Sunday, June 10, 2012

Do Kids Need Carbohydrates for Energy?

What foods do our Kid's Brains need to grow and work well?

And, 100 years ago, did people live long enough to die of heart disease?

I was recently asked, by a friend of mine, these very important questions that really need to be understood. So, after thinking about it, and answering my friend, I felt it might be helpful to pass on my response in a blog post here.  Additionally, I will attempt to address the questions below that were also asked.  I felt they were all valid questions and that many people aren't really sure of what the answers are:

These are some important questions:
  1. Do Kids Need Carbohydrates, specifically “Whole Wheat” for Energy?
  2. Do they need carbs (pasta/bread/etc.) for brain development/energy? 
  3. Do Kids need carbs if they don’t need to lose weight?  What if they do need to lose weight, what then?
  4. Do they need carbs to run fast and get good grades on tests and to be alert? 
  5. Is the Paleo way of eating a bogus diet for Children? 
  6. Do the Cells in our Brain that are made out of fat benefit from Animal Fat, or is it Carboydrate that creates the brain neuron connections? What fuel source best helps the brain function at its best?
  7. Does our Fat in our Fat Cells (in our body) get stored easiest from Fat or Carbohydrates?
  8. Or, are ALL Carbohydrates horrible for Kids?
My most passionate intent in creating this blog is to try and give science-based information about Children's health, to parents.  To try and sort these questions out would be a great place to start. If all you do is watch the videos in this post, you will have a great understanding of which Nutrient-Dense Foods we should be feeding our children, and why!

So, How do Carbs, or the lack of Carbs, affect Kids?
Do Kids NEED the macro-nutrient Carbohydrate?
Did people live long enough to die of heart disease 100 years ago?

Here is my response I gave to my friend on these questions (with a few minor edits for readability). . .

It's more than okay not to know all the answers relating to your new way of eating (since you are new to the Paleo diet).  Give yourself some time, you are still learning.

The best place to start is to view THE YOU TUBE-VIDEOS (see clips below) AS THEY ARE THE FOUNDATION we are going to build on.  So watch those first.

Weston A. Price Foundation - Nutrition 101

Conclusion - Part 2

I get it; it's hard to wrap your brain around these different, publicly untaught, nutrition facts you are learning, even though they are science-based.  It's hard to give up the diet recommendations that we have been told by the news media and government to follow – in which these nutrition guidelines, and our health epidemic crises, have exponentially risen at the same rate, and at the same point in history, that we were told to make these dietary changes - and that they could be wrong?

In 1977, we really started to hear, listen and follow, the government's message that we needed to switch to eating a low-fat, low cholesterol, high carbohydrate, diet.  Look at the trend lines for obesity rates in the chart below since we implemented that advice.  Wow.  That doesn't look too good.

I think we can find some common ground here.  First, we can agree, I think, that Sugar is not good.  They are empty, non-nutritive calories with no health benefit.  In fact, sugar is extremely harmful, especially if over-consumed. 

Watch clips to see - Sugar's impact
Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, at the University of California, San Franscisco (UCSF)

Did you know that 2 slices of Whole Wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of sugar (per Cardiologist Dr. William Davis, MD)?  It's a little known fact.  That's a huge amount of sugar to consume at one sitting, just eating a sandwich.  Your body breaks down "whole" wheat into sugar in the body.  It's just what happens.  By the way, I made an AWESOME loaf of bread this week made with coconut and almond flour - no wheat – which would not promote a high blood sugar response!  There are better choices for nearly everything.  Good, better, best, is my motto!

The U.S. government's nutrition guidelines recommend
300 grams of Carbohydrate per day...
That's a cup and a half of sugar - in the Blood!

