The Decarb Diet was inspired by my wife, who shoved a news clipping under my disinterested nose. There was a picture of a slim and beaming Professor Tim Noakes, holding a plate of forbidden foods like cheese, cream and red meat. The text explained about how much weight he had lost after he turned his back on years of carbohydrate evangelism and embraced a high fat diet.
With a scant six weeks to go to my 15th Argus Cycle Tour, I was in my usual state of semi-readiness. My training was on track but I lacked the willpower to eat less in conjunction with the harder training. Knowing full well that I would, as usual, start the race at least seven kilograms heavy, I decided that I had nothing to lose. From the moment I put that article down; I stopped eating carbs and switched to a high fat diet.
Magically, it worked. Even though I ate as much as I wanted over the next four weeks, five kilograms melted from my mid-section and I arrived in Cape Town wearing jeans that had hung in my cupboard for almost 20 years!
I hope that you will have the courage to follow the same route that I took. I hope that the additional guidance and information contained in this book will make it easier for you to travel the road to good health and a body that looks and functions the way it was designed to do.
Try the Decarb Diet for two or three weeks and you will not believe how different you will feel as your body switches to burning the fuel it was designed to run on.
The initial ideas behind the Decarb Diet came out of the work of Professor Tim Noakes, the books of Gary Taubes and from the famous video Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Professor Robert Lustig. What they had to say, served to highlight the role of sugar and refined carbohydrates in the decline of worldwide health over the past century. These books were soon followed by a library of others, some of which are listed in the Further Reading section towards the back of this book.
We humans were never designed to eat sugars in anything but tiny quantities. We originated in a world where sugar was so rare that we became hardwired to seek out and consume as much sugar or sweet stuff as we could get our hands on.
Consider the lab rats that are purposely addicted to cocaine. When given a choice between feeding their cocaine habit or eating some sweet stuff, guess which they chose? They went for the sweet stuff, every time. (1)
We are programmed to seek sweetness in a similar way to those lab rats.
This fact is totally lost on the average Joe who is happy to bombard his system with up to 35 teaspoons of sugar every day. (The average sugar intake per person in the USA was 120 lbs. per year in 2005. This translates into almost 150 grams of sugar a day which at 4.2 grams per teaspoon is 35 teaspoons a day.) It is hardly surprising that so many people’s systems begin to buckle under the load and the inevitable health consequences of diabetes and others maladies rear their heads.
I realized that there was another consequence of the sugar and carb tsunami. Most research highlighting the increase in carb consumption in our diets alludes to our primal diet in some way, suggesting that a simple cure is to be had by reducing the amount of sugar we eat. This is well and good, but there is a missing component.
Your Missing Omega-3’s
The Decarb Diet (as do many other low carb diets) advocates a low carb lifestyle. Adoption of this kind of diet automatically results in higher fat consumption, which predictably results in weight loss and improved health.
But there is one additional problem. As we increase our fat consumption and eat more animal protein, we fuel an already existing omega-3 fatty acid imbalance..
The deficiency of omega-3’s in our diet has been implicated in the development of a number of inflammatory conditions which include: arthritis, asthma, various inflammatory conditions, psychiatric disorders and others.
An effort to increase your levels of omega-3 fatty acids is an integral part of the Decarb Diet. The program encourages you to eat more fish, greens and to take omega-3 supplements. These measures will speed up your weight reduction efforts and will greatly enhance your general health.
About The Decarb Diet & Lifestyle Program
This program is not really a diet. It is a healthy eating program that will enhance your life, by reducing your carbohydrate intake and balancing your omega 3 intake.
- Greatly decrease your chances of developing cancer, suffering from heart problems or Alzheimer’s
- Restore your normal hormonal functions and reduce your chances of getting diabetes
- Raise your energy levels
- Speed up your metabolism
- Slow down your ageing processes
- Add some extra years to your lifespan
And yes, you will also lose weight.
This program is based on a low carb, high fat diet. It is guided by proven medical research and is based on the natural diet our ancestors thrived on, which comprised mainly of animal fat, protein, greens and some vegetables. (2)
The diet aims to help you to:
· Remove or greatly reduce the carbs in your diet
· Restore your normal balance of essential fatty acids (Omega Balance)
An oversupply of sugar and refined carbs in our diet, combined with an abundance of omega 6 fats, has had devastating effects on our health.
