The Tao of Proteins and Carbohydrates

Despite major changes in food production and technology, the eating habits of Western society over the last few decades have resulted in record levels of chronic degenerative disease as well as a myriad of ‘minor disorders’ of digestive, respiratory and other systems. Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates advised his students to ‘let food be your medicine’. Everyday experience tells us that our diet intimately affects our health and wellbeing (remember the feeling of ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that!’)  

Postwar Western society indulged itself in an excess of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, a trend that is now, even in orthodox medical circles, regarded as unhealthy. The dietary advice of the last 20 years, initially from ‘alternative’ practitioners and later by mainstream medicos, has been to increase complex carbohydrates and fibre, and reduce fat and protein.  

Current clinical experience, however, tells us this is still wrong. The standard high complex  carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet has resulted in: raised serum insulin levels causing insulin resistance, reduction in basal metabolic rate, increased fat tissue growth and reduction in lean muscle mass, accelerated biological ageing, common allergies to grains and dairy foods, immune system over activation and failure, and record amounts of heart disease, obesity and cancer. The first point — insulin resistance — is a defect affecting the health of many people today. The cell has only two ways to absorb the glucose it needs to make energy; insulin — mediated facilitated diffusion, and exercise induced transmembrane transport.

With the current trend towards an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, insulin sensitivity becomes the controlling factor in cellular energy production. If this is impaired, then every cell in the body is short of energy and no matter what the cell’s function is, it needs energy to do it.

The obvious consequence of insulin resistance is fatigue, which I would have to say is the most common complaint I see in my clinic everyday. But it goes a lot further than that; without cellular energy, muscle cells can’t contract or relax efficiently — this affects not only skeletal muscle, but also cardiac muscle, leading to cardiovascular disease; without cellular energy, endocrine cells can’t excrete hormones efficiently, resulting in hormonal imbalances; immune cells don’t function resulting in infections, auto-immune diseases, cancer etc; bone cells cannot maintain bone density resulting in osteoporosis. Digestion is the most energy consuming function in the body; with insulin resistance, digestion is not effective.  

So what causes insulin resistance? Resistance to insulin can be caused by nutritional deficiencies like chromium, magnesium, selenium, taurine and/or essential fatty acids which can be assessed with live blood analysis, but is primarily a result of hyperinsulinaemia which is too much insulin in the blood.

There are four main causes of hyperinsulinaemia, which are:

  • lack of exercise
  • stress
  • toxin induced immune overactivity and
  • the diet — wrong balance of carbohydrates to proteins and nutrient deficiencies.

The first two — exercise and stress — require lifestyle counselling and appropriate supportive supplementation and management.

With toxin-induced immune overactivity — assessment of this would be done with consultation, live blood analysis and/or urine and saliva analysis, and correction requires integrated detoxification techniques utilising detoxification diet, herbals/nutritionals and/or colon hydrotherapy to reduce the toxic burden on the body and cells. Three dietary programs may be involved in the reversal of insulin resistance:

  • The Insulin Zone system
  • The Ketogenic Fat Loss system
  • The A/B/O blood type diet.

The Insulin Zone system is an excellent program for educating anyone towards the healthier eating patterns necessary to control blood glucose and insulin levels, thereby avoiding insulin resistance and the myriad of problems it brings.

Everyone will also benefit from the A/B/O diet. I prefer to use a combination of these two diets to get the best out of both. Briefly the ‘Zone’ diet — ‘good’ carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% ‘good’ fats. The Insulin Zone system is great for everyone, but especially those experiencing chronic tiredness, depression, poor circulation, hormonal imbalances including PMS, anxiety, hypertension, increased cholesterol, asthma and of course diabetes.

Obese people are unable to benefit from the Insulin Zone system because their body fat maintains circulating levels of fatty acids that perpetuate insulin resistance. The adipose tissue must be reduced below critical percentages before the Insulin Zone system can take effect. This loss of fat is achieved most effectively with the Ketogenic Fat Loss system.

Employing the A/B/O blood type diet principles with the Ketogenic Fat Loss system will greatly improve results. So how do you work out how much protein and carbs to eat to get a good ‘Insulin Zone’ balance? The answer is in the palm of your hand. The thickness and size of your palm is about the same volume as the amount of protein food that you need at each meal.

For snacks, use 1/3 of a palm of protein food. Examples of protein may include: nuts, seeds, tofu, chicken, fish, eggs, lean beef/lamb, turkey etc. For carbohydrates you can use the same method, except that you can have two palms of ‘good’ carbohydrate foods or one palm of ‘poor’ carbohydrates. The ‘good’ carbs such as green beans, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, lettuce, celery, apples, grapes, oranges, pears, all whole.

Barley, oatmeal, have a higher fibre content, a reduced carbohydrate and glycaemic index, have more nutrients and they won’t increase blood sugar/insulin levels as much as the ‘poor’ carbs such as bread, pastas, rice, potatoes, and sugar. You can of course have some ‘poor’ carbs with balance by having say one and a half palms of ‘good’ carbs such as those mentioned above and half a palm of ‘poor’ carbs, eg a small amount of pita bread.

If you feel great and everything is in good working order and your diet works for you then stick with it. These diets are choices available to assist people to make changes, remembering that everyone is individual and no one diet suits all. The A/B/O blood type diet incorporates using ‘blood friendly’ foods specific to your blood type and avoiding those foods designated as having reactive ‘lectins’ — proteins that bind red blood cells — making them sticky, often seen in live blood analysis. If you don’t know your blood type, this can be quickly determined with just a drop of blood from your finger free of charge with any service at the clinic (you only have to ask).

Originally published in Here & Now magazine, written by Sue Kira, from True Vitality

Related to - Health | Naturopathy | Food and Nutrition

By Sue Kira

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