Raw Facts Part II - 80/10/10 The Fuel for You
Dr Douglas Graham, a leading expert in sports and fitness nutrition and author of The 80/10/10 Diet, has spent 30 years on showing the efficacy of eating in accordance with the 80/10/10 caloronutrient ratio. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are caloronutrients that provide us with calories, and are therefore called “caloronutrients”. 80/10/10 means that you obtain 80% of your calories from carbohydrates, 10% from protein and 10% from fat. The healthiest and longest-lived cultures in the world naturally follow this caloronutrient ratio, including the Abkhasia from Russia, Vilcabamba from Ecuador and the Hunzukuts from northern Pakistan. All of our closest relatives, the anthropoid primates - gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos - are anatomically and physiologically related to us and their caloronutrient ratio closely approximates 80/10/10. These animals are frugivores, thriving on a low-fat diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables. On average they are about five times stronger than we are.
Nutritionists and health experts all agree that 60-80% of our calories should come from carbohydrates. If we eat less than 80% we will make up for it by consuming more calories from proteins and fats but most likely fats. Insufficient carbohydrate consumption leads to a range of health concerns such as eating disorders, severe food cravings, lethargy, weakness, and an array of other conditions associated with the overconsumption of fats 1,2. Any food we eat whether it is carbohydrate, fat or protein to be utilised by our bodies are first converted into glucose. Since carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars they are turned back to simple sugars on digestion. They are therefore the easiest to convert to fuel. Many of our cells rely on glucose as the primary fuel source these include brain, blood and nerve cells.
Types of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates divide into simple sugars made up of one or two sugar molecules and they include glucose and fructose (the monosaccharides), lactose, maltose and sucrose (the disaccharides). These simple sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, milk and honey.
Monosaccharides are the only sugars that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream though the intestinal lining. Disaccharides are easily broken down into monosaccharides. Simple carbohydrates can be divided into whole food sugars found in whole, fresh plant foods, primarily sweet fruits and refined sugars which are extracted from whole foods. Both taste sweet but are dramatically different nutritionally. Refined sugars are devoid of other nutrients and are therefore empty calories that are nutritionally useless and disease causing. Simple carbohydrates from whole food such as sweet fruit are essential cell fuel in its simplest most easily digestible and absorptive form.
Some larger sugar molecules such as oligosaccharisdes cause flatulence associated with beans because they are indigestible.
Complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides in grains and other starchy vegetables such as potatoes do not taste sweet, are difficult to digest requiring substantial energy expenditure to be converted into glucose, while cooking them generates toxic by-products 1,3,5.
The consumption of cooked grains creates a condition called acid toxaemia which eventually can lead to hypothyroidism, arthritis, chronic fatigue and cancer 1,3,9.
Complex carbohydrate foods include corn, all grains, legumes, roots and tubers and all of the products made out of them including breads and pastas, cakes and pastries. All of these foods are nutritionally inferior to raw fruits and vegetables. Grains are low in vitamins such as C, the most important vitamin for the maintenance of tissue integrity and immune system function which is also most heat sensitive. Other nutrients lacking in grains include soluble fibre, vitamins A, B, E, sodium, calcium, sulphur potassium and several hundred thousand phytonutrients 1,4. Grains and legumes are loaded with phytic acid which is an ati-nutrient that reduces zinc, calcium and iron absorption 5. Both grains and legumes contain too much protein.
Most complex carbohydrate foods have to be cooked with the exception of peas, corn, carrots and beetroots. Due to the blend taste of complex carbohydrate foods they are completely unappealing if served undressed or without flavour enhancers. These foods are difficult to digest even when cooked. We do not possess the enzymes to breakdown the oligosaccharides in legumes or the polysaccharides in grains and starchy vegetables which is a clear sign that they are not for us to consume 1,4. Our biochemistry tells us exactly what we are supposed to eat.
Diets high in complex carbohydrates are therefore associated with numerous negative health conditions. Gluten containing grains mainly wheat but also rye, barley and oats also contain at least 15 opioid sequences 1,6,7. Opiates are strongly addictive morphine-like compounds with potent psychoactive properties. Opiates also lead to neurological disorders, constipation, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, cough suppression and other symptoms 1,4,7.
Gluten intolerance or celiac disease itself is a direct cause or contributes to a wide range of diseases such as asthma, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, depression, migraines and gastrointestinal cancers and may be linked to autism, schizophrenia and several autoimmune diseases 1,7,8.
Grains whether cooked, raw or sprouted contain insoluble fibre which is mistakenly considered as a brush for our intestines scrubbing away toxins. Insoluble fibre does not absorb water remaining stiff and sharp, scraping the delicate lining of our intestines irritating and lacerating it 1,4,5. As a response to the abrasions the lining produces mucus which to some degree protects the intestinal walls however it also prevents efficient nutrient absorption 1,4.
