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Protein, Carbohydrates, & Disease


The philosophical basis for Protein Key™ is rooted in decades of scientific and medical research (see scientific references). The importance of an emphasis on natural foods and protein, as opposed to sugars and carbohydrates, is demonstrated by the following:

Mental Health
The brain is particularly sensitive to sugar and amino acids. The blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance caused by carbohydrates affect mood and behavior adversely. In contrast, a diet rich in proteins (amino acids), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and essential fatty acids levels moods and encourages good social behavior and intelligence.

Aging
As we age, we slowly lose the ability to absorb nutrients from food and rebound from stress. High carbohydrate diets create a constant metabolic dysfunction (stress), and the protein and other anti-aging nutrients they displace result in immune compromise and muscle and tissue degeneration. The two most important times in life for high quality protein in the diet are during growth and with aging. As we age we can have as much as a 50% increased need of protein. Aging is also accelerated by high blood levels of insulin which is a consequence of the insulin resistance caused by high carbohydrate diets.

Allergies and Food Sensitivity
These conditions are incited and aggravated by inadequate nutrition and the constant feeding of so-called processed foods meal after meal. Rotating nutritious foods, reducing carbohydrates, and increasing highly bioavailable proteins breaks this cycle.  

Arthritis and Osteoporosis
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the bones and joints. Carbohydrates pave the way for this condition by shifting the body toward acid and encouraging proinflammatory cytokines.  Sugars encourage the degradation of the connective tissue matrix that holds the body and bone together and can lead to osteoporosis. The putative association between higher protein intake and adverse bone and joint health is incorrect.  

Autoimmunities And Immune Health
In autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease), the immune system attacks host tissue. These inflammatory diseases may be caused by a carbohydrate-induced disturbance in the healthy balances of digestive tract bacteria (probiotics). Certain beneficial bacteria possess important hair-like molecules on their capsule surface. One such molecule is polysialic acid (PSA) which, via the intestinal wall, can stimulate immune CD4 T cells that regulate both immune cell and antibody reactions. CD4 T cells do this by producing both pro- and anti-inflammatory chemical regulators known as cytokines (interleukein-4, 10, and 17, interferon gamma, and others). Without the proper bacteria, the entire body's immune balance is disturbed (shifted toward the potent inflammatory and autoimmune cytokines TH2 and TH17) such that overt autoimmune disease can manifest.

Urinary Stones
A diet low in carbohydrates and containing high protein has been shown to both prevent and reverse certain types of urinary and kidney stones.

Cancer
Cancer is caused by cells stressed by an unnatural microenvironment, including unnatural foods, such as high levels of carbohydrates. This disease is best addressed by returning food to its correct epigenetic form by replacing carbohydrates with protein, lipids, and other natural nutrients known to help prevent and suppress cancer.

Dental Health and Disease
Dental disease manifests primarily in two forms, each attributable to dietary carbohydrates. Periodontitis is an infection and inflammation of the gums brought on by the development of calculus (plaques). Calculus precipitates on the teeth due to the acidity created by bacteria fermenting carbohydrates in the oral cavity. Caries (cavities) also result from bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates that release acids that erode the tooth's surface. Aside from tooth damage, loss of teeth, pain, and halitosis, the chronic oral infection can seed systemically via the blood and lodge in organs and heart valves. Organ failure and heart failure in late life can often be linked to long-standing oral infections brought on by a steady diet of carbohydrates.

Diabetes
Overt or developing diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. A primary cause is high levels of dietary carbohydrates. The pancreas becomes exhausted from excreting excess insulin, and tissues become insulin-resistant—they, in effect, become numbed by the body's continual cries to rid the blood of sugar. This can eventually result in high blood sugar and diabetes with all of its terrible life-threatening manifestations.

Epilepsy
Research has demonstrated that epilepsy can be triggered by the imbalances and metabolic disturbances created by improper diet, in particular micronutrient deficiencies. This commonly occurs with a steady diet of processed starches and sugars. In contrast, high biological value proteins, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients can both prevent and reduce the severity of epilepsy.

Eye Disease
Macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, impaired vision and other eye diseases can usually be linked to free-radical pathology and metabolic disturbances such as diabetes. In turn, these can be tied to dietary factors such as excess carbohydrates and their displacement of protein and important micronutrients.

Free Radical Disease
Free radicals are chemicals produced in foods and in the body from exposure to heat, light, oxygen, oxidizing minerals, and various toxins. They are like sparks that can ignite biochemical fires. Inflammatory reactions (the body's effort to contend with such fires) can negatively impact all healthy functions. Free radicals are quenched (neutralized) by antioxidants such as vitamins C, A, E, plant polyphenols and other elements. Carbohydrates disrupt metabolism such that free radicals and their chain-reaction inflammatory signals attack tissue and even genetic material. Carbohydrates fractionated from plants do not contain the important antioxidants. Sugar can also compete with vitamin C for cellular uptake, in effect blocking the body's fire engines from reaching the fires.

Growth and Development
From the time of conception to adulthood, the body has the highest demands for genetically appropriate nutrition, in particular protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates, which are empty of these nutrients, displace these nutrients. Pregnancy and nursing place high demands on nutrition, and deficiencies in protein, in particular, can result not only in developmental problems but long term epigenetic effects such as susceptibility to degenerative diseases and immune compromise.

