What if you have eaten a lot of carbs and remain thin? This describes most people in my family...I think we are, as Taubes suggests, not as sensitive to carbohydrates as others. I read the book and agree with the conclusions, but I cannot seem to make sense of what to do, given that I am one of those folks who seem to not get fat on a relatively high-carb diet....He does suggest staying with whole grains (oatmeal, whole whole flour) correct? And can these whole grain foods remain in my diet in moderation. Then again, he suggests that the polyunsaturated fats in whole grains may be responsible for causing cancer. Any advice from those who have read the book and have a good understanding of it would be appreciated. Thank you.
Then consider yourself fortunate--you're able to process carbs. But has anyone in your family gained weight as they got older? I'm not talking hugely fat, but maybe ten pounds or so? Taubes writes that the older we get, the less we're able to process the carbs, the dreaded "middle age spread".
Most of my family is also in the normal weight range and we can all "process" carbs.; however in the older generations there's cancer and heat disease. Simply not being overweight on a high carb diet isn't a sign that you're body is 100% happy with it.
I still follow a low carb diet because it boils down to one simple fact: I simply feel significantly better on it: stable mood and energy levels, no pms-ing, way less prone to depressive moods, and finally clear skin! That last factor is how I stumbled on low carb, not for weight but for acne problems. Cleared it up (this is from someone who went through most medications offered, including Ro-accutane).
There are a multitude of factors that influence fat accumulation, all of which vary - sometimes considerably - across individuals. Just to name a few of these (which are all discussed in the book)...
1) To what extent do carbohydrates in the diet translate to blood sugar levels (individual differences in digestion)? 2) How much insulin is produced in response to various blood sugar levels (endocrine function)? 3) To what extent does insulin production inhibit glucagon production? 4) To what degree are the other hormones and enzymes related to fat accumulation and metabolism produced in the body (ex: lipase, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones, etc.)?
This is typical of young people with little insulin resistance. However, high carb/sugar diets that produce higher blood sugar levels increase risk whether you're thin or not (the risk of most diseases associated with diabetes increases by about 30% for every 30 unit increase in blood glucose). And your insulin resistance will only rise as you get older, making weight gain and rising blood sugars more likely. Also note that about 20% of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics are thin. So it's the blood glucose levels that count.
Obesity is a symptom, not a disease. Some people just don't display all the symptoms of a disease.
Insulin goes up to keep blood sugar down, and because you can not store sugar as energy your body converts it to fat. Insulin calls forth lipoprotein lipase which tells your body to store the fat. You, over time, becomes resistant to the affects of insulin. This causes your body to produce more insulin to keep your blood sugar down. With this comes more lipoprotein lipase. This is why people get fat. Some people become resistant to the enzyme lipoprotein lipase at the same rate. So they don't get fat, but still suffer from the underlying disease.
I agree with H. Karaki -- size isn't everything. My (adoptive) mom has been slender her whole life, and is also a carb addict (bread and sweets every day -- the diet that inflated me to over 220 pounds), but has been diabetic since she was in her thirties, and has arthritis, irritable bowel, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. All the diseases of civilization, except for obesity.
A blood glucose meter is cheap, easy to use, and might open the original poster's eyes to surprising BG levels even if you are not overweight. See the recently published book "Sugar Nation," written by a pre-diabetic who is tall and thin (and a writer for various men's health magazines!)
(I realize the OP was made nearly 3 years ago, but still...)
I'd try cutting down to 150 carbs a day. Eat good fats and good quality meat and eggs etc. to satiety. then eat as many veggies as you can fit in, add a serve or two or three of fruit, some nuts or seeds, and finally, a serve or two of grains or legumes a day. (Properly prepared if you can; soaked and fermented - if you're very into healthiness!)
See how you feel. Perhaps you'll feel better on fewer carbs even if weight isn't affected.
If you don't notice much difference, or you feel a slight differnece, try going down to 100 carbs a day. Experiment with which foods make you feel best and which amount of carbs. When you hit the right combination, you'll feel it!
If your adoptive mom was diabetic since her thirties and was still eating high carbs, she may have been thin because of high sugars. These high sugars also contribute to arthritis (fluid retention), bowel problems due to neuropathy, high blood pressure (fluid), and congestive heart failure (fluid and/or medication caused).
I was omnivorous and thin for 45 years and ignored all dietary advice. After hearing about exercise benefits (more efficient fuel burning and less carbon dioxide to deal with) I tried low carbohydrate living 2 months ago and immediately felt better. I became calmer, much less irritable, had improved sleep, and my digestive system responded beautifully as if I was going back in time to trouble free youth. It was fantastic to KNOW I could get through days without strong insulin triggered hunger. I used to eat 3 bowls of sugary cereal and get ravenously hungry before noon. That never happens with eggs, cheese, and fatty meat. I used to drink fruit juice with a lot of high fructose corn syrup after strenuous activity. Now I know that clears triglycerides from the bloodstream and stops the easy conveyor belt of cellular fuel, so water and non carbohydrate foods are preferred.
Easy carbohydrate processing (luxusconsumption) is a survival advantage, especially in cold climates. It lets people eat a poor diet and turn it into heat instead of locking it away as fat. I love having the option of switching to cleaner burning and longer lasting fuel. I suspect the insulin response to carbohydrates evolved to make use of poor quality foods as a temporary emergency backup, not a year round way to live.