We are like frogs in a pot of water on the stove, complacent and comfortable as the water slowly boils. In a similar way, our health and the health of our society has been slowly degenerating. Each year, we get a little sicker and little fatter.
This state of affairs suits everyone, except us. As we eat more junk, we get sicker and fuel the world’s greatest industries in a torrent of cash that helps to keep the worlds governments afloat. Our degeneration is driven by a complex of mega industries:
- A global food industry that manufactures mountains of deadly foodstuffs, designed for long shelf life and formulated to trigger our hardwired unhealthy behavior to eat more sweet stuff
- A media and marketing machine that force-feeds the junk to us and our children, using every possible medium and subterfuge imaginable
- A medical industry that peddles expensive cures for the diseases we develop and medical insurance against the diseases we are certain to develop as we consume more of our poisonous food supply
- Governments and health agencies that spend so much energy on disease and so little on disease prevention
This program is designed to stop you from eating carbohydrates so that you can stabilize your blood sugar levels and thus control your weight and optimize your general health.
You will also learn that weight control is more about your health than about how you look. If you are overweight, you are engaged in a game of life or death, your life and your death. (New research shows that being overweight can strip up to ten years off your lifespan).
In addition to dropping your weight, this program will help you dodge the killer diseases of diabetes, heart attacks, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
If you make some personal sacrifices and follow the Three Steps of the Decarb Diet, you will:
- Never be hungry
- Become lean without much effort
- Improve your health
- Drop your weight
- Raise your energy levels
- Brighten your outlook on life
- Prevent premature ageing
- Count calories
- Be hungry
- Have to exercise to lose weight
Principles Of The Decarb Diet
Below are the principles upon which the diet is based. I wish I had known them years ago.
· Being overweight has nothing to do with overeating, laziness or lack of exercise
· We get fat by eating carbohydrates, which make us fat by stimulating insulin
· Eating fat does not make us fat, nor does it cause heart disease
· The carbohydrates in our diet are primarily responsible for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia (Alzheimer’s)
· The carbohydrates in our diet make us hungry and decrease our energy levels
· Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are deadly for our health
· Counting calories is ridiculous and eating excess good calories* will no more make us grow fat, than it will make us grow taller
· It is impossible to lose weight by exercising more, however, exercise is vital for wellness and maintaining the insulin sensitivity of our muscles
· It is essential that we maintain a correct omega-6 to omega-3 balance in our bodies by decreasing our omega-6 intake and increasing omega-3 intake. By achieving a proper omega balance we enhance our insulin sensitivity, increase our metabolic rates, reduce overall inflammation and limit our tendencies towards heart disease, neurological disorders and cancer
* Good calories are calories that do not come from sugar or refined carbohydrates
Why You Need To Avoid Carbs
The Decarb program promotes the removal of sugar and refined carbohydrates (carbs) from your diet to be replaced by a high fat intake.
By removing sugar from your diet and replacing it with high fat content foods, you allow your body to run on the fuel it was designed to run on.
Today we consume so much sugar every day that it is estimated that each American eats over 50 kilograms of sugar a year. As shocking as this number is, it is rising so fast each year that some nutritional scientists have joked that it will reach 100% of the average American’s diet by 2050.
Control Your Blood Sugar
The main goal of the Decarb Diet is to teach you how to control your blood sugar.
By controlling your blood sugar, you can control your insulin levels and insulin is the hormone that is keeping you fat. As soon as you stop eating carbs, your blood sugar levels will fall and down your insulin levels will go.
Keeping your insulin levels low, will give your pancreas (which makes insulin) a chance to recover from its exhaustion caused by years of high carbohydrate bombardment.
You can eat as much as you want but you have to limit carbs because carbs stimulate insulin and too much insulin makes you fat and sick.
Once you understand what causes your individual blood sugar levels to rise and fall, you will have the tools to control your insulin levels and the tool you need to stay healthy and lean.
Why You Have To Balance Your Omega’s
Our food supply contains a massive oversupply of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand are scarce. A normal ratio of these two fatty acids is about one to one (1:1). However most of us have ratios ranging from ten to twenty to one (10:1 to 20:1) in our tissues.
Why Is Omega-3 So Important?
Our brains are built from omega-3’s, which make up about 25% of the brain’s tissue. Omega-3’s also form a vital part of the membranes in our bodies and the lack of omega-3 in our diet causes our membranes to become loaded with omega-6’s. This is really bad news for our health.
Omega-6 loaded membranes are stiff and slow. They then behave like partially blocked drains, allowing only a reduced fluid flow. Thus nutrients pass slower into cells and waste extraction is in turn hindered.
Many scientists today believe that overloaded omega-6 membranes are part of the root cause of the degenerative heart and nerve diseases that plague our civilization.
Omega-3’s are flexible and agile. They are also fragile, making high omega-3 levels in foods, incompatible with a long shelf life. Thus, in order to prevent spoilage, food manufacturers remove them from their products. One of the processes they use is to hydrogenate the fatty acids, resulting in the terms “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” on food labels. Try to avoid eating these kinds of foods.
Never forget that we need both omega-6 and omega-3 in our diet. It is because we eat so much omega-6, that the balance of the two gets out whack.
I found the best description of the problem when watching a series of video lectures videos by Dr William Lands, the world’s foremost authority on essential fatty acids.
In these lectures, Lands highlights how our diet affects the composition of our tissues. (3) He also explains how the imbalance between omega-6 (6’s) and omega-3 ( (3)3’s) in our food supply, is damaging our health.
Competition of the Omega’s
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete for parking space in our cell membranes. If you have a higher level of omega-3’s in your diet, this will translate to a higher level of omega-3’s in your membranes. So you have to increase your consumption of 3’s AND AT THE SAME TIME, reduce your consumption of 6’s.
Following the decarb diet eating and lifestyle plan will limit your exposure to omega-6’s but you will still need to supplement with omega-3’s to reach a healthy ratio of 6’s to 3’s. This healthy ratio is called the omega balance.
To enhance your omega-3 levels, I recommend that you eat lots of fish and leafy greens. However, you will still need to take a daily supplement of omega-3’s of between 1 and 2 grams to achieve omega balance.
You can find a complete explanation about why it is so important for your health to aim for an omega balance in your body, in the section: Achieving Omega Balance Is Critical For Your Health.
The suggested dosage and specific type of supplement is explained in the section: Recommended Supplements.
Why You Don’t Have To Exercise – But You Should Anyway
Weight loss has nothing to do with exercise.
Because of this, Decarb does not specify exercise to lose weight.
However, regular exercise will help keep off the weight you have lost.
Exercise also has many proven health benefits. Exercising regularly helps you to stay lean by lowering your blood sugar levels and increasing the insulin sensitivity of your muscles.
Thus, I suggest that some exercise should always be part of your lifestyle. Please try and move your body in some way every day. Even a ten minute walk will make a difference.
Exercise has nothing to do with weight loss, but it has everything to do with wellness and staying lean.
Exercise To Lose Weight? Sorry It Is Not Going To Work!
What You Have To Do
This is the practical stuff that you need to do to decarb and start your weight loss program.
The Three Phases Of The Decarb Diet
During this phase you will measure your baselines, set your goals, prepare your kitchen and brush up on your decarb shopping skills.
Strike allows you to approach your goal weight by modifying your diet to exclude as many carbohydrates as possible. This phase normally takes eight weeks but can be longer if your weight loss is slower. Besides producing weight loss, Strike aims to teach you about your personal level of Carbohydrate Resistance.
Once you understand how your body handles carbs and how carbohydrate resistant you really are, you can then use this knowledge to manage your eating patterns for the rest of your life.
Stabilization is about maintaining your weight with a low carb and high fat diet. It allows you to find out how many and what types of carbs you can add back into your diet.
There are a few supplements that are recommended as part of the diet. Of these, the omega fish oil supplement is by far the most important. See the outline on the next page.
There are four important supplements that are recommended as part of the Decarb Diet.
- Omega 3 fish oil (EPA & DHA) – 1 -2 grams a day
- Coenzyme Q10 – 100 to 200 mg a day
- Magnesium – 200 to 400 mg per day of elemental magnesium
- Vitamin D – 1000 to 2000 IU a day
These supplements are not absolutely required but are strongly suggested.