Carbs from Hell
James D. Krystosik
Square One Publishers; NY11040, USA, 2004.
272 pages, $16.95.
It is a
brave man who takes on the low carb fad and Dr. Krystosik meets it head
on. He picks apart the Atkins diet and exposes its terrible health
Corrupt Medical Profession
Not satisfied with that he brutally exposes the medical profession’s
institutionalized prejudice against any treatment that does not fit into
their orthodox paradigm. A paradigm which, seemingly, abandons
Hippocratic ideals (see “Opinion” this page).
excoriates the American Medical Association for carrying out a systematic
dirty tricks campaign to discredit alternative, yet scientific, practices.
(see Quotes, page 1) To be fair, many good medical doctors quietly
practice ‘integrative medicine’, which incorporates neighboring sciences
such as nutrition.
Alternative Food Pyramids
Dr. Krystosik comprehensively demonstrates the foolishness of the USDA
food pyramid. In its place he sets out alternative pyramids, each based on
an ethnic diet that has a healthier profile: Latin-American, Asian and
Carbohydrates from Heaven
So what is a “Carbohydrate from Heaven”? If you ask Joe Blow, “What
food-groups do fruits and vegetables belong to?”, he would be hard put to
tell you. In fact they are carbohydrates and most of Dr. Krystosik’s
‘carbs from heaven’ are indeed fruits, salads and vegetables. However,
seduced by his ethnic pyramids, he also includes whole grains, potato and
Carbohydrates from Hell
Dr. Krystosik’s ‘carbs from hell’ are refined, processed grains, French
fries and sugars. However, Dr. Krystosik admits, even heavenly carbs can
become ‘hellish’ if they give you illnesses such as ulcerative colitis,
gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, gas, allergies, behavioral disorders,
migraines, and hidden food intolerances. Dr. Krystosik leaves silent the
fact that these maladies are almost always triggered by grains, potato and
beans (rarely by fruits, salads and vegetables).
The problem of blood sugar control is well explained and the glycemic
index (G.I.) of foods is tackled. This is a brave move: inconveniently
whole grains and potatoes have glycemic indexes as bad as sugar. Dr.
Krystosik tries to exonerate them by claiming, incorrectly, that: “The
glycemic index does not take into account the positive effects of fiber.”
On the contrary, these foods are tested with all their fiber intact.
Krystosik invokes another notion: that anyway, the effect on insulin
levels is what is really important. However he does not mention that in
this case, potato comes off even worse: it raises insulin 25% more
severely than even white bread.
In fact Dr. Krystosik is valiantly trying to defend a position that is too
exposed and it leads him to say some unwise things. For example he claims:
“during the Ice Age, people only lived into their mid twenties”. This is
not only wrong but counter-intuitive. If parents died off while their
children were still toddlers, it is hard to imagine the tribe surviving
At the end, we find out why Dr. Krystosik is so keen to defend his version
of ‘carbs from heaven’ (which include those pesky unrefined grains, beans
and potato). He has created a new diet from a composite of the ethnic
diets, which he calls ‘The American MediterrAsian Diet’.
no doubt that Dr. Krystosik’s new diet, even with our quibbles, is a vast
improvement on the average American diet.
Dr. Krystosik does not shy away from the main difficulty that all of us
have: how to actually DO all the sensible things we are being told. So he
advances some interesting and unusual strategies for effecting change. One
example is to find a ‘wellness’ coach -- maybe just a buddy -- who acts as
your conscience and keeps you on track.
This book is worth reading too for the many other robust and interesting
insights that Dr. Krystosik brings to the food, diet and health