When you hear or think of the term PC, what comes up for you? I put PC in the Google search box and got hits dominated by content related to the term personal computer. That was not what I expected. But I do not work in an IT/computer field, so I guess that makes sense. So I searched again but used PC slang and can you guess what surfaced? Yes, the term politically correct. That did not surprise me. Interesting to notice how both of these terms have changed our culture. One, a noun for a general purpose computer. The other, an adjective for a belief that restricts behavior.
I want to redefine what PC stands for. Something I belief would provide a far more beneficial shift to our culture than the current references. A term, that if well understood, could stop all the divided discussion about how to correct our broken health care system. But much more important than that useless political blah, blah, blah…is that it would actually help people be more happy, healthy, and free of most diseases. Yes this possibility exists, and it is within the grasp of every individual. That grasp is your fork. Meaningful health care reform begins in the kitchen.
The term I want PC to immediately trigger in every individual is protein to carbohydrate ratio. The PC ratio tells you the amount of protein and carbohydrate you should consume per meal that will self regulate the amount of food energy you consume. Mastering the PC ratio ensures proper glucose regulation and secondarily, greatly reduces the risk of developing most chronic diseases. Deconstruct the creation of most chronic diseases and in the beginning stages you will find a blood sugar issue.
The Center of Disease Control website (cdc.gov) has information on chronic disease and how to prevent it. They state that chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. They are also leading drivers of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care costs. I can unequivocally say that glucose dysregulation is a huge player in the development of these three diseases. Cdc.gov also states that most chronic diseases are caused by key “risk behaviors.” Here are their risk behaviors:
1. Tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke: Okay, that makes sense. But consider the fact that nicotine impairs the action of insulin and causes the body to make more glucose. It is not a stretch to conclude that low/high blood sugar will prompt the desire to use tobacco. And ongoing blood sugar swings will elicit the ongoing use of tobacco.
2. Poor nutrition: Okay, hard not to agree with that, although ironically many, if not most medical doctors do not acknowledge the benefits of taking health supplements. Poor nutrition is obviously effected by what a person eats. The typical standard American diet (SAD) has an inherent poor PC ratio.
3. Lack of physical activity: Okay, again sounds good on paper. Consider that proper exercise increases caloric expenditure and gives our metabolism the opportunity to use up some unneeded glucose storage. And that glucose storage would not be there if a proper PC ratio was established and practiced.
4. Excessive alcohol use: Wow, the hits just keep on coming…..alcohol alters the liver’s ability to release glucose and therefore contributes to blood sugar dysregulation. The obvious conclusion to these risk behaviors is that in some way, they all have a strong relationship to an improper PC ratio. A more productive and effective message from the CDC would be that prevention of chronic disease starts with better blood sugar control. A proper PC ratio will help you achieve that goal.
Here is the formula for calculating your personal PC ratio.
To calculate your P, divide your weight (in pounds) by 45. This tells you the minimum amount of protein you need per meal, based on 3 meals a day. To calculate your C, multiply your P by a factor of 9. This expresses the maximum amount of carbohydrate grams you should have per meal, based on 3 meals a day. For example, I weight 176 pounds. Using the above formula looks like this:
P = 176/45 = @ 4 ounces protein per meal, 3 meals a day. C = 4 x 9 = 36 grams of carbohydrate per meal, 3x/day.
So my PC ratio is 4:36. This says I should eat 3 meals a day, each consisting of a minimum of 4 ounces of protein and a maximum of 36 grams of carbohydrate. It’s that simple. Assuming my metabolism is balanced, and I’m not a total couch potato, this should maintain my proper weight. If you want to lose weight, lower your carbohydrate gram allowance.
There are some slight modifications that may need to be done to this formula. For example, if you are very athletic, then going up a bit on protein is justified. If you are already overweight, then you should calculate the P based on your proper weight instead of your current weight. If, after using your PC ratio, you become hungry shortly after eating a meal, you have two options: 1. If you are a fast oxidizer (tendency to get low blood sugar), then at your next meal, go higher on the amount of ounces of protein. 2. If you are a slow oxidizer (tendency to have higher blood sugar), then on your next meal you need to add some high quality oil to your meal.
Consider this; all diet plans use various ways to manipulate this PC ratio. For example, Atkins will go higher on the P and lower on the C. Ketogenic diets keep the P the same, lowers the C, and introduces high amounts of fats. We could do this for every diet but It’s all about wrangling in the blood sugar response. I submit to you that the best starting point is to use this PC ratio approach. It will provide a great starting point to controlling blood sugar. Better blood sugar control will ensure a greater chance of success if you try other types of diets. Just ask, and I will provide you a detailed document that covers diet plans and all the variations you will need to make it work for you.
So how did I do following my PC ratio at Thanksgiving? Here is what I ate:
First plate: Turkey (4 oz), mashed potatoes (20g), sweet potato casserole (30g), dressing (20g), English peas (4g), and cranberry sauce (14g).
My accumulated PC ratio was 4:88. Remember my proper PC ratio is 4:36. As you can see, I am almost 250% too high on my carbohydrate allocation. But hey, it’s Thanksgiving…. and seconds is almost a requirement.
Second plate: Everything again, at 50% less quantity. So this time my PC ratio was 2:44.
My meal time PC ratio total was 6:132. But hey, it’s Thanksgiving and dessert is almost a requirement.
Dessert: A small piece of pumpkin pie (22g). At this point, does it really matter? I’m too far gone. My postprandial blood glucose looks like that of a diabetic. Fortunately my body’s ability to produce and utilize insulin is still functioning.
Can you imagine how much ATP my metabolism was using to convert all that potential energy into triglycerides? Watching a football game does not require that much fuel. This is why we get sleepy after eating a large Thanksgiving meal. It does not have anything to do with tryptophan. In fact, slow oxidizers (tendency towards high blood sugar) will get sleepy after any meal not in compliance with their PC ratio.
With the holidays upon us, we will get many more opportunities to violate our PC ratio. We know it is futile to try to begin a new lifestyle modification at this time of year. So the New Year's resolution becomes our iconic motivating starting point. When it’s time to make the change, my recommendation is, don’t bite off more than you can chew. In other words, see if you can at least follow the PC ratio rule for 2 weeks. Also, don’t make a New Year’s resolution unless you know it is in alignment with what your metabolism optimally needs. Otherwise the journey becomes even harder and more likely to fail.
We can help you with that.
PS. If you want to conjure up a higher level of motivation to become healthier, visit a hospital.
PSS. I just did a search for PC on merriam-webster.com and post cibum came up.
It is Latin for after meals.