New book in Dutch

Eet vet word slank

Eet vet word slank gepubliceerd januari 2013

In dit boek lees je o.a.: * heel veel informatie ter bevordering van je gezondheid; * hoe je door de juiste vetten te eten en te drinken kan afvallen; * hoe de overheid en de voedingsindustrie ons, uit financieel belang, verkeerd voorlichten; * dat je van bewerkte vetten ziek kan worden.

Trick and Treat:
How 'healthy eating' is making us ill
Trick and Treat cover

"A great book that shatters so many of the nutritional fantasies and fads of the last twenty years. Read it and prolong your life."
Clarissa Dickson Wright

Natural Health & Weight Loss cover

"NH&WL may be the best non-technical book on diet ever written"
Joel Kauffman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA

The Correct Nutrition for Athletes

Part 3: So what is wrong with carbo-loading?

There are two problems that those who recommend carbo-loading don't appear to realise:

  • Firstly, the body can't store carbohydrates in large quantities and most people already get more than enough carbohydrates to fuel their bodies' daily activities. All carbohydrates, whether they are bread, pasta, sugar or jam when you put them in your mouth, enter the bloodstream as glucose. And the bloodstream can only hold so much. The body, being a well-run power plant, puts the leftovers in storage to use in the future if it's needed. Some is stored as a type of starch called glycogen, but as it can't store much of this, the body turns most of the excess into fat and keeps it on deposit in the body's fat cells. And we see it walking around the streets wherever we go, hanging off bodies in a most unattractive way. Put simply, carbo-loading cannot work simply because excess carbs are not stored in a readily usable way.

  • The second problem lies in how the body uses its various options for fuel. Each of our body's cells contains lots of very small power plants called mitochondria . It is they that produce the energy we need from the food that we consume. Glucose is usually called the body's 'preferred fuel' because, if it is available, our bodies have been conditioned from birth to use it first. But it is not the best fuel. That distinction belongs to fats - or fatty acids, to give them their scientific name. Before the mitochondria can use either glucose or fatty acid as a fuel, it has to be transported into the mitochondria.

Fatty acids are transported into the mitochondria as completely intact molecules. Glucose, on the other hand, can be transported only after it has been broken down first into pyruvate by the process of glycolysis . This is then used anaerobically to produce energy with lactate as a by-product.

The by-products of the energy-production process when fatty acids are used are carbon dioxide and water, both of which are easily excreted. But when glucose is used, the lactic acid produced in the conversion process can build up in muscle cells and make them ache. It is this that is the cause of the aching muscles or pain involved in strenuous exercise - 'the wall' as athletes call it. This 'wall' severely limits an athlete's performance.

But it is not necessary ever to 'hit the wall'. If you do, your diet is wrong.

Now let's look at a real athlete

It was 1968 at the Mexico City Olympic Games. The spectators at the marathon went wild as a relatively unknown Ethiopian, Degaga (Mamo) Wolde, won the marathon. Not only was the thirty-six-year-old runner the oldest man ever to win this prestigious event, he did it in a time that has not been bettered to this day.

So what was Wolde's secret?

Wolde was a member of the Oromo or Galla, a traditionally pastoral tribe who live in West and South Ethiopia and part of Kenya. Traditionally the Oromo were nomadic herders like their neighbours, the Maasai and Samburu tribes.(1) His life consisted of herding and running after and hunting wild game on foot. His diet, like other similar tribes, was one high in animal meat and fat, with practically no carbohydrate. Subsequent tests showed that Wolde's body, under conditions of physical load, readily burned fat as its main energy source. Wolde had no concept of 'hitting the wall'. It had never happened to him.

And, just like him and Tim Hatcher, it never will happen to you

A real energy diet — a diet for winning

While there is little or no scientific evidence that carbohydrates are a particularly good energy food, there is a great deal that fats are.

What may not be immediately obvious is that, with the correct diet, constant exercise and practice to maintain muscle suppleness, strength and stamina doesn't seem to be needed either.

It is well known that carnivorous animals - lions and tigers - if fed their natural diet of fat meat, even when confined in cages or small pens in zoos for long periods of time, without the opportunity to exercise, do not lose their vigour, strength and endurance. Such animals in circuses are even more confined but they are still able to make prodigious leaps when called upon to do so.

Eskimo sled dogs are normally kept on leashes or in small kennels during the summer months and fed fat meat and fish. When, after some months of such inactivity, the winter arrives and they are required to pull sleds again, they have no need of a period of training or conditioning before they go about their arduous task. And they still manage to pull heavy sleds for up to twelve hours a day. The same applies to English hunting dogs. They do not lose their ability to run hard for long distances when correctly fed.

The same is true of Man. The Eskimo spends most of the year in practical inactivity during the winter months. Confined to his snow-covered hut or igloo, eating meat, fish and fat, he rarely ventures outside for months at a time. But when spring arrives, he immediately begins a very strenuous life, travelling many miles to hunting grounds. He, too needs no period of conditioning after his long winter of inactivity. He also requires less sleep and is much more resistant to fatigue.

In 1895 two Norwegians, Fridtjof Nansen and Frederik Johansen, landed on an island of the Franz Joseph group.(2) They had 'conventional' provisions to last for several weeks but, as there was abundant game in the form of walrus and polar bear, they decided to live off the land and save their provisions until the following summer. From the end of August 1895 until the spring break up of the arctic ice they got no exercise, did not wash themselves or change their clothes, yet they remained in perfect health and were able to do a full day's sledging on their first day of travel.

Rear Admiral Robert Peary also noted the ability of Arctic explorers to subsist for more than a year with no food other than pemmican twice a day. Men doing heavy work required two pounds of pemmican, which was the equivalent of six pounds of meat and a pound of fat per day. (3)

This ability to do fantastic feats of strength and endurance was not confined to the Arctic. Native porters in Australia, eating only kangaroo meat, carried heavy loads for up to twelve hours without rest or refreshment; and Aborigines in the desert, would lope for distances of up to twenty miles, with occasional bursts of speed to catch game, on a handful of worms, bugs and insects, and kangaroo meat. (4)


What all these people (and animals) have in common is their carbohydrate free diet. Fat is the best fuel for an athlete, carbohydrates are the worst. It really is as simple as that.

Still not convinced?

Athletes are told to eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats. This, they are told, will increase their performance. However, this was not confirmed in a dietary study published in 1994. (5)

Using three diets: normal, high-fat and high-carbohydrate, the study showed that the high-carbohydrate diet increased performance by an average ten percent over a normal mixed diet. Not bad, you might think, but the high-fat diet increased performance by a massive thirty-three percent. That's much better. The authors conclude that restriction of dietary fat may be detrimental to endurance performance.

Experience from around the world confirms it


There is just one caveat. It takes time for the body to change from burning inefficient carbs to burning fats efficiently. You should notice a marked increase in performance in as little as 2 to 6 weeks on a low-carb, high-fat diet, but maximum performance may not be reached for several months.


1. G. W. B. Huntingford, The Galla of Ethiopia  (1955, repr. 1969).

2. Stefansson V. Cancer: Disease of Civilisation . Hill & Wang, New York, 1960

3. Military Surgeon , August 1944, Quoted in Walter L Voegtlin. The Stone Age Diet .

4. The Epic of Man . Time Inc. New York, 1961

5. Muoio D M, et al. Effect of dietary fat on metabolic adjustments to maximal VO-2 and endurance in runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise . 1994; 26 (1): 81-88

Part 1: Conventional advice | Part 2: Now let's get it right | Part 3: So what's wrong with carbo-loading?

last updated 17 September 2007

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