This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni’s Renegade Roundtable, which can be found at http://www.RenegadeRoundtable.com. In this excerpt, Dr. Doug Graham shares on fats, sugars and the body.
Renegade Roundtable with Dr. Doug Graham is a lifetime athlete and 27-year raw fooder. He’s been an advisor to top performers including tennis legend Martina Navratilova. He’s also the author of the lifestyle book 80/10/10.
Kevin I want to move into fat, because there’s a lot of talk in the raw food community where there’s more than one camp. One will say high fruit, low fat, low protein. Another one will say no fruit, greens and high fat. What are some of the challenges with eating a high fat diet?
Dr. Graham: Well from a medical standpoint we know that high fat diets have been linked to cancer and heart disease, diabetes and chronic fatigue. Even candida and most digestive disorders are all linked to the over consumption of fat. I agree, too much fruit is bad for you. People ask me all the time, “Isn’t too much fruit bad for you?” Yes, of course it is. Too much of anything is bad for you. That’s what the phrase means, is that you have a problem. As does the phrase, “Too little.” Part of the problem with too much fat is that you invariably also get two few carbohydrates, so you end up with a double whammy. As soon as you end up in that ‘too’ category, meaning too much or too little, you’ve got both sides of that seesaw swinging out of control. When you don’t eat enough carbohydrates you invariably end up with cravings. This is why over 70% of all of the eating disorders in the United States are associated with binging on complex carbohydrate foods. Because when you try to reduce your carbohydrate intake below that from which we are designed as a species, which is 80 plus, you invariably start to crave that for which we are designed. It would be like holding your breath. If you try to hold your breath you’re going to invariably really start wanting to breathe, a lot, soon.
So in the Standard American Diet where we’re eating about 40% of our calories from carbohydrates, we still see a tremendous number of people with disordered eating. But when we go to the standard raw approach, when the carbohydrate intake is halved again down to 20%, then we see massive challenges with binging, people going to refined sugars, relentlessly going to candy and alcohol and dried fruits and chocolates and anything that’s a refined sugar source, in order to make up for the lack of carbohydrates that they’re not eating through fruit.
Kevin You mentioned candida, let’s talk about that. There’s all sorts of approaches for this. One is to starve the candida with no sugar and the other is eliminate the fat.
Dr. Graham: Well, I think there’s a variety of approaches. We have to understand enough about candida to at least make some sense. Candida is a microorganism that has a very short lifespan. We’re talking hours, days is not even common. We’re talking hours. If you have a candida problem and you’re trying to get rid of it and you’re trying for more than a couple of days, you’re not trying an approach that’s working because it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. You’re still feeding the candida.
What you have to look at is what does it do, what does it feed? It feeds on sugar, no question. It feeds on sugar and fats. All the cells of the human body are fueled by sugar. All the healthy cells, all the sick cells, all the cancer cells, all the damaged cells, all cells of the human body are fueled by sugar. Which means that there has to be a fuel delivery system to all the cells and that fuel delivery system is the blood stream. This is why doctors can measure what is known as your ‘blood sugar.’ All humans carry blood sugar. If your blood sugar level was zero, you would be dead. Therefore it is actually impossible to starve the candida of sugar by not eating sugar. If you’re on a diet of strictly olive oil, if you’re on a diet of strictly protein powder, or if you’re on a diet of strictly powdered sugar, if your pancreas is healthy and the rest of your system is healthy, the doctors should be able to measure your blood sugar and find out that it is within normal limits, in the normal ranges. It’s going to be the same whether you’re on a fast, not eating anything, or whether you’re on the Standard American Diet. It’s going to run, in American numbers, somewhere around 90-100. What we see is that everyone always carries blood sugar, that’s always there.
At that point we have to look at why does blood sugar rise and how does that affect what’s going on in terms of the candida issue? Essentially it’s like this, we have to bring sugar to the cells of the body. We do so through the delivery system of the blood stream. When we want to get more sugar to the blood through the blood stream, out of the blood stream, to the cells, this is done through a carrier system, essentially a doorman, that we call insulin, produced by the pancreas.