"Starch is just Sugar by another name."
Dr. Mary Dan Eades MD, Dr. Mike Eades MD, and Dr. Al Sears MD

What we try and do in our home is concentrate on adding in a large amount of the Nutrient-Dense foods (I'll go over those later - see the you-tube clip at the bottom of the post) and limit the foods that are not as healthy.  That has been my goal with my 8 year old daughter for several years now.  It's working.  She is on the honor roll and is receiving an award for Citizenship too!  Okay, that was the proud mother in me.

So, let's focus on which are the BEST sources of Carbohydrates to eat, for nutrition.  I'm not advocating zero carbs (although your body would hum along just fine there).  But, what are the best sources to choose?

So let's look at Grains - we have to put whole wheat into the grains category.  Now, starches, grains and fruits (and sugar), turn into glucose (blood sugar) in the blood.  It's a biological fact.  The body can't tell the difference between white table sugar and grains/fruit/starches except that it breaks down whole grains slightly slower, not enough to make a big difference.  The body doesn't make a distinction between sugar and grains/starches/fruits; it just breaks them down into glucose (blood sugar).  It still has to release the hormone insulin to bring blood sugar into a healthy range which, as it turns out, is a very low level, to be healthy. Your body wants to be at a very narrow, low, blood sugar range. 

All grains (even the so-called "healthy" whole grains), starches and fruits, turn into glucose and then blood sugar goes up and then insulin comes in to bring it down.  That's one of insulin's jobs - to bring our blood sugar into a healthy range.  If insulin doesn't do this for us, it is very bad for us, and can even be deadly, if blood sugar is allowed to get too high.  This continuous process wears on the body (the pancreas cells become bathed in insulin over and over and become tired, in a lot of people). 

Some children do have a greater ability to burn carbohydrates off, but it does tax the body and place a burden on the pancreas doing this continuously, over and over.  As we get older, it gets harder to keep up with this load, for a great number of people (like me - I wish I knew this so much earlier and younger, and had changed my diet before insulin resistance had set in).  The cells in the pancreas become tired from having to keep working so hard and then Insulin Resistance can develop, and then Type 2 Diabetes, in many people.  This is why those conditions happen.  Children (as young as 8 years old) are getting these conditions in much greater numbers. It's NOT a good thing!  It doesn't matter if it's white table sugar or so-called "healthy whole grains" the body reacts exactly the same way.

"Why we get Fat clip"

That said, I'm not advocating zero carbs, I am saying let's choose the best ones for health.  Whole wheat, as it turns out, is NOT the best choice.  I limit this one BIG TIME with Eva and I don't eat it AT ALL.  She only eats a small piece of (properly prepared) Fermented Sour Dough Bread with a good amount of KerryGold Butter, occasionally, in the morning with some eggs or nitrate-free bacon.  We pick and choose our carbs carefully.  Click here to read a short article, about wheat, by a Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis.

One should consider getting the book "Wheat Belly" by a well-respected Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, MD, who put a great deal of research and science into the subject of wheat.  The Wheat of today IS NOT the same wheat that our Grandmother and Great-Grandmother's ate.  He found that the Wheat of today is VERY addictive and triggers reactions in the same part of the brain as addictive drugs do.  From how I understand it, the GLIADIN component in today's wheat (click link here to read an article from Dr. Davis) is one of the problems with eating wheat.  The Gliadin in wheat causes an addictive response, inflammation, as well as weight gain, among MANY other health problems.  

The majority of the wheat today is a modern wheat that has been modified to what is now called a "Dwarf wheat".  To really understand all of the health ramifications of wheat, the benefits of eliminating wheat from the diet, and to understand that the so-called "healthy Whole Grains" might not be so healthy, consider reading the book Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis, or see an article by him in Life Extensions (click link here).

Okay, with all that said, Eva in no way eats zero carbohydrates.  What we do is limit SUGAR as much as possible.  This is a big one.  We use (natural from a plant with zero glycemic index) Stevia at home, a lot in baking and in drinks; she doesn't even know the difference.  She just thinks it's sweet and that it's what we use in our home to make something sweet.  Additionally, she eats very limited amounts of properly prepared grains and legumes (soaked, sprouted, and fermented) to help reduce the toxins / anti-nutrients in them (phytates and lectins and such) that ARE present in them.  I don't eat them at all.  These toxins and anti-nutrients in grains and legumes inhibits the absorption of minerals (among other problems), from the food itself, and other foods eaten with them.

