If you are just joining in, we are in Week 4 of an online discussion of the book Fat Chance written by Dr. Robert Lustig.
So, first things first, get yourself a copy of Fat Chance. Then catch up by checking out:
Sticking with the same format as last week, I am going to share one thought, paragraph or quote from each chapter that resonated with me and a short commentary. Feel free to discuss in the comments or you TELL ME…
- what stirred up the most emotion
- what made your jaw drop
- what made your eyes pop out of your head
when you read Part IV?
Part IV The “Real” Toxic Environment
The Ominvore’s Curse: Low Fat versus Low Carb
“It wasn’t until we became gourmets, eating fat and carbohydrates in the same meal, that our fat cells first felt the wrath of mitochondrial wear and tear. This accounts for the appearance of metabolic disease with the advent of trade in the early 17th century; before that, food was still a function of what you killed or you grew yourself. Eventually we became gourmands, eating fat and carbohydrate in the same food. This is the essence — the blessing and the curse — of processed food.”
I have to say overall this is a disappointing chapter, for no other reason than I feel Dr. Lustig, in trying to appeal to the masses or perhaps due to politics, doesn’t simply say a low-carb diet is the solution to the obesity pandemic although he eludes to it throughout the book. After all we know that for the overwhelming majority of obese people at the end of the day it boils down to insulin. And what one macronutrient increases blood sugar and subsequently insulin the most? Carbohydrates! P.S. I am still a little bugged by the fact that he admitted he never lost the 45 pounds he gained in medical school.
Fructose — The “Toxin”
“Sugar (sucrose) is made up of half glucose and half fructose. It’s the fructose that makes it sweet, and that, ultimately, is the molecule we seek. It’s the fructose that causes chronic metabolic disease. So sugar, despite ostensibly being a carbohydrate, is really both a fat (because that’s how fructose is metabolized in the liver) and a carbohydrate (because that’s how glucose is metabolized) all rolled into one. Both pathways have to work overtime, which is why sugar is the real omnivore’s dilemma.”
I am all on board with the notion that sugar is toxic and that fructose “frucks” you up, but let’s not forget that all carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body. While breads and pasta may not be inherently filled with fructose they do get broken down into glucose which elevates blood sugar which elevates insulin which…
Fiber — Half the Antidote
“Whereas fruit does contain fructose, it also has inherent fiber. And that’s not by accident. The reason the fructose in fruit doesn’t cause significant health problems is that it’s balanced by the endogenous fiber that makes up the solid part of the fruit. If you consume both together, as nature intended, it reduces the rate of flux to the liver; the liver can keep up, which mitigates most of the negative effects of the sugar. In fact, the amount of fructose in most fruits is balanced nicely by the fruit’s fiber content. Conversely, juice is devoid of the insoluble fiber found in whole vegetables and fruit. When “juicing” you keep some of the essential vitamins and minerals inherent in the fruit or vegetable, but you discard perhaps the most important part: the fiber. Remember is doesn’t matter where the fructose comes from — fruit, sugarcane, beets — without the fiber, it has the same metabolic effect on your body. Our ancestors didn’t have the health complications associated with fructose because they ate the whole fruit.
I picked this paragraph out because I get questions about juicing all the time. Juice, whether in a bottle from the store or made in an expensive juicer, is just sugar. Yes there are some redeeming nutritional qualities when you make it yourself, however, your body still has to metabolize the large hit of incoming sugar. And yes, I’ve watched “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”…that my friends we can discuss in a different blog post.
Exercise — The Other Half of the Antidote
“You want to improve your insulin sensitivity — and exercise does just that. It makes you build muscles at the expense of visceral and especially liver fat. But you can’t see this stepping on the scale. By improving insulin sensitivity and lowering insulin levels, exercise improves leptin signaling, thereby increasing your sympathetic tone, energy expenditure, and quality of life.”
Yes, yes, yes! As a certified personal trainer, this is music to my ears. When Gary Taubes book Good Calories Bad Calories came out and he later became popular in the low-carb world, he was quoted and misquoted about the science on exercise and weight loss. People hear what they want to hear and they heard to lose weight all they needed to do was just eat low-carb and that exercise was not only not necessary but should be avoided. Exercise, especially resistance training, has a significant effect on our ability to manage blood sugar levels, which is at the heart of the low-carb approach. Resistance training is what ensures your body is losing the flab and not muscle.
Micronutrients: Home Run or Hyperbole
“Real food, containing endogenous micronutrients, prevents metabolic syndrome. Processed food causes metabolic syndrome. Adding nutritional supplements can’t reverse what which has previously been destroyed.”
This reminds me of the most ridiculous product I have ever seen on a grocery store shelf, WhoNu Cookies. If you’ve never heard of them, they are junk food with a bunch of nutritional claims made on the label. “As much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal.” “As much calcium and vitamin d as a glass of milk.” “As much vitamin c as a cup of berries.” “As much iron as a cup of spinach.” There’s more, do I really need to go on? To the uneducated consumer, they read this garbage and believe these cookies are healthy and instead of eating real nutrient dense food, they eat the processed junk. The only problem is the body knows better. It doesn’t absorb the synthetic vitamins and is still left to metabolize the carbs, sugar and transfats.
“Rebecca is a 5 yr old girl who has gained 20 lbs in one year and is referred to us for premature breast development. An MRI of her head rules out a brain tumor. A pituitary evaluation to look for onset of puberty is unrevealing and tests show no estrogen in the blood. A more detailed history reveals Rebecca’s mother has recently taken to bathing her daughter in Victoria Secret’s bath gel. The assumption is that the bath gel contains plant estrogen. The mother is counseled to stop the bath gel and subsequently Rebecca’s weight gain and breast development cease.”
I devoted a whole blog post to this topic. You can find it HERE.
The “Empire” Strikes Back: Response of the Food Industry
“If there’s a lesson to be gleaned from this book, it’s that food is health. But while you are ostensibly in charge of your health, you are clearly not in charge of your food. In fact, those who are in charge of your food are doing their level best to make a buck off you.”
I don’t know about you, but I know I am going to do my very best not to be a victim of the food industry. We all have the opportunity to vote with our food dollars and I do so with strong conviction.
Now it’s your turn!
Use the comments to start the discussion. I trust the discussion will stay on topic and be respectful of each opinion. It’s okay to disagree but no personal attacks.