Starches Are the Solution to Your Weight and Health Problems

For years, the best­seller lists have been dom­i­nat­ed by books urg­ing peo­ple to eat plen­ty of meat and fat but to shun car­bo­hy­drates. The Atkins Diet led the parade; but there have been many imi­ta­tors, such as the Zone, the South Beach Diet, the Paleo Diet, and the Dukan Diet. Even some of the veg­an-ori­ent­ed books encour­age peo­ple to avoid starch­es. Yet the sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence shows us that human beings are specif­i­cal­ly adapt­ed to thrive on a starchy diet. So I was delight­ed to see that the title of Dr. John McDougall’s lat­est book is The Starch Solu­tion. He explains some­thing that nutri­tion­al epi­demi­ol­o­gists and experts on clin­i­cal nutri­tion have known for many years, name­ly that human beings stay nat­u­ral­ly slim and healthy on a diet based on unre­fined starch­es and veg­eta­bles.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Starch­es Are the Solu­tion to Your Weight and Health Prob­lems”

Meat, But Not Sugar, Increased the Risk of Type 2 diabetes

Most of the peo­ple I talk to seem to think that they’d be health­i­er if they ate less car­bo­hy­drate. Most of them seem con­vinced that a high-car­bo­hy­drate diet makes peo­ple fat. They know that if you eat starch, it gets bro­ken down into sug­ar. They know that when sug­ar flows into your blood­stream, your pan­creas is sup­posed to release insulin to enable the sug­ar to enter your cells, where it can be burned for ener­gy. That part’s true. How­ev­er, they think that if you eat a lot of sug­ar or starch, you’ll some­how wear out your body’s abil­i­ty to make or respond to insulin and thus you’ll end up dia­bet­ic. They couldn’t be more wrong. In real­i­ty, a high-carb, low-fat diet cures the most com­mon type of dia­betes.

If eat­ing a starchy, low-fat diet made peo­ple fat and caused dia­betes, then we’d see lots of fat, dia­bet­ic peo­ple in pop­u­la­tions that eat a starchy, low-fat diet. We don’t. Instead, we see that the peo­ple of Chi­na and Japan, whose diet is based heav­i­ly on rice and veg­eta­bles, tend to be slim and remark­ably free of dia­betes and heart dis­ease. We see the same thing in oth­er pop­u­la­tions that base their diets on oth­er starchy sta­ples. For exam­ple, the indige­nous peo­ple of Peru eat a diet based heav­i­ly on pota­toes. The Tarahu­mara of Mex­i­co eat main­ly corn and beans. The peo­ple in the New Guinea High­lands eat prac­ti­cal­ly noth­ing but sweet pota­toes. The sto­ry is the same wher­ev­er we look. In real­i­ty, the pop­u­la­tions that eat low-fat, starchy, high-fiber diets are thin and healthy. The peo­ple who eat lots of fat­ty ani­mal-based foods are the ones at risk for obe­si­ty, dia­betes, and heart dis­ease.

If eat­ing a lot of sug­ar caused dia­betes, then the peo­ple who eat the most sug­ar would be more like­ly than the aver­age per­son to devel­op dia­betes. On the con­trary, a study of near­ly 40,000 women age 45 and old­er in the Unit­ed States found that the women who were eat­ing the most sug­ar were no more like­ly to get dia­betes than the ones who were eat­ing the least sug­ar [1]. The women who were most like­ly to get dia­betes were the ones who were eat­ing the most meat! [2]

Ref­er­ence List

  1. Jan­ket SJ, Man­son JE, Ses­so H, Bur­ing JE, Liu S. A prospec­tive study of sug­ar intake and risk of type 2 dia­betes in women. Dia­betes Care 2003;26:1008–1015.
  2. Song Y, Man­son JE, Bur­ing JE, Liu S. A prospec­tive study of red meat con­sump­tion and type 2 dia­betes in mid­dle-aged and elder­ly women: the women’s health study. Dia­betes Care 2004;27:2108–2115.

For more infor­ma­tion about dia­betes, see my book Thin Dia­betes, Fat Dia­betes: Pre­vent Type 1, Cure Type 2.

Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes: Prevent Type 1, Cure Type 2

Accidentally Kosher for Passover!

Back when I was in high school, a friend of mine from an obser­vant Jew­ish fam­i­ly told me that her fam­i­ly often ate in veg­e­tar­i­an restau­rants. She explained that most of the Jew­ish dietary laws relat­ed to meat. If you ate in a restau­rant that nev­er served any meat prod­ucts, you would auto­mat­i­cal­ly be observ­ing most of the rules.

The excep­tion, of course, is Passover. Dur­ing Passover, Jews aren’t sup­posed to eat yeast-raised bread. This rule doesn’t just apply to wheat. It applies to four oth­er grains as well: bar­ley, rye, spelt, and oats. If any of these grains is allowed to sit in water for longer than 18 min­utes, it becomes chometz. It’s against Jew­ish dietary law to eat, own, or ben­e­fit from chometz at any time dur­ing Passover.

Of course, peo­ple with celi­ac dis­ease can’t eat wheat, bar­ley, rye, or spelt—even if they haven’t become chometz—at any time of year. In oth­er words, prod­ucts that are gluten-free and don’t con­tain oats are auto­mat­i­cal­ly nev­er chometz.

Ashke­nazi Jews are also sup­posed to refrain from eat­ing kit­niy­ot dur­ing Passover. Kit­niy­ot con­sists of grains and puls­es (such as corn, rice, beans, lentils, peas, and pos­si­bly peanuts) that could be con­fused with chometz. Still, a gluten-free veg­an cook­book would be a good place to look for good recipes to use dur­ing Passover. Lots of those recipes are acci­den­tal­ly Kosher for Passover!

Pho­to by Cen­ter for Jew­ish His­to­ry, NYC