Monday, December 27, 2004

Happy New Year

In the late 50's, as a pre-teen, I was on a diet to lower weight and aid growth. Quite a simple diet – based on research by Dr. Ancel Keys – no processed sugars, fried foods; No fat, not even butter or whole milk. As with Lev 3:17 – it is a “perpetual statute ... you shall NOT eat any fat”.

Basically it was a restricted carbohydrate diet, plenty of lean meat and poultry, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Dr. Keys published it in 1959 as, “Eat Well, Stay Well the Mediterranean Way”. By then, I’d already been on it for five years, gotten thin and grew from dwarf to giant. Puberty was a gas – I grew an inch a month (mind exit gutter) – army physical pegged me at a final 6'- 4".

Dr. Keys died of old age on Saturday, November 20th. Until his end, he maintained a busy, active, productive schedule of research and lectures. He would have been 101 on January 26th.

I have an axiom, “Everything is the same, they just change the name.” The biblical vs Keys diet is an example; as is the widely discussed Atkins diet verse the less notorious Keys Mediterranean diet. Normally a name change denotes a modification or improvement, or a change in application; Dr. Robert Atkins discovered Keys’ carbohydrate fat interaction research in 1963, and tried it – he then revised and, in 1972, published it as “Dr. Atkins’ New Revolutionary Diet”.

Atkins, died Thursday, April 17th, 2003 – of cardiac arrest while in a coma following surgery for removal of a blood clot. For several years, Atkins suffered from cardiac infections, hypertension, and had a failing immune system with a range of diet related health problems – at 258 pounds, the 6-foot-tall diet doctor was clinically obese.

In his lifetime, Atkins repeatedly asserted that calories should be ignored, and we could consume all the fat we wished. Since his death, “the Atkins” promoters have asserted the diet always held that proteins come from other than red meat, and advised that saturated fats be kept at, or below, 20% of dietary calories – suddenly calories count and must be counted, red meat (fat) is poison.

In the absence of carbohydrates, fat cannot make you fat; protein, in the absence of excessive carbs from fat or processed sugars, will both improve health and provide sustained weight loss.

The body requires carbohydrates – utilizing them for a range of health building processes – one is the conversion of dietary fat to body fat; lacking carbs, the body acts as it would during a famine, utilizes reserves, and discards water. It starves itself thin.

But the body isn’t starving. Unutilized dietary fat is in your system – clogging digestive tracts and waiting for carbs. Atkins designed a health time bomb from saturated fat; carbohydrates detonate.

While Keys was focused on nutrition and enjoying healthy body friendly meals, Atkins focused on creating a franchise profiteering off a national obesity crisis. Military personnel know Keys for K-rations – military food packets developed in 1941. After the war, Keys addressed the high level of American heart disease which first appeared in the 1920's and, by 1950, was our major cause of death.

Keys proved conclusively that fat was the primary cause of high Cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease – with carbohydrates as the conversion element. His studies also discovered that olive oil lowered bloodstream cholesterol. Olive oil also reduced arterial clogging and blockage.

United States is in the midst of as obesity epidemic, it is the new century's biggest public health problem. An overweight pre-pubescent child runs the risk of developing diabetes in later years, an adult can experience bone splinters, diabetes, and heart disease. A high protein diet, deriving its carbs from fruit and vegetables, not sugar, free of pork or beef fat, can be enjoyed for decades.

With the dawn of the New Year, as the government raises social security retirement to 70 and beyond, you have a choice – a fat filled diet, and die obese by age 72; or, skip the fat, stay slim, active, and still be enjoying retirement at age 100, or more. Next week some Hot Potato ...

Have a Healthy and
Happy New Year

No comments: