In my ninth year doing this, I am more convinced than ever that eating copious amounts of saturated fats for nearly a decade has not only proved harmless to my health, but has prevented me from being 60 pounds heavier, diabetic, and having to be treated for GERD. It’s probably also prevented me from sky-high cholesterol and unmanageable high-blood pressure to boot.
I was so convinced of this that I maintain this blog to spread the good news about achievable weight loss and better health.
But is this a stupid thing to do?
If I were to convince everyone that low carb was a healthful diet, the prices of the things I eat would skyrocket. I need all those shoppers on Saturday filling their carriage with grains from the snack aisle and avoiding ‘fattening’ foods while I go to the hardly crowded meat and deli counters to get that supposed ‘artery-clogging’ goodness that is meat.
Imagine the meat counters if everyone ate low carb – as crowded as a bar giving out free beer. There would also be shortages because our global agricultural system simply could not sustain all the people currently alive *without* feeding them grain. Had we made different decisions about how to feed people decades or centuries ago, we might have been able to sustain more meat production, but if you read this truly puke-inducing article from Rolling Stone about Smithfield Farms, it becomes apparent that we are already producing too much meat. (The original article was taken down apparently – the link goes to an excerpt. In fairness, Smithfield Farms has a rebuttal on their site.)
The sad fact is that we have more humans alive than could be sustained on a diet that I believe would leave many healthier, thinner, and more long-lived.
The solution here reminds me of the essays kids had to write in the 1960s about who should be let in to the fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear attack. There’s only so much room in there. Should we allow in the writer and let the portrait painter stay outside to face the blast?
It was a sick mental exercise to force a bunch of schoolkids to perform – they were sick times, in retrospect.
And it’s a sick mental exercise now to think about the notion that the little group of diet and nutrition nerds that frequent blogs like this depend on the clueless masses to be able to even afford such a diet. Yes – low carb doesn’t have to be that expensive, but food prices are going up – and meat prices even more so.
When we buy a delicious fat-laden pork belly, we have to ask for it. The butcher seems to find the request novel. But they have it.
I have just come across a stat from the Calorie Control Council, an organization that represents the artificial sweetener manufacturers, that states that of all Americans on a diet, only 8% of Americans go on a ‘restrictive’ diet like Atkins.
There’s a reason economics is called the ‘dismal science’, and the lack of understanding of the health and weight loss benefits of low carb is great for us – and not good for them.
5 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Keep This Low Carb Stuff to Ourselves?”
It must have been about 40 years ago that I read an article in Scientific American in which the author(s) estimated the Earth could comfortably sustain 50 billion people with efficient utilization of existing agricultural technology. From my own gardening experiments and extensive reading on composting and nutrition, I imagine that estimate could be doubled or tripled these days. Who Knows? What I do know is that the nutrients our bodies shed on a daily basis can be recycled easily enough. The planet has an abundance of all the elements required to sustain life in far greater abundance than now exists. There’s plenty of water, energy from the sun, lots of carbon nitrogen, and oxygen. The earth is full of minerals. Resources just need to be distributed and managed properly. Currently, where food production is concerned, humanity is like a v-8 engine trying to operate on two cylinders. Check this out:
SAN MARTIN DE SAMIRIA, PERU – To the untrained eye, all evidence here in the heart of the Amazon signals virgin forest, untouched by man for time immemorial – from the ubiquitous fruit palms to the cry of howler monkeys, from the air thick with mosquitoes to the unruly tangle of jungle vines.
Archaeologists, many of them Americans, say the opposite is true: This patch of forest, and many others across the Amazon, was instead home to an advanced, even spectacular civilization that managed the forest and enriched infertile soil to feed thousands.
Outside Manaus, Brazil, Eduardo Neves, a renowned Brazilian archaeologist, and American scientists have found huge swaths of “terra preta,” so-called Indian dark earth, land made fertile by mixing charcoal, human waste and other organic matter with soil. In 15 years of work they have also found vast orchards of semi-domesticated fruit trees, though they appear like forest untrammeled by man.
On a recent morning, using a soil coring device, Oyuela-Caycedo extracted a heavy, black dirt in a spot he calls Salvavidas, or Lifesaver. It was terra preta, black, nutrient-rich, as good for agriculture as the soil in Iowa.
“It is the best soil that you can find in the Amazon,” said Oyuela-Caycedo, who wore netting over his face to protect him from mosquitoes. “You don’t find it in natural form.”
Three feet deep here, and stretching nearly 100 acres, this terra preta could have fed at least 5,000 people. The forests here were also carefully managed in other ways, Oyuela-Caycedo believes, with the Indians planting semi-domesticated trees that bore all manner of fruit, such as macambo, sapote and jungle avocados.
There’s a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that says:
“The good Earth – we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy”
The likelihood that the entire country or world is going to decide to go low carb at once (or ever) is fairly slim. If such an “awakening” does occur, it will be of such a miraculous nature that we can expect it to be accompanied by an equally miraculous enlightenment regarding food resource managment. At least there will be models of low carb eating for others to look at-think of yourself as a guinea pig sacrificing yourself for the good of future mankind. Seems that most humans & human systems don’t change on a large level until they have to, often as a result of some painful or cataclysmic event.
@ Dave B- fascinating!!!
Thanks, Kim. As Abba Eban said, “Men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all the other alternatives.”
Actually, I am quite content with most of population eating their carb junk and not being very interested in pastured butter, organ meats that are twice cheap even from grass-fed animals. I even receive a grass-fed beef fat for free because over-vise they would put it in a garbage, I cook with it. It is a heaven created by standard diet advice! No problem if it lasts longer.