Eat Real Food - New Year Tips

Robert Lustig's Fat Chance is not a diet – its a new way of thinking, living and eating that will change the way you live and allow your body and mind to reach its full potential.

Fat Chance by Robert Lustig

What are the mental benefits to eating well?

Your brain is the biggest utilizer of glucose of any organ in the body. When that glucose comes in fits and spurts, your brain doesn’t function as well as it ought. Refined carbohydrate (starch) delivers large glucose spikes, which generate a high insulin response, which can dip your blood sugar down low, driving both mental irritability and hunger. Worse yet, sugar (sucrose or HFCS) causes insulin resistance, which has been shown to affect the brain leading to poor school performance in children, and dementia in adults. My colleague Dr. Bill Wilson has identified 22 symptoms of an altered mental state, which he calls Carbohydrate-Associated Reversible Brain (CARB) Syndrome. These all go away on a low sugar, high fiber diet. That’s called "real food".

What is one of the greatest myths when it comes to food and food consumption?

The über-myth from which everything else flows is that “a calorie is a calorie”. If you blow up food in a bomb calorimeter, it determines how many calories a food has. But our bodies are not bomb calorimeters. Different foods are metabolized differently. Fiber means less food gets absorbed. Protein costs twice as much energy in its metabolism that does carbohydrate. And the big kahuna, fructose is not glucose, as they are handled completely differently by the body. A better way to say this is “a calorie burned IS a calorie burned, but a calorie eaten IS NOT a calorie eaten”. But that means the quality of the food matters, not the calories.

What are people most shocked by when they read your book?

As to how our Government has been complacent, and even complicit with the food industry to alter the food supply to our detriment. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has two jobs, and they are in conflict. The first is to “sell food”; and that means Agribusiness. And the Government gets a cut of that. The second is to help us “eat well”. They can’t do both. And because there’s money in the former, the latter gets pushed to the side. Processed food rules, because there’s more money to be made. And Government foments it, in part because 6% of our exports are food (totalling $56 billion to the U.S. Government), and because so many Congressmen and Senators receive campaign contributions from various food concerns.

How can a balanced daily menu lead to living a better life?

Depends what you mean by “balanced”. If you mean the “Food Pyramid”, that was the most unbalanced diet around. If you mean “MyPlate”, that’s a little more in the right direction. But it doesn’t distinguish between various fats or various carbohydrates. Every culture has its own “balanced” menu. The traditional Japanese diet looked very different from the traditional Mediterranean diet, or for that matter the traditional Inuit diet. yet they all worked to maintain excellent health. What balance was achieved with any of these? They only thing they have in common is that they utilize “real food”. If you eat “real food” you don’t have to balance anything. And while you CAN eat real food in the U.S. and Canada, 80% of the items in the store are NOT real food. You have to hunt for it.