Insoluble fibre also does not allow the release of nutrients associated with it and binds nutrients that are consumed separately therefore limiting nutrient availability. Other symptoms of insoluble fibre consumption include impeded assimilation, adhesion development, scar-tissue formation, leaky gut and irritable bowel syndromes, spastic colon, colon blockages, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders 1,4.
Soluble fibre found primarily in fruit and in some vegetables is an essential nutrient. Soluble fibre absorbs water and keeps the stool bulky and soft. Its main function is to act as a sticky gel-like absorptive substance that moves foods through the intestines. Pectin and guar are the most common soluble fibres mainly used in recipes as thickeners as they absorb water 1,5. These fruit fibres also slow sugar absorption from the intestine into the blood stream. Thus the sugar from whole fruits does not increase blood sugar level as it is slowly released into the blood.
We are designed to eat whole, fresh fruit, natural packages that are nutritionally complete matching out biochemical needs better than any other category of food. Most fruit with the exception of avocado and durian which are more than 20% fat provide us with the 80/10/10 ratio of caloronutrients.
Most of the sugar in fruit comes in the form of simple mono and disaccharides which are a direct fuel for our cells. Human infants have the highest sugar requirement out of all mammalian babes due to our exceptional brain development. This is why our mother’s milk is very high in sugar to provide the fastest brain development possible 9. Within the first two years of growth our brain size reaches half its full size. Glucose is the only fuel the brain can run on.
Protein is the most misunderstood out of all of the caloronutrients. Protein needs have been greatly exaggerated by market forces and its function misinterpreted. Protein’s primary function is in growth (which is negligible in adults) as well as in repair from injury and in cell replacement.
Although protein consumption is recommended to be at 10-35% out of total calories consumed, it is actually really difficult to consume more than 20% of total calories from protein unless you are solely eating protein powders and egg whites as protein is not calorie dense 1. On the contrary to what the meat and dairy industries want you to believe we actually require an extremely low amount of protein in our diet.
The World’s Health Organisation, the US National Academies’ Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council suggest that 10% of total calories should come from protein, for our intake to be sufficient.
Infants have an extremely rapid rate of growth and the greatest need for protein out of all stages of human life and mother’s milk provides only 6-7% of calories from protein 1,9. This is a primary indication that adults do not need more protein per calorie than this. We actually do not need protein but amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Once we have stopped growing we no longer require the raw material from which we are made and most of it is recycled from dead cells so new cells can be made.
Just like when you are building a house you need a certain number of bricks, however once it is built a further supply of bricks only creates problems as you no longer need them. The same is true for protein, when you keep supplying protein you create emergency conditions through a constant state of toxicity.
Additionally when you consume whole proteins such as those found in animal products such as meat, egg, dairy or in grains you body needs to first break them down to individual amino acids before they can be used to build your own protein. By consuming protinacious foods you are essentially given an intact house and to build a house of your own you must first dismantle the old one and reuse the bricks. It is much more time consuming and labour intensive than starting from raw materials.
10% protein actually includes a large safety margin and in fact our intake should only really be 5-6% of total calories from protein as suggested by Prof. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study 10. The large safety margin also takes into account the fact that most protein is consumed in a cooked form which substantially decreases its availability. As discussed in the earlier article The Raw Facts-Part 1, protein coagulation which occurs when protein is heated, changes its structure, making it unavailable to digestive enzymes. Consumption of cooked proteins without the addition of amino acids from raw foods has been shown to result in certain essential amino acid deficiencies 11. Thus when eaten from raw sources a very small amount of protein is necessary indeed.
The question “where do you get enough protein from” shows just how brainwashed we have become by the industries that make a profit out of our vulnerability to advertising. In fact the propaganda has been so successful that this question is posed more or less every time someone mentions that they are vegetarian not to mention a vegan.
Gyms and “health food shops” are packed with protein isolates of all sorts telling us that we need to consume extra protein to build muscle. This could not be further from the truth as only weight-bearing exercise builds muscle and the efficiency with which it does depends only on the quality and amount of simple carbohydrate we supply our body with.
When not enough carbohydrates are supplied then protein requirements go up because there are not enough calories supplied in total. The body then has to convert that protein into carbohydrates to utilise it for fuel which is a very energy expensive process 1. Body builders who follow the 80/10/10 program find that if sufficient calories from carbohydrates are supplied, their protein needs dramatically fall and their energy and muscular growth dramatically increase 1. The Institute of Medicine/Food and Nutrition Board have undertaken an extensive study which shows that no additional protein is needed to account for increased physical activity 12.
