Anyone who at least has glanced at nutritional science should know that carbohydrates are non-essential. It’s simply an alternative energy source. As humans, we are designed to function at peak efficiency without them.
Unfortunately, the misconception that carbohydrates are our ‘preferred’ fuel has been so ingrained in most of us, that we believe it to be a universal truth – even among dieticians and nutritional professionals.
The reason this misconception gained momentum, and has been accepted as truth, is because some early observations about the way the body handles each macronutrient when all three of them are available after a meal. When all three macronutrients are available, the first thing to get metabolized are carbohydrates. From that, early pioneers in nutritional science made a pretty big leap in logic; they assumed that since the body burned glucose first, it must prefer carbohydrates over the other macronutrients.
To understand this simple mechanic of metabolic priority, we only have to look at alcohol. A lot of scientists within the nutritional field actually call alcohol the fourth macronutrient, as it is metabolized differently from carbohydrates, protein, or fats.
If you provide the body with all four substances at once (alcohol, carbohydrates, protein and fat), it will metabolize the alcohol first, then the carbohydrates, and then the fat and protein. So, does this mean that our body prefers alcohol as an energy source? Of course not. Our body metabolize alcohol first because it has to handle the most toxic substance to limit the potential damage.
So, the next question is, does our body metabolize carbohydrates before protein and fat because it’s preferred or because it’s harmful? Well, considering that fats and protein are essential, while carbohydrates are not, the answer should be pretty obvious.
And if we look further, at how our body metabolizes carbohydrates, we see that this process produces toxic oxygen radicals which must be decomposed immediately, as they would otherwise cause damage to cells. To lessen the impact of these free radicals, our need for antioxidants increases. And as you know from my post about antioxidants, meeting the need without other negative side-effects can be close to impossible.
Another problem with carbohydrates are the production of triglycerides, especially from fructose. Not to mention that high blood sugar/glucose levels damages arterial tissue and blood vessels, which is why our body obsessively try to control the amount of glucose it allows in our blood. Actually, in a healthy human, only one tenth of one percent of the carbohydrates we can store as glycogen are allowed in the bloodstream at one time. Compare that to the huge amounts of fats and amino acids in your blood and you should clearly see that carbohydrates are not our body’s preferred fuel source, but instead a potential poison that has to be carefully handled.
This is why our body has to prioritize any excessive amount of glucose in the blood before it can return to its normal metabolism. Glucose must be kept low because it is harmful.
And for the carb-shills and any gullible carb-lover, the glucose that our body actually need on a daily basis (including our brain, that actually prefers ketones), are provided by gluconeogenesis – a natural metabolic process that generate glucose from metabolizing fats/lipids and amino acids. When your body is healthy and functions as intended, you will always have enough glucose from gluconeogenesis even if you exercise and do heavy labor all day. And even better, as fat-adapted, you have access to enormous amounts of fuel to keep you going for way longer than anyone on a carbohydrate metabolism. Claiming that you need carbohydrates for energy or to function is simply one of the most ignorant statements one can do.
Just because we have the ability to metabolize carbohydrates for extra energy as a function of survival when we can’t acquire enough animal foods, does not mean that it is good and healthy – especially not long term. Consuming a little bit of carbohydrates a couple of times a week is not a big deal if your dietary foundation is based on quality animal foods. However, consuming carbohydrates daily – and especially several times a day and/or together with toxic vegetable oils – is a sure recipe for premature aging, metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, many modern diseases, and a reduced lifespan.