The Four Horseman of the Carb-pocolypse!
The 4th in the series,
Inflammation in the body is designed to treat threats as they arise, not on a permanent basis. Although the inflammation in a specific area or organ might have been triggered to address one specific threat, when it becomes chronic, the side effects of inflammation can lead to a vast array of further conditions over time, with the body effectively turning on itself.
Although there are drugs to treat the illnesses associated with chronic inflammation, they cannot offer a cure because the core problem remains. As you age you must be prescribed more drugs in bigger doses, and in time you may need further drugs to treat the side effects of those drugs.
Today, chronic inflammation is recognised as a particularly dangerous threat to long-term health, and we believe it is a threat that needs to be dealt with at its root. It is a mechanism that we seek to address in Banting 2.0, both directly and by reducing things associated with it, such as insulin resistance and leaky gut syndrome.
What is chronic inflammation?
Inflammation is one of your body’s healing processes. If you sprain your ankle or stub your toe, your body responds by increasing blood flow to the area to provide more white blood cells and cellular “rebuilding materials”; as a result, it becomes swollen or inflamed. This process also disables movement in the area, offering protection and reminding you to look after it and let it heal.
Now imagine if you stubbed your toe, but instead of leaving it to heal in its inflamed state, you stubbed it every third day for the rest of your life: in time you would develop chronic inflammation – inflammation that persists for a long time or recurs regularly.
If you first stubbed your toe when you were 20 years old and kept on bashing it for the next 30 years, imagine the result of three decades of chronic inflammation on your fiftieth birthday: you may have had your toe amputated by then, or even your entire foot.
Think of inflammation throughout the rest of the body as similar.
For more information check out this talk from Mikhaila Peterson and her journey through chronic inflammation
Insulin resistance, poor gut health, leaky gut syndrome and chronic inflammation are four interconnected mechanisms that fuel much – possibly the great majority – of our long-term maladies today.
The 3rd in the series,
Lying adjacent to the layer of gut flora described in the last post is your intestinal wall. This is lined with a selectively permeable membrane which, unlike a normal permeable membrane (like a coffee filter), is genetically coded to allow only a specific selection of chemicals, proteins, enzymes, fats, and sugars through it into the bloodstream.
The cells that make up this membrane are bound together with organic bonds called “tight junctions” that usually require about 50 different biological processes to separate them, like a 50-step PIN code. The tight junctions would typically separate when the gut detects the trace of a new virus or toxin, allowing a microscopic trace of the toxin between the cells into the bloodstream before closing – the theory being that these trace elements teach the immune system how to fight the infections, similar to the way a vaccination works. This immune reaction causes minor inflammation but it is so short-lived you’d probably never know it happened.
The great gut disrupter is wheat (actually, gluten). Only cultivated for about 400 generations – and for many communities, the exposure to it has been far more recent than that – wheat is seen by many doctors and dietary experts, whether LCHF proponents or not, as damaging to many, if not most, humans.
For more information check out wheat belly by Dr William Davis!
Wheat – along with barley, rye and other grains – contains gluten, of which gliadin is an important constituent. In the human gut, gliadin has the unique ability to activate a protein in the intestinal membrane called zonulin that miraculously unlocks the 50-step PIN code, separating the gut-lining cells and allowing random large molecules into the bloodstream: food particles, bacteria, stomach acids and pretty much any toxic substance that was destined to be flushed down the loo rather than absorbed into your body. This is known as leaky gut syndrome.
When all these foreign molecules make it into your bloodstream, your immune system responds as it would against those microscopic traces; only this time on a much grander scale. The scene is thus set for a range of auto-immune diseases to potentially take hold in those genetically predisposed to them. Coeliac disease has long been identified as a hypersensitivity to gluten, but even those not predisposed to it may experience similar symptoms when consuming gluten-containing grains, the result of what’s now known as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. Leaky gut syndrome is now associated with type-1 diabetes, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestion-related maladies, while gluten consumption is believed to negatively affect the brain, increasing the chances of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of senility.
Thanks for reading and hanging in there! I know there is a lot to ‘digest’ in this series. In the last post of this series we will learn about chronic inflammation. Until then I hope you find that one as interesting as the previous series learning.
Learning to move with poise, control & without limitation is the right of every child.
Having the opportunity to learn & explore this through our developmental framework draws on my experience of working with children everyday over the last 10+ years. Strength is critical for allowing the body to function in movement and exposing the body to this in a systemic way will improve children’s ability in all physical activity.
This will lead to greater competence, confidence & health for a bright future!
If you would like to know more take a look at our youth training programme page and sign your child up today for one of our classes.
The Four Horseman of the Carb-pocolypse! The second in the series, this is a long one but an important one!
“All diseases begin in the gut”- Hippocrates.
Hippocrates may not have been entirely right, but current medical thinking is increasingly emphasising the importance of the gut (intestines) and the links between digestion, mood, and health.
RMR can verify that many, if not most, of their Banters who are overweight and insulin resistant, appear to have poor gut health.
An enormous organ, the gut, often considered “the second brain”, is a place of complex interaction between nerve signals, hormones, and the microbiota. Upset it and the consequences can be numerous and nasty.
The small intestine is responsible for around 95 percent of the digestion and absorption of the food we eat. Nearly seven metres in length, it consists of internal folds that are in turn layered with miniscule protrusions designed to maximise the surface area available for absorption and digestion.
The total surface area exposed to both the nutritious and harmful things we consume has been calculated to be anywhere from the size of a badminton court to the size of a tennis court! So consider when ‘fertilizing’ it that you are on Wimbledon centre court playing the game of your life, so best to prepare (repair) it well. Water it, fertilize it, look after it.
Two types of fertilizer to help regenerate your gut health are:
Bone broth-rich with all the nutrients and minerals your body needs to rebuild the intestinal linings (and any other tissue)
Fermented food and drinks-rich with nutrients as a result from the fermentation process; foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and drinks like kefir and kombucha help repopulate the gut biome with healthy bacteria or feed the bacteria that are already there.
Key to the effective and healthy functioning of the small intestine is the symbiotic relationship it enjoys with our gut flora. These microorganisms line the intestinal wall by the trillions, forming a vital living interface between the partially digested food on the inside and the intestinal wall on the outside.
Among other things, gut flora manufacture vitamins B and K, and act as an organ of the body by releasing hormones into the bloodstream.
As we have discussed, hormones interact with the brain and signal the body to change its behaviour in response to a change in its environment. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other bowel complaints such as constipation and bloating are now thought to directly affect our mood, contributing to major emotional shifts and even anxiety and depression (which in turn affect the gut).
Check out Dr Georgia Eade for more information https://youtu.be/5As0nmba4r8
Our gut flora also plays an important hand in managing the body’s metabolism, and it forms part of the body’s immune system by making antigens from potentially harmful bacteria that the immune system can use to ward off disease.
Regardless of what diet you may sign up for, it is critical that it should take into account the healthy development and maintenance of your gut flora. Abrupt changes, such as a wildly fluctuating diet, the excessive use of antibiotics or the infestation of harmful bacteria, can seriously compromise this vital organ. Rebuilding and supporting the gut flora should be regarded as a foundational step to metabolic health and is therefore a vital part of the RMR programme.
Dr Chatterjee is star of the BBC one show, Doctor in the House. In this 30-minute presentation, Dr Chatterjee explains the low carb, slow carb and the microbiome (5th minute), the loss of diversity of the microbiome amongst urbanised populations (8th minute), diet, microbiota and immune function (10th minute) and what happens when the immune system is compromised (11th minute), the importance of diet on the gut flora (13th minute) and how a poor diet can also lead to obesity (19th minute), ending with guidance for how to improve gut flora and feed your microbiome (23rd minute).
In the next post we will be learning about the problems with gluten! Until then have a great day and I hope you have found this of interest.
The first up in this series is
So, we know that we, as modern humans, are eating badly, which is making us overweight and unhealthy. But just how bad is it? What chronic diseases have been definitively linked to diet?
Before we get there, we need to take a look at the major mechanisms that are causing those links so we can understand them and make efforts to stop them. By now you’ll be familiar with insulin resistance – the focus of The Real Meal Revolution – but there are three more mechanisms to consider that have received increasing coverage in nutrition and medical circles in recent years: gut problems, gluten sensitivity, and chronic inflammation.
As with the various factors that make up the Pie of Life, all four are often connected with or exacerbated by each other.
The first problem of living permanently in a carbohydrate-burning state is not hard to see: you put on weight. But a critical unseen problem is increased insulin resistance.
Each time you eat carbs, insulin is secreted to deal with the glucose. But the increasing amounts of insulin being secreted have less and less effect when it comes to burning the glucose in your system and preventing it from being stored as fat.
As with nicotine and other narcotics, the body gradually loses its sensitivity to insulin. Over time, ever more insulin is required to keep glucose levels under control when carbs are consumed. Meanwhile, the associated functions of high insulin levels continue, such as decreased metabolism (and thus increased lethargy) and increased appetite. The obesity cycle spins ever quicker and you suffer from ever more laziness and internal inflammation, which eventually becomes chronic inflammation.
There is nothing traditional medicine can do other than treat the symptoms. “Take x for gout, y for depression and of course statins for high cholesterol…” Finally, when your blood results reveal you have developed type-2 diabetes, you will start having to assist your failing pancreas with medication and then externally injected insulin. Though this may seem like a solution, all it does is keep your blood glucose under control while the other effects of insulin, most notably the build-up of chronic inflammation throughout your body, simply get worse.
There are a couple of problems in conceptualising insulin resistance. First, you can’t know how insulin resistant you are without getting tested – but we’ll get to that. Second, it is something of an intangible notion because you never see insulin or its effects in action (except slowly, over time, so the association is forgotten). So if it helps, think of insulin resistance as carbohydrate resistance. If you are carb resistant (insulin resistant), whenever you eat carbohydrates – bread, pasta, chocolate, whatever – you are ingesting something your body can’t process properly, and as a result, you are more likely to suffer long-term ill effects.
For more information on insulin resistance read Diabetes Epidemic and you by Dr Joseph Kraft.
“Should Everyone Be Tested?
Only those concerned about their future!”
“Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes...are simply undiagnosed”
Dr Joseph Kraft
In the next part of this series we will look at Gut problems! What the gut does and how to restore or keep it in a good state.
From a physiological point of view, gut health is our prime concern during Restoration. This is because the damage that gluten and a diet rich in inflammatory foods can do is immense, something we are only recently coming to appreciate.
When you reduce your processed food (Red List) intake and start eating real food, your gut will have much better resources to convert into nutrients for your body. You will effectively be getting more fuel from less food, which will obviously result in weight loss. But your body will only transform to a level that your gut is able to sustain. In other words, if your gut is not firing on all cylinders, it simply won’t be able to process enough nutrients for your body from a small enough quantity of food.
This is, we believe, a likely explanation for many frustrating plateaus.
According to RMR data, almost half of Banters plateau at some point on their path to a healthy weight. While the state of your gut may well be what’s applying the brakes, there are several other possibilities.
Beyond that, there are strong correlations between gut health and inflammation throughout the body, and between gut permeability and psychological wellbeing.
Both are vital for general health.
The goals of Restoration are straightforward:
• remove sugar and gluten from your diet, along with all Really Red-listed foods, and
• begin restoring the health of your gut by reintroducing foods that a) fertilize your bowel with beneficial bacteria and/or food for those bacteria, and b) help your body rebuild your gut lining.
It is a phase that may well yield significant weight-loss results, but don’t be concerned if it doesn’t; some Banters don’t lose weight until Transformation, when carbs are significantly reduced.
By the end of Restoration, you should experience some or all of the following:
• weight loss;
• improved, more stable mood;
• ease or disappearance of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, abdominal bloating and other gut and bowel complaints,
• improved focus;
• reduction or disappearance of acne and skin complaints;
• improved sleep.
You may experience a number of other positive effects too.
In the next post you will learn why this is not just important for weight loss but also for your general health. We look at the four horseman of the carb-pocolypse!
The Taylormade approach.
Let’s look at the Real Meal Revolution phases in a little bit more detail:
Observation will give you a clear understanding of your current dietary and health state of affairs, helping to identify the elements of your lifestyle that could be contributing to your weight and poor health. Though it will require some active work, you do not make any dietary changes during Observation.
