To be more specific, processed carbohydrates will kill you.
Your body was designed to process carbs and sugars from intact, natural sources like fruits, vegetables, and even grains. When you give your body processed sugar in their refined form, your body is like, “Holy cow, what the heck is going on?”
And a whole cascade of negative effects kick in.
This isn’t saying that having cake, pie, or some sugar here and there will kill you. With that said, the American diet has become completely reliant on processed carbohydrates – and comprises a whopping 61% of our overall diet, as cited by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This has led to – or exacerbated – many of our nation’s health woes, including obesity, cancer, premature death, diabetes, and more.
In the past year, I have tried many diets. The ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, vegan. What I am sticking with is a version of my Drop Factor Diet, but with a pescetarian twist. My meat sources are mainly pastured eggs, wild fish, and MTS Nutrition Machine Whey.
In all of my research, I always find the same thing. Meat isn’t inherently bad for you. You can make gains and live healthy as a vegan. Veggies and fruits are healthy… But processed carbohydrate are freaking horrible. Heck, there is even data on whey protein helping you live longer by improving various health markers!
Flexible eaters (more on that here) argue that their diet is superior because you can eat what you want and as long as macros and calories are the same; you will lose the same amount of fat regardless of food choice. I agree 100% with this. However, diet is about more than just fat loss. It is also about health, longevity, and disease prevention or mediation.
Being sexy should be a side effect of being healthy! While thermodynamics, or calories in versus calories out is correct, even flexible dieters should aim to minimize their refined carbohydrate intake, despite fat loss equality.
We will explore how processed carbs are detrimental, how to enjoy them anyway, and what I find to be the best diet for health and overall sexiness.
Processed Carbs Increase the Risk of Diabetes
The metabolic effects on the population are directly correlated to the increase in the amount of refined carbohydrate we eat. While protein, fat and whole carbohydrate do not have this effect, they wreak havoc on insulin and blood sugar levels and also increase blood triglyceride levels.
Since they have very similar contributing factors, we have also found that now only do refined carbohydrate make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes, but also 2-3x more likely to get heart disease!
Processed Carbs Make You Overeat and Become Obese
Since they are stripped of fiber and most nutrients that signal satiety, removing these causes major swings in blood sugar levels leading to overeating. Also, refined carbohydrate increase inflammation which can lead to leptin resistance and yes, more predisposition to bodyfat storage.
Processed Carbs Can Promote Cancer
Processed carbs markedly increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Cancer feeds off of glucose. Processed carbs were demonstrated to increase cancer risk by three times. On the other hand, complex carbohydrate – like refined grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables – were demonstrated to decrease breast cancer risk by 67%.
For fat loss, sure, a carb might be just a carb. But for health, we know different. This study proved that it is not just carbs in general, but the TYPE of carb that determines how it impacts health.
Processed Carbs Kill Your Sex Drive
Increasing inflammation and impeding blood flow from the corresponding weight gain will kill your sex drive and your ability to maintain a strong erection. An erection, after all, is blood flow.
By impeding this and the compounding obesity, you can be sure sex will suffer. Couple that with low self-esteem from a poor body image, and you have a one-two knockout punch to your sex life.
There are many more terrible things that processed carbs can lead to in a more indirect sense, but you get the point. These things are poison when used as a primary food source (more on balance later), and 61% of our total diet are these empty, calorically dense, health time-bombs.
So, what does this mean for us as people who want to live life and enjoy these delicious carbs but not at the detriment of our health? What should we be focusing on?
Consume Whole Food Carbohydrate
Your body has evolved to eat whole foods, when the sugar is a part of the food (fruit, for example) and not processed in a way that strips it of all of its micronutrient and fiber so it hits your body in a bolus. The benefits of whole food carbohydrate, like oatmeal and vegetables, is the lowering of bad cholesterol, prevention of obesity and a myriad of other health benefits.
Carbs are not the enemy! Of course, the benefits of keto are plentiful, but there is more than one way to reach your goals.
Consume Adequate Healthy Fat
Fats are not to be feared. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega 3 fats are identified as healthy fat by the Mayo Clinic but I believe that all fat has its place… As long as it is from the right source.
The commercialization of meat, feeding cows crap they don’t eat, feeding fish grain (there are no grains in the ocean!), and harvesting eggs from chickens not pasture-raised. Hens not eating bugs and plants like nature intended changes the composition of the meat and makes the fat worse… Almost bad for you.
By choosing meat raised the way nature intended, you will get what you should get, and not what we have messed up. For example, compared to commercial beef, grass fed beef has:
- Less total fat.
- More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
- More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
Thus, always opt for:
- Grass fed beef
- Wild-caught fish
- Pasture raised eggs
And for fat sources look at (not limited to but including):
- Ethitech Nutrition Fish Oil
- Flax oil
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Olive oil
Veggies and Fruits – Eat Them!
Full of fiber and micronutrients, these magical plants:
- Reduce hunger.
- Contain plentiful vitamins and minerals.
- Full of fiber for overall health benefits like lower cholesterol, blood sugar control and weight management.
- Improve overall health markers.
Eat Ample Protein
This will help with appetite, overeating, blood glucose control, supports lean mass and fat loss, and also has anti-aging benefits.
The protein we see having ample benefits is whey protein, as found in MTS Nutrition Machine Whey. Whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein and also has immune factors only found in whey.
Protein intake for athletes can go as high as 2.3-3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, or about 1g per pound of bodyweight per day according to the ISSN. This means a 200lb person would eat at least 200g protein per day.
The most important thing to remember is do not be militant about this. Enjoy cake, pie and even an occasional Pop-Tart.
Orthorexia is the term for a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet. If you vilify certain foods, you might take it too far. Food is social, and food is also delicious.
By depriving yourself you increase your chances of saying, “Screw this, I’m out!” Allowing an occasional indulgence will prevent you from relapsing to your old ways. We just want you to cut that 61% number down a bit, any improvement helps! If eating processed crap in 3 out of 6 meals per day, cut it to one meal a day.
Putting it All Together
Your diet should be comprised of:
- Adequate Fat: .3g per pound of bodyweight per day of mainly the healthy fats like Almonds, Olive Oil and Pasture Raised Eggs.
- Adequate Protein: About 1g per pound of bodyweight daily is a good start and be sure to add in some whey protein, at least 25g per day.
- Adequate Fruits and Veggies.
- If not on a ketogenic diet, aim to eat most of your carb allotment from whole food carbs. Amount of carbs needed depends on your caloric needs. Once you find out your fat needs (.3g per pound bodyweight daily), protein (1g per pound bodyweight daily), find your TDEE here. Find out how many calories you get from the fat and protein (multiple fat by 9 and multiple protein by 4, then subtract from your TDEE generated on the calculator. Then divide by 4. That is your total carbs needed. Fill in with mostly healthy carbs.
- Allow FREEDOM: It is cool to fill in your carb needs with some processed/refined carbs, but keep it minimal!
Make the following tweak and trust me, your mind and body will thank you!