Monday, April 19, 2010

On Carbohydrates (Mac)

To sum up carbohydrates (sugar, glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin, complex or simple) in a few words: unnecessary, unhealthy, fattening, addicting.  You are probably laughing at my words right now and thinking what a nut I am.  How could a potato or whole grain bread be all of those things?  You are saying.  How can the Canadian Food Guide be wrong?  You ask.  But aren't vegetarians so healthy? You ponder.  Well, to be blunt, you have been lied to about the role of carbohydrates and how they relate to human health.  In this post I am going to bring up a few of my observations about carbohydrates and their source, plants, that may get you scratching your head about the need for carbohydrates and how they are totally unnecessary and even harmful for optimal health.

1) Humans are made of protein and fat.  But for a very few carbohydrates in certain molecules, and the body can manufacture that carbohydrate from dietary fat and protein - we are not made of carbohydrate.  How do you build and maintain an organism that is composed almost entirely of proteins and fats with foods virtually devoid of those two nutrients?

2) Vitamin D and vitamin B12 are absolutely essential to human health and they are only found in animal products, and in the case of vitamin D, the body can make its own.  The essential vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat to be absorbed by the body - plants do not have appreciable amounts fat in them.

3) Large and chronic amounts of carbohydrates create massive swings in hormonal response in the blood.  Insulin is secreted in order to remove the glucose from the blood stream to get the body back to normal or homeostasis.  There are many hormones that are adversely affected when insulin levels are high and uncontrolled.

4) Animals have very much the same nutrients in their bodies that humans need - much, much, more so than vegetables.  It makes sense to me to shop at the store that has the materials you need, in other words, eat animals.

5) Humans and animals store excess energy as saturated fat.  If fat is so unhealthy why would it be the body's preferred storage method as well as fuel source for most daily, low level activity - including pumping your heart.  Plants store excess energy as starch.  We store a small amount of energy as animal starch or glycogen, but not very much.  Glycogen is used for short bursts of energy such as lifting a heavy object or a full out sprint - when was the last time you did that?

6) The body needs a very small amount of carbohydrate for fueling a few organs and maintaing glycogen stores and that small amount can easily be made from dietary fat and protein.  The body cannot make the essential fats and proteins from carbohydrates they must be obtained from the diet and, you guessed it, animal sources are by far the most complete and useable.

7) Ingested carbohydrates that are not immediately required for energy production are stored as fat especially in the presence of insulin. Fat cannot be mobilized for fuel when insulin levels are up.

8) Human beings do not have a digestive system optimized for large amounts of plant material.  Our digestive systems are much more closely related to carnivores than herbivores.

9) Grain products need to have vitamins added to them during the product manufacturing process because grains are essentially devoid of human required nutrients.  How healthy is a food that needs fortification to be of any use to our bodies?

10) Look at the destruction unchecked glucose does to the bodies of diabetics.  Insulin's job is to prevent that damage by quickly clearing the blood of glucose - in other words, glucose is toxic in the blood and needs to be promptly dealt with to avoid death.

These are just a a few observations I have made that illustrate how carbohydrates are inferior at providing anything but energy to the human body.  Animal products provide as much and quite often more vitamins and minerals than a comparable serving of plants and the animal-derived micronutrients are far more readily absorbed by the body not to mention the needed fat, protein and energy that comes along too. In short, there is virtually nothing that carbohydrates and their sources can provide the body that animal fat and protein can't.

Several experts recommend a daily average of no more than 100g carbohydrates and this should be obtained primarily from non-starchy vegetables and a little fruit.  But don't take my word for it, please track down and read some of the books in our list to the right that have the hard science to back up my observations and most certainly check out this video.  Your health and pant size will thank you.


  1. cows are made up of mostly protein and fat yet they do very well as herbivores, your first point is redundant :)

  2. True, but cows have specialized digestives systems. Grass feeds the bacteria in the cow's gut and the cow then use the byproducts from the bacteria and the bacteria themselves as a source of amino acids. Cows don't actually live off the grass.