Basic Nutrition Tips

It is said – “You are what you eat”. When analyzed, there’s more meaning in those five words than is apparent. Nutrition, not medicine, is the key to good health. I’ve learnt this lesson a bit late in life & only because of a chronic medical illness – Diabetes. Hopefully, you can make changes in time.

Humans have been ‘hunter-gatherers’ since eternity. Our body and it’s metabolism is basically designed for this lifestyle. While our bodies have not changed much, our lifestyles have. Around 10000 years ago, humans discovered Agriculture, turning us into ‘growers’. This became our life support system and the first lifestyle intervention. We started to eat more grains, cereals, fruits & vegetables since then. Around 2-3 hundred years ago came the Industrial Revolution which has slowly made us more and more dependent on processed food. Now almost all of our food comes from factories. Rampant use of pesticides, hybrid seeds and genetic modification has ruined the nutritional value of our agricultural produce. Technology has also made our lives easy and sedentary. We are now dependent on tools & gadgets for our smallest needs. Epidemics of chronic disease have followed, most of them being based upon silent killers like hypertension, high cholesterol & diabetes. The worrisome part is that these illnesses are growing exponentially without check. These illnesses have made inroads into civilizations such as ours, where they were simply unheard of, just decades ago. This is no doubt, one of the costs of development.

It is no secret that everybody needs energy to live - to survive. Being complex biological beings, we cannot depend on electrical, thermal or other forms of energy. We eat and drink and use the chemical energy derived from the nutrients in diet. Everything that we eat or drink is broken down by the stomach & the intestines into 3 basic macro nutrients – Protein, Carbohydrate & Fat (hereafter CP,,F) [Note : The colours are taken from a traffic signal & are intentionally used, to signify green as good, yellow as OK & red as avoidable]. 

Approximately 95% of our body cells contain ‘mitochondria’ a membrane enclosed organelle. Think of mitochondria as cellular power plants. They use the nutrients as raw material and convert them into ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) which is our source of chemical energy. In all of our living activity the ATP is burned (consumed), never to be returned again. The choice of fuel (raw material) to be converted into ATP is ours. Imagine the consequences of running a petrol engine car on diesel or vice-versa.

When we were hunter-gatherers our diets were naturally high in fat & our bodies were consistently in a state of  nutritional “ketosis” – i.e. the F was used (burned) as a fuel for our energy needs. Since becoming ‘growers’ our diets changed from high F to high C ones. C get converted into glucose upon digestion which is then utilized by the cells in the body for energy. Now we have started to depend primarily on glucose as our source of energy. The problem with glucose is that, first it is converted into glycogen and stored in the liver (upto a point). Then, it is put in circulation for muscle uptake. Any further excess is converted and accumulated into body fat for later use. This is the principal cause of more and more people being overweight and obese these days. Most of this accumulated body fat gets stored in the abdominal mid section for males & in the hips and thighs for women. The abdominal fat inwardly starts to apply pressure on the vital organs located within this area, the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, lungs and the intestines. Evidently, that is a cause for concern, and so the C are avoidable.

Nutritionally, there are three other things to bear in mind (1) Every food has a nutritional value, meaning there is a percentage content of CP, F along with other micro nutrients. For instance Bread has 50% C, 10% Pand 5% F. (2) It’s not just the nutritional value of a food that is important, but also it’s Glycemic Index (GI). The GI is a number which indicates how fast the C content in the food is converted into glucose. The lower the number, the slower the conversion of the C into glucose. (3) Most importantly, do remember that ingested C will contribute 100% to glucose, ingested P will contribute 48% to glucose & ingested F will contribute ZERO% to glucose.

Like our stone age ancestors we should try to be in a state of nutritional ketosis (fat burning) as much as possible. So any nutrition that promotes nutritional ketosis is ketogenic, and those that go against it, are anti-ketogenic. Since C contribute 100% to glucose they are completely anti-ketogenic and since P contribute 48% to glucose, P is partly ketogenic & partly anti-ketogenic. F on the other hand are completely ketogenic. The Ketogenic Ratio (KR) of a meal or a daily diet is calculated as follows [ F gms x 0.9 + P gms x 0.46 ] ÷ [C gms + F gms x 0.1 + P gms x 0.58]. Also bear in mind that nutritional ketosis is not possible if a person is consuming more than 100 gms of C in a day.

