There is today a growing body of opinion that the public has been misled by conventional wisdom in the area of diet. Nutritionists with previously despised views, once treated with great suspicion by the medical profession, have in the last decade gained new-found respect, as more and more scientific research results on a wide variety of health and dietary issues pour in to indicate that the downfall of the modern diet is not in fact animal fats. There are growing indications that instead, the scourge of good health in modern society is the way our foods are processed and preserved to cater for modern needs, combined with a number of dietary deficiencies which have arisen dur ing this century as populations have grown and eating habits have accordingly changed. American physician Robert Atkins is one such previously scorned character. His book “Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution” which came out back in the late 70s was derided by medics at the time. Now they are eating their words. The Atkins diet is purported to slow down ageing, extend lifespan, shrink girth and improve health. Atkins’s own research indicates that illnesses of older age, such as osteoporosis, failing eyesight and heart disease, can be prevented by a radical diet change to one high in anti-oxidants and low in carbohydrates. This is the direct opposite of the many low calorie, low fat, high carbohydrate diets so widely recommended. By boosting anti-oxidant intake, we neutralise free radicals, the damaged cells which cause ageing and disease. The Cheeseman, distributor of a wide range of cheeses and other dairy products, Claremont Trout, Lake Harvest Tilapia, Blue Mountain fresh squeezed fruit juices and other locally produced, unrefined, additive free foods, and long-time advocate of pure, natural foods for health, supplies most of the recommended foods for a low-carb diet.
Tuck into butter, cheese, eggs, steaks, and kiss refined carbohydrates goodbye! Atkins and others believe a low-fat diet is not the best way to defy ageing. Fats are essential for healthy cells and longevity. A diet high in refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar disrupts our sugar levels with disastrous results, causing diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and ageing. He is not alone any more in attributing the massive rise in heart disease to modern man’s huge intake of refined carbohydrates. They convert rapidly to glucose in the bloodstream, destabilising blood sugar and upsetting insulin levels. This can lead to diabetes and heart disease, so reducing life expectancy. Atherosclerosis is a very widespread health problem today. Arteries become blocked by plaque which leads to heart attacks and strokes. For decades its dramatic rise was attributed to cholesterol from dietary fats. This is no longer accepted as gospel, in view of much recent research pointing to other culprits in our diet. A growing number of researchers are convinced the real culprits are refined foods whose structure is altered in their making so much that they threaten our health. When we overload with sugary food and drink and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white flour, biscuits, cakes, pastries and sugar, we flood our bodies with glucose. Insulin levels shoot sky high, trying to cope, and high insulin levels cause atherosclerosis. In addition the trans fatty acids found in margarine are not recognised as food by the body and end up clogging the arteries – a crime once attributed to animal fats! A low carbohydrate diet does not raise glucose and insulin levels. If you are overweight, your body will switch its primary fuel to stored fat. If weight is normal, you’ll need to eat more carbohydrate to prevent weight loss. All this is not new! It has simply gained respect as a result of many recent research findings.
Eat lots of green vegetables! They are rich in folic acid, protecting against heart problems and Alzheimer’s disease, and containing many antioxidants. Other vegetables, like carrots and peas, are higher in carbohydrates and high in beneficial carotene, also an anti-oxidant. Starchy vegetables, like beans and potatoes, are good sources of vegetable protein, essential fatty acids, fibre, vitanutrients and phytochemicals, but they are high in starch so eat moderately. Eat plenty of meat, fish, an excellent sources of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids, eggs, cheese and butter, but limit potatoes, pasta and rice. Cut our refined carbohydrates altogether. Oils and fats are nutritionally essential, but avoid the trans-fats in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which release cascades of artery-damaging free radicals as your body tries to break them down. Replace simple carbohydrates like sugar with complex carbohydrates which keep your blood sugar steady. Avoid white rice, pasta and bread. The phytonutrients and fibre have been removed, leaving nothing but refined, concentrated carbohydrates. Whole grains, such as whole grain bread, are acceptable in small quantities, and brown rice is better than white.