Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Are all Carbs Bad for you?

With all the fad diets these days, it’s a challenge to know which diets are beneficial and effective and which ones are harmful. Many of my patients ask about carbohydrates and whether they should avoid it altogether.

What’s interesting is that people frequently forget that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates as well, so even with diets that avoid ‘carbs,’ you are still getting carbs through your plant-based foods.

What’s important to keep in mind is that we shouldn’t eliminate entire food groups at a time. Instead, you should learn to eat smartly within each food group so as to maximize nutritional intake and minimize weight gain and sugar issues.

When you focus on eating whole non-processed grains and vegetables, you are naturally going to be eating healthier and the weight will usually drop off because you have a new healthier eating pattern. “Carbs” like cookies, white breads and pastas, and sweets are destructive to your body and to your weight loss efforts.

So, the way to focus on eating a well-balanced diet is to make sure that majority of your carbohydrates are coming from your vegetables. If you already have pre-diabetes or diabetes, I usually recommend to my patients with these issues to stay with vegetables more and avoid too many fruits since they are higher in the sugar load. When there are high sugar load foods, or high glycemic index foods, the increased sugar load on the body is more inflammatory and harmful to cellular functioning then those foods that are broken down slowly and a steady stream of fuel to the body is released.

Our body responds well to a diet that is mostly plant-based with healthy fats and lean protein and low in sugar. The key image I usually recommend to my patients is to make sure that at least half of your plate is full of vegetables and another quarter of the plate is from lean proteins and healthy fats like avocadoes, nuts, or fish, and the last quarter of the plate is filled with whole unprocessed grains like quinoa, barley, oats, and brown rice, just to name a few.

The reason why I don’t recommend a diet completely devoid of carbohydrates is because there are many health benefits included in a diet that consists of whole grains and vegetables. A diet devoid of these is usually devoid of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and anti-oxidants. All of these are essential to regular cellular functioning.

So, when you are looking to fine-tune your diet, look towards eating a diet that is high in plants, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole unprocessed grains in the proportions I mentioned in this article. The next time you are with friends and they are looking to streamline their diet as well, the key points to pass along are:

  1. Eat mostly a plant-based diet
  2. Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates
  3. Whole grains and vegetables should be the foundation of your carbohydrate intake
  4. Make sure to include healthy fats and lean proteins in your daily diet
  5. Avoiding major food groups is never a good idea in any diet that is meant to improve you

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , | Leave a comment

Carbs, Fats and Protein = Energy

Body works best when it gets its daily requirement of carbs, protein and fats

   Carbohydrates, fats, and protein are known as the energy-yielding nutrients. These are the dietary components your body can actually break down to create molecules of energy known as ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). While many diet plans emphasize focusing on one macronutrient over the others, a healthy diet represents balanced intake from all three groups. Lets take a quick look at each macronutrient and how it impacts energy levels.

Carbs: Carbohydrates are often seen as your body’s preferred source of energy because they can most easily be broken down to create ATP. In fact, for several of your body’s tissues, including your brain, carbohydrates are actually the main source of fuel.

   Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, cookies, and anything made with refined flour, provide the body with a rapid rush of energy as they are quickly metabolized for fuel. Unfortunately, this energy rush is often followed by a fall in blood sugar, felt by the individual as an energy crash (and of course, hunger). On the other hand, a diet high in complex carbohydrates – whole grains, fruits, and vegetables – can offer unlimited health benefits. These carbohydrate sources contain dietary fiber, which provides a slower release of energy and contributes to feelings of fullness and satiety.

Fats: Just like carbohydrates, fat has received some negative publicity when it comes to a healthy diet. However, fat is actually the most energy-sustaining nutrient since it provides 9 kilocalories (kcals) per gram (protein and carbohydrates only provide 4 each). Fat is also digested more slowly and when consumed correctly, can help provide a steady, slow release of energy and contribute to feelings of fullness.

   Much like carbohydrates, when incorporating fat into your diet it is important to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy fat sources. While saturated and hydrogenated fats can negatively affect health, omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish, can contribute to neurological and cardiovascular health.

Protein: Unlike fats and carbohydrates, protein is often touted as the healthiest of the macronutrients. It is true that protein, in addition to providing a source for energy production, is also required for the makeup of skeletal muscle and enzymes. Consuming meals high in protein can support lean body mass as well as contribute to satiety and blood sugar control. Food sources high in protein include meats and poultry, legumes, nuts, and quinoa.

   While no one food choice is the best for supporting energy levels, a balanced combination of macronutrients which provide a high dose of micronutrients, including B vitamins and other supportive nutrients, will give your body the nourishment it needs.

   For us marathon runners a balance between the right amount of carbs, protein and fats will lead to successful races and hopefully getting beyond the “wall.”

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Standard American Diet will KILL YOU!

Following the Standard American Diet will take quality years off your life

The Standard American Diet is SAD and will KILL YOU!

   The SAD fact is that cultures that eat the reverse of the Standard American Diet – low fat, high in complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fiber, etc. – have a lower incidence of obesity, cancer and coronary artery disease. What’s even more SAD is that countries whose populations can afford to eat the healthiest disease-preventing foods don’t. America spends more money on weight loss than any country in the world, yet the American diet contributes to the very conditions we spend so much money to prevent.

   We’ve all heard the facts about eating healthy and exercising on a regular bases, but the simple truth is that most Americans are too lazy to take good care of themselves.  Little wonder that obesity is the number one health issue facing our country today.

   What’s the sense of living longer if we need to take a variety of medications to keep us alive?  With a healthy diet and plenty of aerobic exercise we could reverse the trends that lead us to being unhealthy, obese and overly medicated.

   As we get older our bodies accumulate acid wastes. Scientists reported that they found a significant increase in blood acidity and a correspondingly significant loss of alkaline reserves (which help balance out the acid in our body) with increasing age from 20 to 90 years, indicative of a progressively worsening low-level metabolic acidosis. In looking at the research, one can clearly see that the alkaline reserves of humans remain fairly constant until the age of 40, at which time they abruptly begin a linear downward spiral.

  Researchers also noted that, not so coincidentally, adult degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and others start to appear at the age of 40 and gradually worsen as we get older. They attribute the accumulation of acid and the reduction of the alkaline state as we age to eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), and conclude that the role of age-related metabolic acidosis in the cause of adult degenerative disease warrants consideration

   It’s obvious that we must consume more “alkaline” fruits, vegetables and plant foods to fight off disease as we age. Our SAD choices in food must change. Education and the new advances in food technologies are the keys. It’s as simple as replacing the Standard American Diet, which is:

  High in animal fats including dairy products
  High in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenated
  Low in fiber
  High in processed foods
  Low in complex carbohydrates
  Low in fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods

with a healthier diet that focuses on alkaline fruits, vegetables and plant foods, including the following:

  Tomatoes
  Carrots
  Spinach
  Broccoli
  Blueberries
  Raspberries

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Editorial, Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment