In the recently published book The Energy of Starch (MYTH Publishing), Dr. John McDougall offers a fresh look at the eating habits of modern humans. The book provides a step-by-step plan for transitioning to McDougall eating, as well as recipes for simple and delicious dishes. The doctor calls for completely excluding meat and dairy products from the diet and replacing them with whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. In a new study, the doctor describes the starchy diet and provides tips for maintaining excellent health. We figure out what's what.
DNA proves we are "starchy"
Experts have long concluded that plant-based foods should be the basis of the diet of primates, including humans. This is required by our anatomy and physiology. The natural diet of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, is almost entirely vegetarian. On dry days when fruit is scarce, chimpanzees eat nuts, seeds, flowers, and bark.
Genetic testing has shown that starch contributes best to human development. The DNA of humans and chimpanzees is almost identical. One minor difference is that our genes help us digest more starch - an important evolutionary change. It was our ability to digest starch and satisfy our need for energy with its help that allowed us to move to the northern and southern regions and populate the entire planet.
Starches satisfy appetite better than meat
Feeling hungry is essential to our survival. You can't fool hunger by walking away from the table, putting your fork aside in the middle of a meal, putting food on small plates, or counting calories. You've probably heard that when it comes to weight, all calories are the same. This is not the case, especially when it comes to satisfying appetite and storing fat. The three components of food produce the fuel we know as "calories" - proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Starches such as corn, beans, potatoes, and rice are high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber and very little fat.
Satisfying hunger begins with filling the stomach. Compared to cheese (4 kcal per 1 g), meat (4 kcal per 1 g) and oils (9 kcal per 1 g), starches are low in calories (about 1 kcal per 1 g). They give you a feeling of fullness with as little as one-fourth of the calories in cheese and meat and one-ninth of the calories in butter. Moreover, this feeling of satiety is more complete. Studies comparing the ways in which carbohydrates and fats satisfy hunger show that carbohydrates satisfy the appetite for a few hours, while fats have a short-term effect. In other words, if your lunch consists of starch, you will not feel hungry for a long time, whereas if it is fats, you will soon want to eat again.
Excess starch does not go into body fat
A widespread myth claims that the sugars in starch are easily converted to fat, which is then deposited on the stomach, thighs and buttocks. If you read the research on this topic, you will see that all scientists agree that this is not true! After eating, we break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. These sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, which carries them across the body's trillions of cells for energy. If you eat more carbohydrates than your body needs, then almost a kilogram of carbohydrates can subtly accumulate in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. You burn these reserves in the form of heat and physical activity, and not even during sports, but, for example, when you go to work, type, work in the yard, or just change your body position while reading.
The idea that carbohydrates in our body turn into fat, which tends to accumulate, is just a myth and nothing more: in the human body, even a significant amount of carbohydrates leads to the appearance of a completely insignificant amount of subcutaneous fat. However, in the case of animal and vegetable fats, the situation is somewhat different. A cruise ship passenger gains an average of three to four kilograms per seven-day journey - because of the fact that they eat on a buffet system, which includes meat, cheese, vegetables in oil and fatty desserts. Where did the fat on your belly come from? The fat you carry on yourself is the fat you eat.
Starches energize us
With a starch-based diet, you'll literally glow with health while shedding excess body fat. Endurance athletes know the benefits of "coal loading". In addition to ensuring maximum performance, a starchy diet improves blood flow to all body tissues. The face and skin are brighter due to improved blood circulation. A pleasant side effect of consuming low-fat starches is the elimination of oily sheen, blackheads, comedones and acne. Weight loss and, as a result, tangible relief of arthritis symptoms, people on such a diet feel active, active and younger.
Self-healing with a starch diet
Three-quarters of the diseases that people in developed countries suffer from are long-term chronic conditions: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. What unites the sick? Food, consisting mainly of meat and dairy products, fats and semi-finished products. Understanding the problem leads to a simple solution: By replacing this heavy food for the body with healthy starches, vegetables and fruits, we can reduce or even eradicate the enormous personal, social and economic costs that chronic diseases entail.
Starches support our body's natural ability to repair by providing an ideal balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals along with a balance of antioxidants and other plant phytochemicals. Unlike foods that cause disease, starches are not high in cholesterol, saturated or unsaturated fats, animal proteins, chemical toxins, or dangerous microbes.
Photo: Getty Images
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