The Most Toxic Food in America
Medical researchers have found a link to some of the worst diseases to affect modern America...
Eliminating this link from your diet could drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension/high blood pressure.
In 2009 alone these "diseases of civilization" (named because they primarily occur in developed countries) killed 1.5 million Americans.
And the worst part is they are almost completely preventable if you eliminate just one food item from your diet...
Despite conventional "wisdom," it's not saturated fat.
If you read my article last week, you know that saturated fat is an important nutrient that has received a bad rap due to bad science and the hubris of a few bad (and unfortunately popular) scientists.
No, the toxic substances linked to the worst diseases to affect civilization are known by nutritionists as "refined carbohydrates" — and include things such as table sugar, the high fructose corn syrup in your soda pop, and the white flour you find in the bread of your deli sandwiches.
Years of epidemiological (the study of diseases and populations), anthropological, and medical studies have started to show that all those diseases have a similar cause...
The excess consumption of refined carbohydrates
This excess consumption produces disease in two ways, depending on the type of sugar: It either raises insulin levels, or it is broken down in the liver, both of which release damaging triglycerides and cancer-causing free radicals into the blood stream (you might have heard the term "free radicals" before; they're toxicity is neutralized by the ever-important anti-oxidants).
My article last week touched on saturated fat's bad rap, and I received several emails from skeptical carbohydrate lovers...
It's important to note that all these diseases are virtually absent in populations that consume a low-carb diet.
So here's a rundown of the dangerous effects of elevated blood sugar on your health (you can get a more thorough explanation of these process in the book Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes):
- High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Carbohydrates are actually more effective at raising blood pressure over the long term (and thus raising chances for hypertension) than salt is! Carbohydrate synthesis makes your kidneys retain more salt than it normally would. Where salt is retained, water is retained. The extra water in your blood stream is what causes your blood pressure to rise. This is also the reason you'll lose weight quickly after starting a low-carb diet: You're not retaining as much water.
- Alzheimer's: Researchers believe Alzheimer's is caused by an excess presence of brain cell-strangling plaques that naturally occur in our brain as we age. Normally, our brain has certain enzymes that are able to break down these plaques before they're able to cause any damage. But these enzymes are also responsible for breaking down excess insulin in the brain as well.
The evidence behind this one suggests when there is excess insulin in the brain (caused by excess blood sugar and refined carb consumption), those special enzymes become too busy breaking down the insulin, and therefore don't have sufficient time to break down the brain-damaging plaques that are building up.
- Heart disease: When your body consumes sugar, it is immediately turned into glycogen, a variant of sugar muscles can use. But any glycogen that isn't used by your muscles is then synthesized by the liver, which turns it into fat for long-term storage.
The fat has been converted into what's known as triglycerides (which you may have seen on your blood tests). Not only are triglyceride levels in the blood correlated with developing heart disease, they're also responsible for the development of Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL). VLDL is a type of LDL (bad cholesterol) that is the primary cholesterol responsible for sticking to and clogging the walls of your arteries.
Sugar consumption is also implicated in the lowering of your HDL ("good cholesterol"), which researchers believe has protective benefits for your heart. Saturated fat, on the other hand, has been shown to increase HDL.
- Cancer: Studies have shown that diet — specifically excess sugar consumption — might be responsible for up to 85% of all cancers, especially gastrointestinal cancers and those cancers that are hormone-dependent (pancreatic, breast, prostate, etc.).
Sugar is the preferred short-term energy source for your cells, mainly because it is converted to energy so quickly. This also holds true for cancer cells, which are nothing but normal cells that have turned against the body by their inability to limit their growth.
The thing about cancer cells is that they tend to have more insulin receptors on their cell bodies than the average cell. As insulin is the hormone that tells your body to rush sugar to your cells, having more insulin receptors means the cancer cells are able to "steal" more sugar from healthy cells to fuel their malignant growth...
Lab studies have shown that reducing carb intake in lab animals can drastically reduce the speed at which cancers grow. In humans, this low-carb diet could give the cancer patient valuable time to get life-saving treatment.
- Accelerated Aging: Glycation is a bodily process in which a sugar molecule is hooked up with a protein molecule. Under normal circumstances where blood sugar remains low, the protein and sugar molecules will break apart; nothing bad will happen. However, when blood sugar is elevated (though excess refined carbohydrate consumption), the enzymes that normally control the sugar-protein interaction are overwhelmed, and Advanced Glycation End-products (appropriately termed AGEs) are formed in the blood stream.
These AGEs stiffen certain cells in your body like skin, blood cells, and vessel walls, which causes premature aging of the skin and increases your chance of heart disease and stroke by making your blood vessels less flexible.
Some researchers are also beginning to think these AGEs play a significant roll in the development of Alzheimer's.
Research has shown time and again that the recent introduction in human history of refined carbohydrates to the diet has proven to be nothing but detrimental to our bodies — and only just behind smoking in both damage potential and addictiveness.
I can assure you this is no exaggeration. However, I realize many people will refuse to believe and acknowledge this information because they're being confronted with information that challenges deeply-held beliefs about food and happiness...
Join Clear Health Now today for FREE. You'll learn what to eat, when to eat it and the 5 foods to avoid like the plague. Become a member today, and get our latest free report: "The Paleo Diet Starter's Guide: Lose Weight, Feel Great, and NEVER Go Hungry Again."
The Carb-Cutting Challenge
Just as you can live without cigarettes and be healthy and happy, you can do the same by avoiding and living without the nasty effects of refined carbohydrates.
If you still don't believe me, I challenge you to go just two weeks without touching refined carbohydrates. See how much better you feel.
Replace the refined carbs you normally eat with whole grain products — or better yet, replace it with a high-fat substitute, like two tablespoons of coconut oil or a handful of macademia nuts.
If you really want to take your health to the next level, give up ALL carbohydrates (with the exception of one piece of fruit a day) for the next two weeks. In addition to the refined carbohydrates, this includes anything and everything that has a grain in it, as well as beans and other legumes, peas, and lentils.
Not only will you feel and sleep better, but you'll see a noticeable difference in your waist line.
Eat all the organic eggs and bacon you want for breakfast; have steak and spinach for dinner every night...
You'll still come away slimmer and healthier than your carb-consuming buddies.
(You can still slim down with non-organic food, but I wouldn't recommend it over the long term).
After all, what do you have to lose — besides a few extra pounds?
Yours in health,
P.S. If you've decided to take me up on my challenge (or have any other questions, critiques, or comments), shoot me an email at Ken.email@example.com in two weeks and let me know how you're progressing.
P.P.S. Apparently, the city of Los Angeles is urging its citizens to go meatless on Mondays. I can't think of a worse way to promote a healthy diet. We all know what's going to replace those meat calories: artery-clogging processed carbohydrates and testosterone-numbing soy protein. Yet another health-killing government recommendation based on bad science. When will they learn?