You’ve probably been told that eating a low-fat diet that is high in carbohydrates and proteins is the easiest way to drop weight and build muscle. However, are you sabotaging your health and wellness with a high-carbohydrate diet?
The History of our High-Fat Genome
Humans have consumed a high-fat diet for the last two million years due to our hunter-gatherer genome (which is designed to make us fat in times of abundance). Historically, “thrifty” genes that allow humans to gain weight when food was available were advantageous, since winter could bring a long stretch of time where food was unavailable. These genes would signal the body to begin storing fat. However, modern society has increased our access to food, so these “thrifty” genes are no longer needed to prepare us for a period of starvation that may never come. Many researchers believe that these genes may be partly responsible for the obesity epidemic.
What About Carbohydrates?
Early humans likely had very little exposure to a broad range of carbohydrates, except through smaller amounts of carbs contained in fruits and vegetables when ripe. Adding a large amount of carbohydrates (especially wheat and other grains) into our modern diets may have wreaked havoc on our bodies – and our minds.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic revealed that older people who eat a high-carbohydrate diet had increased their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment by nearly four times. Problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment could be caused by carbohydrates that are highly common.
What Should You Eat Instead?
The same study from Mayo Clinic revealed that those whose diets contained a high amount of healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, and fatty, wild-caught fish) were 42% less likely to experience the same cognitive impairment, while those who ate a higher portion of protein from healthy sources reduced their risk by 21%. Wait – should you be eating more fat?
Fatty acids are incredibly important to your brain health, with nearly 60% of the brain being made up of fat. The integrity of your brain and its ability to perform are directly influenced by essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are not synthesized by the body and must be obtained through dietary sources. EFAs and omega-3 fatty acids can be consumed through a diet that includes wild-caught fish and high-quality oils, including organic olive oil, and coconut oil.
Swap Your Diet for Optimal Health
Although you may have been conditioned to believe that grains and other carbohydrates should be a major part of your diet, it may be healthier to swap some of those foods for healthy fats or lean protein sources. Especially avoid white flour and white sugar, such as the type found in cakes, cookies, white bread, and other baked goods.
Taking these steps can help improve the health of your body, help you drop some unwanted weight, and support the health of your brain all at the same time. Wow! What are you waiting for?