All plant foods contain protein but out of an amino acid sequence that varies between foods. There are 20 amino acids and 8 of them can be considered essential and therefore we must obtain them from food. In the 1970s it was suggested that all of the essential amino acids must be supplied at each meal to provide a complete protein. However the author of “the incomplete protein theory” Frances Moore Lappe admitted 20 years later that she was utterly mistaken. Unfortunately many nutritionists still use this misinformed theory. We do in fact require all of the essential amino acids but they do not need to be consumed on the same day yet alone at the some meal.
Our bodies are excellent at recycling 100-300 grams of our own protein every day. By breaking down proteins that we eat and the proteins from dying cells we accumulate an amino acid pool from which new proteins are built.
Fruits contain between 4-8% protein. Our closest relatives such the chimps and orangutans eat mainly fruit and are at least 5 times stronger than we are and consume much less protein than we do.
The standard western diet provides around 16% of calories from protein it does not seem much when we look at what most of us are eating, namely loads of meat, dairy and eggs which are substantially high in protein. However these foods are also high in fat so the percentage of total calories consumed comes mainly from fat considerably reducing the ratio of calories from protein.
Too much protein is lethal
Most people overdose on protein each day and suffer the consequences which include low energy levels, severe constipation and other digestive disorders that lead to acid toximia (toxins present in blood and tissue) ending up in osteoporosis, kidney disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, immune dysfunction and eventually cancer 1,3,5.
Protein based foods are highly acidic as they contain acidic minerals such as chlorine, phosphorus and sulphur. This acidosis means that our blood which is normally slightly alkaline becomes acid and the alkalinity must be restored as soon as possible to maintain homeostasis and prevent sudden death. The body must therefore counterbalance the acidity by leaching alkaline minerals such as calcium into the bloodstream from our bones 7,10. This is how osteoporosis and tooth decay begin.
There is no coincidence in that fruits and vegetables contain just the right amounts of protein to build and maintain the human body and that the minerals they supply are predominantly alkaline including calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium.
It is essentially impossible to develop protein deficiency because every living organism is made up of protein. Protein deficiency occurs only when the body is under starvation such as in the case of malnourished, starving children in Africa. Amino acid deficiencies on the other hand are common on the standard western diet based on cooked animal proteins and junk food.
The U.S Department of Agriculture recommends 20-35% of calories from fat. This is significantly exaggerated by the lobbying influence of the U.S. dairy and meat industries. In 1982 Prof. Campbell while serving on a National Academies of Science expert panel, co-authored a report entitled, Diet Nutrition and Cancer. The report guidelines explicitly linked a high fat intake to cancer. The reduction suggested was from then 40% to 30%, a greater reduction was not possible as the director of the USDA Nutrition Laboratory explained that to eat below 30% fat consumers would be required to reduce animal food intake and this would mean the death of the report.
Since then the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation recommended 15-30% fat in 2003, The Pritikin Longevity Centre with the top heart disease reversal record of any other such organisation recommends 10% fat as do Drs. Dean Ornish, Michael Klaper, Michael Greger and Neil Bernard. All of these health conscious doctors who have authored books on the subject will tell you that consuming above 10% fat seriously compromises your health. Yet most of us eat four times that amount of fat!
We need fat, it serves as a medium that dissolves lipid soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. The fat we need is comprised of the essential fatty acids. Our hormones are produced from fat. Fat also helps regulate nutrient uptake and excretion of cellular waste products. It is our primary insulator, insulates nerves, protects us from physical shock and prevents mechanical damage of organs. Fat is also our energy reserve in case we face a period of starvation so it is stored to essentially save us from death. Fat is a concentrated fuel source providing more than double the calories per gram of either proteins or carbohydrates.
Type of fat matters
From all the media hype around fats most of us are now aware that polyunsaturated oils from plant sources are healthy types of fat as opposed to saturated animal fats which are linked to disease 14. We only require essential fatty acids, those we can not synthesise in our bodies. These are essential for healthy skin, growth and development, heart stability and blood clotting. The two essential fatty acids are alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and -lonoleic (omega-6). Twelve different fatty acids are produced from omega-3 and -6 but not all are essential. Only the polyunsaturated derivatives have to be attained from foods. Omega-3s made form essential alpha-linolenic acid are eiocosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 1,14. In the omega-6 family are arachidonic acid (AA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). There are currently investigations into whether alpha-linolenic acid is actually essential or synthesised in the body as some evidence suggests.
Both types of essential fatty acids occur commonly in plant lipids.
