FATS & PROTEINS FIRST
Organise your meals with fats and proteins as the base ingredients, rather than carbohydrates. For example, eggs for breakfast, leftover meat for lunch, fish for dinner. Then add the complementing foods, such as vegetables and sauces. Food such as breakfast cereals, sandwiches and spaghetti bolognaise all have carbohydrates as the base nutrient, not protein and fat.
Think of proteins for structure, fats for fuel and anything else for extra nutrients to make your body run smoothly. Protein is extremely important in the human diet. Our skin, muscles, nails and hair receive their nutrients from protein. Protein is pretty much the building block of life, giving us our human form and structure.
Looking back on the diets of our pre-agriculture ancestors, fats and protein were always the dominant macronutrients. They had to be! Remember there was no food storage, and cooking grains had not been discovered, which means they were inedible. This scarcity of carbohydrates meant that it was necessary for us to adapt efficient metabolic pathways to readily store and access body fat for energy if we were to survive on a day-to-day and generation-to-generation basis.
We evolved by using a ‘fat-burning system’, not a carbohydrate or ‘sugar-burning system’, meaning we never required large amounts of blood sugar for survival, and ingesting large amounts became toxic for us. The liver is the main backup glycogen/glucose storage facility for the brain and other glucose burning organs. It can only store about 70–100 grams of glycogen, which is less than a day’s supply. Your muscles can only hold another 300–500 grams, which is barely enough to run for 90 minutes. In other words, sugar is a poor primary fuel survival mechanism.
Meanwhile, we have a virtually unlimited storage capacity for fat. If we ever need to use the stored fat, we convert the fat into energy via a process called gluconeogenesis. Fat, just like protein, is also a vital nutrient. It is crucial for normal body function, and without it we could not live. Not only does fat supply us with energy, but we use fatty acids to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes and lungs.