Restoration is effectively a light introduction to Banting. You cut out all gluten, sugar and other refined carbs (even gluten-free grains). You also introduce food to heal your gut, what we call ‘Fertilisers’. Your carbs are not limited at this point, as the goal is to get you used to not eating junk, while you prepare your body and mind for the next phase while avoiding potential side effects.
Transformation is the liberating phase where you will likely lose the most weight and see the most dramatic improvement to your health. Here the same rules apply from Restoration, but now you drop your carbs down to between 25g and 50 total carbs a day, and you cut out half of the orange list. This is also known as the ‘Keto’ diet, or going ‘Keto’ because with carbs this low, you will fall into ketosis.
(Note that some people lose weight steadily enough during Restoration that they don’t ever need to enter Transformation.)
Preservation is not so much a phase as the rest of your life. Once the first three phases of Banting 2.0 have made a significant impact on your health, your weight and your life, all that is now required is for you to maintain your good eating habits. By the time you reach this phase you will have a clear understanding of your carbohydrate tolerance (insulin resistance) and your repaired gut biome will simply need regular fertilizing and watering.
(Note that some people may never reach the Preservation phase due to severe insulin resistance or other health problems; as a result, Transformation is effectively their preservation phase.)
A note on changing behaviour
Of the various adult learning methodologies available today, RMR agree with those experts who have found that the Jennings & Fuse 70:20:10 learning methodology gives the most effective, long-lasting results.
The justification for the Jennings & Fuse model is research that revealed that only one in twenty education programs include pre-learning and only one in ten include follow-up learning. Analysis of the adult learning programs that work the best showed that the most successful format was broken down into approximately 10 percent pre-learning (preparation and reading prior to the courses starting) and 20 percent actual learning (time spent on the course), with a full 70 percent dedicated to follow-up or ongoing monitoring and assessment.
(Coincidentally, this habit-forming or adult-learning ratio is identical to the ideal macronutrient ratio we aspire to during Transformation.)
Having dealt with thousands of Banters, these stats make perfect sense to RMR, with Observation equating to pre-learning, Restoration and Transformation to actual learning/doing, and Preservation to ongoing monitoring and assessment.
Until the next post I hope this gives you a clear view of the process. We will have a look at what RMR have found to help with your weight loss.
Weight loss and Health.
The Real Meal Revolution (RMR) or Banting is the framework for turning the Banting Diet into a lifestyle, because for any diet to really work, it needs to be fully incorporated into your lifestyle.
The notion of 'going on a diet' means that throughout your life you are either on a diet, or ‘off a diet’. If this is the case, it means that for the rest of time, you are either 'being good' or 'being bad' in the context of eating.
Before we get into any nitty gritty, please take note - There is no morality in eating. There is only healthy eating and unhealthy eating, and even then, when you eat something unhealthy, it does not make you instantly unhealthy, and when you eat something healthy, it does not make you instantly healthy.
It takes a long time to get unbearably unhealthy, and reversing that takes time. The journey to either end of the scale is guided by the more dominant behaviour you adapt over an extended period of time. So one meal won’t kill you. But a majority of meals and drinks could either kill you or save your life.
It is believed that the best way to create a lasting transformation is to only step out of your comfort zone by 4% per month, but only after having a 100% mental and emotional transformation.
If you’re reading this, it is probably because you feel you are unhealthy, and you want to know how to get healthy, fast, and without too much discomfort.
As a coach for the RMR programme it is my intention to get you through various stages of healthy eating to equip you with tools to manage your weight on your own. I don’t believe in putting you on a diet, so that you can succeed, then come off your diet, and sign up again.
I and the programme will teach you how to eat by putting you through three different eating regimes, and before that, you are put through a week of ‘Observation’, or goal setting and planning.
The four phases are very 'diety'. It cannot be ignored. But going through them step by step allows you to experience three separate eating paradigms, which act as 'on-the-job-training' for you to learn what impact different changes in your diet can have on your body. Consider it on-the-job training. It might seem like quite a lot to deal with.
The RMR programme has helped more than 400,000 people lose weight, and after analysing its members’ success, expert advice and the latest research into weight loss, anti-inflammatory dietary interventions, behavioural change management, adult education, habit formation and personal transformation its painstakingly massaged its entire universe of eating into 5 food lists that work in conjunction with four eating styles.