Pick up that bread! This doctor-approved method lets you keep the carbs and lose the pounds! Fear of the almighty carb has taken over the diet industry for the past few decades-from Atkins to Dukan-even the mere mention of a starch-heavy food is enough to trigger an avalanche of shame and longing. But the truth is, carbs are not the enemy! Bestselling author John A. McDougall and his kitchen-savvy wife, Mary, prove that a starch-rich diet can actually help you lose weight, prevent a variety of ills, and even cure common diseases. By fueling your body primarily with carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats, you will feel satisfied, boost energy, and look and feel your best. Including a 7-Day Sure-Start Plan, helpful weekly menu planner, and nearly 100 delicious, affordable recipes, The Starch Solution is a groundbreaking program that will help you shed pounds, improve your health, save money, and change your life.
John McDougall is Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of "The Politics and Economics of Eric Kierans: A Man for All Canadas"(McGill-Queen's, 1993), which was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award.
"Dr. John McDougall is the dean of medical practitioners in nutrition-centered medicine because of his incredible accomplishments, knowledge, and courage to stand up for what he believes. Thousands of his patients know him as an icon. When you read this book, you will too." --T. Colin Campbell, PhD, coauthor of The China Study
PART I HEALING WITH STARCH CHAPTER 1 Starch: The Traditional Diet of People Have you had your rice today? This Chinese greeting--the equivalent of our how are you?--reminds us that, for the Chinese, whether you''ve eaten rice is the ultimate measure of well-being. Rice is that essential to the Chinese diet. Throughout most of Asia, the average person eats rice two to three times daily. Rice is also an important food in the Middle East, Latin America, Italy, and the West Indies. After corn it is the second most produced food worldwide, and the world''s single most important source of energy, providing more than 20 percent of calories consumed by humans around the globe. In China, the word for rice and food are one and the same. Likewise, in Japan the word for cooked rice also means "meal." Buddhists refer to grains of rice as "little Buddhas," while in Thailand the call that brings the family to the table is "Eat rice." In India, the first food a new bride offers her husband is not cake but rice. It is also the first solid food that will be offered to her baby. The story is the same the world over. Whether rice in Asia, potatoes in South America, corn in Central America, wheat in Europe, or beans, millet, sweet potatoes, and barley around the globe, starch has been at the center of food and nutrition throughout human history. What Is Starch? Plants use water, carbon dioxide, and energy from the sun to form simple sugars through a process called photosynthesis. The most basic carbohydrate is the simple sugar glucose. Inside the plant''s cells, simple sugars are linked into chains, some of them arranged in a straight line (amylose) and others in many branches (amylopectin). When these sugar chains gather in large quantities inside a plant''s cells, they form starch grains, also called starch granules (amyloplasts). Plants store in their roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits the starch they produce. The stored starch provides them with a source of energy when they need it later, keeping them alive through the winter and fueling their reproduction the following spring. It''s what makes starchy vegetables, legumes, and grains so healthy to eat: Their high concentration of carbohydrates not only sustains the plants but also provides the energy needed to sustain human life. Starch should be our primary source of digestible carbohydrate. The enzyme amylase in our saliva and intestine breaks down the long carbohydrate chains, turning them back into simple sugars. Digestion is a slow process that gradually releases these simple sugars from the small intestine into the bloodstream, providing our cells with a ready supply of energy. Fruits offer quick-burning energy mostly in the form of simple sugars, but little of that slow-burning, sustaining starch. As a result, fruits alone won''t satisfy our appetites for very long. Green, yellow, and orange nonstarchy perishable vegetables contain only small quantities of starch. Their most important role is to contribute flavor, texture, color, and aroma to your starch-based meals. They offer a bonus in the additional nutrients (such as vitamin A and C) that come along for the ride. Why then, here in the states and increasingly around the world, as all populations undergo economic development, have we become so afraid and ashamed of this most elemental food? And what price are we paying for shunning the most basic dietary staple known to humankind? STARCH IS THE KEY INGREDIENT Diet and nutrition advice is often focused on how much we ought to eat, and misses the point: More important than how much, how often, and when we eat is what we eat. Different kinds of animals require different types of diets. We humans are built to thrive on starch. