10. Questions & Answers
I was under the impression that the primary nutrient humans need is protein—for the maintenance of body cells. You say carbohydrates are our primary nutrient need. Why this discrepancy?
The discrepancy exists because our protein need has been overemphasized and our carbohydrate need underemphasized. In the field of nutrition, as in other fields, fads come and go. The excessive concern about obtaining adequate protein has so permeated the minds of most people that it has become a very dangerous preoccupation. It is dangerous because too much protein in the diet is very harmful and is the cause of much of the disease and suffering so many people are experiencing.
Why has our need for protein become so exaggerated? Why is our need for carbohydrates underestimated?
The meat and dairy industries, with the support of the government, are largely responsible for the “protein fashion.” Their message has become a part of the public education systems—its textbooks, its universities, everything it teaches. They want us to believe that those foods which are most unhealthful, foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese, are the most important part of our diet. Secondarily, carbohydrates from grains and breads are promoted—this mostly for the benefit of the refining and baking concerns that bring us Wonder Bread, Cheerios, Pop Tarts, etc. Fruits and vegetables are given very low priority, as the money to be made from marketing these foods is much less than from the nonperishable “foods” and the animal products.
Why have carbohydrates been underemphasized? For one thing, most people, being naturally attracted to sweet things (we are natural biological fruit eaters), manage to get more than enough carbohydrates in their daily diets. This is especially so when we consider the quantity of sugar (refined sugarcane or beets) in the average diet. Desserts, breads, pastas and cereals are quite popular, though these kinds of carbohydrates cause disease because of their nutritional lack of vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, etc., and for other reasons.
Also, a large number of people in our country are weight conscious, and carbohydrates have been named as the culprit. But excessive proteins are even worse than excessive carbohydrates! While weight may be lost on a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet, the harm being done to the organism is more than the harm from keeping the excess fat. The key is to consume natural carbohydrates in the form of fresh fruits rather than processed products. Anyone desiring to lose weight can easily do so on an all-fruit or mostly-fruit diet—and gain excellent health while doing so. It’s the quality of the carbohydrates consumed that makes the difference. Fresh fruits just don’t cause people to gain weight, even if large amounts are eaten.
One more note on this subject: One physiology text condones the high-protein diet, even though it states in the same chapter that carbohydrates are the most efficient fuel
foods. The reasoning for this is that “adequate nutrition is possible … if the need for calories, essential food factors, vitamins and minerals is met.” Of course, they are referring to the body’s ability to utilize proteins as carbohydrates if the intake of carbohydrates is insufficient. As you know, this is an extremely inefficient, wasteful process that is also harmful. The harm caused by excess protein and animal foods will be discussed in more depth in later lessons.
You spoke of losing weight on a fruit diet, but isn’t it true that a person will gain weight on any kind of diet as long as the calories taken in are greater than the energy expended?
Yes, it is definitely true that a person will gain weight if they consume more calories than they expend. However, anyone who is serious about losing weight must pursue an exercise program of some sort. While a person can lose weight by dieting (or fasting) alone, the loss of excess fat must be accompanied by an improvement in overall health if it is to be worthwhile—and an exercise program is essential to good health, even if it’s taken up after a fast.
Because fresh fruits contain much more water than other sources of carbohydrates, they provide satisfaction and a feeling of fullness after relatively few calories are consumed. (Of course, this is not true of dates or dried fruits, which should either be excluded from a weightloss diet or taken in moderation.) It is almost impossible to consume more calories than you expend on a fresh fruit diet—assuming you are active and get daily exercise. The subject of losing weight will be discussed in depth in a later lesson, also.
Is it possible for a person to gain weight on the diet you advocate?
Yes. Except in rare (relatively) cases where emaciation has occurred, gaining fat is usually not desirable. Many studies have shown that exceptionally lean people have longer lifespans and fewer diseases than people we would consider of “normal” weight. As a rule, lean is best. The important factor is the building of muscle, which can be done with the use of weights, along with a well-rounded exercise program (stretching exercises and aerobic exercises) or to a lesser degree without the use of weights. Body muscle can be developed in any number of ways—from swimming or running (or both) to calisthenics or tennis. Ideally, your program should include some resistance exercises (weights, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.), some aerobic activities and some stretching exercises, and should work all the body muscles. A truly attractive body is not one with five or ten pounds of extra fat, but one that is firm and filled out by normal musculature.
For those people who are emaciated and do need to gain fat, this should not be rushed. In addition to obtaining generous amounts of exercise (as outlined briefly above), the excessively thin person should make sure his or her life is not too stressful. Also, he or she should consider a fast if there is a chance that adequate calories have been consumed but the body is unable to use them. A physiological rest may be needed more than tremendous amounts of food in this case.
When it comes to eating, people of all body weights should eat normal amounts of healthful foods. Weight gain or loss is a body activity that will occur naturally if we provide the normal and proper conditions of life. Gaining or losing weight is not something we do; rather, it is something the body does. We just provide our needs, and the organism will normalize itself.
Feeding the people in the United States and in the world would not be possible without the food processing industries. There wouldn’t be enough fresh fruits to feed everyone. The diet you propose is totally impractical. How do you answer to this?
I’m glad you asked that question! The food processing industries are not in business to see that a larger amount of food is available to the world’s people. Rather, they are in business to make money. Everyone would be better fed, even on a diet of grains, which is very inferior to the fruit diet, if they were consumed in their whole form rather than processed. Foods are more nutritious before they are processed, so people would be healthier if it weren’t for these industries.
