Do not blame me if it is difficult for you to accept the fact that man as a biological species developed on such delicacies as mammoth meat or deer tongue. Blame your brain. It is the needs of the brain to a greater extent than any other factor that cause a person to crave fatty foods. Brain and fat are as inseparable as Tom and Jerry. Their interconnectedness arose in the course of evolution. Not surprisingly, the health of the brain depends on whether this basic body need for fat is satisfied or not.
For evolutionary researchers, the main subject of study is the brain, since the speed with which the human brain developed and increased in size, compared with the brain of other living beings, is truly impressive. It is the brain that makes us human and gives us the ability to think, feel, speak. Thanks to the brain appeared philosophy, culture and art. This is the part of us that we must protect, preserve and optimize in such a way as to withstand the toxic environment of the modern world. This requires smart decisions, critical thinking and thoughtful actions. Unfortunately, nowadays the brain is more threatened than any other organ.
When I observe the brain of patients who undergo the neurofeedback procedure — the wavy lines of the electroencephalogram show the electrical activity of the brain, I know that all these activities are produced by two powerful hemispheres, which are 80% fat. Almost half of this is a protective layer of saturated fat (since our brains are not frozen), which contains 25% of the total cholesterol in our body. The brain has a secret weapon that is unique in its nature — the ability to use on a constant basis special units of energy from fat — ketones. Only the human brain has this ability. What makes our brain with these fatty formations and the unique energy derived from fat? He can solve difficult problems with lightning speed,
The most amazing thing is that we acquired these incredible neurological machines, because we stopped chewing bamboo leaves and began to gnaw the bones. Without this fundamental shift, we could become another pot-bellied primate, who wanders through the forest for fourteen hours a day for food and seeks out tasty bugs on the backs of their relatives. Did the meat and fat, to which we feel the craving, could provide all the energy needs of a large hungry brain? We do not know for sure (although it seems that it is), but we know for sure that our energy consumption is much higher than that of any other mammals and primates of our size. When we had a carnivorous (relatively) food path and a strong gallbladder, we were able to replenish these energy costs by eating meat and animal fat instead of vegetable food. Such a diet contained many calories that were impossible to obtain from the many hours of chewing the leaves.
This theory is generally accepted and is known in paleoanthropology as the “hypothesis of expensive tissue”. According to this theory, the increased energy requirements of a relatively large brain (the most expensive tissue in terms of energy costs) were compensated for by a relatively small gastrointestinal tract that can effectively digest meat and fat. This development of the digestive tract, along with the use of key long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), which are crucial for brain development, led to a cognitive quantum leap, thanks to which we are superior to other primates. (Fatty acids are groups of fat molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and used by the body). Citing veterans of keto nutrition studies, doctors of medical sciences George F.
The story of two types of brain
Let’s go back about two million years ago, and you will find that the brain volume of our very first ancestor of the genus Homo was about 900 cm3, which is two to three times the size of the brain of our closest primate relative, chimpanzees. By the time our ancestor Homo erectus had evolved anatomically to modern Homo sapiens, its brain had increased in size by 75% and functioned many times more difficult. This rapid encephalization (the ratio of brain mass to total body mass – a technical term for brain growth) – occurred in about 180,000 years, which is a relatively short period of evolutionary time. For example, the much smaller brain of chimpanzees has not changed at all over seven million years. This is largely due to the fact that we follow different diets,
I like to use the comparison of a chimpanzee man, because in some nutritional circles the myth prevails, according to which we are only primates — naked monkeys, and once primates eat mostly plant food, it means that we should eat vegetable food. But it is not. Of course, most of our genes coincide with the genes of our next of kin — chimpanzees, and we have some noticeable similarities, but our differences are not as insignificant as some think. As for the similarities, the human brain and chimpanzees are made up of fatty acids. But one brain has a complex structure, and another less complex structure. Why? The reason is that we use different types of fat.
