lunes, 16 de julio de 2018

Sugar: How We Became Her Junkies In Denial

The rise of sugar correlates with a chronic disease plague that few paid attention to before the late 20th century. Today, sugar wreaks more biochemical havoc than a century of wars. What can we do about it?

Sugar. I spent four and a half decades in her embrace – fondling her thousand and one manifestations.

She was sweet, loving and caring. On a regular day she would give me energy, drive and motivation. On rainy days she’d reward me with compassion or thinly veiled indifference. And when the shit hit the fan, she’d help me forget both the shit and the fan.

Sugar was there from the beginning. She entered my crib in the form of treats. She sang a lullaby and dripped a sweet substitute for mother’s milk. Later, she took my hand and guided me through life’s ups and downs.

I swam with her, intoxicated, as a juvenile, a bachelor, an addict and a multiholic. I felt lost without her, and focused and determined with her. Together we hit the rat race and rode life’s roller coaster, fueled by a Western diet. And after every day of grind, it was her comfort and warmth that I looked forward to, without understanding why.

I didn’t know that she was history’s most prolific assassin.

Nor did I know that life doesn’t actually move like a roller coaster, except on and off sugar.

Either fact is going to be hard to accept, at first. Unless we belong to the Yanomami tribe in Venezuela, or other off-the-grid indigenous people who remain uncompromised by modern diet and Western living standards, we’re most likely still within her grasp, brain fogged.
Sugar messes with both body and mind

Sugar operates in mysterious, multitudinous ways, custom tailored to our individual psychology. She is an empress and a dominatrix, operating on the deepest levels of our subconscious, both individually and collectively.

Today, sugar seems to be nowhere, yet she is everywhere, from staple to culture. When someone dies, we mourn with sugar. When someone is born, we celebrate with sugar. And in between these two events, we eat sugar.

It’s a mistake to associate her with just the sweet stuff. She hides in 80 percent of the processed foods. Her safe house is refined carbs, anything that is canned, processed or packaged. She is wheat, all forms of grains, bread, pies, dough, pasta, couscous, chips, tortillas, soda, yoghurt, rice, pizza, bagels, jams, cereals, waffles, energy bars, muffins, ice cream, syrups, fruit, flour, oatmeal and a thousand others. She is two-thirds of the Healthy Eating Pyramid. She goes hand-in-hand with booze. She shape shifts, mixes and hides in forms that are invisible to her concubines.

There is both a biochemical and emotional edge to her deadly brilliance. The truth about sugar also happens to be the truth about our civilization.
How We Became Her Junkies

A baby with the expectant eyes of a delighted junky will reject her mother’s milk in favor of sugary water (which has zero nutritional value). Children shut up when we give them the standard parental shut-up remedy: candy. An alcoholic in withdrawal eats a Mars bar for relief, per the Alcoholics Anonymous manual. A lab rat that has been addicted to cocaine with intravenous shots, will switch to sugary water in record time.

Sugar is not a nutrient. It’s a drug. And we are her addicts in denial.

In The Case Against Sugar, author Gary Taube tells the story of a pharmacist who got addicted to morphine after being wounded in the Civil War. John Pemperton tried to wean himself off the habit with a mix of sugar, water, caffeine and cocaine. The mixture worked so well that it became the world’s most popular drink. By 1938, a Kansas newspaper editor wrote about Coca-Cola as the “sublimated essence of all that America stands for.”

The removal of cocaine from Pemberton’s secret recipe didn’t slow down Coke’s growth; it enabled it. Coke became the world’s most widely distributed product, and the second-most-recognized word on Earth. (“Okay” is first.)

The secret behind Coke’s “secret formula,” of course, was and is sugar. (One quart, or liter of Coke contains 28 sugar cubes.)

Or take tobacco. Only after R.J. Reynolds dipped their tobacco in sugar in 1913, followed by the rest of the tobacco industry, did cigarettes became more inhalable and addictive. This drove the worldwide explosion in cigarette smoking, and the first lung-cancer epidemic in human history, with today’s cancer death rate due to smoking at 1 in 4.

The addictive nature of sugar is intimately related to the same biochemical nature of illegal drugs, booze and pharmaceuticals, although most scientific studies avoid making this parallel.

Alcohol, opioids, cocaine and other psycho-stimulants work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin regulates our feeling of well-being and happiness. Sugar achieves this effect by allowing a serotonin building block, tryptophan, to enter the brain at a rapid rate. You can test it yourself by eating chocolate, which is rich in both sugar and tryptophan.

When we eat a refined carb snack, we also take an opiate-like hit, along with a drop of comfortable numb and a bit of pleasurable buzz. That’s because sugar also activates enkephalins and endorphins, morphine-like painkillers and pleasure drivers. And beta-endorphins, which stimulate cravings for more sugar and refined carbs. And dynorphins, a class of opioid peptides that increase overall craving.

In the same vein as a classic drug addict, a sugar abuser will incrementally up his dose to stimulate dwindling tryptophan levels in the brain. Just a little bit more. The genius, pull-push motivational mechanism of sugar is both biochemical and emotional. Every bite becomes another nudge that speeds our biochemical tailspin. A tailspin that starts in childhood, with every little piece of comfort and reward.
It’s the surplus and deficit of sugar that appears as “life’s ups and downs”

The difference between sugar and Schedule 1 drugs like heroin and cocaine is that the biochemical damage of sugar accrues slower. And because sugar works invisibly, the damage goes deeper.

Because the drug-sugar analogy goes against everything we’ve been taught, we tend to ask defensive questions.

“If sugar is so bad, why did we evolve a sweet tooth?”

“Why does the human tongue, roof of the mouth and throat carry special receptors for sugar?”

“Why do babies light up with a smile when sugar hits their palate?”

“Why does Aunt Betty finally shut up and stop complaining 10 seconds after having her chocolate cake?”

“Shouldn’t millions of years of hominid evolution have taught us better?”

“So why didn’t someone label this stuff with skull images?”

Relative to the environmental problems, wars and all other conflicts that are going on in the world, sugar seems like a minor infraction. We downplay it. We tend to do comparative judgements on what is, more or less, “bad” versus “good” to eat, but oddly the comparison tends to always favor foods with sugar in them.

Instead of examining sugar as an ethical or dietary choice, we need look at its influence on natural selection, evolution and our biochemistry. Both humans and plants evolved with sugar through millions of years of trial and error, to survive and procreate.

For the early humans and their hominid predecessors, life consisted of gathering and hunting food on a daily basis. Our biochemistries adapted to intermittent starvation as a norm. Coming across fruit was a rare delicacy, reserved for spring and summer, for a reason.

Dr. Richard Johnson, an expert in leptin and insulin resistance, argues in his book The Fat Switch that the metabolic syndrome (having excessive fat) is a biochemical condition to protect us against famine while we were still roaming the plains as hunter-gatherers. Excess fat is activated by an enzyme called fructokinase, which is triggered by fructose, aka fruit sugar. Fructose basically accumulates as fat directly and doesn’t tell us when we’re full, so that the early hominoid could gain the extra few pounds of energy reserves to get to his next destination, with a bit of buffer for the winter.
That extra fat was not intended to stay there

Excess fat around the belly is not a body type, it’s a sign of a metabolic disease that wears and tears us on a cellular level, depleting both body and mind. But sugar doesn’t care about that. It’s sole purpose is entrapment.

Our sweet taste buds evolved to spot the sources for this precious burst of energy. It probably saved more than a few hunters who migrated across the great plains in search of new sources of energy. For the plant, or fruit, that carried her sweet taste, sugar became a way to guarantee survival.

The fruit plant learned to propagate by having herbivores and carnivores “hitchhike” its progeny across the plains. The reward for the carrier was a hit of energy and momentary sense of well-being. Plants have evolved thousands of ways to attract seed carriers, ranging from little parachutes that get carried away by the wind to psychoactive substances that attract the prey to alter their states of consciousness. Yet sugar won the natural selection battle for the best entrapment drug.

Millions of years of natural selection made fructose a leading psychoactive stimulant in helping plants build their dominion. We learned to differentiate the lush fruit that was “ripe” for us to eat by color, taste and smell, unwittingly making ourselves the taxi drivers of plant heritage.

The Paleo man got his sugar high at best once every few weeks during the summer season. He certainly wasn’t digesting 170 lbs of fructose per year (or eating a life-size sugar statue of himself) in highly refined form, like the average Westerner does today. To replicate modern levels of fructose consumption, the hunter and gatherer would have needed to eat about 30 apples per day, every day, for 365 days per year. That doesn’t leave much time for either hunting or gathering. Instead, the hunter would transform into a shapeless prey, unable to keep up with the tribe. Eventually, the hyenas would catch up with him.

The hyenas are also catching up with us. The average modern man and woman is high on fructose, non-stop, 24/7/365. Table sugar, also known as sucrose, is made out of fructose and glucose in equal proportions. Even if we manage to say no to sucrose, we still get our hit from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a universal ingredient that’s hiding in practically all processed and packaged foods today. HFCS is also half fructose. Even if you make a conscious effort to avoid refined fructose, you’re probably still eating it in hidden forms.

Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist and author of The Third Chimpanzee, has an apt analogy about the introduction of refined carbs into our diets. Imagine the evolutionary journey from a chimpanzee to human as a 24-hour clock. Every hour represents 100,000 years of past time. We go through night, dawn, afternoon, day, evening … all the way to minutes before midnight, as hunter-gatherers, eating high-fat, low-carb diets. During this time, fruit is a rare delicacy. At 11:54 PM, we get the idea to separate plants and animals with a fence, in order to grow monocultures like cane sugar, corn, wheat and other grains, the cornucopia of carbs that we recognize as the birth of agriculture, and thereby civilization.

The shift to modern civilization was rapid enough to present a toxic dump on our virgin biochemistry. Our cells were attacked, unprepared. After the evolution of a particular lifestyle for over two million years – actually seven million if you include our great ape ancestors – we switched to a high-carb diet only six minutes before midnight (or 10,000 years go). That’s the time you should be in bed.

In the same vein, refined sugar, which is the crack cocaine version of carbs, hit us in the last 0.36 seconds of our existence (the 20th century). That’s about the same time it takes to shove an adrenaline syringe into the heart of a comatose junkie, a’la Pulp Fiction.

No wonder we’re having problems adapting to her sweet, refined forms.
Our biochemistries weren’t expecting the invasion of processed carbs

In 1822, when Americans still consumed 6 lbs of sugar per year, a British army surgeon needed nearly two decades to pinpoint two diabetes cases in the Wild West. Today, 80 million have pre-diabetes and 29 million have type 2 diabetes in the U.S. Soon, up to half of the population is expected to have diabetes.

Sidney Mintz, professor of anthropology, estimates that the Brits were eating 4 lbs of sugar per person per year in 1704 and 90 lbs in 1901, a 22-fold increase over the colonial heydays. No one had the guts to tell Queen Elizabeth that her teeth had turned black in the late 16th century, or that her Majesty’s army had a hard time finding recruits without rotten dentures. Dental issues only appeared after sugar entered our diets. Pre-agricultural skeletons had perfect teeth.

Two missionary physicians who arrived in Kenya in the 1920s wrote that “hypertension and diabetes were absent… the native population was as thin as ancient Egyptians.” It took 40 years of British high-carb diets to convert the slim Kenyans into obese Africans with a host of health issues, starting with tooth decay and leading to “gout, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, and eventually encompassing all of them,” the missionaries observed.

India was similarly transformed into the “Diabetes Capital of the World” with British-introduced nutrition habits in half a century, after millennia of natural, healthy eating habits. Western diets literally wiped out the perfectly healthy Inuit, the Native Americans, the Zulus, the Natal Indians, Polynesian cultures, Yanomamo and Xingu Indians of Brazil, and whoever else was either forcibly or willingly acculturated to our lifestyle.
The problem of sugar boils down to a hormonal imbalance

The two hormones that manage our energy and metabolism, leptin and insulin, adapted over millions of years for us to survive in unpredictable environments.

Leptin tells us when to stop eating. The “satiety hormone” is stored all over our body inside our fat cells. As more fat accumulates, more “I’m full”-signals are received by the brain via the hypothalamus.

Insulin, aka the “energy storage” hormone, is produced by the pancreas. It tells our cells to convert the new energy into cellular fuel (ATP) or store it as fat for later use, effectively balancing our energy needs.

The normal process goes like this. Eating sugar releases insulin. Insulin makes cells convert sugar (glucose) into glycogen (ATP). Excess glucose is turned into triglycerides (fat) and distributed around the body. The extra fat increases leptin levels. Extra leptin, in turn, tells the brain that the body’s energy requirements have been satisfied.

This is a delicate, predictive hormonal cycle that helped our ancestors achieve an optimal weight-and-energy-burn balance. We could run fast, hunt, and avoid predators while also carrying adequate, but not excessive, energy reserves.

