For almost two decades, Americans have cut dietary fat intake, avoided traditional protein staples such as eggs and meat, and opted for more low-fat, high-carbohydrate, vegetarian meals. Although many experts thought this dietary strategy would solve America's health problems, it's actually done the opposite. The U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that since the late 1970s, carbohydrate consumption in this country has skyrocketed, while animal protein and fat intake has dropped. The result? More overweight Americans than ever. In addition, incidence of Type II diabetes has tripled.
To understand why this happened, you need to know how the body hormonally reacts to nutrients. When you eat protein, the pancreas responds by secreting the fat-burning hormone glucagon. However, when you eat carbohydrates, the pancreas releases a fat storage hormone called insulin. Dietary fat has virtually no effect on either hormone.
If we eat too many carbohydrates and too little protein, which is what many Americans have done recently, our insulin levels rise. Excess insulin is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL - the "good" cholesterol) and Type II diabetes. This basic but forgotten biochemical information shows the highly recommended, low-fat, low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet is "hormonally dead wrong." Therefore, it's not surprising that the diet has caused disastrous health consequences for many. The real enemy in the war against obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease isn't fat as many experts had assumed, but excess insulin. It is insulin that makes you fat and keeps you fat. And a high level of insulin is the number one factor that predicts heart disease.
The tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. T H Huxley
Originally posted by arkie6: To understand why this happened, you need to know how the body hormonally reacts to nutrients. When you eat protein, the pancreas responds by secreting the fat-burning hormone glucagon. However, when you eat carbohydrates, the pancreas releases a fat storage hormone called insulin. Dietary fat has virtually no effect on either hormone.
It is insulin that makes you fat and keeps you fat. And a high level of insulin is the number one factor that predicts heart disease. Alan
I'd like to address a couple of your points. First, I agree with the recent diet trends, however, one important point you left out is that we are eating more calories (especially noteable over the past 10 yrs) and we are more sedentary.
Second, amino acids (particularly arginine and lysine) stimulates insulin secretion (although not to the degree that glucose does). This effect of amino acids is primarily when blood glucose levels have increased. So in other words, when protein and glucose are consumed together, the result is actually a higher insulin response than if glucose alone is consumed. I direct you to the excellent book: Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton & Hall. To further support this, I direct you to a recent study out of the Journal of Applied Physiology. Here, investigators measured insulin response following exercise when subjects were consuming CHO alone or CHO + an amino acid mixture. Insulin levels were significanlty greater with the amino acids added.
Vol. 91, Issue 2, 839-846, August 2001
Addition of protein and amino acids to carbohydrates does not enhance postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis
Roy L. P. G. Jentjens1, Luc J. C. van Loon2, Christopher H. Mann1, Anton J. M. Wagenmakers2, and Asker E. Jeukendrup1
Last, I would like to point out that it is not a hormone that makes people fat, rather it is a positive energy balance. That's not to say that insulin has no negative effects (it may be linked to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis). It remains to be shown exactly how chronically high levels of insulin affect our health. But make no mistake, it is positive energy balance, not a single hormone that makes one fat.
I agree that increased caloric intake and decreased energy expenditure are the main problems. I would also like to add that there are other factors involved in American obesity issues. While it is difficult to specifically pinpoint what they are, it can be reasonably argued that it is the TYPE of fats and carbohydrates that have been part of the problem. Of course, cut down on exercise and the problems grow exponentially.
I don't personally subscribe to any ONE theory concerning weight gain, weight loss or obesity etiologies. This is substantiated by the large numbers of people hopping from one diet to another. Not everyone has success with low fat diets. Not everyone has success with low carb diets. This should be an indication that either the real culprit has been missed or that there is another factor that has not been addressed. I believe that is the case, but that the cautions about it would not be heeded even if it came to light.
You make the statement that insulin is the number one culprit in heart disease. That's news to me. I'd like to know where you got that from. There is a multitude of possible causes for heart disease and it is likely that there is no one single culprit. To go even further and state that insulin is the number one culprit is at best, spurious.
My discussion on protein was to simply in response to your discussion concerning the effects of carbs on insulin. Where there is no argument that carbs raise blood glucose and therefore are the significant cause for increases in insulin, you cannot ignore the fact that it is not carbs alone that affect insulin. I recommend you read the study I cited earlier (not just the abstract) and you will find a significant increase in insulin levels when amino acids were added. This is not miniscule.
