I’ve just finished a couple of public lectures and had a big two page spread and a front page piece in the national newspaper about our work in low carb high fat eating. That’s prompted quite a few questions about how some people can eat carbs and not get sick.
Here are a few of these questions:
“Why are some people and populations fine on higher carb diets?”
“Why are you promoting a higher fat lower carb approach given many people (and sometimes populations) exist disease free eating higher carb diets?”
“Why do I put on weight so easily and others don’t?”
“How does a low carb approach change things?”
These questions are very important and I think understanding the answers helps us understand the whole situation. My take is simplified into this:
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which helps move glucose into cells. It is essential for life.
Sometimes cells become resistant to insulin so it is harder to move the glucose onto those cells. This, no surprise, is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a normal and useful human condition, at least in our natural (ancestral) environment.
- Humans who are not insulin resistant can thrive on higher carb diets as long as they don’t live a western industrial food and stress lifestyle.
- Modern society is toxic in so many ways to our basic function – because it induces insulin resistance through inflammation.
- Reducing dietary carbs for those who are insulin resistant (also know as metabolically dysregulated, also sometimes called carbohydrate (in)tolerance) is a useful way to proceed. Probably we can reset the system using this method, but we must first stop chronic hyperinsulinemia. More work needs to be done to understand exactly how this might work and if and when carbs might be eaten again in bigger quantities.
- Living a life which resembles that of your ancestors minimises our chance of becoming metabolically dysregulated.
- People vary in their personal carbohydrate tolerance and how that affects their health because they vary in their insulin resistance.
- When you go on a low carb high fat diet you can burn fat, feel energised and easily manage your own hunger and eating. Will power is over rated, especially in the face of dysfunctional physiology.