The food processing industries do not increase the quantity of food available, either. It is the food growers (farmers and orchardists) who insure that people get enough food. The following topic will be discussed in depth in later lessons, but here we will say that fruit culture and organic gardening could feed the world’s population more than adequately if the money and labor now used for food processing (destruction) was instead used for growing fruits and vegetables by organic means. This would, of course, have to happen at least somewhat gradually, but it is possible if enough people agreed to it. The whole world could become The Garden! Wouldn’t orchards and vineyards of fruit and nut trees be more appealing to the senses in every way than food refining plants and factories?
People’s health could improve so much that the drug industry could also divert it’s money and labor to healthful endeavors. Hospitals could be turned into schools, hotels, gyms! As you can see, the possibilities are enormous— and exciting!
No, our natural diet is far from impractical. The earth is perfectly equipped for the growing of fruit and nut trees and vegetables. Food could also be supplied to those areas where little or no food can be grown in some seasons by using money and manpower for effective food distribution. Nuts, seeds, dates, dried fruits and seeds and beans for sprouting all ship and store relatively well.
I and many other people have more regular bowel movements because we include bran in our diet. Would you consider this a fairly wholesome part of some people’s diet because of its anti-constipation effect?
Absolutely not! Bran is a food fragment; that is, it is only part of the whole wheat berry. It has many sharp edges which irritate and cut the delicate tissues within the gastrointestinal tract. Humans require their carbohydrate in the form of usable sugars—not in the form of indigestible cellulose.
As far as regular bowel movements go, you will definitely have them on a diet consisting primarily of the foods of our biological adaptation—fresh fruits. It is not for you, me or anyone else to decide how large or how frequent our bowel movements should be—this is strictly a body process that should remain entirely on a subconscious level. We should never have to think about it at all, let alone talk about it. And on the proper diet, you can be sure that everything is happening as it should within your body, for, as you know, the inherent intelligence of your body is great. Our only responsibility is to provide the normal needs of life—and then just live. The body will take care of its own needs.
I’m hypoglycemic. There’s no way I could ever go on the fruit diet you advocate. I can get my carbohydrates from starch foods, can’t I?
Yes, you can get your carbohydrates from starch foods. Because of the special problems of such starches as grains (phytic acid; their acid effect), beets (oxalic acid, which binds calcium) and beans (also contain much protein, which makes them digest very poorly), you should stick to lightly-steamed potatoes, yams, cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes rather than using grains, beans or beets. They can also be eaten raw or juiced if you like. You may include sprouted seeds and beans, such as chick peas (garbanzos), dry peas, mung beans, alfalfa seeds, etc., as well as lots of vegetables and non-sweet fruits and some nuts, seeds and avocados in your diet. However, do not overdo on the oily foods (nuts, seeds, avocados). Rice and millet are the best of the grains, and can be used in moderation, especially with large raw vegetable salads that contain vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale, celery, etc., but that do not contain nuts, seeds, avocados, tomatoes or starch foods. (The rice or millet is sufficient starch for one meal.) Other relatively wholesome starch foods you may want to consider to insure more variety (if variety is important to you) are winter squashes, pumpkins, caladium roots, taro roots, cassava roots and Jerusalem artichokes. Rutabaga and salsify are also wholesome starch foods. (You may not be able to obtain some of the foods listed above, but keep your eyes and ears open.)
Keep in mind that starches are not ideal foods for humans, even hypoglycemic humans. Starches remain second-rate sources of carbohydrates. For best results in using them, use just one kind of starch food at a given meal and follow correct food combining rules (as briefly explained in this section, but to be discussed in greater depth in a later lesson) and chew your food well. Also, refrain from drinking anything during or within 2-3 hours after your meals. Understand that you cannot obtain optimum health on a diet consisting of cooked starches as your primary source of carbohydrates.
I recommend that, as soon as possible, you take a supervised fast. Hypoglycemics can and do fast—and with excellent results. Many can return to a normal diet that includes lots of fruits. Most or all can include fruits as a substantial part of their diet, though their intake of the very sweet fruits such as dates, dried fruits and persimmons may be restricted. Some fruits contain much less sugar than others and can be tolerated well by “recovering hypoglycemics.”
Whether you fast or not, if you begin living and eating more healthfully, you will be able to eat some fruits, at least in moderation, right away or very soon. As your body begins to normalize and gets rid of stored up toxins that contribute to your problem, you will be able to consume a larger and larger proportion of fruits in your diet. A hypoglycemic does not have to remain hypoglycemic forever. Health results from healthful living—so live healthfully and you will get well.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Classifications Of Carbohydrates
- 3. The Role Of Carbohydrates In The Body
- 4. How Carbohydrates Are Digested And Used By The Body
- 5. Sources Of Carbohydrates
- 6. Why Starches Are Less Than Ideal Sources Of Carbohydrates
- 7. Why Fruits Are The Ideal Source Of Carbohydrates
- 8. Amounts And Variety Of Carbohydrates Needed By Humans
- 9. Disease Conditions Related To Carbohydrate Consumption
- 10. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Carbohydrates By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Digestion Of Foods By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Starches Are Second-Rate Foods By Marti Fry
- Article #4: The “Staff Of Life” By Marti Fry
- Article #5: What’s Wrong With Wheat By Marti Fry
- Article #6: Fruit – The Ideal Food By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #7: Are Humans Starch Eaters? By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton