Obesity and Disease: It’s about the Quality of the Calories, not the Quantity

Yesterday I joined a number of colleagues and other nutritionally-oriented folks for another of our Weston Price Foundation events.  The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded 10 years ago to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price. His research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and animal fats. As a Naturopath and having studied nutrition for many years, I agree wholeheartedly.

The guest speaker for the event was Gary Taubes, an award-winning science writer, whose latest book is entitled Good Calories, Bad Calories. He argues that obesity is caused not by the quantity of calories you eat but by the quality. Carbohydrates, particularly refined ones like white bread and pasta, raise insulin levels, promoting the storage of fat.  Or putting it another way, eating foods high on the glycemic index, which is a way of rating foods according to their ability to increase blood sugar, will make you fat.  The diet of most people in the US consists of far too many of these refined starchy foods.

Why is such a diet detrimental to your health?  Because high glycemic foods:

  • Cause a sudden spike in blood sugar.
  • Over-stimulate insulin production leading to “insulin resistance” which promotes high blood pressure, clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Adversely affect calorie metabolizing.
  • Increase the size of fat cells.
  • Convert more calories to fat (not lean).
  • Stimulate appetite and the storage of fat.
  • Damage cells, causing accelerated aging of all tissues and organs
  • Double or triple your risk of developing type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, according to Harvard Research.
  • Depress good HDL cholesterol. British researchers say that the best dietary way to raise HDLs, they found, was low glycemic index diet.

I have long been a supporter of eating foods low on the glycemic scale and have been doing so myself for many years.  Not that I don’t venture out and eat high glycemic foods on occasion – some of them are so tasty and one has to be a  bit of a devil at times! 

Certain folks are more susceptible to the effects of high glycemic foods than others and will put weight on more quickly.  My husband is one such case.  He is a “meat eater”.  When he eats too many simple carbohydrates (high glycemic), his weight shoots up almost overnight.

I highly recommend the following book if you would like to learn more about the Glycemic Index and if you have a personal experience you would like to share, I invite you to add your thoughts in the comment section below.

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