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans we eat, the trimmer, more energetic, and healthier we become. Starch? Really? Isn''t that for laundry? Yes, but it''s also the key to optimum health and satiety. We hear a lot about carbohydrates and whether or not we should eat them, but we don''t hear enough about the most valuable type of carbohydrate, starch. There are three basic types of carbohydrates--sugar, cellulose, and starch--each made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in specific configurations. The simplest of these--sugar--includes sucrose (the granulated sugar you bake into cookies), fructose (which makes fruit taste sweet), lactose (found in milk), and glucose (the simple sugar that comes together in chains to make cellulose and starch). Sugar provides quick and powerful energy because it is so efficiently broken down in the body. (You''ll learn more about sugar in Chapter 12.) The second type of carbohydrate, cellulose, is made up of chains of glucose bonded together by indigestible linkages. It is found in the cell walls of plants and in wood and other organic matter. Our digestive system doesn''t have the enzymes to break down cellulose to use it for fuel, but termites do, which is why they can eat through the wood beams of your home. Although we get no energy from them, indigestible carbohydrates like cellulose are valuable to us for their dietary fiber. The gold medal for the carbohydrate most beneficial to humans goes to starch. Like cellulose, starches are made up of long-branching chains of glucose molecules. Starch is valuable to us because we can break it down into simple sugars that provide us with sustained energy and keep us feeling full and satisfied. Starchy foods are plants that are high in long-chain digestible carbohydrates--commonly referred to as complex carbohydrates. Examples include grains like wheat, barley, rye, corn, and oats; starchy vegetables like winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; and legumes like brown lentils, green peas, and red kidney beans. Starch is so important that an international scientific journal-- Starch --is dedicated to its study. Starch is at the core of my health-enhancing diet. If you take away just one message from this book, it should be: Eat more starch. Basic to our human nature is the scientific fact that we are, and have always been, primarily starch eaters. According to the world-renowned anthropologist from Dartmouth College, Nathaniel Dominy, PhD, "A majority of calories for most hunter-gatherer societies came from plant-foods, not animal-foods, thus humans might be more appropriately described as ''starchivores.''" Think of yourself as a starchivore, like a cat is a carnivore and a horse is an herbivore. You''ve probably heard about the benefits of a plant-based diet--one that reduces or eliminates animal foods like meat, dairy, and eggs. This concept does not go far enough. Without the addition of starch, a diet of low- calorie leafy greens like lettuce and kale, crucifers like broccoli and cauliflower, and fruits like apples and oranges will leave you feeling hungry and fatigued. Nonstarchy green, yellow, and orange vegetables are good for you to eat, but on their own do not give you enough calories to sustain your daily activities and keep you feeling satisfied. Your natural hunger drive may lead you to fill up on something else at the expense of your weight and health. McDougall''s Classification of Common Foods Starches Grains: Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, wheat, wild rice Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas Starchy Vegetables: Carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, potatoes, salsify, sweet potatoes, winter squashes (acorn, banana, butternut, Hubbard), yams Green, Yellow, and Orange (Nonstarchy) Vegetables: Bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chives, collard greens, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onions, peppers, radishes, rhubarb, scallions, spinach, summer squashes, turnips, zucchini Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, loquats, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, persimmons, pineapples, plums, tangerines, watermelons THE REAL PALEOLITHIC DIET Look at a globe--any region with a large population of trim, healthy people reveals the same truth: Healthy populations get most of their calories from starch. Eat a traditional meal in Japan, China, or most any Asian country and you will find your bowl filled with rice, possibly alongside sweet potatoes and buckwheat. The same truth dates back throughout recorded human history. The Incas of South America centered their diet on potatoes. The Incan warriors switched to quinoa for strength prior to battle. The Mayans and Aztecs of Central America were known as "the people of the corn." The ancient Egyptians'' starch of choice was wheat. Throughout civilization and around the world, six foods have provided our primary fuel: barley, corn, millet, potatoes, rice, and wheat. If the map hasn''t convinced you, science documents it well: Over at least the past 13,000 years, starch has been central to the diets of all healthy, large, successful populations. In fact, new discoveries show evidence of starch-based diets even earlier. Starch Eaters throughout History At Ohalo II, an Israeli site dating back 23,000 years, archeologists found wheat, barley, acorns, almonds, pistachios, berries, figs, and grapes among the huts, hearths, and a human grave.1 Other documentation shows that bulbs and corms (an underground plant stem similar to a bulb; taro is an example) were a major food source for Africans almost 30,000 years ago.2 Countering the widely held belief that the European Paleolithic diet consisted predominantly of a
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