Civilization changed all that. A high and constant sugar intake desensitizes the leptin and insulin receptors in our tissues, cells, muscles and organs, causing us to remain hungry, even though our fat and energy reserves are plentiful .

Sugar desensitizing means that even though leptin and insulin levels rise, the receptors for these hormones don’t pay attention. They’ve been “fed up” with the constant bombardment of the respective hormones.

Imagine going into a college dorm room crammed with sweaty sports clothes. After a few minutes, you forget about the stink because your nose becomes desensitized to the stimuli. The same goes for the hormone receptors, except this time we’re dealing with a much bigger problem than smelly socks. In the hormonal world, the problem is known as leptin and insulin resistance.

”In a healthy fat cell, rising leptin levels cause leptin receptors to release triglycerides to use for energy. In leptin-resistant fat cells, the receptors are clogged with triglycerides, and no fat is being released for energy,” points out Richard Byron in The Leptin Diet.

Insulin resistance on muscle, fat and liver cells means that their ability to absorb glucose from the bloodstream is hindered. As a result, the pancreas goes on overdrive, trying to drive down blood sugar levels with even more insulin. The oversupply of insulin desensitizes the tissues, organs and cells to become even more insulin resistant, in a downward spiral. Over time this will likely evolve into pre-diabetes and finally type 2 diabetes. It’s the flush of intermittent insulin that is so destructive to the body, like the engine damage you would get from cranking high RPM on first gear.

According to Dr. Dimitris Tsoukalas, founder of Metabolomic Medicine, a medical branch that specializes in identifying and preventing blockades to energy metabolism, by the time diabetes has been diagnosed, “damage to coronary arteries has already occurred in 50 percent of patients… because of high levels of insulin.”

Note: Modern medicine advocates insulin shots for Type 2 diabetes, when the problem in fact has to do with excessive sugar intake rather than insufficient insulin production. Hence, the insulin damage is exacerbated further with insulin shots under the standard protocol.

The typical symptoms for a pre-diabetic or metabolic syndrome (high levels of insulin, triglycerides, excess weight, high blood pressure, inflammation) appear several years before the onset of diabetes and/or other chronic complications.

Fructose is the Darth Vader of carbs, in that it also features what Dr. Johnson termed the “Fat Switch” function, a powerful chemical trigger for storing fat. Most of the fructose is processed into fat in the liver, without entering the bloodstream. This is the reason why Glycemic Index (GI), the measure of how “harmful” different foods may be to diabetics, is misleading. Fructose hardly shows up in the GI since it hardly shows up in the bloodstream.

The more refined the carb, the more fructose, the faster our cells become desensitized, and the more fat is produced, distributed and stored in the body.

We weren’t designed to eat and get hungry every few hours. In fact, it’s not hunger. It’s withdrawal.

Fat doesn’t make us fat. Sugar and processed carbs do.
The alpha and the omega of civilization

Sugar lies at the root of our cumulative health problems. The direct and indirect health effects related to sugar consumption are hard to assess. Or, it’s more accurate to say that no one has really properly assessed the damage because our focus is on other “threats.”

Take, for example, the terrorism threat, which is responsible, on average, for one (1) American death per year since 9/11, the day three skyscrapers collapsed at free fall speeds for the first time in skyscraper history.

Or take drugs.
About 570,000 people die annually from drug use in the US
480,000 of those are tobacco related (indirectly related to sugar)
31,000 are due to alcohol (indirectly related to sugar)
23,000 are related to pain medication
22,000 are due to Schedule 1 drug abuse (heroin, cocaine and other “hard core” substances)

All disease is cumulative and multifactorial, which is why there is never a single culprit for any type of disease. If we lead a stressful life, drink too little water, too much soda, breathe polluted air, isolate ourselves from nature with a sedentary lifestyle, eat processed foods with scarce nutrients… we compound causality.

If we accept sugar as a multifactorial agent of disease, we also need to accept the sci-fi- type reality of its disease impact.

In this reality, sugar connects directly or indirectly to nearly 70 percent of all chronic, premature deaths worldwide (a.k.a. NCDs or Noncommunicable Diseases). That’s 30 million casualties globally. In America, NCDs account for 88 percent of all deaths, or nearly 3 million people per year.

Yet, sugar is a celebration of our culture and lifestyle. She is the pink Godzilla in the middle of our kitchen, whose existence we deny. We give her permission to pull us into a wet, premature grave, while on a permanent high.

Even if we manage to avoid sugar in its most conspicuous forms, other refined carbs boil down to the same biochemical effects on our bodies. Grains and wheat in particular. It’s important to remember that the USDA recommends grains as our dominant calorie source. Grains and sugar together are the Bonnie and Clyde of biochemistry.

Aside from the direct fatality rate, the crippling effect on life quality is hard to fathom. Once we live with a chronic disease, quality of life is compromised. Our performance is handicapped. What about our creativity, innovation, relationships, vitality and other joys that make life worth living? They become negative energy conducts. We seep energy away from all doors of our being, because of a single negative input.

Chronic disease is about becoming a slave to a malfunctioning body and mind. Ninety-five per cent of the global population was sick with a chronic issue in 2013, according to a Global Health Study.

The cumulative statistics from diseases like diabetes (today’s prevalence: 1 in 10), pre-diabetes (1 in 3), cancer (4 in 10), dementia (1 in 4), obesity (1 in 3) and overweight (2 in 3) spell out a slow-motion species collapse.

That is, if we decide to participate in the collapse.

With a bit of awareness and education, we can also choose to close the chapter on the most damaging drug in history, starting with the individual. A significant amount of biochemical damage can be reversed in a surprisingly short time with a clean, individualized, wholesome diet.

People who quit sugar feel the effect in weeks. They change their life in months. The ultimate reward is a long and vibrant existence, without a hint of disease.

