5

votes

Are we meant to be starch eaters?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Interesting lecture by Dr. John McDougall http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/starch_solution.html

Excerpt from his book http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2012nl/feb/excerpt.htm

What say you about this?

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on April 03, 2012
at 03:48 AM

make that n= 2.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on March 30, 2012
at 07:11 AM

I noticed the 70% meat / dairy and 20% starch - and lost him at that point.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:04 PM

This. Great response!

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5 Answers

9
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on March 29, 2012
at 04:49 PM

First I want to say I don't like the word "meant." We're meant to eat anything edible and available if it means survival, and since we're human we can make something edible and available that is not while in its natural form.

I'm in the middle of the lecture now. He almost lost me when he said that mummified Egyptians had atherosclerosis because they ate a Western diet, but he DEFINITELY lost me with this slide: "Rice eaters: Almost won WWII. Won Vietnam War." W.T.F?

He's focusing too much on domesticated starches from the past 10's of thousands of years. He goes back farther than that with a few examples that show the people ate some kind of grain, but that doesn't mean the grains were a staple. I take his point to be that civilization would have never progressed without the domestication of starches.

He also makes social and environmental arguments for a starch-based diet. Without getting into whether he's right or wrong on that, it has nothing to do with what we're "meant" to eat as a species.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:04 PM

This. Great response!

8
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Certain animals may have a very specific diet. Cats may be meat eaters (I laughed when Dr. McDougall said "I hope none of you try to make your cats vegetarian"). Cows may be grass eaters. But I don't agree that humans are a homogenized species with no individual variability when it comes to diet. We all come from very different genetic backgrounds and respond to food in different ways.

As Dr. McDougall points out in his lecture, starch digestion ability is heavily governed by the number of copies of the amylase (or AMY1) gene a person has. There are papers out there like this one that outline how the number humans have is a broad range, especially when comparing starch eating cultures to cultures that don't eat as much starch.

Some people may be very at effective starch digestion, some people not so much. If you eat a diet like Dr. McDougall recommends when your AMY1 gene copy number is low (say 2, 3,or 4), then you better hope you have a robust population of starch digesting microbes or your health will likely suffer.

I'm a starch lover and think most people would probably do well with some starch in their diet, but I also think people need to be aware that their is no one human diet; we are not "starchavores", but omnivores with variable dietary needs for our own optimal health.

6
Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on March 29, 2012
at 03:51 PM

I know that we have the amylase enzyme which is responsible for digesting starch and it starts in the mouth whereas in other animals, such as dogs it doesn't start until the stomach. some nutritional gurus have cited this as support in favor of human starch consumption.

additionally we have a large capacity for storage of glucose (starch) carbs in muscle glycogen (300 - 500G) while our storage for fructose containing carbs which only replenish liver glyocgen and not muscle glyocgen can only hold about 100g before turning into triglycerides. this is also support for human starch consumption.

the problems with starch consumption may be that most people's carb metabolism have been subject to carb abuse by modern agricultrue in which we exploited carb sources as cheap industrial profits.

starch is literally found in the roots and fruits of plants: think squash and sweet potatoes and would have been around for the large stretch of our evolution.

objection: fruit is both glucose and fructose and so would be sufficient to maintain muscle glycogen since bodybuilding and weightlifting are not a concern for hunter gatherers. nevertheless some anaerobic lifting would be used in carrying kills back to camp building shelters climbing trees and hills and sprinting and aerobic exercise to chase an animal long distances as well as walking and scavenging for gathered fruits roots and tubers.

response: would fruit be sufficient to fuel the anaerobic needs of hunter gatherers or would the fructose to triglyceride crossover be detrimental to hunter gatherers with a need to seek out starch. it is possible that both fruit and starch would have been available since a lot of starch grows as a fruit like pumpking and squash therefore the availability of starch containing fruits and fructose ones may have been equally available not sure. good luck with your question i apologize for my speculative response but i am not a scientist bear with me

6
Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

on March 29, 2012
at 03:48 PM

Well, I haven't read the book, but while I tried to read the excerpt, I couldn't get past the graphic which claimed that the "American Diet" consists of 70% meat and dairy, and 20% starch. I wish! It's hard to get past flat out wrong information, when evaluating someone's arguments.

Also, it's silly to make no distinctions between different source of starch. Furthermore, while many traditional (especially agriculture based one, obvsly) diets do consist of a lot of starch, meat hunger is a near universal. Meat is revered by most cultures. Heaving said that though, I'm one who thinks that it is, in general, healthy for humans to eat a fair amount of starchy stuff (some types) as well as meat. We were hunter-GATHERERS, after all, and my guess is that starch made up a fair portion of those diets.

However, based on my quick read, I really can't take this guy seriously.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on March 30, 2012
at 07:11 AM

I noticed the 70% meat / dairy and 20% starch - and lost him at that point.

2
7d5faecbdf9bb7987013008c6bf6b307

(130)

on March 29, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I find that I do feel better when I eat some starch, particularly sweet potatoes and white rice. That's N=1, of course, but I've found that I feel the absolute best after a meal such as a nice grass-fed steak and mashed sweet potatoes with butter.

Cf938ac46500e200c97f6adbb3365f64

(324)

on April 03, 2012
at 03:48 AM

make that n= 2.

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