Chapter 5: dietary Carbohydrates: Scientific and Cultural Perspectives
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This is part 6 of my review in Layman's terms of the book 'The Art and Science of Low carbohydrate Living' By Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD
As looked at in the previous chapter there are a lot of questions about low carbohydrate living. Most responses are asking "is very low carbohydrate diets balanced",this was briefly looked at in point 8 of chapter 4, but will be discussed in depth now to explain the safety and efficacy of low carb diets.
Defining a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is thought to be a balance of all Macro-nutrients, but if a person has Celiac disease we take gluten out of the diet, if a person is lactose intolerant we take most dairy out of the diet, so what if you are carbohydrate intolerant? Carbohydrate intolerance can be assumed in people with diabetes, obesity or hypertension, which are all symptoms, removal of carbohydrate down to under 50g daily will remove these symptoms. So if you are in perfect health is low carb necessary?
Carbohydrate as an Essential Nutrient Class
It is known that there are nine amino acids (parts of proteins) that are defined by nutrition science as essential,( the body cannot produced adequate amounts so they must be consumed in the diet) they are, leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, tryptophan , phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine and may be cysteine. Without the right amounts of these amino acids, protein metabolism will be impaired and dysfunction and disease is ensured. Essential is also omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, they also must be consumed through diet or disease and dysfunction will occur. There are no essential carbohydrates, the body can adapt without it.
Carbohydrate as a cultural (if not Religious) Imperative
Is it all an emotional attraction to carbohydrates, as in "give us this day, our daily bread"? The following quote is directly taken from the book being reviewed ' But if we look objectively at where the money and power lie, there is little doubt that culture, religion, industry, and government are complicit in the subjective decision to discount the science supporting low carbohydrate diets'
Low Carbohydrate Diets are Extreme
Unfortunately most people think that a low carb diet would be to hard to follow and a bit bland, but contrary to this eating low carb is very satisfying and satiety plays a large role in enjoying day to day life and sustenance. Some examples of foods for the menu are, New York strip steak grilled with an Italian herb rub, Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and garlic, garden fresh green beans , steamed and buttered. The eating style is far from boring and hunger is far between.
There is no clinical condition related to carbohydrate deficiency, so are they just a optional macro-nutrient for us. For a large proportion of the human race is it worth a try to see what low carb will do for your system and well being, we as individuals will make that choice, you may be very suprised with the result.
The world at large makes it hard to advocate a low carb diet as a professional I can see the science is for it but the societies are against it. I have Hashimoto's disease and firstly went gluten free with improved my symptoms dramatically, once I took the plunge over to low carb there is no looking back , i feel healthier and happier than I have ever felt, this is my own private journey but it works for me. In future posts once I finish reviewing this amazing book I will go more into the foods and menus for low carb living.