Exactly as nature designed us.

domingo, 8 de julio de 2018

Sobre el Ginocentrismo

Ginocentrismo n. (del griego γυνή “mujer” – Latín centrum, “centrdo”) se refiere a enfocarse de manera exclusiva o dominante en la mujer, en teoría y en práctica; o a la defensa de esa premisa (1). Cualquier cosa puede ser considerada ginocéntrica (Adj.) cuando se está tratando exclusivamente con un punto de vista femenino (o específicamente feminista) (2).
Katherine K. Young y Paul Nathason declaran que el enfoque predominante de la ideología ginocéntrica es dar prioridad a las mujeres jerárquicamente, y como resultado ésta puede ser interpretada como misandria (el odio y prejuicio hacia los hombres). Los llamados por la igualdad e incluso la equidad por parte de las feministas son a menudo, de acuerdo con esos autores, una treta para llegar al ginocentrismo (3).
Young y Nathanson definen el ginocentrismo como una forma de ver el mundo basada en la creencia explícita según la cual el mundo gira en torno a las mujeres, un tema cultural que estos autores aseguran se ha vuelto “de rigor” tras bastidores en las cortes y burocracias gubernamentales, lo que ha resultado en una discriminación sistémica contra los hombres (4). Los autores exponen además que el ginocentrismo es una forma de esencialismo –distinto de la escolaridad o la actividad política en nombre de las mujeres- en la medida en que se centra en las virtudes innatas de las mujeres y los vicios innatos de los hombres.
Otros autores hacen la discriminación entre tipos de ginocentrismo, tales como los actos o eventos ginocéntricos individuales (por ejemplo el Día de la Madre), y el concepto más amplio de una cultura ginocéntrica, que se refiere a una colección más grande de rasgos culturales que tienen una mayor significancia en la forma en que la gente vive (6).

Los elementos de cultura ginocéntrica que existen hoy en día se derivan de prácticas que se originaron en la sociedad medieval, tales como el feudalismo, la caballería y el amor cortés, que continúan dando forma a la sociedad contemporánea en formas muy sutiles. Peter Wright se refiere a dichos patrones ginocéntricos como constituyentes de “feudalismo sexual”, como lo confirman escritoras como Lucrezia Marinella, quien en 1600 relató que las mujeres de clases socioeconómicas bajas eran tratadas como superiores por hombres que actuaban como sirvientes o bestias hechas para servirles, o por Modesta Pozzo quien en 1590 escribió:
“¿no vemos acaso que la tarea legítima de los hombres es ir a trabajar hasta el agotamiento tratando de acumular riqueza, como si fueran nuestros agentes o representantes, de tal manera que nosotras permanezcamos en casa como señoras de la heredad dirigiendo su trabajo y disfrutando de las ganancias de su labor? Esa, si lo quieren así, es la razón por la que los hombres son por naturaleza más fuerte y robustos que nosotras –ellos necesitan serlo, de tal manera que puedan soportar el pesado trabajo que deben padecer a nuestro servicio.” (7)
El ataúd dorado en la imagen de arriba muestra escenas de comportamiento servil hacia las mujeres que eran típicas de la cultura del amor cortés de la Edad Media. Dichos objetos eran regalos que los hombres daban a las mujeres buscando impresionarlas. Nótese a la mujer de pie y con las manos en la cintura en posición de autoridad, y al hombre que está siendo llevado por un cabestro, con sus manos juntas en posición de sumisión.
Es claro que mucho de lo que hoy llamamos ginocentrismo fue inventado en la Edad Media, con las prácticas culturales de la caballerosidad romántica y el amor cortés. En la Europa del siglo XII, el feudalismo servía como base de un nuevo tipo de amor en el que los hombres jugaban el papel de vasallos de las mujeres, que a su vez jugaban el papel de un Señor idealizado. C.S. Lewis, a principios del siglo XX, se refería a esta revolución histórica como “la feudalización del amor”, y declaraba que no ha dejado ni un solo rincón intacto en lo que concierne a nuestra ética, nuestra imaginación y nuestra vida diaria. (8) Lewis escribe:
“Todo el mundo ha escuchado sobre el amor cortés, y todo el mundo sabe que apareció muy repentinamente al final del siglo XI en Languedoc. El sentimiento, desde luego, es amor, pero amor de una clase altamente especializada, cuyas características podrían ser enumeradas como Humildad, Cortesía, y la Religión del Amor. El amante siempre es abyecto. La obediencia de los deseos más nimios de su señora, sin importar que caprichosos sean, y el consentimiento mudo a los reproches de ella, sin importar lo injustos que sean, son las únicas virtudes que él se atreve a reclamar. Este es un servicio de amor moldeado cuidadosamente sobre el servicio que un vasallo feudal le debe a su señor. El amante es el”hombre” de la dama. Se dirige a ella como midons, que etimológicamente representa “mi señor” y no “mi señora”. Toda la actitud ha sido descrita apropiadamente como “una feudalización del amor”. Este solemne ritual amatorio es considerado como parte esencial de la vida cortesana” (9).
Con el advenimiento de mujeres (inicialmente cortesanas) elevadas a la posición de “Señor” en las relaciones íntimas, y con este sentimiento general difundido a las masas y a lo largo del gran parte del mundo hoy en día, se justifica hablar de un complejo cultural ginocéntrico que afecta, entre otras cosas, las relaciones entre hombres y mujeres. Además, a menos de que se pueda encontrar evidencia concreta de una extendida cultura ginocéntrica en periodos anteriores a la Edad Media, entonces el ginocentrismo tiene precisamente 800 años. Para determinar si esta tesis es válida, es necesario mirar con más detalle aquello a lo que nos referimos como “ginocentrismo”.
Ginocentrismo como fenómeno cultural
El término ginocentrismo ha estado en circulación desde los años de 1800, cuya definición general es “centrarse en las mujeres; preocuparse exclusivamente por las mujeres” (10). De esta definición podemos ver que ginocentrismo puede referirse a cualquier práctica centrada en el género femenino, o a un simple acto ginocéntrico llevado a cabo por un individuo. No hay nada inherentemente malo con un acto ginocéntrico (por ejemplo, el Día de la Madre) o, en ese caso, con un acto androcéntrico (celebrar el Día del Padre). Sin embargo, cuando un acto se institucionaliza en la cultura en detrimento de otros actos, entonces estamos frente a una costumbre hegemónica –es decir, es la costumbre relacional de elevar a las mujeres al papel de Señor en relación con sus vasallos masculinos.
El autor de Teoría Ginocéntrica, Adam Kostakis, ha intentado expandir la definición de ginocentrismo para referirse al “sacrificio masculino para el beneficio de las mujeres” y “la deferencia de los hombres hacia las mujeres”, y concluye: “El ginocentrismo, ya sea que lleve el nombre de honor, nobleza, caballerosidad, o feminismo, no ha cambiado en su esencia. Continúa siendo un deber particularmente masculino el ayudar a las mujeres a subirse a los botes salvavidas, mientras los hombres se enfrentan a una muerte segura y helada” (11). Yo estoy de acuerdo con las descripciones de Kostakis de un deber masculino asumido, pero la frase “cultura ginocéntrica” transmite su intención de manera más precisa que decir solamente “ginocentrismo”. Por lo que cuando se usa la palabra sola en esta página, “ginocentrismo” se refiere a una parte de toda la cultura ginocéntricafrase que defino aquí como cualquier cultura que instituya reglas para relaciones de género que beneficien a las mujeres a expensas de los hombres a lo largo de un amplio rango de medidas.
En la base de nuestra actual forma de ginocentrismo se encuentra la práctica del sacrificio masculino forzado a beneficio de las mujeres. Si aceptamos esta definición, necesitamos mirar hacia atrás y hacer la pregunta concomitante de si los sacrificios masculinos a lo largo de la historia siempre fueron llevados a cabo por las mujeres o si, en cambio, se hicieron por alguna otra meta primaria. Por ejemplo, cuando los hombres son enviados a morir en grandes números en las guerras, ¿fue acaso por las mujeres, o fue más bien por el Hombre, Rey, y País? Si fue por lo último, entonces no podemos declarar que fue el resultado de una cultura ginocéntrica intencional, o al menos no en la manera en que lo he definido aquí. Si el sacrificio no se hace para el beneficio de las mujeres, aún si ellas son beneficiarias ocasionales de ese sacrificio masculino, entonces no se trata de ginocentrismo.
La prescindibilidad masculina estrictamente “en beneficio de las mujeres” comienza de manera notable después del advenimiento de la revolución de género del siglo XII en Europa –una revolución que nos entregó términos como galantería, caballerosidad, amor caballeresco, cortesía, romance, y otros. De ese periodo en adelante, las prácticas ginocéntricas crecieron exponencialmente, culminando en las demandas del feminismo actual. En resumen, el ginocentrismo era un fenómeno aislado en el mejor de los casos antes de la Edad Media, después de lo cual se volvió algo ubicuo.
Con todo esto en mente, no tiene mucho sentido hablar de una cultura ginocéntrica que empezó junto con la revolución industrial hace sólo 200 años (o hace 100 o incluso 30 años), o decir que ésta empezó hace ya dos millones de años, como algunos argumentan. No estamos luchando simplemente con dos millones de años de programación genética; nuestro enemigo, culturalmente construido, es mucho, mucho, más simple de señalar y de, potencialmente, revertir. Todo lo que necesitamos hacer es mirar las circunstancias bajo las cuales el ginocentrismo empezó a florecer, e intentar revertir dichas circunstancias. Específicamente, eso quiere decir rechazar las ilusiones del amor romántico (amor feudalizado), junto con las prácticas de misandria, humillación masculina y servidumbre que en definitiva lo apoyan.

