Everybody knows that obesity is a life-threatening condition. According to government recommendations, you need to decrease the calories you eat, to fight this life threatening condition. Sounds logical.
They also say it doesn?t actually matter what foods your calories come from. Calories are calories, and as long as you cut them, you?ll lose, right? Sounds reasonable and impartial. Like "justice for all."
But if it's really true, why it is so hard to lose weight? It is a common patients? complaint: they can lose weight, but after a little while they gain their weight back.
If calories are created equal, there should not be a problem at all. Why then do some patients lose weight and maintain it for a long time while other patients lose weight and very soon get it back again? Is it possible that all calories aren?t created equal? Is it possible that it is extremely important what foods they?re coming from: if it is fat then what type of fat, if it is carbohydrates, then what type of carbohydrates, if it is a protein than what kind of protein?
In future articles I will talk about fats and carbohydrates, but in this article, let?s concentrate on protein.
Stay away from this little piggy
A few years ago, while sitting in a restaurant I picked up a pork tenderloin. My thinking was that roast pork tenderloin is almost fat-free so it should be good for me. That pork tenderloin was delicious. But after a while, I noticed that my pulse rate went up and remained high for several hours. I didn't drink coffee, I didn't eat or drink wine or anything else that could bring my pulse rate up. I was puzzled.
According to the restaurant, there was nothing in the food like taste enhancers that could explain the situation. Obviously it was not an allergic reaction these are. So what was it? I couldn't find any answer but I had to--because a racing heart is not a good idea because eventually it can damage my heart. The only plausible explanation left was that the meat itself caused my increased heart rate. How could it be? Lean meat should not do this. I was looking for answers but I couldn't find any. Until now.
A chemical additive in pork?and in humans?
From the news I learned that the Russian government had requested the United States government to inspect all pork going to Russia be inspected for a chemical named ractopamine, to make sure that pork under no circumstances contains this chemical.
According to my previous experience (I'm originally from the former Soviet Union), the living standards in Russia aren?t as high as in the United States. Why would Russia ask the US government to inspect and make sure there was no ractopamine is in the pork? What I learned was horrible: 80 countries including China, Russia and European Union banned this chemical. But the United States is not one of them.
Ractopamine is a chemical used to promote leanness in pork. But why did 80 countries including China ban this chemical? Maybe China doesn?t need lean meat diet? I doubt it. It must be something else. To get to the bottom of the problem, I looked into ractopamine's mechanism of action. It works very simply: it stimulates the adrenergic receptors in muscles, thus promoting muscle growth. In other words, it works like adrenalin. Now I started to understand why I had palpitations after eating lean pork. But how is it possible? There should be a period of time when pigs are supposed to be free of growth promoters. Yes, but not with this one. Why?
It started with another lean meat growth promoter for pigs called clenbuterol. It worked very well, but caused side effects in humans that were well known to me, like palpitations, anxiety etc. Under the pressure of multiple reports about side effects, the US government banned this chemical, emphasizing that it has too long of a half life (the time it takes to become half depleted) in a pig?s body.
But they rejected the claims that ractopamine is dangerous, because it has a half life shorter than clenbuterol, meaning it depletes faster. So the US government didn?t require pork manufacturers to stop giving ractopamine to the animals before slaughtering them. Very good for pork meat suppliers. Not so good for us.
Maybe I am wrong and ractopamine is harmless to people. Maybe it is good for us by promoting lean muscle growth. One of the ways to figure it out is to check how they should handle the chemical we?re ingesting through pork, or how they should dispose of it. Guess what I found from the chemical label: "When mixing and handling Paylean (a brand name for ractopamine) use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear, and a NIOSH-approved dust mask. Operators should wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling." (http://www.drugs.com/pro/paylean-9.html ). If this chemical is safe, why so many precautions? Is that something you want in your body?
Your best protein picks
- When eating proteins like meats, use organic grass-fed beef, organic acorn-fed pork and organic free-range chicken.
- Eating organic free-range chicken is especially important because they use arsenic routinely as a growth stimulator for chicken.
- A special note about fish: Try to stay with wild-caught fresh fish, preferably small size, for two reasons: mercury and omega three fatty acids. The bigger fish is, the more chances are that it is loaded with mercury. If fish is farm-raised, it will not contain as much omega three fatty acids as expected, due its unnatural diet. It means that if you do not eat the right fish, you might actually do more harm than good because instead of getting omega three fatty acids you might get Mercury instead. But that's not what you want.
So stick with organic grass fed beef, organic corn fed pork, organic, free range chicken recipes and small wild-caught fish like sardines.