Imagine a daily diet of chimpanzees. It may contain a small amount of meat – mainly carrion, insects and small animals with a little protein and very little fat. The main part of the diet – plant food, a huge amount of plant food. And what chimpanzees do with this plant food is impressive: the plant food is processed in an incredible fermenting vat (which is absent in humans) in the chimpanzee’s stomach. In addition, in the stomach of a chimpanzee is located the large intestine, which is 60% larger than the human large intestine. The microflora (intestinal bacteria) converts plant material into short-chain saturated fatty acids. Thanks to this rather long and laborious process (chimpanzees need to be constantly eaten, and its microflora to constantly produce enzymes), chimpanzees get the necessary calories, to provide 50% of their energy needs from saturated fats. Oddly enough, carbohydrates from sweet / starchy vegetation provide only a small amount of energy. The whole process of energy production is at least inefficient, but since the brain of a chimpanzee is rather “cheap” (it uses about 8% of all energy that chimpanzees gets), that’s enough.
Human physiology has evolved quite differently. The large human brain is very hungry or, in other words, “expensive”, as it requires 20-30% of the available energy for the body. These energy needs are even more pronounced in the early years. The brain of babies is used by 85% or even more of all incoming calories, and the brain of older children is 45-50%. (eight). In order to satisfy these needs, our digestive system has acquired a superpower – to get maximum energy directly from food, and not from microbial fermentation. We have developed a hydrochloric acid based digestive system with a longer small intestine and a shorter rectum than other primates. This is intended so that we do not need (and could not) consume huge amounts of plant food to obtain fatty acids and other nutrients; instead, we have the ability to circumvent the long fermentation process and get ready-made fatty acids by eating animals that have already converted for us, in the form of meat from grazing animals. And the fatty acids that we get from animal food have completely changed the rules of the game.
DHA: Fatty acids that determine our intelligence
Brain work requires more than just calories; He uses many different fatty acids and a lot of cholesterol as a building material. If the chimpanzee brain uses predominantly omega-6 essential fatty acids derived from plant products as a building material, the human brain is set to use two key long-chain fatty acids, which are known as arachidonic acid (AA) and omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) . These fatty acids can only be obtained from (you guessed it) animal products. This particular pair of preformed fatty acids of animal origin accounts for many of the unique cognitive abilities of the human brain. It is a building material, of which complex brain structures with more advanced functions, such as the neocortex and the prefrontal cortex, are composed. DHA, in particular, is the dominant form of omega-3 storage in the human brain. This is probably the most important fatty acid, as it makes up a full quarter of our brain. We owe our human qualities to a great extent to this miraculous fat contained in the meat of animals that grazed on pasture, and in wild fish. (AA, meanwhile, is an elongated omega-6 of animal origin necessary for cognitive functioning, but it must be in the right balance with a sufficient amount of omega-3, which is found in meat of wild and grazing animals). the most important fatty acid, as it makes up a full quarter of our brain. We owe our human qualities to a great extent to this miraculous fat contained in the meat of animals that grazed on pasture, and in wild fish. (AA, meanwhile, is an elongated omega-6 of animal origin necessary for cognitive functioning, but it must be in the right balance with a sufficient amount of omega-3, which is found in meat of wild and grazing animals). the most important fatty acid, as it makes up a full quarter of our brain. We owe our human qualities to a great extent to this miraculous fat contained in the meat of animals that grazed on pasture, and in wild fish. (AA, meanwhile, is an elongated omega-6 of animal origin necessary for cognitive functioning, but it must be in the right balance with a sufficient amount of omega-3, which is found in meat of wild and grazing animals).
You can say that you get omega-3 from flaxseed oil (or from chia seed oil, or from Sacha Yinchi oil in South America), because the bottle says “contains a lot of omega-3”! What’s the catch? I am very sorry to disappoint you, but our brain is actually not able to use omega-3 from vegetable oils (this type of omega-3 is called alpha-linolenic acid – ALA). In order for ALA to become a building material for the brain, it must be extended by a complex biochemical process of enzymatic conversion (an explanation for the most meticulous: the substances involved in this process are called desaturase enzymes). Unlike chimpanzees and cows, humans have a very limited ability to produce this process. We have the ability to convert about 6% ALA into a substance called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and a very small amount in DHA. (In addition, people of Celtic, Northern European origin, as well as Native Americans cannot genetically convert even such a small amount and cannot perform these transformations at all, since they do not have a key enzyme in this process – delta-6-desaturases).