La Querelle des Femmes, y la defensa de las mujeres
La Querelle des Femmes se traduce como “la controversia de las mujeres” y equivale a lo que hoy llamaríamos una guerra de géneros. La querelle comienza en la Europa del siglo XII y encuentra su culminación en la actual ideología impulsada por feministas (aunque algunos autores afirman, de manera poco convincente, que la querelle llegó a su fin en los años de 1700). El tema básico de esa controversia que ya lleva siglos giraba, y continúa haciéndolo, alrededor de la defensa de los derechos, poder y estatus de las mujeres, y por lo tanto Querelle des Femmes sirve como el título original del discurso ginocéntrico.
Si consideramos la longevidad de esta revolución, podríamos estar inclinados a coincidir con la declaración de Barbarossaaa que dice que “el feminismo es la máquina de defensa perpetua de las mujeres.”
Al ubicar los eventos anteriormente descritos en una línea de tiempo coherente, se ve que la servidumbre caballerosa hacia las mujeres fue elaborada y tuvo patrocinio bajo el reinado de Eleanor de Aquitaine (1137-1152), e instituida culturalmente a lo largo y ancho de Europa durante los 200 años siguientes. La Querelle des Femmes surgió después de arraigarse de esa manera en suelo europeo, y se refiriere a la cultura de defensa, que nació para proteger, perpetuar e incrementar el poder femenino, en relación con el masculino, que continúa hasta hoy, en una tradición ininterrumpida, en los esfuerzos del feminismo contemporáneo (12).
Los escritos de la Edad Media en adelante están llenos de testimonios de hombres intentando adaptarse a la feudalización del amor y al servicio de las mujeres, junto con la agonía emocional, la vergüenza y en algunos casos la violencia física que sufrieron en el proceso. La caballerosidad ginocéntrica y la querelle asociada no han recibido mucha elaboración en los cursos de los estudios de hombres hasta la fecha, pero con la emergencia de nuevos manuscritos y traducciones al inglés de mejor calidad, podría ser rentable iluminar este camino (13). Por ejemplo, el texto que estaba leyendo una vez más hoy, “Al Servicio de las Damas” de Ulrich Von Liechtenstein (1250) representa un tesoro escondido de las emociones a las que se enfrenta un hombre tratando de adaptarse a este papel de vasallo; textos como éste podrían ser incluidos en planes de estudios y explorados para un entendimiento más profundo de la experiencia masculina y las expectativas culturales que se imponen a los hombres.

  1. Diccionario de Inglés Oxford – Vers.4.0 (2009), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199563838
  2. Diccionario de Inglés Oxford 2010
  3. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.116
  4. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.309
  5. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Sanctifying Misandry, 2010 p.58
  6. Wright, Peter, Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses, 2014 p.8
  7. Wright, Peter, ‘The sexual-relations contract,’ Capítulo 7 in Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses, 2014 p.28
  8. C.S. Lewis, Friendship, capítulo en The Four Loves, HarperCollins, 1960
  9. C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford University Press, 1936
  10. – Gynocentric
  11. Adam Kostakis, Gynocentrism Theory – (Published online, 2011). Aunque Kostakis asume que el ginocentrismo ha existido desde que se tienen registros históricos, señala en particular a la Edad Media para comentar: “Hay una continuidad considerable entre el código caballeresco de clases que surgió en la Edad Media y el feminismo moderno… Uno podría decir que son la misma entidad que ahora existe de una manera más madura –ciertamente no estamos lidiando con dos creaturas diferentes”
  12. Joan Kelly, Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes (1982), reimpresa en Women, History and Theory, UCP (1984)
  13. El New Male Studies Journal ha publicado artículos que tratan sobre la historia y la influencia de la caballerosidad en las vidas masculinas.