I am most concerned with adding in to her diet the "Nutrient-Dense" Super-foods to compensate for any treats at school when I am unable to be there to intervene (especially wheat).  She actually is really good about self-limiting a good number of treats that are offered to her at school now, do to me educating her about what foods are truly healthy and which ones are not.  I am most proud of this accomplishment with her.  So, I concentrate on adding in the Nutrient-Dense Foods to compensate for any treats from school that I don't have control over.  This is our middle-ground. 

I think concentrating on what the best sources of carbohydrates are, and then focusing on adding-in the nutrient-dense animal fats and proteins, is a good way to approach this.

"Is Saturated Fat good?"
Tom Naughton explains in this Fathead clip

If doing the Paleo diet, one might consider choosing the "so-called" safe starches (I'm not convinced those work for someone with Insulin Resistance or Diabetes) like sweet potatoes and starchy vegetables. One might also decide to choose the low-sugar fruits, like berries and kiwi, as good options of carbohydrates to give kids, and limiting the high-sugar fruits.  Those are good options.  That is a lot of carbohydrate right there without adding in wheat and grains.  (To see how much that is, take a look at the Paleo chart of carbohydrate ranges and options of the best fruit and starchy vegetable choices click link here.)  I always eat any fruit with a good source of Fat like nut-butter, nuts, avocado, full-fat cream or full-fat cheese, to better absorb the nutrients in the fruit, and to slow-down the insulin surge.

For weight loss, the amount of carbs NEEDS to be low, so you can access the fat stores for energy, rather than burning carbs for your daily energy.  Active people (of all ages) who's goal is maintaining weight, can eat slightly more and still maintain optimal health (click here for a dietitian's PDF chart for optimal carb targets).

Next, Brain development absolutely happens with Fats and Cholesterol.  That's what makes the neurons connect and is the building blocks for the myelin sheath in our brains, NOT CARBOHYDRATES.  (They are calling Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes now, because too much carbohydrate and sugar eaten, and broken down in the body, affects the brain VERY NEGATIVELY and it is very likely the cause of Alzheimer's).  Carbohydrates also have negative results for children's ability to concentrate, to be attentive at school, and to focus.  Even if a child is doing well at present, a child's (or an adult's) body can get worn down from the insulin surges constantly going on.  So, even though a child is doing well in school now, doesn't mean it will continue to be this way with a diet not supplying key nutrients in fats and cholesterol.

Over time, things can change for a child without a diet that includes ample amounts of the proper nutrients; True Vitamin A which only comes from animal sources (beta-carotene is VERY DIFFICULT to convert to Vitamin A in the bodies of children and many adults), Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, and Cholesterol. True Vitamin A, D, K2, and the all important Cholesterol, are ALL sorely missing in today's low-fat, high grain, diet. Our poor children's brains are screaming for these highly missing nutrients.  We need to keep feeding our kids brains these nutrients so they keep making brain connections properly, which is happening in them at such a high rate while they are young. 

Energy does not need to come from carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates are biologically unnecessary per the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2005 Macro-Nutrient Report (I think it's a Medical Text Book).  Fats and Proteins are absolutely necessary.  Every body's energy (including kids) absolutely can and should come from fats (which are so desperately needed for brain function, as well.)  I HOPE YOU WATCHED THE SALLY FALLON YOU-TUBE CLIP ABOVE, FROM THE WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION, WHICH TOTALLY HITS THIS POINT.