This information is supported by countless studies, and though widely available to the medical profession, it has been aggressively suppressed by the food & pharmaceutical lobbies. They have invested very heavily into a C rich way of life. Individually, my problem lies in processing the C that I eat, because I am blessed with Diabetes. But even for a non-diabetic the C pose a problem, because dependent on the amount of C consumed by a person, his body is required to proportionately produce insulin to help the cells absorb all the glucose. Although a non-diabetic will not show elevated blood sugars, the secretion and presence of extra insulin and C in blood, only helps the body in the storage of the excess glucose as body fat. Insulin is also a pro inflammatory hormone and promotes arterial damage.

Diets in support of this theory are slowly gaining ground, with proven results, and go by various names such as Paleo, Primal, Optimal, Diet Solution etc. All of them recommend a reduced intake of C supplemented by a moderate consumption of P and high consumption of F. Most of these diets do not recommend calorie counting or starving. Instead they recommend CPF ratio as  0.5 : 1 : 3.0 or thereabouts. The amount of P in grams, to be consumed per day = your ideal body weight in kgs. To deduce ideal body weight deduct 100 from your height in cms. Say for a person who is 163 cms tall the ideal body weight is 163-100=63 kg and that is the amount of P gms to be consumed every day. The other nutrients can be calculated from this very easily, give or take a few grams here and there.

Dr. Richard Bernstein, an authority on Diabetes and it’s control, advocates a C consumption of 30 gms per day for an adult spread as 6, 12 and 12 gms over breakfast, lunch and dinner. However even an initial C restriction of 50-70 gms a day will start to show immediate results in terms of weight loss, better cholesterol levels, glucose and blood pressure levels. When restricting C, the foods that need to be avoided are grains, cereals, sugars and some fruits. All processed foods and flour, bread, rice, pasta, sugar/s need to be avoided. More focus needs to be kept on lean meats, eggs, fish, green & leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds and dairy fats like butter, cheese, ghee etc. Processed and refined seed oils containing trans-fats are to be completely avoided.


  1. Great article. It would be nice to read something on nutrition for women during pre-natal (conception stage), Pregnancy and post-natal nutrition. I think this is an area a lot of women do and will struggle with. Also, what about infants and children? Does LCHF work well for them? What about a child's need for IGF (insulin like growth factor)? I have read that children need certain intake of carbohydrates to ensure release of IGF for proper development? On the other hand, some LCHF-ers swear by a Low carb diet for kids?

    1. Hi Shruti,

      In answer to your questions on Low Carbing while pregnant, I'm sending you a link to the podcast by two leading experts on the subject - Maria Emmerich and Valerie Berkowitz. Since the duration of the podcast is 1 hr 21 min, I thought it best for you to listen in, rather than me writing about it. Here's the link

      Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt of is one of my favourites. The Eenfeldt's had a LCHF baby Klara, and since her birth have raised her only on LCHF. Klara is very healthy and now 2 years old. You can read the account here

      Dr. Peter Attia is another example. What's the point in propagating something and then not believing in it.

      I think, Isabella of is another LCHF mom. You could also read her experiences on the website of the same name.

      As far as your concerns on IGF are concerned. These are proteins that "look" like Insulin, hence the name. There are quite a few types of these proteins and some of them are involved in wayward growth like cancers.

      I think it is IGF2 that is involved in fetal growth, but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that you must have carbs to generate them. I will need to read on that and get back to you.

      Healthy Regards

  2. Good Reading material....
    BTW Is there any source/article where standard foods like say Bread,Chicken,Lamb,vegetables,dals can be shown split into their respective P,C,F's ,since this can become a good guideline to everyone as to what is the quantity of daily intake required.
    Im at my wits end for e.g. as to what should be my ideal daily breakfast.At present surviving on eggs and bread,butter,jam!

    1. I've put up the data in the post "Nutritional Food Data". Have a look.