We Were Born to be Healthy:
Part 3 of 7

evolution rThis is the 3rd installment. Part 1 is HERE, and Part 2 is HERE.

 

Ian Spreadury wrote a seminal paper in 2012 reviewing 112 peer-reviewed articles, which helped create for me a clearer perspective of being healthy. The answers to “What happens and why?” take shape with the dawn of civilization.

 

About 10,000 years ago, the age of civilization began. With it, grain agriculture emerged. The seeds of grasses were cultivated and then processed into flour. Flour could feed the masses. But, flour was an acellular carbohydrate.

 

What’s the big deal with acellular carbohydrates?

 

All of our plants are made up of cells that have cell walls. When we eat plants, our digestive system naturally breaks down these cell walls and utilizes the nutrients of the entire cell. When man places unnaturally high pressure and heat on plant cells, the cell walls are destroyed and the resulting product is a highly condensed substance without cell walls. These are acellular carbohydrates.

 

Man took the seeds of grasses, destroyed their cell walls, and created an acellular carbohydrate called flour. Many of the original nutrients within the natural cell were lost. Sugary foods also were processed into acellular carbohydrates. As these processed carbohydrates became commercialized, many varieties of carbohydrate-dense foods were created. These dense, acellular carbohydrates have played havoc on our digestive systems ever since.

 

Today, most Americans eat dense, acellular carbohydrates at every meal and for every snack. Ian Spreadbury recognized that the foods that contained 23% or less carbohydrate density were more easily handled by our digestive system; foods that contained more than 23% carbohydrate density were implicated in chronic inflammation and chronic disease.

 

The food we eat is part of the answer to the question, “What Happens and Why?”

 

(For your information, I have listed some common foods with their carbohydrate densities: “less than or equal to 23%” and “more than 23%”. I’ve also listed a government-sponsored website and instructions that you can use to calculate the carbohydrate density for almost any food you can think of. Both are at this link.)

 

Here are summaries of two papers that demonstrate how our food can be our best medicine.

 

Scientific Paper # 1:

 

An experiment was reported in the Journal of Periodontology in 2009. Ten individuals were allowed to eat whatever they could fish, forage, and cook over a course of four weeks. They only were given some basics of whole, unprocessed foods to start off. They could not practice any oral hygiene. At the beginning of the study, bacterial cultures were taken from their tongues, dental plaque, and gum pockets along with recordings of pocket depths and points of gum bleeding. At the end of four weeks, the researchers discovered that the plaque levels had increased in both volume and varieties of bacterial species. However, they were surprised that the species of bacteria were not virulent and that pocket depths as well as bleeding points decreased significantly. In essence, these individuals ate nutrient-dense whole foods, didn’t practice any oral hygiene, and their signs of gum infection decreased.

 

Scientific Paper #2:

 

In this other paper, researchers summarized results of 37 clinical studies to determine the actual nutrients that assisted in periodontal healing after surgery or assisted in overall periodontal health. Here are the nutrients most often associated with gum health:

  • Vitamin D (primary source: the sun; dietary sources: fatty fish, pastured eggs)
  • DHA (dietary sources: oily fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies)
  • Low ratios of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids (In the US the ratio is about 30:1, but in healthy societies it is closer to 1:1)
  • Low processed carbs and high fibers (dietary sources: fruits and vegetables)
  • Calcium (dietary sources: bones and bone broth, dark leafy greens, canned salmon with bones)
  • Magnesium (dietary sources: Swiss chard, spinach, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, raw cocoa)
  • Vitamin C (dietary sources: broccoli, citrus)

 

It would be interesting if there were a diet that incorporated an abundance of these nutrients in its base of food choices.

 

And, there is. It’s the Paleo-type diet Here, Here, Here.

Carbohydrate Density –
A New Way of Thinking About Food

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
November 19, 2014

 

 

evolution rIan Spreadbury wrote an article in 2012 that changed the way we think about food. He described a theory for what is causing obesity in the modern world. Through a thorough search of the medical literature, he proposed that the food of modern societies that has been causing obesity and many degenerative diseases including periodontal disease is acellular carbohydrates – a highly dense form of carbohydrates. I discussed acellular carbs in my blog titled “What Went Wrong.
 
The conspicuous difference between carbohydrates in healthy, whole foods and those in unhealthy foods is that the weight of the total carbohydrates in healthy foods (minus the fiber) is 23% or less of the total weight of the food. Our gut and its healthy resident bacteria never evolved to digest highly dense carbs. The end result from eating highly dense carbohydrates has been serious derangements in many biologic pathways in our bodies.
 
So what is a healthy way of eating? Although it is very important to eat the right kind of foods, it is even more important NOT to eat the wrong kind of foods. The research suggests that the elimination of dense carbohydrates can go a long way in creating health and preventing disease – including periodontal disease. A diet lifestyle that is compatible to a healthy carbohydrate density is a Paleolithic diet consisting of animal products from head to tail, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. With rare exception, these foods have been shown to have a maximum carbohydrate density of around 23%.
 
How To Determine Carbohydrate Density
 
The term “carbohydrate density” means the percent of the food mass that is carbohydrate minus the fiber component. You could calculate the carbohydrate density of any food in which you are interested. It is simple to calculate. Just divide the grams of carbohydrate in food excluding grams of fiber by the total gram weight of the food to get a percentage. The carbohydrate density increases as more non-fibrous carbs are packed into a given quantity of food. As I stated, a healthy carbohydrate density is about 23% or less. Eating foods that have a higher density than 23%, would put more stress on your metabolism and potentially lead to the degenerative diseases seen in modern societies eating processed foods. A website where you can find grams of carbohydrates, grams of fiber and total grams in a food is HERE.  Here is how to use this website:
 
• Go to website page.
 
• Enter the specific food you are calculating in the space provided on the top of the web page and click “GO”.
 
• Various preparations for this food will appear. Click on the preparation you desire.
 
• Note the Grams of Carbohydrate per 100 grams of food, and note the Grams of Fiber per 100 grams of food.
 
• Subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carbohydrates to get the non-fibrous grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams of the food. That will be the carbohydrate density of that particular food.
 
Modern food processing is, unfortunately, very good at boosting carbohydrate density. Here is a list of some foods from low-density to high-density carbohydrates:
 
Sampling of foods with carbohydrate density ≤ 23% (from lowest to about 23% excluding fiber):
• Chicken
• Beef
• Lamb
• Pork
• Mackerel
• Eggs
• Cheese
• Kale
• Turnips
• Macadamia nut
• Carrot
• Onion
• Watermelon
• Orange
• Apple
• Kiwi fruit
• Leek
• Parsnip
• Sweet potato
• Ginger
• Pistachios
• Potato
• Banana
 
Sampling of modern foods with carbohydrate density > 23% (from 23% to the highest excluding fiber):
• Cheeseburger
• Milkshake
• Meat pizza
• White rice
• Rye bread
• Vegetarian pizza
• Nachos
• Multigrain bread
• French fries
• Bran cereal
• Popcorn
• Muffins
• White bread
• Potato chips
• Bagel
• Granola bar
• Fruitcake
• Cookies
• Whole wheat cereal
• Pretzels
• Rice cakes

 
 

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