High-Carb Diet Raises CO2 “Exhaust” and Lowers Available O2
Previously published in several magazine and newspaper articles as well as in “At Risk? Avoid Diabetes by Recognizing Early Risk – A Natural Medicine View”
Worldwide, we are concerned with rising CO2 rates in our environment. Yet, we forget that our human body too may produce excess CO2.
A healthy and fit individual without excess weight and on a balanced diet inhales 100 units of oxygen (O2) and exhales 80 units in carbon dioxide (CO2). This leaves the body roughly twenty percent of oxygen on which to run its necessary processes.
On the other hand, an overweight individual on a high-carbohydrate diet—fast-food, sandwiches, bagels, muffins, pizza, pasta, or rice—inhales 100 units of oxygen (O2) and exhales up to 100 units in carbon dioxide (CO2). This leaves the body little or no oxygen to function on.
Consequently, the body metabolism slows down, and a vicious cycle turns into a downhill spiral: blood gas and acid-base imbalances, anemia, thyroid hormone imbalances, certain respiratory problems, COPD, cardiac problems, and other serious complications, all in addition to those posed by being overweight.
Why are we not made aware of our own body management as a possible cause of an additional twenty percent increase of CO2 in our indoor environment? Especially in our air-conditioned apartment complexes, condos, or office buildings an increasingly overweight population exhales greater amounts of carbon dioxide.
Our indoor-centered lifestyle constantly exposes us to decreased amounts of clean air along with these increased levels of CO2. This may jeopardize our health. How many individuals in those building complexes consistently complain of a lingering illness as soon as the fresh-air duct intake is being reduced in the heat of summer or the cold of winter? Recycling CO2 along with the air we get to inhale may be the problem—a direct challenge to the building and systems engineers out there.
“Going green” is not simply about preserving our surroundings, Mother Nature, where we aim to reduce our carbon-footprint by twenty percent. Going green is equally as important when it comes to preserving and revamping our own body and health. Here too, we quite easily can reduce our bodily CO2 emission by a similar twenty percent simply by going off our comfort-food and fast-food driven grain-carbohydrate lifestyle.
There is something to be said for fresh, locally grown foods. Certain foods may directly influence how much oxygen our body turns over. No different from a gasoline-powered car that is not able to handle diesel fuel, our body, if genetically pre-disposed, may not do well on certain foods.
Some of the predisposing genes are present in more than half of our population worldwide. No surprise then that over sixty percent of those aged twenty and up are overweight and obese and ninety percent of Canadian school children no longer are able to fulfill their basic physical education requirements. It all comes back to how we feed that body of ours.
We call it “staff of life” and talk about wheat. Yet, wheat may turn out to play a questionable role (more like the staff that punishes than the staff of life). Worldwide, we consume more than one kilogram of grain-carbohydrates per person per day—300 kg of wheat alone per person per year—all in addition to the other grain-carbs and starches (rice, corn, potatoes, you name them).
In our body these starchy carbohydrates turn to sugar. Here is where insulin enters the picture: it helps to move that sugar into the cells where it can be burned into energy. This process fails if the body produces insufficient amounts of insulin or has become insulin resistant.
Sugar amounts that the body cannot cope with are deposited and stored in its fat cells. This excess fat interferes with the body’s ability to use the insulin that the pancreas produces. As a result, we find ourselves a step closer to a heart event and diabetes. The bottom line: fat keeps out water, reduces the proportional amount of blood, and decreases the amount of O2 the body has available.
After hydrogen and helium, oxygen is the third most plentiful element in our universe. While we can live for several hours without food or water we cannot survive even minutes without oxygen. Giving oxygen to a patient is one of the first support measures in hospital emergency rooms.
A major component of complex life forms, we find oxygen in our body, its blood stream and tissues, even its bones and teeth. Like all live matter, our body is made up of different ratios of these four major elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. In a process called photosynthesis, plants form oxygen from water with the input of light. Oxygen is a major component of our foods: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
This is where the harmful action of excess fat cells becomes significant for the following reason: The lower the percentage of blood that runs through the body, the lower the amount of oxygen it carries to the organs, nerves, brain, and other tissue cells. If the body carries less oxygen, it will have available fewer antioxidants to fight inflammation. Underlying inflammations spread and the body metabolism turns acidic. We are back to our vicious cycle of an acidic body environment.
