Nutritional advice is sometimes as trendy and as changeable as fashion. Certain foods are considered unhealthy and to be avoided and other foods are the secret to vibrant good health and weight management. The next year, the opposite seems true.
So when heavily meat-based, protein driven diets such as Atkins and Paleo reign supreme as a way to lose weight, carbohydrates become the nutritional evil, to be avoided at all costs.
But what if I told you that studies and documentation exist that suggest that the diet that has sustained more humans over countless centuries is not meat-based, but rather starch-based? Meaning the majority of people, for the majority of human history, ate staple diets of rice, potatoes, beans, corn and sweet potatoes. Along with other vegetables and seasonal fruit of course.
Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution as well as several other books designed to change the standard Western diet to a more healthful, starch-based one, has been a board-certified internist for 40 years. In a TedX talk he gave in Fremont, California in 2012, Dr. McDougall talked about his experience as a young doctor working in Hawaii.
He saw several generations of patients with the same genetic background. The first generation, who grew up on a diet of rice and vegetables, were healthy, slender and had very little heart disease or diabetes. Their children, who ate a more Western diet, and certainly the grandchildren who were eating fast food, processed food and heavy meat diets were sicker and heavier than their parents and grandparents. When he discovered how a simple change in diet, from a Western diet back to a classic starch-based diet, could help heal his patients, he said, “I’m the luckiest doctor in the world. My patients get better.”
Starch-based diets not only helped his patients lose weight without being hungry (think how filling a bowl of chili mac can be), but also helped patients reverse problems with heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
So next time you read about how carbohydrates are diet killers, think about Dr. McDougall and his decades of treating patients with rice, beans, potatoes and corn.
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Author: Rebeca Espinoza