Heart Disease
Atherosclerotic plaque in coronary vessels, the weakening of heart muscle, and the insufficiency of heart valves lead to coronary disease and congestive heart failure. These conditions are caused and exacerbated by chronic inflammation, infections brought on by a weakened immune system, and insufficient cardiac and vessel nutrients. A diet high in carbohydrates lies at the root of this number one killer. (See Believe The Cholesterol Myth To Your Peril.)

High Glycemic Index Diseases
Glycemic index is the measure of a food's ability to raise blood sugar levels. Processed and refined sugars and starches are high glycemic index. High glycemic foods predispose to the variety of diseases in this list.

Immune Compromise
The immune system has its own appetite. It is particularly sensitive to protein, antioxidant, essential fatty acid (omega-3,6,  and monoene), and micronutrient deficiencies. Refined carbohydrates rob the diet of immune nutrients and disrupt metabolic and immune regulatory functions. Disease is not so much an assault from some agent outside the body, it is a breakdown of the body's immune defenses. This is why, in any given population, regardless of exposure to infective agents and toxins, some will become ill, others not. An immune system that is not firing on all cylinders because of improper food fuel permits disease to take root unchallenged.

Immune problems from such imbalance include antibody deficiencies, higher susceptibility to infections, reduced amounts of immune generating tissues, and less active and reduced numbers of intestinal macrophages and lymphocytes that destroy pathogens and toxins. High quality protein, prebiotics, probiotic organisms, and nutritional immune stimulants help prevent and reverse these problems.

Infection
Infections are not just caused by exposure to an infective agent. Nor are they due to a lack of vaccines or pharmaceuticals. No plague was ever cured by such human interventions. A weakened host that has been compromised by stress and/or nutritional deficiency is largely to blame. Pathogens are opportunists that prey on the weak. Empty carbohydrates displace immune-enhancing nutrients. Most importantly, they substitute for the important proteins so critically needed for immune function. Refined carbohydrates have also been shown to decrease beneficial probiotic organisms and encourage pathogenic organisms.

Kidney Disease
Contrary to popular (and professional) belief, high protein diets do not cause nor exacerbate kidney disease. The research that has been used to claim the opposite was not done on humans, but on vegetarian rodents. Feeding them a high protein food—something they would not even naturally consume -- does not yield a result that has any meaning in human nutrition. If anything, kidney disease requires increased high quality protein and decreased nutrient-displacing, insulin resistance causing, carbohydrates.

Liver and Bile Disease
High carbohydrates (starches and their sugars) increase the risk of fatty liver disease and liver inflammation leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Maillard Toxicity
Acrylamides and other Maillard (glycation) products in cooked foods are known to be neurotoxic, genome-affecting, and carcinogenic. They are formed when reducing sugars, such as glucose, react during heat processing with certain amino acids such as asparagine, from proteins. The only way to decrease these toxins is to decrease the amount of reactant sugars in the diet, and by incorporating probiotics.

Mineral Disease
Carbohydrates can result in chromium, copper, calcium, magnesium and other mineral imbalances and deficiencies.

Obesity
Obesity is a serious health matter due to the detrimental metabolic and hormonal changes associated with it. Obesity is linked to osteoarthritis, respiratory distress, glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dystocia, decreased heat tolerance, some forms of cancer, and increased risk of anesthetic and surgical complications... to only begin the list. The epidemic of obesity is not caused by "too many calories," or "too much fat" in the diet. It is caused by the unnatural calories of carbohydrates that convert to fat and disrupt metabolic systems such that fat is stored and not properly withdrawn from those stores for energy needs. Both leptin and insulin resistance develop in response to unnatural blood sugar highs. This results in lack of hormonal feedback to depress appetite and use fat stores for fuel. Obesity is the price paid by the body in its desperate effort to rid the blood of the sugar delivered to it by dietary carbohydrates.

Plant Toxicity
Although plants are commonly thought of as passive and indifferent to being eaten, this conclusion is anthropocentric and not at all what the plants are thinking. Although plants don't have legs and can't scream, they do have very elaborate defense mechanisms in the form of chemicals. These serve to ward off predators. When we eat plant materials, we too are subject to these plant defense toxins which can interfere with digestion and exert other toxic effects. Examples include hydrogen cyanide in tapioca, solanine in potatoes, enzyme inhibitors, phytates and oxalates that bind minerals, fermenting oligosaccharides, hormone mimicking isoflavones, and polyphenolics. Heat processing helps to inactivate these, but it is not sure or complete. There are thousands of such chemicals and the only defense is to limit exposure. Eating plant based carbohydrate foods containing these toxins meal after meal weakens defenses and increases vulnerability to disease.

Reproductive Malfunction
Fertility and libido are directly tied to nutrition. Protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients at optimal levels create the best reproductive potential. On the other hand, carbohydrates do the opposite by displacing these nutrients. The diseases they encourage also redirect the body's resources to defenses and healing rather than reproduction. In addition, sugar metabolizes into lipids (fat) that can deactivate the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) gene. When this gene is suppressed, the production of the sex hormones is adversely affected leading to infertility, polycystic ovaries, low sperm counts, uterine cancer, vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, lowered libido, and more.

 

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