Proteins are the building blocks (think of Protein from food like the "new you" as kids grow or as adults and kids regenerate).  And yes, it should come from Animal Protein because it is the BEST, most complete, form of protein.  We need the Vitamins A, D and K2, that ONLY come from "Animal" Fats (particularly Cholesterol which only comes from Animal foods) for our BRAIN function and our HORMONE function.  It NEEDS to come from Animal sources.

Okay, next question.  So, 100 years ago, people did live to a ripe old age.  I wrote to Comedian Tom Naughton of the Fathead Movie and Blog who is a documentary film maker, speaker, and who, I think, is very knowledgeable on this topic and Nutrition in general.  Here is what he said in response to my questions on the subject. (I believe his kids are around the same age as my 8 year old daughter). 

Oh, lordy … my daughters don't eat grains, but my oldest just scored 100 in both math and science on her standardized state tests.  Didn't miss a single question.  (But she only got a 97 in social studies and a 96 in English, so I guess she needs more whole-grain cereals in her diet). 

Funny that people think Paleo is a "fad" since it's how humans ate for more than 99% of human history. 

The idea that people didn't live long enough to have heart attacks 100 years ago is not true.  The life expectancy average was based on a high rate of infant and childhood mortality.  If you made it past your teens, the odds of living to be 70 or older were good, despite the lack of surgical procedures and medications we have today.  Look at the country's founders and their ages at their time of death:  Ben Franklin, 84.  Thomas Jefferson, 83.  James Madison, 85.  John Adams, 91.  

Red Cloud (the Indian chief who lived on buffalo meat for most of his life) was 87 when he died.  Geronimo died at 90.  Lots of people lived to a ripe old age back in the day, but lots of people also lost young children to diseases we can cure today.

I wouldn't feed my daughters bread and pasta any more than I'd let them eat Snickers bars for breakfast.  They not only DON'T lack energy despite not eating grains or sugar, sometimes I wish they'd slow down more often.

Perhaps hearing from doctors on the subject will help?

He suggested listening to this Internet recorded interview as well: Just click the link and then click the arrow to listen (note from Vicki; this is a great interview which I have listened to)

So, what the Science shows is that we do not need carbohydrates for energy, to run fast, get good grades on tests, or to be alert.  In fact, carbohydrates (even whole grains) do just the opposite, by releasing insulin and storing our food energy into our fat cells instead of allowing us to access our energy for the brain's and body's needs.  

In summary, the best carbohydrates to feed kids are low-sugar fruits and vegetables (along with healthy fats with them to slow the insulin spike and for better mineral absorption).  If Paleo is your approach and you are not trying to lose weight, you are not diabetic, and you are not insulin resistant, you might also add small amounts of "safe starches" (click link here), again, with healthy fats, to slow the blood sugar response.  And, although it is not technically Paleo, I believe raw dairy (whole; milk, cream, cheese, sour cream, kefir, yogurt and butter) is also an excellent source of highly nutrient-dense fats, carbs and protein!

Take home message; Carbohydrates are biologically unnecessary to the body.  Protein and fat, however, are vital to our survival and health.  So, eat your animal proteins and fats (preferably grass-fed) for brain function and constant and steady energy to the body.

Kids would thrive eating this way, whatever you want to call it; Paleo, Traditional Foods, Low-Carb, Primal, Low-Glycemic.  I like to call it the "Nutrient-Dense Food Diet" and it would be the optimal diet for kids.  When humans did eat this way, the nation did not have the health problems we have now.

In conclusion, it might be hard to grasp that the diet recommendations that we have been given, might not be as healthy as we have been told.  It might be challenging to begin to understand that carbohydrates are not vital to our health, well being, and energy (in children or adults), as we have been led to believe. The Science is there to review.  People just need to hear the message.  Or, a better way to say it is that you can't change the facts of what the Science of Nutrition proves (and what it never did prove). 

I hope this helps and that it makes a lot of sense!

Vicki Keller

"What are the Nutrient-Dense or Super-foods I mentioned? 
Watch this!"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Think Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Will Give You Heart Disease? Think Again.

This is a post from Our Nourishing Roots that I wanted to share from the blog site  Nothing to add.  It's a great article.
Sometimes I forget that most people have not re-embraced healthy, traditional, saturated fats like I have.  And even if they have, they still cling to the idea that too much fat would be “bad”.
Those two statements alone open a can of worms for a lot of people.  I had a friend once say “So all those lessons we had in school about how good fats were liquid at room temperature and bad fats were solid…those were wrong?”  Yep.  Give me butter over canola oil any day.
Saturated fats like grass-fed butter, pastured lard, beef and lamb tallow from grazing animals, coconut oil, and palm oil: all of these give us nourishment in a way that other fats and lowfat diets never can.
Not All Fats Are Created Equal:
If you have been to the grocery store lately, you have probably seen the pale sticks of butter that line the refrigerated section.  Barely yellow, these sticks of butter contain far less vitamin content than their grass-fed counterparts. This is because the naturally yellow butter color comes from the vitamin content.
Of particular interest is the vitamin K2 content in butterfat from grass-fed cows.  Vitamin K2 is made when the cows eating green grass convert the vitamin K from the grass into vitamin K2 in their milk.  In short, vitamin K2 was abundant in traditional diets, and it is key in the building of bones and teeth in particular.
Yes, grass-fed dairy is more expensive.  But it doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting more bang for your buck.  If you pay more for grass-fed butter, you will be getting a much higher quality fat source in your diet.  However, even if you cannot source grass-fed butter then please still buy the best quality butter you can find.  Real traditional fats are still better than hydrogenated oils and margarines.
In addition to butter, there are many other traditional fats that are nourishing and essential to good health.  I have listed them as their best-quality versions.
Saturated Fats Won’t Give You Heart Disease?:
Out of my list, you will notice that many are saturated fats: solid at room temperature and very shelf stable with a tendency for high smoke points.  All these factors make them excellent for high heat cooking.  They include cocoa butter, coconut oil, tallow, and ghee (not butter: it still has milk solids which can burn).
And no, none of them will give you heart disease.
On page 5, the section on “Fats” in Nourishing Traditions, it says:
…heart disease causes at least 40 percent of all U.S. deaths.  If, as we have been told, heart disease is caused by consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fats in the American diet.  Actually, the reverse is true.  During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 percent to 62 percent, and butter consumption plummeted from 18 pounds per person per year to four.  During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1 percent.  During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400 percent while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60 percent.
In the quote, she mentions cholesterol.  Cholesterol seems to go hand in hand with saturated fat when you talk to the typical American about what they think causes heart disease.  Of course, this makes sense since many times saturated fat and cholesterol co-exist in the same foods, foods that have been villainized by the Food Guide Pyramid and the “diet dictocrats”.
The Lipid Hypothesis is basically that dietary cholesterol causes coronary heart disease.  Yet it has been recently questioned many times over, dividing the evidence found.  Regardless, the American people still cling to the idea that eating saturated fat and cholesterol will give you heart disease.  It is simply not true.
One my favorite food and nutrition writers, Matt Stone, has this to say on the subject:
Cholesterol levels are a pitiful indicator of heart disease risk to the point where they are really no indication at all. Mean serum cholesterol levels in France for example are almost identical to that of Americans, yet their heart disease risk is but a fifth of what America endures. This is just one of literally dozens of striking contradictions.

Look to the studies cited on the saturated fat and cardiovascular disease controversy Wikipedia page.  Even if the collection of findings does not compel you to question the veracity of common nutritional advice, think of our ancestors.
All our human ancestors ate animal fats and saturated fats and cholesterol in abundance.  And they did not die of heart disease.  They may have died from exposure or lack of modern medicine more readily, but certainly not because they only had access to traditional foods and not I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
So, relax, read through my e-book on real food and learn to embrace the nourishing fats of our past.  Your body will thank you!
Post by Our Nourishing Roots

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