Complex carbohydrates have recently been touted as the answer to many of mankind's environmental, ethical, health, and food shortage problems. There are equally as many research studies that link diets high in complex carbohydrates to many negative health issues too. I agree that we are not designed for consuming complex carbohydrates. My book Grain Damage goes into great detail explaining why the consumption of complex carbohydrates is not conducive to human health.
In my book, The 80/10/10 Diet I give more detail as to why we will always fail in attempting to thrive on a complex carbohydrate-based diet. Primarily, it is because complex carbohydrates taste bland and are nutritionally incomplete. They are essentially unpalatable without the addition of simple sugars, fats, and salt; each of which reduces any potential health value, however limited it might have been, that the complex carbohydrate food might have had in the first place.
Complex carbohydrate food sources require substantial cooking in order for them to be digestible. Cooking not only greatly diminishes their nutritive value but it also introduces an environmentally untenable factor. By the time a complex carbohydrate food is brought to the table, it has required more calories to get it there than it supplies, the very definition of ?unsustainability.?
This factor may not seem like a big deal to any one person at any one meal, as the difference is not huge, however multiplied by several billion people, each eating over one thousand meals per year, the negative balance becomes insurmountable. The only viable solution is to reduce or eliminate our use of cooking. The air of many Third World cities is polluted almost to the point of being unlivable simply from the smoke of almost a million family cooking fires.
This leaves us with only one viable option; to consume the sweet sugars known as simple carbohydrates. There are two kinds of simple carbohydrates, the whole food sugars found in fruit and the refined sugars that are extracted from fruit, grains, tubers, and cane. The simple carbohydrates in fresh fruit are just part of the fruit?s intricate nutrient package. In fruit, this nutrient package is complete, hence the name ?whole foods?, as opposed to refined foods. In refined foods, some part or parts of the nutrient package have been removed.
We know that too much fat in the blood is directly attributable to chronic fatigue, cancer and diabetes. It has been long established that the various forms of heart disease, vascular diease, and stroke are all attributable to high levels of fat in the diet as well. Much of this is caused by the reduced ability to uptake, transport, and deliver oxygen to the body?s trillions of cells that results from eating a high fat diet. There is a steady flow of research results coming out daily that relates high fat diets to almost every type of digestive disorder, and many blood disorders. It actually is a source of amazement to me that in the face of a veritable mountain range of information that we would still cling so desperately to our high fat diet.
It is interesting to note that not only is the oxygen carrying capacity of the individual red blood cell reduced as blood fat levels rise, the actual number of viable red blood cells is also reduced. In nature we note that mammals that thrive on high fat diets rely upon anaerobic bursts (using no oxygen, or less oxygen than is required for the exertion) in order to acquire their dinner whereas mammals that eat low fat diets have tremendous aerobic capacity.
This dovetails very nicely with sports science, which clearly states that relatively high levels of carbohydrates (compared to levels of fat) are required to support aerobic activities. Left to our own devices humans would more easily spend the day casually walking from fruit tree to fruit tree to collect our dinner than we would be able to run down and kill a wild animal in one desperate spurt of exertion. We are built for cardiopulmonary, aerobic endurance, and so is our food. Our physiology can support explosive bursts, but at great fuel costs. Fortunately for most athletes, our physiology supports the sustained efforts that are more common in sport.