As for your discussion on "cravings" for carbs, isn't it interesting that every nutrition textbook and various references for studies investigating the effects of fat,carbs and protein on appetite, consistently state that fat has a lower satiety point than either carbs or proteins (proteins having the highest). I do, by the way, crave scrambled eggs occasionally, likely due to the fact I am vegetarian. Craving involves a psychological aspect that is difficult to pinpoint.
Further, not everyone has wild swings in blood glucose and insulin levels. Many people regulate their levels quite well.
As for the energy balance, why is it then that a negative energy balance results in fat loss? And why is it that a positive energy balance results in fat gain?
I appreciate you giving references, but I would prefer to read the actual studies as webpages often reflect a group or individuals biased opinion or agenda. Not that there isn't good information out there, but I trust peer reviewed studies moreso.
I read The Schwarzbein Principle recently, where insulin is implicated as a factor in heart disease (perhaps not the number one culprit, though). The book seemed quite well referenced, though I must confess I know nothing about the reputations of the journals being cited.
I have to agree with Connie. I don't have a medical background, but I have read a lot on the topic of why we gain weight.
Some people do crave carbs more than others. My wife gets specific cravings for certains foods, and that's what she wants at that time. Nothing else will do. I get the odd craving(usually pizza or potato chips etc..), but the act of actually eating is what makes me fat. At night watching tv, I might not have a specific craving, but I know there's food in the kitchen, so I eat it. I'm not hungry necassarily, I don't even have a specific craving. I simply want to make myself a stack of sandwiches(or whatever). Doesn't really matter what it is, I just want to going through the motions of eating something. And I'm disapointed when the food is gone. And to top it all off, it doesn't even have to be very good, and that's really sad.
Some people crave ice cream really bad and need to always have it in the house. I personally might never buy ice cream and keep it in the house, because it's not a priority for me. But if you someone bought ice cream and put in my freezer, I would eat because it's there. But if it wasn't there, I wouldn't need to jump in the car and buy some.
If I order a meal in a restuarant and they tell me I can choose between french fries, rice, or baked potato, I'll almost always choose fries. They all are carbohydrates, but I just cannot resist the french fries. And it's because they are deep-fried in oil. They are potatos just like the baked potato, but I'm going to get more satisfaction from the deep-fried food. And if they bring more fries than one person should eat, I'll probably eat all of them.
I don't know if it's really true that people are eating less fat, but it's for sure true that most people are eating too much. How many times have you seen someone eat 4 times the amount they normally would just because it's low-fat. We've scared people about fat, so now they think they can eat all they want if its low fat or no fat.
Low-fat (or no fat) brownies are a good example. I'm sure a lot of people end up eating way more because they know it's low fat(no fat). The sugar content has been pumped up, so in the end, you end up consuming way more calories than if you has simply eaten one 'normal' size brownie.
Remember the Seinfeld episode where everyone was gorging themselves on what they thought was no-fat yogurt. It turned out that it wasn't really no-fat. But they assumed it was no-fat, so they just kept eating it. But even if was low-fat, by eating too much, you're eating too many calories.
A lot of people are equating eating fat with gaining weight. So if a food has less-fat than before, people end up eating more of it, which ends up giving them as much fat as they would had in the first place.
Look at how many fat grams there is in a super size meal at McDonalds. If it was a Quarter pounder with cheese and a super size fries, you're talking almost 60 grams of fat. Not exactly a low-fat diet. So out of this 1000+ calorie meal, 504 calories are coming from fat(not counting a drink or dessert). And for some people, they could still eat more after that.
Sure, years ago, maybe people ate food that had more fat. Lot's of fatty meat, butter, lard, etc... But they were 50 times more active and they didn't have all the food choices that are avaible to us today. 100, 200, etc..years ago, you ate your meals at home and probably didn't eat snacks between meals. And they probably ate more veggies and fruit. I couldn't drive your car into a place and quickly get yourself a 500 calorie snack. ie. Blizzard,etc...
We all kid ourselves into thinking we're not eating as much as we really do. Just one time, measure how much margarine and peanut butter you put on your toast and compare it to the nutrional info on the containers. According to their suggested serving size, it might not sound all that bad, but how big was your serving size?? I'm suggesting people weight and measure their food, but I am suggesting that people have a basic understanding of how much energy they consume in a day.
The smaller size is just like the large size, sooner or later there is no more left.