There are no current recommendations for the amount of essential fatty acids, however the correct ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is very important. There is an agreement that early humans consumed these fatty acids in a 1:1 ratio, which is also the ratio in which they occur in our brain 1,14. This ratio has been upset by our use of oils and grains, which skewed it heavily towards omega-6. The recommendation for the ratio now is between 1:1 and 1:4, however most of us consume these fatty acids in the ratio of 1:10 to 1:30! This imbalance results in compromised conversion of alpha-linolenic fatty acid into EPA and DHA leading to inflammatory diseases amongst many others. 0.5-3% of our caloric intake should come from omega-3 and 3-5% from omega-6. The Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends 1.1 to 1.6 g of omega-3 as an adequate intake per day. Assuming the 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 this amount can easily be obtained from fresh fruit and vegetables. The media hype to increase our omega-3 intake through supplements to counterbalance our overconsumption of omega-6 is just as wrong as recommending vitamin C supplements to counterbalance the damaging effects of smoking.
Another vital fact to consider is the ratio between saturated to polyunsaturated fats called the S/P ratio which should be 20/80 (20% saturated to 80% polyunsaturated) 1. This is the ratio which naturally exists in most plants including nuts and seeds. In contrast most animal foods consist of the exact opposite S/P ratio of 80/20. The structure of consumed fats profoundly effects bodily function.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are very stable molecules, unlikely to change their structure and are therefore biologically unavailable to us. Our bodies produce saturated fats and any dietary addition can only be stored as body fat or arterial accumulation leading to heart disease 1,14. The same is true for cholesterol, our liver produces it to synthesise hormones, vitamin D, bile salts and myelin sheath to protect nerve fibres. Dietary cholesterol is therefore an excess which can not easily be removed accumulating in the body, leading to atherosclerosis (arterial wall hardening), reduced oxygen delivery to cells, reduced cell permeability and hormonal imbalance 1,14,5.
Polyunsaturated, liquid fats come from plant sources and are biologically useful to us as our body saturates the fats in the right position on the molecules to utilise it for various functions 1. Oils can be obtained through the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables which naturally have the correct balance and quantity of the essential fatty acids. These fats are extremely sensitive to the elements as explained in The Raw Facts - Part 1. The addition of refined polyunsaturated oils (all plant oils in a bottle) to our foods which are then additionally heated in cooking is an extremely unnatural and unhealthy practice. Bottled oils extracted from plants are empty calories devoid of natural fibre, phytonutrients and vitamins that are present in the plant and should not be consumed for optimal health 5.
The standard western diet provides 42% of calories as fat but the same can be said for most vegetarian and vegan diets 1,14. The only difference is that vegans consume fats in the more correct S/P ratio which greatly reduces their disease risk. Nutritional journals are packed with data showing the correlation between a high fat diet to almost every type of degenerative disease, digestive and blood disorders. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood diseases is diabetes for which excess sugar consumption has been blamed. The reality is that diabetes is not caused by sugar excess but a fat excess 1,13,5. Fat prevents sugar from getting delivered from the bloodstream into cells, a process carried out by insulin molecules. Excess fat in the blood coats blood vessels, insulin receptors, insulin molecules and sugar molecules preventing insulin attachment to sugar molecules and therefore their transport out of the blood stream 1,13. Fats can remain in the blood for more than 24 hours and during that time any sugar consumed will stay in the blood stream raising blood sugar levels and causing problems. During this time cells are starving for sugar and so we continue feeling hungry. Sugar consumption triggers only a small insulin release, in fact research shows that animal products especially meat and cheese stimulate insulin release way above even refined carbohydrates such as pasta 10,13.
Elevated blood sugar levels can generally be cleaned up by Candida, yeasts that feed on sugar once there is an accumulation. It is a natural response; however when too much sugar is present in the blood as a result of blood fat excess Candida colonies multiply and become a nuisance 1. This is a first sign that you are consuming too much fat which remains in your blood and is likely leading to diabetes. Removal of excess dietary fat and especially avoidance of combining fats with sugars solves the Candida problem in a matter of days and can reverse diabetes. The link between diabetes and high fat consumption has been documented as early as 1927 by Dr. E.P. Joslin (15) and yet 81 years on nearly 1 in 4 Australians is affected by the disease.
Consumption of more than 10% of our calories as fat also contributes to cancer formation. A high fat diet decreases oxygen content of blood and tissue which means that glucose is fermented leading to acidic conditions in the cell environment 5. As early as 1931 Dr. Otto Warburg has shown that acidity in the body is the precursor of cancer formation for which he won the Noble Prize. It makes one wander why 77 years later 1 in 3 Australian men and 1 in 4 women are battling cancer.
Fortunately transitioning to our natural diet can and has combated the most lethal of diseases of our time. In the next issue I will discuss the application of the 80/10/10 way of life to help you along your journey to perfect health.
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11 Arthur M. Baker, MA, MHE. Raw Fresh Produce vs. Cooked Food
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13 Holt SHA, Brand Miller JC, Petocz P. An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;66:1264-76. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/66/5/1264
14 Erasmum U. Fats that Heal Fats that Kill. Alive Books 1993.
15 Joslin EP. Atherosclerosis and diabetes. Ann Clin Med 1927;5:1061