Carbohydrates have always supplied humans, whatever the place, era, or culture, with over 50 percent of our energy ration. For thousands of years, apart from fruit and honey, the only carbohydrates we consumed were what we now call "slow sugars”—whole grains and starchy vegetables like root vegetables and legumes. What sets these "slow sugar” carbohydrates apart from refined carbohydrates—such as white rice, white bread, and foods containing refined sugar—is that they are absorbed gradually. "Slow sugar” carbohydrates raise the body’s sugar levels only moderately, and thus do not cause reactive insulin surges and the resulting harmful repercussions on health—specifically, weight gain.
Since we discovered how to extract white sugar from sugar cane and then from sugar beets, human food has undergone profound changes, with an ever-increasing intake of sweet foods and refined carbohydrates. Providing excellent fuel, these types of carbohydrates are highly suitable for athletes, manual workers, and teenagers. But for the vast majority of sedentary people who make up most of today’s societies they are far from useful. High-carbohydrate foods that sabotage diets include White sugar and all its derivatives, such as candy and other sweets, are pure carbohydrates and absorbed in no time at all. Starchy foods, even if they do not taste sweet, are just as rich in carbohydrates. They include flour products (bread, in particular white bread, crackers, biscuits, cereals, and the like), pasta, potatoes, peas, legumes, lentils, and beans. The fruits containing the most carbohydrates are bananas, cherries, and grapes.
Wine and all alcohol, including beer, spirits, or any food or drink containing alcohol. Pastries—are a delicious combination of flour and sugar, and, even worse, of fat. Carbohydrates contain only 4 calories per gram but are usually eaten in such large quantity that the calories soon mount up. Carbohydrate calories are also totally assimilated, which increases their energy yield. Furthermore, we digest starch and flour products slowly, producing fermentation and gas, which causes bloating as unpleasant as it is unattractive. Carbohydrates so energy-rich and easily available, and they have such a pleasant taste that they are often used as comfort foods. And, as for sweet foods, some people snack on them compulsively.
Our afinity for sweet tastes is in part innate, but most psychologists agree that lengthy conditioning starting in childhood makes sweet flavors gratifying as they are associated with rewards. Finally, carbohydrates are almost always the cheapest foods available, which is why they are served at everyone’s table, from the richest to the poorest. As far as the body’s metabolism is concerned, carbohydrates help the secretion of insulin, which in turn encourages fat to be produced and stored. For all these reasons, for a long time, people predisposed to being overweight were instructed to be wary of carbohydrates. Nowadays, they are told instead to be wary of the fat content in foods, which—and rightly so—has now become the overweight person’s most deadly enemy.
However, this is not a reason to lower one’s guard in respect to carbohydrates, especially during the First stage. This Diet excludes carbohydrates completely during the first stage. In the second stage and until the desired weight has been reached, it only allows vegetables with extremely low sugar levels. Carbohydrates make a comeback during the second stage, but it is only during the final third stage, 6 days out of 7, that total restriction is lifted.