2,000 years ago? Have to ask as that seems to be what you are implying with regards to your previous statement.
Recently over the summer, my best-friend died.
I too lost my best friend in the Summer of 2008. I am sorry to hear about your loss.
I totally understand where you’re coming from as it took an emotional toll on me. On that note, you need to put your emotions aside as the aversion to carbohydrate you yield is absolutely rediculous. After all, why would these exist if they did not have a prolonged dietetic purpose?
I eat carbohydrate all the time … in fact every day, as it is unavoidable in even meat and eggs. Even so, it’s frequent that I eat at least some direct source of carbohydrate, whether it be ketchup or some dark chocolate. Considering this, and my frequent statement that carbohydrate is not inherently “evil”, where’s the emotional aversion to carbohydrate present? I for one, am not seeing it.
As for your final statement in that paragraph, are you suggesting carbohydrate as a macro nutrient solely exists for human consumption? That’s what I take away from it, and I find it completely illogical.
I also agree ‘animals’ will always be a better-food choice. Point taken, this does NOT include feed lot animals! I’m talking wild-caught fish and game. If these cannot be caught, then plants make a legit supplement until real animal-meat can be obtained.
Well if you’re into supplementing, why not take fish oil when only “feed lot” animals are available? You seem to agree animals “will always be a better food choice”, so why not keep it all animal? If you suggest there is more wrong with conventional meat than the fatty acid profile, I would have to agree, but I would not agree that plants will be a defacto better choice, nor would I agree that there is a lot more than speculation on what other dangers grain feeding presents, nutritionally speaking.
As far as the debate on feed lot versus wild-caught animals, your argument is not even worth mentioning. A wild animal capable of surviving on it’s own is ALWAYS a better food-source compared to a dependently raised animal.
I’m not debating “feed lot” animals versus wild caught animals, I’m comparing “wild caught” versus pastured fed and finished animals. There is a major difference there, as pasture fed animal products go through rigorous inspection before being shipped and sold (while still retaining a proper nutrient profile for our consumption). Wild boar on the other hand (for example), may have a great fatty acid profile, is also prone to a variety of parasites. I’ll pass on the tape worm dinner.
And that bring us to the final topic. Saturated fats. And ‘dairy’– also known as cow sourced products.
Not necessarily, as “dairy” can also come from Goats, Sheep, and other animals.
You don’t support dairy yet you support ‘dairy fats’? Wow, talk about a contradiction!
I would urge you to further explain yourself, as there is a massive difference between all encompassing “dairy” and “dairy fat”, which in most cases is over 95% animal fat. And as you said, animals are always the superior source of nutrients. It seems my friend, that you may be the one contradicting yourself.
You are absolutely correct in stating that my point of milk being for baby cows is irrelevant. That is not what I was suggesting. The point I am making is I am no longer a baby and therefore do not drink milk. Milk is made for infants, regardless of species. PERIOD. Maybe you were not breast-fed enough, in younger years?
Actually, I was breast fed by my mother. To what age, I don’t know, but I will assume at least 1 year, if not two, based on my younger siblings experience’s that I witnessed as a child. As for your argument about milk only being for infants, this is the typical paleo argument. I would argue that while I am interested in eating like my ancestors, I am more interested in our modern understanding of metabolism, and as a result, re-creating the same dietary environment my ancestor’s enjoyed, with food substances available today.
That my friend, includes dairy fat.
I respectfully suggest that you browse through Superior Nutrition by Shelton in order to gain more insight. One of the few print-books worth mentioning. In turn, I will check out the website you suggested.
I’ve never heard of it. While skeptical based off the points you brought up in the above commentary, I will give it a look online, if possible.
P.S. Everyone knows saturated fats have documented proof of being counter productive. Unless of course these fats are in the form of medium-chain tryglycerides.
You lost me at “everyone knows”. I suggest in the future, during your own reading, that you be highly critical of ANYONE using such terminology, as “everyone knows” is often the equivalent of “nobody knows a damn thing save for the tiny minority shouting the truth like a crazed mad man”.
Jeff says in a new comment …
I’d like to clear-up and elaborate on the definition of ‘food’.