In addition to the fact that these expensive oils, whether flax, chia, sacha, inca, perilla, or walnut, are poorly converted (if converted at all) into extended omega-3 that your brain needs, they have another drawback: they are likely to oxidize. even before you empty half of the bottle, because vegetable oils are very fragile and quickly become rancid, after they are squeezed out of a seed or nut and exposed to air. If you cook on them, they are guaranteed to oxidize and become unsuitable for use (and even dangerous to your health). Consuming even high-quality plant sources of ALA in an amount necessary for the best conversion (in the absence of genetic or metabolic restrictions) can easily fill your body with tissue-damaging free radicals. And vice versa, animal products provide your body with omega-3 along with healthy saturated fats that protect them from oxidation, thereby not allowing them to cause harm. Saturated fats actually help omega-3s safely penetrate the organs that need them. For example, to fight inflammation or, of course, to work the brain. Nature has prudently placed saturated fats along with omega-3 in a perfectly balanced food product – the meat of animals that grazed in the meadow.
Food chain game
Cows, sheep, and goats were made to graze. They are classified as ruminants, a name derived from the Latin word ruminare, which means “chew”. Inside their stomachs are large digestive systems consisting of four gastric chambers, which allow them to swallow food and then later return it back to the cavity to break into smaller particles and then swallow again, where the microorganisms ferment the food, turning it into short-chained fatty acids – mainly butyric acid, which ruminant animals then use to cover up to 70% of their energy costs. Meanwhile, they also transform ALA from chloroplasts of green plant cells into EPA and DHA, and then store them in their tissues. Our position is at the top of the food chain,
The basic idea is that the consumption of preformed elongated omega-3s from animal products – animals that ate fresh green grass / natural food throughout their life cycle, and were allowed to move freely, receive large amounts of sunlight, radically changed the way we work brain and our capabilities. And today, our original physiology has not changed, even considering that vegetable oils from nuts and seeds are abundantly available on the shelves of health food stores. Food-rich foods of animal origin, rich in DHA, EPA and sufficient AA (along with many other unique and important nutrients) are not negotiable in terms of benefits to your neurological system. But animals fed grain food contain slightly different fat, as we will find out later. And the shortage of fats from the meat of animals that grazed and ate green grass, in the diet of most people, is a rather serious problem that is hardly discussed. If you can only remember one thing after reading this chapter, remember this: if DHA is not included in your diet, it is not in your brain.
“Potato hypothesis” vs “expensive tissue hypothesis”: who will win?
Despite the fact that the “expensive tissue” hypothesis is generally accepted, the traditional approach has not yet outlived itself, according to which we owe our large brains to starchy products (in other words, to wild-growing tubers and root crops that appeared before the emergence of agriculture, a kind of prehistoric ancestors of yams and carrots). This “potato hypothesis” is based on an erroneous idea, which this book refutes, that glucose, the energy from carbohydrates, is the main and preferred source of fuel for the human brain. As I will prove to you on the following pages, this statement is true only if you have specially trained your brain to use glucose as fuel, eating for a long time food with unnaturally large amounts of sugars and starch. Animal fat is what what the brain works best for; what he needs to grow in size and function best every day. Just go over the “potato hypothesis” to come to a fundamental and key idea: people could not evolve by eating plant foods, even if other primates evolved in this way, because plant foods do not have enough calories needed as a building material. fatty acids and other important nutrients to meet our brain needs.
You say “potato”, I say “bacon”
Vegans will not like it, but a diet based on plant foods is contrary to our evolution. The wild fibrous tubers that came across to our ancestors were difficult to digest, because the starch from raw tubers does not split and nutrients are not absorbed in the small intestine. Starch from tubers and tubers is digested by our body only after long-term high-temperature processing. If we received energy from starchy root crops, we would have to start cooking in the early stages of evolution. According to the latest data, the ability of people learned how to make fire only 75,000 – 100,000 years ago. By this time, our brain has already developed. Interesting fact: studies show that the use of fire on an ongoing basis did not lead to an increased consumption of plant foods, even in the middle bands,
More importantly, the consumption of plant foods would require a sufficient amount of amylase, an enzyme that promotes the digestion of starch. Two hundred thousand years ago, our species did not have the necessary genes to produce a large amount of amylase, but the brain had already increased by that time. Moreover, we still have not fully adapted to the consumption of starch: modern people differently digest starch, even in cooked form. The reason is that modern people have different amounts of the amylase gene – from 2 to 16 copies (and there is no such correlation – the larger the brain, the more copies).