When the pancreas gets tired or when the pancreas isn’t working fast enough, it will receive assistance by a backup system called the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands, for instance, you’re walking up a hill and walking up the hill from the other direction is a bear. You both get to the top of the hill at the same time and whoa! You get a surge of adrenaline because you need fuel like crazy. You don’t actually have to outrun the bear but you have to at least outrun the other people that you’re with. So off you go, a surge of adrenaline. The adrenaline causes the pancreas to squirt out even more insulin and bam, you get an extra dose. What the insulin does is it attaches itself to the sugar in your bloodstream, helps it cross the membrane out of the bloodstream, helps to cross the membrane into the cell and it becomes essentially a doorman that opens the way for sugar to get out of the bloodstream.
When there is excess fat in the bloodstream, we bump into a problem because fat functions as an insulator. That’s what it does. It insulates us from jarring, it insulates us from electricity, it insulates us from hot and cold, it insulates us from bumps and bruises, it insulates in a wide variety of ways. Fat’s primary role is as an insulator. Does it have other purposes? Sure. But it’s primary role is as an insulator. It’s actually what creates the waterproof barrier of each cell that allows the contents of the cell to stay in the cell and the contents of whatever is outside, the extra-cellular fluid, to stay outside the cell. Fat is the essential barrier, an insulator.
If you pour a thimble full of fat, a thimble full of olive oil, onto a swimming pool, it will coat the entire surface of the swimming pool, creating a barrier. It’s a Please really good insulator. If you had a huge tube full of marbles and you poured in a little bit of oil and shook it up just a bit, that oil would coat every single marble, completely. It does the same thing to the cells inside the bloodstream. The fat starts functioning as a barrier as it coats itself around the insulin and coats itself around the sugar molecules, it makes it less effective for the insulin to find the sugar, for them to hook up. Now you’ve got a situation where there’s sugar in the bloodstream but it’s not getting out of the bloodstream. So the body produces a little bit more insulin. But the fat is blocking it. This is what’s referred to as insulin resistance. It’s actually not that the body is insulin resistant it’s that there’s too much fat in the bloodstream. Take away the fat and the insulin resistance goes away instantaneously, 100% of the time.
If the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin then we have a type I diabetes situation. Occasionally what will happen is that the adrenal glands will come in and they’ll kick in and try to help out the pancreas. That works fine except we can’t do that all the time or the adrenals become fatigued, what we refer to as chronic fatigue. Eventually what you end up with pancreas in the hole, adrenals in the hole, everybody falling down on the job and you’re still ending up with blood sugar levels that are too high.
Fortunately, our bodies are redundant in their design and there is a backup system for the backup system. There is a microbe that lives in the blood stream that literally consumes the excess sugar. The beauty of it
is that in a one-all situation the microbe consumes the excess sugar and then as all species do when there’s an excess of food, it then blooms. The bloom creates a massive increase in population but there’s no more food supply so they just as quickly a die off. This is referred to in science as the balance of nature.
In this case what we see is that they’ll be a surge candida that eats the excess sugar quickly. It multiplies, it blooms, but now there’s no more excess sugar. The situation is resolved. There is candida in all human blood.
It’s a matter of how much candida. There’s no way to prevent sugar from being in human blood, so you can’t literally starve out the candida in that way. What you can prevent however is blood sugar becoming
Since 1959 when the first studies came to light on this issue of ‘what is it that allows sugar into the bloodstream but does not allow it out of the bloodstream,’ it has been taught in science, in medical school and in health class that the problem is one of fat functioning as an insulator, preventing sugar from exiting the bloodstream. By lowering the fat we invariably allow the sugar out of the bloodstream and resolve a potential candida issue.
The funny thing is that the different approaches that we’re seeing are actually all the same approach. The approach used by some people for candida is to go on a fast, on a water-only fast, consume absolutely nothing for week or two, and give the adrenals a chance to recover, give the pancreas a chance to recover. While the candida issue itself goes away within 48-72 hours anyway and then doesn’t return.
The second approach is to go on a diet of eating almost nothing but greens, in which case blood sugar levels remain the same, the amount of fat in the bloodstream goes down and at the end of the week or two of eating nothing but greens you no longer have a candida problem. Unfortunately, you also don’t have a healthy eating plan to follow through on.
The third approach is to eat all the fruit you want, eat all the vegetables you care for, but avoid the consumption of overtly fatty foods for a week or two, and allow your body to heal itself because you’re no longer causing the problem.