Why should you consider a low carb lifestyle?
South Africa has the third-highest obesity rate in the world, with the United States of America (USA)firmly in first place and Britain second. Almost half of South Africans are overweight to obese according to a 2014 study conducted by the Medical Research Council. Seven out of 10 women and four out of 10 men are overweight or obese, with a predominance among black women and white men over 35 years of age. Our children rank the fifth highest on the world obesity scale, with almost 17 per cent of children under nine being obese. What a cruel wake-up call!
Preventable ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and strokes are directly related to obesity and are among the top 10 causes of death in South Africa. Experts are only now starting to see the true identity of the deadly culprit, and among those brave enough to expose this identity, the term refined carbs has surfaced time and again. Statistics have shown that we have become really, really fat in the last 40 years. And no amount of global intervention within the last 20–40 years has made ANY difference! Not a single tub of low- fat anything, no revolutionary diet, no piece of gym equipment and certainly no pill.
We live in a modern society where in one 5-minute trip to the store you can buy food from all continents and all four seasons at the same time. You can buy food that has grown without ever seeing the sun, food that was developed in a laboratory, food that was made to mimic the real thing ... all under the banner of convenience. Gary Taubes, the award-winning American science writer, says we are not fat because we eat too much, but we eat too much because we are fat. The fatter we get, the more our fat cells need to be fed. We have moved away from one of the most basic principles of sustained life: food is supposed to be eaten to fuel and maintain our bodies. Instead, food has become a form of comfort, our happy place or a pick-me-up. We even reward our children’s good behaviour with something sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to tell you that we need to celebrate life, and what better way is there to do it than with a feast of beautiful food? But my plea is that you be fuel smart! LCHF gives an authentic guide to times when food was used to fuel and sustain within season and avail- ability. Summer is meant to provide you with abundance and if you are fortunate enough, you should have some fat reserves for winter.
Let’s not fuel with glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrups, modified hydrogenated oils etc. Eat fruit by all means, but understand that a bowl of three or more kinds of fruit used to be a dessert for kings during a festival, not everyday fare!
We are, however, South Africans living in a modern society. That is why I ‘decarb’ the foods we know and love and use nuts and seeds to bake instead of wheat flour. It is easier to adapt to an LCHF lifestyle if the dishes you eat are familiar, even if some of the ingredients may not be!