Root crops and tubers – cooked or raw, do not provide the brain with the necessary amount of nutrients. Even if our ancestors were able to use calories from starch, they would receive fewer calories and nutrients than from the fat of the animals they hunted.
And since we have already touched on this subject, let us turn our attention to the fallacy that primitive people roamed the earth and chewed fruit, honey, and nuts. These delicacies were seasonal food and only in the middle lane. Such products undoubtedly helped us gain fat for the winter and for hungry years, contributing to the development of average insulin resistance, thanks to which we learned to store sugar in the form of fat. But plant food was not enough, not enough to survive in the extreme conditions of the Paleolithic. For those who lived during the Ice Age, no matter in which particular ecosystem, fat in the diet was the basis of survival. It all comes down to the fact that cooking did not contribute to the development and increase of our brain. Our brains do not grow at the expense of potatoes or other carbohydrates. Animal fat in the diet, a lot of animal fat in the diet – here,
Ketones: Natural Fuel for Your Brain
Research doctor of medicine and metabolism expert George F. Cahill Jr. confirm this theory: it turned out that people are the only living creatures that can fully function on some ketones, energy units, which are made from fat. This is the unique evolutionary adaptation that our brain has created! The brain is the most expensive organ in our body, and in order for it to function, you need the most nutritious, most reliable and permanent source of energy – fat. As you have learned from Chapter 4, the brain can use both glucose and ketones. The brain is quite flexible in this regard, but still prefers fat and functions better on fat. In fact, fat is such a good fuel for our brain that if you go completely into fat burning mode (i.e., when an effective level of keto adaptation is reached), the ketones that your body produces will stimulate the growth of new neural networks and protect neurons from all sorts of damage (20). For this reason, keto nutrition is used as a treatment for various kinds of neurological disorders and diseases – and often with quick and impressive results.
The second surprising discovery is that fat burning is a natural process for all of us. Our first neural networks function and develop on ketones. The main fuel for the development of the infant’s brain is the fat from breast milk (in the form of ketones) (21). According to Dr. Cahill, “the greater the relationship between the body and the brain, the faster ketosis develops” (22). In the same report, he continues: “we are the only primates who are born with fat deposits that are necessary as a source of food for our large brain.” Sugars in breast milk are also important – they nourish the lactobacilli in the baby’s intestines and are easily processed into subcutaneous fat to provide the baby with a protective layer. If we speak in terms of the Ice Age, the fuller the child, the more chances he has to survive. (23)
Ketones, which the body receives from stored fat, are vital for accelerated brain development. The body of infants does not produce amylase, which contributes to the digestion of starch. At least until the baby is five months old. Nature thought of everything in advance and made fat the main fuel for the brain from our very birth. As soon as we start feeding children with starchy and sweet foods, we break this natural process. And children begin to want sweets.
These scientific discoveries confirm the theory of fat burning. For our primitive physiology, it is natural to use ketones as fuel for the brain. And if we talk about the advantages of ketones for our brain, the diet based on starch remains far behind.
Amazing brain reduction
Paleoanthropologists and other guys who love to study our ancestors have bad news: our brains are shrinking. Cro-Magnon people had the biggest brains, as evidenced by studies of Cro-Magnon remains. They were healthy and strong people who had to live in the Ice Age conditions where Europe is now located. Since then, our brains are getting smaller and smaller. Most of all, our brains have declined over the last 10,000 years – the era of agriculture, a diet based on starchy foods and grains. If the “potato hypothesis” were correct, then one would expect that the health and functioning of our brain (the size and degree of development of the brain) significantly improved since the introduction of a large amount of starchy food into the diet. But it turned out exactly the opposite. (24) Since we replaced nutritious animal food with starchy foods, our brain began to shrink. Coincidence? I do not think.
