Let’s talk about carbohydrates and the standard American diet

What are carbohydrates?  Most food is composed of 4 main macronutrients. Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat, and everybody’s favorite – alcohol. The carbohydrates are your sugars and starches, found in bread, pasta, pastries, ice cream, fruit, starchy vegetables.

We know what carbohydrates do to teeth.  Bacteria that live inside your mouth eat carbohydrates, and secrete acid as a byproduct onto teeth and bone that demineralize teeth and cause cavities, and cause bone to recede.  But what happens after the carbohydrates that contacted your teeth are swallowed?  What do they do to the rest of your body?

All diseases begin in the gut! The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, made this statement more than two thousand years ago. French psychiatrist Phillipe Pinel (1745- 1826), known as the father of modern psychiatry, stated  “the primary seat of insanity is the region of the stomach and intestines.”  The suspicions and knowledge we had hundreds of years ago is backed up by tons of evidence in 2019.  Most disease emanates from what we decide to eat at the multiple meals we have each day.  In summary: put junk into the body, get disease, mental and/or physical, back out.

The problem is, does the average person really know good food from junk food?

Most people know a candy bar isn’t nutritious or good for you.  But how about a bowl of pasta? How about mashed potatoes? What about a bunch of servings of fruit?  Some might think if they had that stuff they ate pretty healthy.  As it turns out that probably isn’t the case.

Like your mouth, the human gastrointestinal tract is home to about 1,000 species of bacteria and yeast and contains tens of trillions of microorganisms at any given time.  Collectively, they are known as the MICROBIOME.  Their function is symbiotic.  We help them, they help us.  We’re friends. You might not have known that you have tens of trillions of little friends!  They live in everyone’s gastrointestinal tracts, digesting some of our food, in turn, creating vitamins for us, stimulating our immune systems, secreting substances that keep the cells of our gastrointestinal tracts healthy, among many other functions.  But the microbiome contains good bugs and bad bugs.  The bad bugs, some yeasts and bacteria, utilize carbohydrates for their survival and in turn, make alcohol, acetaldehyde and other harmful toxins that can be absorbed by the body and act on your brain changing your behavior.  The continued proliferation of the bad bugs causes inflammation of the gut lining, which combined with other irritants that are ingested, can cause a phenomenon known as “leaky gut”.  This is where a lot of the trouble starts.  The normally tight junctions between the cells of your gut lining, when inflamed, allow partially digested food molecules and toxins out into the body space when they should have been confined to the gastrointestinal tract.  This can be the genesis of most autoimmune disease: lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, crohn’s and colitis, eczema, allergies and probably hundreds of other conditions.  It can also lead to developmental, psychological and behavioral problems.  For example, when your gut is inflamed, the cells that normally make digestive enzymes are damaged, and food like dairy and wheat proteins, (casein and gluten) which are normally broken down into tiny molecules, are left in larger forms.  Some of these substances are caseomorphins and gluteomorphins – that is, if you aren’t able to digest dairy and wheat correctly, they can generate morphine-like substances that can act on your brain changing your mood and behavior. This can be contributing factors to autism, ADD, schizophrenia, and other psychological and mental syndromes.

Inflamed GI tracts can also be inefficient or unable to absorb micronutrients.  Your B vitamins.  Zinc.  Magnesium.  Copper. Etc. And each of those micronutrients is responsible for hundreds of types of chemical reactions in your body that keep your immune, nervous, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems functioning optimally.

So, there’s a lot going on in your gut.  More is being discovered constantly and more will be discovered for a very long time to come.  THE SCIENCE IS NEVER SETTLED, and that goes for everything.  The big problem we have right now is that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is entirely too high in processed foods, most of which are very heavy in carbohydrates.  That will modify your microbiome and possibly set up systemic disease, mild or severe.  It might be best to consume whole, unprocessed foods like meat, fish and vegetables; which, when you really think about it, is what we were actually intended to eat.  90% of what you see in the grocery store is sold in a form that was never found or intended to be found in nature. But were we designed to eat it?


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