Los primeros 98 años de Mario Bunge

Pensador realista. El filósofo argentino es hoy un caso único de productividad y amor por la ciencia

En el año 2009, el diario peruano El Comercio le preguntó a Mario Bunge cuál había sido su receta para llegar a los 90 años, y él respondió: “No leer a los posmodernos, no fumar, no beber alcohol y no hacer demasiado deporte; mantener ágil el cerebro: si uno deja de aprender, el cerebro deja de funcionar”. Este brillante filósofo y físico argentino, radicado en el Canadá, ha sobrepasado los 90 años y el miércoles próximo cumplirá 98 (nació el 21 de setiembre de 1919).

Bunge es uno de los filósofos más importantes del siglo XX y del XXI. Ha publicado más de 50 libros y alrededor de 500 artículos, casi todos en inglés. En español ha escrito 26 libros; entre ellos: La ciencia, su método y filosofía (1960), Pseudociencia e ideología(1985), 100 ideas: El libro para pensar y discutir en el café (artículos periodísticos, 2006) y Las pseudociencias, ¡vaya timo! (2010).

Libros. Algunos de las publicaciones de Mario Bunge son La ciencia, su método y filosofía (1960), Pseudociencia e ideología (1985), 100 ideas: El libro para pensar y discutir en el café (2006) y Las pseudociencias, ¡vaya timo! (2010).

Su obra más amplia son los ocho volúmenes del Tratado de filosofía , escrito en inglés ( Treatise on Basic Philosophy ) y que es traducido al español por la Editorial Gedisa. Ni en el siglo XX ni en el XXI, nadie ha publicado una obra que abarque sistemáticamente todos los ámbitos de la filosofía, salvo la estética. A Bunge se le han concedido 21 doctorados honoris causa y, en 1982, el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de Comunicación y Humanidades.


La inquietud intelectual de Bunge lo ha tornado una fuente continua de inspiración en asuntos de la actualidad: el deterioro del ambiente, la medicina, la globalización, los cambios políticos, la desigualdad económica, las relaciones entre las ciencias y las tecnologías, las pseudociencias y las pseudotecnologías, entre otros temas.

Siendo muy joven, Bunge se definió en favor de un socialismo democrático, no marxista y sustentado en un sistema económico de cooperativas, como lo expresa en su libro Filosofía política: solidaridad, cooperación y democracia integral (2009).

Para Bunge, cuando él era joven, la izquierda era seguidora de la ciencia, pero, afirma, la izquierda de hoy cree que “la ciencia pertenece al orden establecido: ‘Este orden es injusto y, por lo tanto, debemos combatirlo; por ende, debemos atacar la ciencia’: un razonamiento primitivo” ( Entre dos mundos: Memorias , 2014).

Mario Bunge adopta una postura realista y materialista pues parte del supuesto de que la realidad existe de manera independiente del sujeto que observa y piensa. Asimismo, defiende el realismo ontológico pues, sostiene, “el mundo existe en sí (por sí mismo), o sea, haya o no sujetos cognoscentes” ( Racionalidad y realismo , 1985).

El filósofo argentino opina que “el conocimiento objetivo apoyado en pruebas firmes y teoría válida es muy superior a las corazonadas” ( Las pseudociencias, ¡vaya timo! ).

Contra mitos

Bunge también es escéptico frente a las corrientes posmodernas e irracionalistas que pululan en las universidades latinoamericanas. El filósofo lanza dardos contra lo que podría llamarse “contra-Ilustración”, nacida junto con el Romanticismo a finales del siglo XVIII y entronizada en el pensamiento europeo del siglo XIX.

Para Bunge, la contra-Ilustración siguió a la Ilustración, resucitó hace menos de 100 años, triunfó brevemente con el nazismo y renace ahora con el posmodernismo, relativista y anticientífico.

El Siglo de las Luces y su anhelo de pensamiento universal enfatizó nociones como libertad e igualdad, felicidad y utilidad, trabajo y progreso. La ideología ilustrada dio supremacía a la razón, al naturalismo y al cientificismo, contra el mito, la superstición y el dogmatismo.

La Ilustración potenció el secularismo, incluso el agnosticismo y el ateísmo, frente al teísmo. Las Luces fomentaron también el utilitarismo y el progreso; y promovieron los derechos individuales, la ciudadanía, el liberalismo y la democracia política, salvo para mujeres y esclavos, aunque las conquistas de los derechos de las mujeres y los esclavos han sido derivaciones naturales del liberalismo ilustrado.

Bunge es un crítico tenaz de filósofos reconocidos en el ámbito académico, como Georg Hegel (“perdí dos años leyéndolo”, ha dicho), Ludwig Wittgenstein, cuyo pensamiento le parece inútil, y Michel Foucault (“un embaucador”). De Martin Heidegger ha expresado en una entrevista con el diario español El País : “Era un pillo que se aprovechó de la tradición académica alemana según la cual lo incomprensible es profundo. Adoptó el irracionalismo y atacó a la ciencia porque, cuanto más estúpida sea la gente, tanto mejor se la puede manejar desde arriba”.

Son célebres también sus descalificaciones del existencialismo y del psicoanálisis, y ha llamado “el gran macaneador (embustero)” a Sigmund Freud. Del relativismo posmoderno piensa que es nefasto pues induce a las personas a dudar de la posibilidad de conocer la realidad, uno de los objetivos de la ciencia.

Ciencia y razón

Bunge separa el conocimiento científico, por una parte, de las pseudociencias, por otra, las que no pueden contrastarse empíricamente: “El pseudocientificismo consiste en presentar pseudociencias como si fuesen ciencias auténticas porque exhiben algunos de los atributos de la ciencia, en particular el uso conspicuo de símbolos matemáticos, aunque carecen de sus propiedades esenciales, en especial la compatibilidad con el conocimiento anterior y la contrastabilidad empírica” ( Las pseudociencias, ¡vaya timo! ).

Para él, la ciencia conduce a verdades objetivas e impersonales, y se autocorrige, mientras que no hay pensamiento crítico en las pseudociencias: simplemente deben creerse. Según Bunge, algunas pseudociencias son dañinas cuando se alían con el poder político o cuando pretenden reemplazar a la medicina.

¿Por qué es preferible el escepticismo metódico (no el radical), que promueve Bunge a partir del pensamiento científico, y no la credulidad en cualquier cosa que parezca “científica”? Porque la ciencia siempre da mejores resultados. Según Bunge, “la credulidad está más difundida que el espíritu crítico, el que no se adquiere recopilando y memorizando informaciones, sino repensando lo aprendido y sometiéndolo a prueba” ( Filosofía para médicos ).

En el siglo XXI, con todo el peso de la ciencia y la razón sobre nuestras espaldas, aún existe un gran porcentaje de la población que se aferra a ideas absurdas, como el creacionismo, la astrología, los horóscopos, la “nueva era”, la brujería, la homeopatía y otros mitos y pseudociencias.