Food is any Plant or Animal in its wholesome, unaltered state.
Oh really? Because last I checked, if I ate a whole “unaltered” puffer fish, I’d be dead pretty quick. Same goes thousands of “whole and unaltered” wild plants. For the record though, the point of suggesting that people question what “food” is in the original Quest for Nutritional Truth post was so they would would do just that, question this abused and overlooked term, not dogmatically follow some specific set of words I assigned to the term. If anything, people simply looking at what is presented to them and asking THEMSELVES “Is this really food?”, would really make my day.
On that note, corn, wheat and soy are all classified as grains or legumes as Dream mentioned. What he failed to inform is these three Plants in their unaltered state are actually beneficial foods. Though not as high quality as vegetable-based starch or wild-animal, (see recent discussion) grains and legumes still provide a legit food source.
No, they aren’t, in any way, shape or form. In fact I’m fairly certain all three are inedible “whole and unaltered”, and if you do manage to shove them down your throat “raw”, can cause very serious and immediate medical issues. Where are you even finding this information Jeff?
The three aforementioned Plants are far from being the underlying issue causing nutritional deficiencies and diseases worldwide. The problem lies in the corrupt agricultural industry’s modern day processing. 99% of ‘foods’ commercially available are NOT actually foods!
Actually, from my understanding, they are very directly and indirectly responsible for a host of problems world wide, including but not limited to nutritional problems in humans, that ultimately lead to an early and probably uncomfortable death.
In whole form, corn, wheat, and soy are fairly nutritious as discussed previously. Unfortunately, the agricultural industry is logistically impaired and destroys the value of these foods on a daily-basis. Corn sugars, wheat breads and processed soybeans become engineered in labs and are NO LONGER what they once were. They have become imbalanced man made obstructions, which are ultimately counter-productive.
No, they are crap to begin with. The fact that we can make them even worse is just a testament to the bad side of human nature and outright stupidity.
It is near impossible to find wheat or soy that is still actually a food in recent times. That is why I understand where Dream’s misinformation is sourced. Even so, do not be confused by his implications as he was blindly referring to agriculturally altered VERSIONS of corn, wheat and soy.
You do realize corn doesn’t even exist in the wild, right? Nor has it ever. What we know as “corn” is a product of human meddling, now, and in earlier times.
Once again, food is any Plant or Animal in its wholesome, unaltered state. Grains and legumes such as corn, wheat and soy are all Plants and therefore foods.
I’ve already addressed this, but it bears repeating. Your definition of food includes poisonous plants and animals. Even a lot of the things you suggest as food directly, are poisonous in their “whole and unaltered state”, grains especially. Hell, wheat is probably poisonous no matter what you do (carbohydrate aside).
The critical problem with the American Food Supply lies in the hands of the FDA who are neglecting their regulatory responsibilities. Fortunately, Leaders such as those from my generation are stepping-up and providing awareness to make a lasting difference. It is only a matter of time until America is presented with wholesome, unaltered foods that truly deliver. In the meantime, utilize the dollar-vote! Create an impact.
I suspect you believe the federal government is capable of fixing problems it itself created. If so, I would have to strongly disagree. Government has never been capable of fixing problems it itself perpetuates. When the problem is government, more of it is never the answer. The federal government has no role in food production and even safety. It doesn’t know how to do anything effectively, not even deliver mail. Leave it to the states or private corporations (that will fear massive lawsuits should they screw up on the issue of safety).
Agricultural subsidies should not exist.
Finally, reader Ben says …
I’d be interested in hearing more about ketosis. I’ve looked into it in the past and everything I read said that ketosis is bad. Your 36-day fast is intriguing, but anecdotal and without any scientific validity, to put it bluntly. Quite honestly, I don’t understand ketosis very well, and you definitely know more about nutrition than I, but to make a credible argument you need the scientific method.
First off, thanks for the kind words that I didn’t bother to include in this commentary Ben (this post is getting too long as it is!).
As for ketosis, I am in no way the definitive and go-to guy on the subject. I would strongly suggest you visit http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ and search “ketosis”, or visit http://www.paleonu.com/ and do the same if you wish to read up on the subject (Mark for an introduction and Kurt for more in depth information).
