A CARBOHYDRATE HEAVY DIET... TREAD VARY CAREFULLY!
A Carbohydrate Heavy Diet has “claimed” to be of outstanding benefit!
Frankly, I am not so sure, but I do know this for sure, that this type of nutritional regimen is not right for everyone. Why?
1. We are Omnivores.
2. Because we are Omnivores, we NEED to eat more than what a Herbivore would consume.
3. If you have to supplement a nutritional regimen, with ANYTHING, how can it possibly be the best way to eat?
It is true though, that after consuming a Standard American Diet for years on end, that a Vegan/Vegetarian program, or Carbohydrate Heavy Diet, would/could be beneficial over the SHORT term. But, not long term.
The American Obesity Association reports approximately 127 million US adults are overweight, 60 million are obese, and 9 million are severely obese totaling over one-third of the adult American population. Consequently, fad diet plans and concoctions promising dramatic results have become popular. However, these magical shortcuts don’t offer long-term success, and some may even be dangerous to your health. Fortunately, there are a good number of people who can see past these “fad” diets and have made a cerebral and determined effort to find the best nutritional program for themselves and their families.
So, lets take a look at some books focusing on a Carbohydrate Heavy Diet.
Here are some books that outline dieting concepts”, not “fad” diets, but nutritional programs, or ways to approach eating, that have some real science behind them. The purpose of this article is on nutritional books that 1) have made the mainstream, and 2) are now influencing our culture.
My objective is to help you determine what is real and what is not concerning the Carbohydrate Heavy Diet.
Here are five concepts that I believe any nutritional regimen must pass to be considered appropriate for anyone to follow; here is a summary of those concepts:
1. The food regimen MUST focus primarily on your HEALTH!
2. The food regimen MUST be SUSTAINABLE for the long term!
3. The food regimen CANNOT be of the “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL variety!
4. The food regimen MUST focus on the many complexities of the food, not the quantity!
5. The food regimen MUST have been beneficial in other societies over a long period of time!
Before we start this discussion I must say that I will not include any book that I believe that the author’s primary focus is financial. I honestly believe that all of the concepts that the authors, including many doctors, introduce to us are “pure” and without malice. Though I may not agree with them to some degree, or even a great degree for that matter!
The three books that promote the Carbohydrate Heavy Diet are: “Eat More, Weigh Less” by Dr. Dean Ornish, “The Pritikin Weight Loss Breakthrough” by Robert Pritikin and “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
You may be acquainted with Dr. Dean Ornish and Mr. Robert Pritikin, son of Nathan, but Dr. T. Colin Cambell is relatively new to the “lime-light” concerning the “diet” industry. I am combining these three authors’ books because though not exactly the same, they have one very similar message; if we are to defeat disease and accelerated aging, we must focus on a “plant-based” diet, or more simply,
move toward a vegetarian (vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes all animal flesh, including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacean, and slaughter by-products)
or vegan (a true vegan does not consume any animal product of any kind) diet. Basically, these three authors recommend food regimens that are low-calorie, high-fiber and low-fat. Let’s take a look at each Carbohydrate Heavy Diet and break each one down with the Food First Wellness Five Concepts to Healthy Eating (plus, my grade on the diet itself):
1. Focus: Health. Each of the three authors above has spent a good part of their life absorbed in their search for “THE” proper nutritional program for everyone. There is also plenty of scientific evidence listed to support each authors approach. One hugely beneficial concept that they agree upon is the focus of consuming real whole foods. Grade: A
2. Focus: Sustainable. Consuming predominately grains, tubers, legumes, vegetables and fruits is possible, but not very practical. Dr. Dean Ornish and Robert Pritikin see the importance in a vegetarian diet and Dr. Campbell is even more extreme with a vegan diet. These approaches to proper nutrient intake are extreme and very restrictive, leaving people feeling physiologically and/or psychologically deprived. Grade: Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: B- Vegetarian: C- Vegan Diet: D-
3. Focus: One-Size-Fits-All. None of these books will pass the “One-Size-Fits-All” test as there are numerous societies that consume high amounts of animal protein and fat and are completely healthy doing so (longevity, no cancer, heart disease, low mortality rate, great teeth). Anyone who is a protein type (myself, Masai Tribe, Eskimos) will have a difficult time following these programs and will end up, in my opinion, diseased if they try. Each of us has our very own biochemical individuality which influences how our body will react to different types of macronutrients and micronutrients. If someone has ethical commitments or moral reasons for being a vegetarian, that is great, but I would recommend to them in taking up the Lacto-Ovo (milk and eggs) approach as it is a much healthier long term diet over the strict vegan and even vegetarian diets. Grade: For a Carbohydrate Type: A-B; For a Mixed Type C-D; For a Protein Type D-F
4. Focus: Food Complexity. These authors understand the impact a proper food regimen can have on ones health and each makes a conscious and good intentioned effort to help their readers understand this as well. Their focus on real whole foods is excellent as well as showing the0 great importance of high nutrient/low calorie foods. Unfortunately, because of the authors’ dislike of animal proteins and fats, numerous foods as well as nutrients are neglected and must either be supplemented and/or the foods consumed must be combined properly to meet essential dietary needs. A nutritionally superior food for you may not be superior for others, it actually may be inferior. Grade: C (Side-note: Dr. Campbell’s book “The China Study” should focus primarily on the study itself, where for instance he shows that the milk protein casein and other animal proteins (which are included with casein) are shown, from his findings, to be highly linked to cancer and other diseases. An interesting point though is that the book itself spends the majority of its time (nearly 90%) promoting a vegan diet, not the study itself.)
5. Focus: History. There is NO historical evidence that supports ANY society improving their health with a vegetarian diet, let alone, a vegan diet. In matter of fact, societies that have been found to consume low amounts of animal products have only done so because of lack of supply, not because of its merit. These tribes and cultures knew that their overall health was in some way related to their intake of raw milk, free-range eggs, wild fish and/or grass-fed animal products. Grade: D
If you were looking for your favorite Carbohydrate Heavy Diet to receive glowing reviews. I am sorry. Unless someone can convince me that we are Herbivores (thriving on a vegan/vegetarian diet), or worse yet, Fruitarians (fruit based diet), I will continue to believe that a proper Omnivore Diet is always the best choice for attaining optimal wellness.
So, in conclusion, how will you do on a Carbohydrate Heavy Diet?
Is there any reason for you to consume a Carbohydrate Heavy Diet?
If you are a carbohydrate type and you flourish on grains, tubers, legumes, vegetables and fruits you may find some very important information from any of these authors, but if you know you thrive on a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins and fats or just proteins and fats, following these authors’ information will not benefit you and may even be detrimental to your health.
In my opinion, from my scientific and anthropological research, a carbohydrate heavy diet does not seem to be the best approach to optimal wellness.