En cambio, el pensamiento de Mario Bunge es un faro en medio del desierto del irracionalismo. Activo en sus 98 años, confiesa: “Me quedan muchos problemas por resolver: no tengo tiempo para morirme”.

jueves, 5 de julio de 2018

Obesity is (mostly) a Hormonal Issue: Let's Stop Pretending it's Solely About Calories

When doctors or nutritionists see someone with gigantism oracromegaly, is their first thought, “Clearly, that person just needs to grow less and shrink more”? No. Obviously not. Because it is clear—like, crystal clear, beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt, smack-you-upside-the-head clear that these conditions result fromhormonal irregularities. You can no more control what results from the hormonal effects of a pituitary tumor hemorrhaging human growth hormone than you can control what results from the hormonal effects of a fourteen year old boy who found a special magazine hidden away in his dad’s nightstand. (Do kids still do that these days, or do they just find it on the interwebz instead?)

People with gigantism or acromegaly aren’t abnormally tall or large because they want to be, or because they somehow willed themselves to be. They are at the mercy of hormones. Like I said, to anyone with half a brain, this is obvious. No one questions this. No one blames these individuals for needing custom-made clothing or other accommodations. No one says, “Well, if they had just not grown so much…if only they hadn’t let themselves get so tall, they wouldn’t be in this situation.” “They'd be fine if they were just less tall and more short. No one says idiotic things like this because people understand that this is not within someone’s control.

So why, then, when it comes to the outward, rather than upward, expansion of the human body, does it all of a sudden become about willpower, discipline, and “calories?” Why is not more widely recognized that thehorizontal growth of the body results from hormonal irregularities just as the vertical expansion does?

Why do so few people get this?

Someone who does get this (besides me, and probably you, dear readers) is the very brilliant registered nurse who goes by the pseudonym “Woo” (whom I introduced you to here).  She rants writes about this frequently. (Here are two of my favorites that are relevant to this topic, both with supremely awesome titles: CICO: why do we even entertain this idea? It's obviously wrong; and Semi-weekly reminder: CICOtards = myopic. If one rejects the neuroendocrine basis of adiposity, you will always be WRONG.) Quick warning if you happen to give those a read: Woo has truly unique and fascinating insights into all this, but her style takes some getting used to if you’re new to it.  ;-)
Someone else who gets it is Dr. Jason Fung. In fact, he has a fantastic blog series called The Hormonal Theory of Obesity. (It’s up to over 20 parts now, each of which is both educational and hilarious, and fortunately Dr. Fung is much more succinct, so reading all of that series would take you about as long as reading two or three of my posts, haha!)

Dr. Fung has pointed out on podcasts that certain medications are known to cause weight gain. Prednisone, for example, which is a synthetic steroid/synthetic cortisol. Why does it cause weight gain? It has no calories. If weight gain is the result of eating more calories than are expended, why does a pill with no calories cause weight gain? Why does natural cortisol cause weight gain? People with Cushing’s syndrome (or Cushing’s disease, resulting from a pituitary tumor that results in the adrenals pumping out high levels of cortisol) tend to be overweight. Why should high cortisol cause weight gain? Cortisol has no calories. Why does chronic sleep debt contribute to weight gain? Insufficient sleep has no calories. Talk to someone whose thyroid is on the fritz and can’t lose weight no matter how hard they exercise and how tightly they manage their diet. Why should this be? Low thyroid hormones have no caloriesWhat all of these things have in common is they change the hormonal milieu of the body.

This has nothing to do with willpower and discipline (W&D). I have written about this over and over and over again. (Okay, yes, it does have to do with W&D in the sense that in order to change the hormonal milieu, you have to avoid foods and behaviors that contribute to out-of-whack hormones, and that definitely requires some W&D. More on this in a bit.)

I mentioned cortisol and thyroid hormone. We could add testosterone, growth hormone, DHEA, estrogen, and progesterone into the mix, as well as other hormones that affect what the body does energetically. (That is, what it does with the energy it gets from food. I’m not talking “energetically” like balancing your chakras and all that…) So there are multiple hormones at work here, but let’s focus on the one—the one—over which we have the most control. It’s pretty difficult for us to have direct influence over our level of DHEA or progesterone. I’m not saying these aren’t important, but in terms of having the biggest influence over fuel partitioning in the body, and being one that we, ourselves, can exert the biggest influence over, there’s really only one game in town.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m talking about insulin. (Remember: It’s the insulin, stupid.) Insulin helps orchestrate the partitioning of nutrients either toward oxidation (“burning calories”), or toward storage, and if toward storage, then favoring storage as triglycerides in adipose tissue. (Insulin is also necessary for “storing” amino acids in the form of skeletal muscle, but that’s not really storage in the same sense as adipose, and it’s not really what we’re focusing on here anyway, so forget I even mentioned it. I only wanted to point out that insulin does some good things and some very necessary things [e.g., building muscle], since I tend to only focus on its detrimental effects.)

High insulin levels result in the accumulation of body fat. We know this. Doctors know this. (At least, high insulin levels result in the accumulation of body fat in some people. There are, indeed, some special snowflakes who, for whatever reason, don’t gain body fat in the presence of chronically elevated insulin, but remember, as I’ve ranted written aboutthis does not mean they don’t experience other poor health outcomes stemming from chronic hyperinsulinemia.)

Why do insulin injections cause type 1 diabetics to stop breaking down their own adipose tissue and losing fat uncontrollably? (That is, it helps them maintain and even add to their fat stores.) Why should insulin do this? Insulin has no calories.

So can we please stop pretending that the maintenance and accumulation of body fat stores is driven solely bycalories, and if we can just get people to ingest fewer calories, all will be well?

Okay, so, insulin. We know insulin causes (many) people to gain body fat, and acts as a big obstacle to themlosing that body fat. Therefore, gaining body fat is (for many people) a hormonal issue.

So what?

The big “so what” here is that, unlike individuals with gigantism and acromegaly, who cannot control their levels of growth hormone, we can control our insulin levels. Some people’s bodies do this better than othersnaturally, while others among us have to work at it. (And we’ll have to continue to work at it for the rest of our lives.) Regardless of how easy or difficult it is, barring the rare case of an insulinoma (insulin-secreting tumor), we can control it. By hook or by crook, with low-carb or ketogenic diets, with fasting, with exercise, and/or with medication, we can get our insulin levels down to a level at which adipose tissue lets go of stored fat (fancy science word for this: lipolysis), so that other cells can use it for fuel.

