Re: "Food combining"

Pat Fallon (
Sun, 11 May 1997 15:07:31 -0400 (EDT)

I've been following some of the food combining thread. I got into the Fit
For Life books a while back and tried their suggestions for at least a year
and a half. My cholesterol ratio was bad, so I was looking to exercise more
and change my diet in order to bring it down. I tried to follow the food
combing program... Fruit in the morning, bagels for lunch, salad and low fat
protein for dinner. I didn't lose any fat and my cholesterol didn't improve
even though I rode my bike and climbed some. Then almost exactly a year ago
I heard one of the authors of "Protein Power" on the radio, and went and
bought that book, and later "The Zone" by Barry Sears, PH.D. ["Protein
Power" by Michael R. Eades, M.D. and Mary Dan Eades, M.D. "Why too many
carbohydrates in your diet stimulate your insulin production, which actually
makes your body store fat."]

I caution that neither book cites much in the way of controlled scientific
studies of their diet.

These books look at something that the Fit For Life program seems to
ignore...the insulin-stimulating effects of a high carbohydrate diet and the
problems that brings.
Insulin activates the enzymes that run the cholesterol-making apparatus,
resulting in overproduction of cholesterol.

"Our own cells make cholesterol and lots of it. In fact, 70 to 80% of the
cholesterol burbling along in your blood vessels was made by your own body.
Only 20 to 30% came from your diet. Every cell in the body has the capacity
to make cholesterol, but most is made in the liver, the intestines, and the
skin, with the vast majority coming from the liver cells. Elevated levels of
insulin spur these cells to churn out vast amounts of cholesterol, leading
to elevated blood levels." (Protein Power, pg 33-34)

Our body needs cholesterol, and when the c. level in each cell goes down, it
can produce it internally or it can increase the LDL receptors on the
surface of the cell and take cholesterol out of the blood, or a combination
of both. If you interfere with the internal production of cholesterol (as
the cholesterol drug lovastatin does), LDL receptors rush to the surface of
the cell to pluck the LDL cholesterol our of the bloodstream, bringing about
a quick and significant lowering of LDL cholesterol in the blood. But
lovastatin has caused liver problems, muscular disorders, etc. Protein Power
claims that you can get the cholesterol-lowering results w/o having to
resort to drug therapy.

There is one step in the cholesterol synthesis pathway inside the cell
called the rate-limiting step [3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A
(HMG-CoA)reductase] that determines how fast and how much cholesterol gets
produced. Insulin stimulates HMG-CoA reductase, while glucagon inhibits it.
A diet high in carbs calls forth insulin, but a diet with lower carbs puts
you in a glucagon mode.

Since my wife is an insulin dependent diabetic, I had already known that
when she has to take insulin to cover for her impending meal, carbs raise
her blood sugar more quickly. Some new, radical approaches to controlling
diabetes stress cutting carb consumption dramatically, so you take much less
insulin. I had tracked down an out-of-print book by a doctor with a clinic
on Long Island who has had success with this program, so I thought I might
try decreasing my carb consumption also. "Protein Power" predicted that a
very low carb diet would quickly and dramatically lower triglycerides. Then
HDL would gradually rise, and LDL would lower.

I went on a very low carb diet, and my triglycerides dropped 200 points in 2
weeks. My HDL did rise, very slightly, and my LDL dropped about 30, my total
c went down by about 35. I also lost about 4 inches off my waist over the
course of several months. Unfortunately, the medical plan I have won't let
me order the blood tests I would like, and I have to see the doctor before
getting tests done. So this data is very limited. I wouldn't do this
yourself without considering everything carefully.

Where this dovetails slightly with food combining is that in the early, very
low carb phase that Protein Power recommends if you have bad cholesterol
ratios, high blood pressure, or are more than 20% overweight; you shoot for
30 grams of carbs a day. This means you don't combine much because you
hardly eat ANY starch. Later you raise your carb level to 40% of the
calories at any meal, with 30% protein and 30% fat [The Zone]. You figure
how much protein to eat by figuring your lean body mass and by multiplying
that figure by .5 grams of protein daily (if you are sedentary, .6 if you do
some exercise, etc.) and dividing that up into 3 meals.

Protein Power claims that game hunting was the primary means of sustenance
for our ancestors 700,000 years ago. From that time until the beginnings of
agriculture about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago) 60 to 90% of the calories in
mans diet was from large and small game animals, birds, eggs, reptiles and

"The forces of natural selection acting over some 7,000 centuries shaped and
molded our physiology to function optimally on a diet consisting
predominantly of meat supplemented with roots, shoots, berries, seeds and
nuts. Only within the last 100 centuries have we reversed the order to
become mainly carbohydrate eaters with meat as the supplement. This dietary
reversal-from a diet providing, on average, about 75% of its calories from
some sort of meat with the remainder coming from plants to one in which only
25% of calories comes from meat, the rest from other sources, has taken
place in approximately 400 to 500 generations, far short of the 1,000 to
10,000 generations deemed necessary by geneticists to allow any substantial
generic changes to take place. We may yet adapt to the high carbohydrate
agriculture diet, but history tells us it will probably take another 10,000
years."(Protein Power pg 17).

I've found a book called "The Paleolithic Diet" and am checking this out.

In the meantime, I think Fit For Life or Food Combining pushes carbs too
much. Your mileage may vary.

Pat Fallon