By Rob Archangel, 180DegreeHealth.com staff writer
Welcome back to the Real Food Summit roundup. Today, I spent a couple hours listening to Gray Graham of the Price Pottenger Nutritional Foundation talk about epigenetics and the hereditary aspects of illness.
That dude really doesn’t like high glycemic foods. He mentioned their alleged dangers probably a dozen times or more, and targets them for messing up our self-regulating good health. As Matt mentioned in a recent video, glycemic index is a lousy way to determine what you should eat or what sort of impact a given food is likely to have on you. Even if a given food spikes our insulin really high and really fast, it is our insulin sensitivity that determines whether this is problematic. ?If we’re insulin resistant, we don’t get the benefits of insulin like its ability to shuttle energy into our cells or to blunt our appetites. Spiking our insulin less avoids the issue; we’re better off trying to improve our insulin sensitivity than to avoid foods which spike it. ?Ironically, it is often the foods with the highest glycemic index, like boiled potatoes, that help us improve that sensitivity more than lower glycemic-load foods like cheese fries.
That said, he did make some interesting points about the non-genetic roots of many of our illnesses. Maybe as little as 2 or 10% of our illness is actually genetically predetermined; the rest is impacted to greater or lesser degrees by our environment, from the foods we eat to the agents we’re exposed to, and to the patterns and practices we or our families engage in. ?That’s the epigenetic stuff, the stuff on top of our genome, and we can make a real impact there, which I think is an important message. We may not always know the best interventions, but we can experiment and find out what works. Rarely are we stuck without hope.
Another observation: he pointed out that Ancel Keys’ work was co-opted by big food processors to ends Keys probably neverendorsed. Maybe there’s an emerging sense of the complexity of ole’ Ancel. ?He’s widely celebrated as the anti-saturated fat guy by conventional authorities, and maligned for the same reason by many pro-fat traditional food advocates. But as Denise Minger pointed out, the story isn’t so simple; he’s neither quite as bad of a scientist as the pro-saturated fat camp would have you believe nor quite as responsible for the proliferation of modern industrial foods. And his participation in the Starvation Study showed, he did make some valuable scientific contributions.
Who else is following the Summit? Any gems I’ve missed?
I havnt listened to anything besides Chris Masterjohn! That guy is the truth!
I am so confused about the polyunsaturated fats. Dr. Cate and a couple others keep mentioning the benefits of good polyunsaturated fats like cold pressed grapeseed oil. However, Dr. Ray Peat’s work shows we should avoid them at all costs. Both sides seem to have a dozen studies at their fingertips to illustrate why they are good/bad. I am just lost.
I have been confused about polyunsaturated fats also. If they are essential don’t we need them?
Like is cold pressed hemp and flax oil bad for you then?
Higher O6 intake means you need a higher O3 intake because there is some competition for the same metabolic pathways. Generally the requirements for both are very low. You can get all you need from grassfed, pastured butter and eggs and so forth. The main thing is to keep the O6 (and vegetable oils in general) low. PUFAs in general are much less stable so the idea is to minimize them in the diet. Chris Masterjohn talks a lot about these issues.
I think it’s the ratio and form of PUFA’s that seems to be the problem. Maybe eating foods containing highly rancid, concentrated forms of PUFA that has enveloped the modern e.g. canola oil, is probably best be avoided. Some PUFA in a handful of raw cashews might not be so bad.
I’ve noticed a lot of carbohydrate hating in this summit. Cate Shanahan was a total carb hater, stating that fruits are the rough equivalent of refined sugar. Gary Graham was getting up on the glycemic index, and today Barry Groves has a presentation almost entirely dedicated to why we should follow a low-carb diet. I think Groves gets a lot of things wrong though.
1. As Matt has pointed out, many primitive groups ate high carb diets, not just low carb ones as Grove states.
2. The fact we caused mass extinctions on every continent except Africa (where we co-evolved) implies we highly omnivorous and that animals don’t need to make up a large part of the diet. This is covered in The Time Before History, but basically an animal that is totally carnivorous will have population decline when it’s prey specie(s) gets low. Humans don’t do that because we can pick and choose at our leisure or just eat other things. So we don’t decline and there is no corresponding rebound in our prey species. We just keep picking at them.
Lots of carb-hating, yep. Will have some comments on Groves and Zoe Harcombe later today. Boy- some of these arguments are dumb.