How did it happen that we lost 10% of our brain in less than 10,000 years? Has the use of cereals and starchy foods contributed to the fact that “our brain has become more efficient,” that is, we can do more with a smaller brain size (as supporters of the “potato hypothesis” say)? In the light of our evolutionary past, this no longer sounds like a viable hypothesis, but rather as an attempt to find a rational explanation.
A more convincing explanation is that our brain began to shrink, because we switched from a diet that was 90% made up of animal products, rich in fats necessary for the brain, to a diet that was only 10% made up of animal products. Our brain has lost building materials (DHA – docosahexanoic acid, spare wheel bracket) and fat-soluble nutrients that optimize its work. The idea of nature, according to which our brain consists of fat, functions on fat and grows on fat, has been broken. This has had a huge impact on everything, including how we age. As you learn from Chapter 8, the herbal diet and the surge in neurodegenerative diseases and disorders are closely interrelated.
Vegetable lovers, rejoice: according to the Primal Fat Burner Plan, fibrous vegetables and herbs (non-starchy – leafy greens, asparagus, cauliflower and cucumbers, but not potatoes, rice, beans, peas and corn) must be on your plate to ensure organism phytonutrients, which are necessary in modern conditions. Vegetarians, do not rush to rejoice: animal food must also be present in the diet.
I work with the human brain as a doctor practicing the neural feedback method, I came to the inevitable conclusion – the most damaged and difficult to treat brains of vegetarians, especially vegans – those who adhere to low-fat and high-carbohydrate foods for a long time. No matter what they eat – whole grain food or processed food, excessive trust in allergenic and cereal and legume inflammation leads to the same consequences: deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins, high-grade proteins, fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and cholesterol impair brain function, which subsequently results low mood or sudden changes in mood, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, attention disorders, autoimmune diseases and symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.
In addition, the constant jumps of glucose and insulin due to the abundance of sugar, grains and starch in the diet lead to aging of the body and brain. They look as if their health and clarity of consciousness is destroyed. They feel that something is wrong. From the point of view of the physiology of our ancestors, their condition is not surprising. Nothing stabilizes brain function better than fat in the diet, and nothing affects brain function worse than sugar and starch. According to current statistics, 75% of vegetarians and vegans give up their lifestyle for ten years, most often due to health conditions. The numbers are shocking (25).
It is hard to believe, but in fact I have a deep respect for these customers. They care about our planet, they think about the suffering of animals and the destruction of ecosystems. So do I. Our world needs such people. But by refusing animal food, they sacrifice themselves in the name of an ideal that never existed in nature. In those cases when I managed to convince the client to switch to keto nutrition with a certain amount of animal products, we noticed significant improvements in the functioning of the body.
I usually invite my vegetarian clients to reflect on the philosophical question: if carbohydrate food is the norm, why your mood and energy are unstable, why sugar jumps occur, why you are constantly hungry and you have to constantly have something to satisfy does not completely disappear? Are you a free man who can live his life the way he wants, or feeding cattle in a pasture? And what do you think, who benefits from your condition?
A NOTE FOR CERTAIN VEGETARIANS: The Primal Fat Burner Plan involves eating foods that produce an ecosystem – exclusively meat from pasture animals that are raised in the right conditions. More on this in Conclusion. For those who adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet and are now ready to switch to keto nutrition, there is a special plan in the book that will help to get into operation quickly. The first phase in the diet will be delicious bone broths that are easily digested. Even when you fully switch to this food system, you will eat a small amount of real meat.
When we return to the nutritional pattern that is natural for our body and brain, we will not only improve our physical health, but also gain a certain independence – we will begin to understand what our body needs and will be able to satisfy its needs in the best possible way. We didn’t even begin to talk about the mechanism of burning fat, but I hope that you are convinced that a high-carb, low-fat diet without cholesterol, which has been published for decades in the form of food pyramids or on boxes of oatmeal, is not only a scientifically unfounded statement, but also the opposite. the food that for 3 million years has been preparing for us evolution.