Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mr. Banting Lost 50 lbs on low-carb. Is it dangerous?

Part III: Is a low carb regime dangerous? Picks up from the Mr. Banting post here.
Six years after he lost 50 lbs with his low carb regime, Mr. Banting published the fourth edition of his "Letter on corpulence." By then his name had become a verb - 'to bant' meant to diet - by following his published low carb regime. Mr. Banting had kept those 50 lbs off all those years and added that "My other bodily ailments have become mere matters of history."
Still, in 1865 and today, 143 years later, some people ask, "Is low carb dangerous?"
Remember Banting's regime: Mostly meat, fish and fowl and a bit of fruit and veggies see here; and No sugars, no starches, bread, milk, sweets and potatoes
Few experts disagree with what he stopped eating. It's what he DID eat - the meat - that has caused mild panic in some corners in the past 15 years.

Reason: Meat has "saturated fats" which are thought by some to be associated with heart trouble - you know, clogging of the arteries and such. And since the low-carb regimes recommend eating meats, bacon and similar fare, it was put on the high risk list by these concerned folks.

I am no health expert. I'm just a person extremely interested in health, want to play tennis when I'm 95. And I love to eat good foods. Here's my take:
Let's agree that meat has saturated fat in it. And let's agree also that meat has had saturated fats in it since the beginning of time.
I have three questions for someone who asks: Is a low-carb regime safe - since it's high in saturated fat?
1. Why has saturated fat become a problem now, when our ancestors since the stone age, 2.5 million years ago, survived by eating animals? There was no heart disease reported in the stone age. And we're here, aren't we?
2. Is it possible that the recent association of saturated fat and heart disease might have been off the mark? It wouldn't be the first time we've been wrong about the cause of a problem. The latest and meticulously researched 601-page tome, Good Calories, Bad Calories (journalist Gary Taubes, 2007) has 10 conclusions. Here are the first two:
  • Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
  • The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and the hormonal regulation of homeostasis - the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. (p. 454)
3. If it's not the fat, could it be the meat? There were no industrial feedlots in the stone age. No one was force-feeding the animals corn and soy, instead of their natural food source, grass. No one gave them growth hormones and shot them full of antibiotics (because they're mostly sick in the feedlots now, reports Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma), since they cannot digest the corn and soy).

Might part of the resistance to a low carb approach to weight loss be a result of NOT making the bad meat- good meat distinction?
These questions, and my personal wonderful experience being on a real food low carb regime make me say that for me, low-carb is a wonderful, healthful approach to living. The caveat: all food must be real. No highly processed foods, no toxins, no artificial ingredients or any other poisons or chemicals.

P.S. I learned all this (and have become extremely interested in eating and health) because of my old friend, Dr. Heidi. I filmed her university nutrition course in CA this spring.

I am now marketing her ER Fat Burning program because I am betting that it will change your idea of eating- now and for years to come.


Robin Plan said...

Kim I'm so glad you wrote about the FEEDLOT meat. I believe the way animals are fed is a major cause of people being overweight. I learned by being an Auditor in the ER program that our body will store the toxins in our fat so we just end up fatter. Our meat is full of toxins.

I have switched to 100% grass fed beef and love the taste. This says a lot because I've never been a meat lover.

I gained so much knowledge from Dr. Heidi and like you I have become extremely interested in eating and health. When Dr. Heidi told us that a body is designed to live 120 years I was blown away because there's no way we will live 120 years on processed foods.

Thanks for the end of this article, it was worth the wait.



Cindy said...

Before he retired a few years ago, my father in law owned a huge feedlot for cattle. I know this kind of meat operation up close and personal and what you said Kim is absolutely true about how the cattle are fed and medicated. If one steer is sick they all get medicated. Why? To prevent the disease from spreading. Healthy animals mean faster weight gain and higher profits.