You can also try visiting most anyone on their blog rolls, and searching for the same term. There are a million and one blogs that discuss the subject …
All that said, there is a plethora of information floating around about how terribly evil ketosis is. I would say to you that there is an even greater amount of information floating around the internet touting saturated fat as the anti-christ and cholesterol as Satan’s son.
Neither of which, are “bad” for you. In fact both nutrients are excellent for your health, not to mention necessary (which can’t be said for carbohydrate, “fiber”, and “anti-oxidants”).
Regarding the scientific validity of my previous statements about ketosis, I don’t believe I ever suggested the statements were scientific to begin with, nor have I ever claimed to be a scientist, “nutritionist” (all of which are essentially clueless), or medical doctor.
The next logical question to ask then is, does the way we eat need to be a scientific complex equation only a privileged few can understand and progress further?
I don’t think so. In fact, I think science has done nutrition a great injustice over the past few decades, and caused a few million deaths in the process. That of course was “bad” science, that is now being countered with “good” science, but never the less, it is science in both cases.
And unfortunately in the case of “good” science, it is an extremely up hill and entrenched battle. Idiots have a firm stranglehold on mainstream nutritional guidelines and food production for various reasons.
Anyway, I’m getting way off topic. Point being, I am not a scientist, and don’t pretend to be. If you want to understand nutrition in that sense, you will have to look elsewhere. In the meantime, I’ll use logic, reason, common sense, and critical thinking skills to maneuver my way through mountains of misinformation in search of gems.
In the case of ketosis, one suggesting that it is dangerous in any way, shape, or form, might as well tell me I should hold my breath multiple times per day to “alleviate oxidative damage”. It really is that ridiculous now to me.
Because being keto adapted is such a colossal advantage over being carbohydrate addicted, it’s not even funny.
The fact that people can go 36 hours (and longer) without food, and not experience physical pain, head aches, muscle cramps/aches, blurry vision, and other negative symptoms ― all the while engaging in rigorous physical activity ‒ is a testament to this simple truth.
Not to mention, carbohydrate simply isn’t available in the wild, in quantities that will keep large groups of people out of ketosis year round. There are exceptions to this rule (when tubers are plentiful in select locations for example), but ultimately this has been the rule for many thousands of years.
Wild vegetables are often inedible from my understanding, if you can even find them. Grains and beans hardly existed in our diets until some 10,000 years ago. Fruits? Not available year round, and when they were, they hardly resembled the “franken fruits” we have access to today – assuming you could even stomach them.
Nuts and seeds? Sure, they were around. Did they play a significant role in our diets? Doubt it. Gathering enough of them for a meal, and then extracting nutrients from them, was difficult and time consuming (lightly roasted in sea salt nuts were and are not “laying around” in the wild, unlike our local grocery stores). Their carbohydrate content isn’t especially high either.
Again, the human diet comes down to animals in an ideal situation. When they were sparse, plants sufficed, but were always secondary, and in many cases, probably temporary.
Regardless, living out in the wild made me realize that being keto-adapted has always been the natural state for human beings. Actually in ketosis? Not necessarily, but dipping in and out was easily the norm, if not there most of the year.
I don’t see how anything else is possible on a grand scale (excluding sweet potato land). You HAD to be keto-adapted in ancient times. Or are we really supposed to believe it’s possible to chase down and kill a large animal with a blazing head ache, cramping muscles, and lacking the ability to think straight? That would have been the norm on a carbohydrate addicted diet since ancient man constantly faced starvation (and few seem to dispute the fact that starvation was our biggest threat).
Considering this, why should we suspect ketosis to be in any way dangerous? Being keto-adapted or even in ketosis was not only the norm throughout our evolution, but a dramatically beneficial adaptation in daily life. We could not have survived without it.
Again, I do not even believe it to be possible not to be keto-adapted, without the aid of modern agriculture and technology ‒ the same way it’s not possible to be a vegetarian without modern food production.
How could an adaptation and state we would regularly (but not always) be in, without modern technology, be harmful to us?
I find it absurd.