I know many of you are probably asking what a business blog is doing talking about low fat diets. So, let me tell you!
As business leaders, we tend to become so focused on our business, the marketplace, and our employees that we forget about the simple things that count the most. One of the things we most often forget about is our health.
It is very easy to get so caught up at work that we forget to take care of ourselves and then we are hit by a totally preventable health event. The problem with many preventable health events is that they are often irreversible!
A few years ago I spent an afternoon in the hospital hooked up to machines because of a reaction to something. The doctors didn’t know what I reacted to and, thankfully, it has never reoccurred but the event was still somewhat of a wake up call!
I now pay a little closer attention to what I eat. I also do a lot of reading and regularly listen to podcasts from a few of North America’s leading medical doctors who specialize in nutrition, neurology and physiology. From them, I am learning a lot that is now challenging my “healthy low fat diet” mindset!
There have been some amazing advances in the last few years in the world of medicine. From mapping the human genome to the emergence of epigenetics to some breakthrough studies in nutrition and the physiology of the human body.
As you read this, please keep in mind that I am not a doctor and that each of us is unique genetically and physiologically. This means that we each need to consult a doctor to truly understand our current state of health.
Low Fat Diets Are Killing Us!
Most of what we have been taught about fat over the last 20+ years is wrong. In 1994 the American Diabetes Association recommended that 60 to 70% of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates (because fats are bad). At that point in time there were about 8 million diabetics in the US. In 2011, there were 21 million diabetics in the US. Obesity and diabetes has exploded following this high carb diet!
The Truth About Carbohydrates
The reason for this diabetes explosion is that our bodies convert carbohydrates into glucose. Our bodies then produce insulin which activates the cells in our bodies to burn the glucose for fuel. Insulin also prevents our cells from burning fat for fuel. Any extra glucose not burned for fuel is converted into fat and stored in our bodies. This fat cannot be eliminated unless we restrict our carbohydrate intake.
A diet with excessive carbohydrates stresses our bodies and desensitizes our cells to insulin. This means our bodies must produce even more insulin to get rid of the glucose in our blood (this is called insulin resistance). This vicious cycle can lead to type 2 diabetes (among many other debilitating health conditions)!
Fat – The Good and the Bad
Our bodies were designed to burn fat . . . but not the trans fats and hydrogenated fats that are so prolific in our diets today. These fats are actually toxic so avoid them at all costs!
Our bodies were created to use:
- saturated fats (found in foods like meats, eggs, cheese and butter). In fact, 50% of our cell membranes are composed of saturated fat.
- monounsaturated fats (found in foods like avocados, olives and nuts)
- polyunsaturated fats (like omega 3’s found in foods like fish and flaxseed oil).
Cholesterol – Unfairly Demonized?
The understanding around cholesterol has changed over the last few years as more research has been completed. We have been taught that there is good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). However, this is far from reality. HDL and LDL are not cholesterol at all! They are proteins.
Cholesterol is a component of our cell membranes, it is a brain antioxidant, and our bodies use it to manufacture important things like vitamin D and testosterone! Our brain needs cholesterol to function properly. Our brain is typically 2% of our bodies mass but it holds 25% of our body’s total cholesterol . . . one fifth of your brain’s weight is cholesterol!
According to Dr. David Perlmutter (neurologist and author of The Grain Brain):
- “Cholesterol forms membranes surrounding cells, keeps cell membranes permeable, and maintains cellular “waterproofing” so different chemical reactions can take place inside and outside the cell.”
- “We’ve actually determined that the ability to grow new synapses in the brain depends on the availability of cholesterol, which latches cell membranes together so that signals can easily jump across the synapse.” and that “in essence, cholesterol acts as a facilitator for the brain to communicate and function properly.”
So what are LDL and HDL? They are actually two different types of containers that carry fats and cholesterol throughout our bodies. Both are very necessary for our well-being.
One of the most important functions of LDL is that it transports cholesterol to every cell in our bodies. With low levels of LDL, our bodies and our brains are in big trouble! The problem with LDL is when glucose in our body (from eating too many carbs) damages the LDL protein and our immune system turns on inflammation to battle the damaged LDL. This inflammation can then narrow our arteries!
The problem seems to be our “over-carbed” diet and not fats or cholesterol!
Restricting carbohydrates in our diets results in our bodies burning fat for fuel, which is what we are actually designed to do! The current diet in the western world is typically 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat. We need to readjust this to dramatically reduce carb intake while increasing healthy fats. Our ancestors’ diets were typically 5% carbs, 20% protein and 75% healthy fats!
My point here is not to make any diet change recommendations. What I do recommend is that each of us do our own research and consult our own doctors about our diets and our health.
High carb diets can stress and damage our bodies. This type of diet is a contributor to the explosion in diabetes which has then been linked to many other diseases (including Alzheimer’s which has now been dubbed type 3 diabetes).
As I mentioned above, I am not a doctor. My intent with this post is to nudge you a little so you pay more attention to your health. You, your family, your business, and your employees will benefit!
For more information on this topic, click on the Business Tools tab on this website and look in the Values section for my Kindle notes for:
- The UltraMind Solution
- Grain Brain
- Brain Maker
- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
You can also take a look at these past health related posts:
- The Sleep Revolution
- 3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fatigue and Burnout
- What Makes Business Success Worthless
“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.” Joyce Meyer
How have you been impacted by a health event? Leave your comments below!
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