What Have We Learned So Far? A Summary of Our First 11 Articles about the Science of Low-Carb

Simple Table Sugar
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  Last update November 11, 2021, article reviewed & updated multiple times since September 15, 2001.

  What You Need to Know

  • This is a summary of our first 11 articles about the Science of Low-Carb.
  • It includes a summary about carbohydrate and protein metabolism.
  • Next article in the series starts to discuss fat metabolism.

In the previous eleven articles about the Science of Low-Carb, I have explained carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Here are eight of the main facts we have covered:

  1. Usable carbohydrates all break down to sugar.
  2. Sugar, if not needed for energy, is stored as body fat.
  3. Proteins are made from amino acids.
  4. Our bodies require about 22 amino acids, some of which can be synthesized in our bodies, but others which must be present in the food we eat.
  5. Amino acids are not stored for any appreciable time in the body.
  6. Our bodies must have food proteins that contain all the necessary amino acids.
  7. Eating incomplete proteins, such as gelatin, will not provide the protein needs of our bodies.
  8. On average, 58% of protein converts to sugar.

What Conclusions Can We Draw So Far?

It is now time to consider what new thoughts and new ideas we can make from all the information we have learned, thus far. We want to ask ourselves this question: What conclusions can we reach?

Here are some of the important answers to that question:

  • It might be a good idea to choose our protein-foods more carefully, so as to minimize the percentage that converts to sugar. The 58% represents an average derived from a mixture of protein-foods. Specific protein yield slightly less than the 58% average, and some yield slightly more. For example, 68% of gelatin converts to glucose, whereas the protein in egg yields only 54%. (This should be an important heads up to people who consider gelatin a ‘free food’). Less potential body fat comes from eggs than from gelatin.
  • Since protein yields amino acids, amino acids yield glucose, and glucose can convert to body fat, it is obvious that too much protein can create or maintain body fat.
  • Because of the facts we have learned, we can more easily understand the mystery of why some people lose weight easily on the low carbohydrate plan while others have severe difficulty. The specific types of protein foods we chose will make a difference in the percentage of conversion to carbohydrates. Additionally, the efficiency in which different people’s bodies are able to convert protein to sugar will make a big difference. That is to say, how well a person’s liver engages in the gluconeogenesis process, is a crucial factor. Those people who can eat all the protein they want (along with low levels of “regular” carbohydrates, of course) and still lose weight easily, likely have a less efficient gluconeogenesis process in their bodies than those of us who eat the same foods and don’t lose weight.
  • Although we tend to want to look for specific foods causing a weight-loss stall, or for specific foods that we shouldn’t eat because of a food intolerance, it may be much more likely that the quantity of protein eaten (above what is needed) is the major slowing factor in weight loss.
  • All that we have learned about carbohydrates and proteins gives us an additional fact to refute nay-sayers who tell us that restricting our carbohydrates is unhealthy. We now see that except for our need to eat vegetables for the vitamins and minerals they contain, there is no real need to eat any carbohydrates as long as we eat sufficient protein. Some 58% of the protein we eat will become carbohydrates, and we will have plenty for our energy needs.
  • It is still better to eat protein than to eat sugar. 100% of carbohydrates are carbohydrates. Only part of the protein becomes carbohydrates.
  • It is probably a good idea to eat less of the incomplete protein foods, such as gelatin. Since these foods are lacking one or more of the essential amino acids, they cannot provide our protein needs, yet they will still become sugar when they are broken down.
  • High carbohydrate foods that also contain protein actually have more carbohydrates than we previously thought, since some 58% of the protein portion will become additional sugar. This is especially a problem with corn, since in addition to being a high carbohydrate food, corn contains incomplete proteins. The carbohydrate count is therefore higher, while the protein may be useless to your body. Another example of a high carbohydrate food containing incomplete protein is flour.
  • We have more reason to be diligent in choosing to get our carbohydrates from ‘legal’ vegetables, and maybe a few fruits, rather than from junk foods since those foods give us more carbohydrates than we think.

What Are Your Conclusions?

A Summary of Our First 11 Articles about the Science of Low-Carb
In Review
I’ve given nine answers to the question I posed above, “What conclusions can we reach from the information we have learned about carbohydrates and proteins?” What conclusions have you yourself reached? I would be happy to hear from readers with their own ideas and comments on the question. Write to me at: [email protected]

Tune In Next Time

Next time we’ll start a discussion of fat metabolism. Join me then.

The Science of Low-Carb & Keto Diets
    The Science of Low-Carb & Keto Diets

  • Presented by CarbSmart.com
  • This article is number 12 of 25 articles describing The Science of Low-Carb & Keto Diets. Visit this link or click the above image for all of the articles in the series.
Article History

  • Last Update November 11, 2021
  • Updated March 22, 2018
  • Updated July 26, 2010
  • Updated September 22, 2003
  • Original Article September 15, 2001
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About Dr. Beth Gruber
Dr. Gruber is a graduate of the Southern California University of Health Sciences and has been in private chiropractic practice in Long Beach, California since 1964. She also received both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from California State University at Long Beach. She has written on health-related subjects for over 30 years, for several different publications. She lives in Southern California with her husband of 33 years. Both she and her husband follow and live the low-carb lifestyle full time.

Next Article:[contentcards url=”https://www.carbsmart.com/what-are-fats-misconceptions-and-truths.html” target=”_blank”] More Vital Information articles by Dr. Beth Gruber.

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