Now we understand why a beer-belly and midriff obesity are such obvious markers for a risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They blatantly point to various degrees of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance goes together with nutrient deficiencies. Feeling hungry and developing cravings are sure signs of lack of nutrients—but not for lack of food.
To reach for that cookie jar is not the answer. A change of habits is definitely in order. To summarize: wrong foods cause intestinal inflammation. An inflamed gut does not absorb minerals and nutrients. Yet, essential minerals are the body’s spark plugs. Without them the body experiences increased tissue acidity, and lack of oxygen.
Lack of available oxygen plays a role in the development of many disease processes and is mostly due to increased tissue acidity and all sorts of underlying inflammations. Conditions such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, hypothyroidism, adrenal deficiency, anemia, electrolyte imbalances, or nutritional deficiencies nearly always are connected.
Once the body develops digestive problems (bloating, loose stools, diarrhea or constipation) tiredness is soon to follow along with possibly fibromyalgia-like pain, excessive premenstrual pain, polycystic ovary syndrome and, last but not least, brain fog. Thinking clearly relates directly to the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain cells.
Like it or not, the gut is connected to the brain in more ways than one, and brain fog may be a major indicator of things having gone wrong with the metabolism. A majority of our immune system cells live in the gut. And, as we have seen, biochemical imbalances in these cells, such as a lack of nutrients, necessarily lead to inflammation.
Even the mildest chronic state of bloating (a persistent inflammation) results in what we call in natural medicine terms “leaky gut syndrome.” We describe this in simplified terms as a condition in which proteins are being leaked through the intestinal cell walls into the bloodstream. These proteins are mildly or moderately toxic to the blood and quickly influence the blood gas composition.
We return to where we started, namely with inadequate food and lifestyle habits. The bottom line is: inflammation causes oxidative stress. Brain cells are very demanding; they need a substantial amount of nutrients and oxygen. However, an acidic system starves the brain and may also be reflected by several of the sleep disorders.
Many overweight individuals develop sleep-apnea and a tendency to depression prior to developing diabetes. Unfortunately, it is quite likely that such symptoms may prompt a mainstream medicine diagnosis of depression rather than a more accurate assessment of reduced oxygen intake or turnover.
In a majority of overweight and obese individuals the need for daytime napping may be related to sleep apnea or other nighttime sleep disruptions, both of which result in further reduced oxygen intake. In turn, most of these sleep disorders signal underlying problems with the carbohydrate metabolism. Oxidative stress and those reduced blood gas levels surely act as a vicious cycle.
Blood cells that carry less oxygen affect the immune system reaction and open the door to deficient antioxidant responses. Without adequate antioxidant levels inflammations in one or the other tissues of the body may follow. Newest research surrounding the pancreatic beta cells indicates such an inflammation process as a possible trigger of diabetes.
The inability to preserve sufficient amounts of oxygen to keep the body functions going may be holding many people back from committing to a regular exercise program. Unlike people who experience a “high” after exercising, exercise may drain their body if it is not able to retain and turn over the roughly twenty percent of oxygen its systems needs. The body of these individuals literally runs “out of air.”
Don’t misunderstand me; I am not handing out excuses for avoiding exercise. I simply want to raise awareness that legitimate biochemical processes may be behind the fact that someone cannot find the enthusiasm to adhere to an exercise regimen.
Unfortunately, robbing us of our natural motivation is nature’s greatest deception. Don’t rejoice too early though, excuses such as “an expected lack of motivation” never lead to improvements. Lack of energy is how the body signals its need for nutrients and oxygen.
Also, do not simply brush off brain fog as, “I am getting older,” or, “I am not that smart.” Most importantly, do not let the mainstream medical system stamp you as “depressed” and put you on suppressive—and, might I say, additionally acidifying—medication.
Insist that the cause of your issues be identified—from intestinal or other inflammations to blood sugar fluctuation, mineral deficiencies, hormone imbalances, or sleep apnea. It should not be this way but, if you feel depressed, you or your family might be well advised to do some homework first before agreeing to quick solution medication with possible side-effects from addiction to deeper depression and even suicidal tendencies.
Avoid serious disease: get oxygen! Get exercising and, most of all, skip processed foods, additives, artificial and natural flavor enhancers, colorants and preservatives. Stick to loads of green and colorful, non-starchy vegetables, light meats, fish, fowl and eggs, along with olive and grapeseed oil, lots of fresh, non-chlorinated water and green tea and reap the benefits of a balanced oxygen versus carbon dioxide ratio.