Anyone who has low carbed for any length of time has heard the litany of dire health predictions: “You’ll get heart disease!” “It will weaken your bones!” “You won’t have any energy!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Can I be allowed a big, fat “I told you so?” On my blog, I told you eating low carb was slowing my aging process. Now we have University of California gerontologist Cynthia Kenyon, with an animal study showing exactly that. She’s actually discovered what she calls the Grim Reaper gene, and another she calls the Sweet Sixteen gene. The switch that turns on the former and turns off the latter? Insulin. Which means that by cutting carbs and lowering insulin, you can reverse the process, switching off the Grim Reaper and turning on your Sweet Sixteen. Or at least she can in roundworms.
Let’s talk a little about vitamin A. Vitamin A is important stuff, but it’s a bit complex. Vitamin A is essential for your health, but because it’s a fat soluble vitamin and can be stored in your body, it’s possible to get too much. It also comes in a couple of forms, both with their virtues and their drawbacks.
Right now, half of you are saying, “Well, of course, duh.” My guess is you know the rest of what I’m going to say, so you could go look at LOLCats instead. (Oh, hai!) The rest of you are saying “Ancel Keys? Who the heck is Ancel Keys?” You’re the ones who need to read on, because Ancel Keys has profoundly influenced your life, and the lives of everyone you love – or hate, or are indifferent to – and not for the better. Ancel Keys was the teller of one of the most damaging lies in the history of human kind. Ancel Keys is the man who convinced the world that saturated fat is dangerous.
Some of the harshest criticism about low-carbohydrate diets such as Atkins has been the supposed negative heart health implications due to elevations that take place in the cholesterol levels of dieters who restrict their carbs in favor of more fat and protein. Additionally, it is presumed that any weight loss that occurs on a high-fat, low-carb diet is quickly gained back making it a uniquely ineffective means for managing weight. Finally, bone health is supposed to suffer for people following a carbohydrate-restricted diet because the higher protein content allegedly promotes bone loss. However, all of these theories about low-carb diets have been summarily shot down by a brand new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the August 3, 2010 edition of the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
We have ads touting low calorie soup, low calorie cereal, low calorie yogurt, as opposed to that “high calorie” yogurt – you know, with a whole 100 calories per serving. Oh, and the soup is advertised as having only 80 calories per serving “and no fat.” Welcome to the post-100-calorie-pack advertising gimmick.
For quite some time now I have made a name and a some-time living as a nutritional heretic. I don’t believe in a “balanced diet,” I think animal fat and cholesterol are among the most healthful foods, I consider fruit juice to be little better than soda pop, I’m all for cutting whole categories of food out of my diet. Here’s my latest heresy: I am unconvinced of the value of fiber.
I have, over the years, resolutely kept my political views out of my writing about carb-controlled nutrition. Not that I don’t have such views, you understand. I’m just as opinionated in that part of my life as I am about food. I just had this mental image of someone with severe metabolic syndrome reading my work, finding some political view he or she disagreed with, and saying, “I’m not going to listen to anything that nutcase says!” After which, of course, they’d get their feet amputated and go blind from diabetic complications, and it would all be my fault. Or at least partly my fault.