Yes, folks, insulin isn’t just for regulating blood sugar. Another of insulin’s starring roles is inhibition of lipolysis.Doctors know this. Endocrinologists know this. Heck, I’m “just” a nutritionist, and I know it. And if insulin inhibits the breakdown of stored fat, and someone has a goal of losing some of their stored fat, then perhaps I’m a simpleton and things are much more complicated than I think they are, but it seems like reducing insulin levels should be a primary strategy for fat loss, no?

The part I can’t figure out is how someone can reduce their insulin levels when medical and nutrition professionals insist that they consume several servings of grains and other starchy foods each day -- you know, precisely the foods that raise insulin the most. Sure, exercise and medication can help, but again, unless I’m oversimplifying things to the point of inaccuracy, it seems like the easiest, most convenient, and most effectivestrategy would be to simply stop consuming the foods that raise insulin the most. I mean, call me crazy, but…

Aaaaanyway, this is where willpower and discipline come into the picture. (I said we’d come back to them, and look, it only took me 10 paragraphs!) Reducing one’s insulin levels does require a bit of W&D, but not in the traditional sense. That is, it’s not like: “Hey, fatty, you need to exercise some willpower to not eat so goddamn much. Lay off the bacon cheeseburgers and order a salad, you greedy pig. And while you’re at it, have thediscipline to go to the gym and run a few miles on the treadmill before you eat that salad, lardass. Better yet, make it several miles. You’ve gotta earn that lettuce, Humpty-Dumpty!”

Yeah, NO. 

It’s more like, “Right now, your body is a ‘sugar-burner.’ This means your body is dependent on frequent infusions of carbohydrates in order to give you energy. But since all those carbohydrates are wreaking havoc on your insulin levels, and high insulin levels directly inhibit the breakdown of your stored body fat, we need to find a way to keep those insulin levels lower. But because you’re dependent on frequent carbohydrate infusions, in order to break this dependence, you’re going to have to be strong and say no to what are probably some of your favorite foods: bread, cookies, pasta, bagels, sugary sodas and coffee drinks, mac & cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, donuts, and more. I know, it sucks, but the cool thing is, if you can muster that bit of W&D for a few days (or a few weeks, for some people), you’ll find that you crave those thing less and less, and once your insulin levels get lower, you’ll be feeding off of your own body fat, so you’ll actually have a lot more energy than you ever had when you were chained to the carbs and your blood sugar was all over the map. Oh, and did I mention that while you muster up all this willpower and discipline, you can eat bacon, ribeye steaks with melted butter or blue cheese on top, ham & cheese omelets, prosciutto, roasted vegetables with garlic and olive oil, lamb sausages, and extra-dark chocolate?”

Oh, the deprivation! Oh, gosh, the willpower you’ll have to muster! How ever will you survive?

So yeah, people do need some W&D – at first. But once the “low carb flu” has passed, the worst of the withdrawal is over, and the physical addiction to sugar is (mostly) broken, they won’t need to white-knuckle everything so strongly.

So, the thing is, this is about calories, but only in the sense that the type of calories we consume can have a massive impact on how many of those calories we consume. (Think about gummy bears versus steak: which one will have you feeling hungrier sooner? [And wanting sugar?]) Robb Wolf has a new book about this coming out in spring 2017.

So when the “experts” tell us to eat more of the very things that are driving this vicious cycle in the first place (in case anyone’s confused, I am referring to sugar- and starch-dense foods, especially refined grains [and especially grains doused in sugar, and even more sugar]), well, what do we expect?

What do we do when people follow officially sanctioned advice but don’t get the promised results? What then? Should we “blame the victim?” When people follow the advice and don’t get the promised results, should they follow that advice harder—that is, eat even less and move even more in order to have even fewer calories in and even more calories out—or should they ask themselves if maybe the advice is flawed? If you follow shitty advice and get shitty results, there’s actually nothing wrong with YOU.  

If this is about “calories,” then it’s (mostly) about the calories that raise insulin the most. Or, rather, the foodsthat raise insulin the most. (The reason I say “mostly” is because, no, you cannot actually consume unlimited amounts of fat and expect to lose weight, even if your insulin levels stay low. Take my word for it; I learned the hard way. [Thanks a lot, mayonnaise!])


Even if the magical formula is calories in < calories out ---> fat loss, low carb still wins. In fact, people who don’t like to admit that low carb has approximately eight hundred benefits that happen even in the absence of weight lossusually argue that low carbing offers no “metabolic advantage,” as the late, great Dr. Atkins called it. They say the real reason low carb is effective for weight loss is that by way of regulating appetite and satiety signaling, people naturally reduce their total food intake. Umm, yeah: people naturally reduce their total food intake. Isn’t that what the CICO people want us to do? And if it’s much easier to do it by reducing carbohydrates (rather than reducing fat), then this should still be the first-line recommendation for losing fat.(Again, I could be wrong. I nearly failed my mathematical reasoning class in college, so I’m not exactly a logic whiz or anything, but I think I might be on to something here…)

So what, exactly, the hell?

Low carb works. We can debate into the next century (and no doubt we will) about why it works, but when “diabesity” and related disorders are threatening to bankrupt individual families and entire nations, and so, so much quality of life is lost to the resulting physical, psychological, and cognitive degeneration and debilitation, then we need to do something about it now, and that “something” is telling people that one of their best hopes for reversing their illnesses and regaining their vitality is a low-carb diet. It might not be the only effective solution, but when patients are routinely presented with other options, including veganism, a vegetarian diet, a low-fat diet and lots of exercise, not to mention invasive and dangerous surgery—it’s long past time for medical and nutrition professionals to quit their prudish and politically correct backlash against low-carb, and for this way of eating to be recommended just as highly—if not more highly—than any other.

And it’s time to stop blaming people for eating too many “calories,” and start informing them that their excess weight is hormonally driven, and then educating them about how to reverse this hormonal situation by changing the type of calories they consume.

With this in mind, I’ll leave you with an image from the ever-talented Ted Naiman, MD

Just one nuance I would add: changing what we eat can have a profound influence on how much we eat. They are not necessarily independent variables. I guarantee you have experienced this yourself: you could easily polish off an entire (large) package of cookies in one sitting and then still be looking for more, but after a big steak, you're pretty well stuffed for quite some time, and the total calories in a family-sized bag of cookies are probably higher than those from a steak. (So yes, owing to its effects on appetite and satiety hormones, low carb does, indeed, still win.)

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.