Nutritional sabotage is an excellent example of the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
We go on these fad diets, “healthy clean eating” programs, where we eliminate entire food groups. Are we better off?
Let’s talk about a few examples.
No carb: the Go To diet for a very long time.
A few points.
The Moderation study: Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, led the research. The study of more than 15,400 people in the US found that diets both low and high in carbohydrates were linked with an increase in mortality, while moderate consumers had the lowest risk of mortality.
These findings were confirmed in a meta-analysis of studies ( study of hundreds of other studies combined ) including over 432,000 people from more than 20 countries. Bottom line results:
Average life expectancies for 50-year-olds:
Moderate carbohydrate intake – additional 33 years
Very low carbohydrate intake- 29 years
High carbohydrate intake – 32 years
Nutritional sabotage? an excellent example here. The millions of people who do not eat carbs for instant gratification of weight loss – these studies seem to confirm nutritional sabotage, albeit the very best intentions.
Again – we have to define a carb – of course we are not referring to and excuse for pizza & pasta parties, chips, junk food. That’s another form of nutritional sabotage. When we say carbs – we are referring to fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes & beans……
Brain food: Our brains consume up to 20% of the energy used by the entire human body, more than any other organ. The brain is about 2% of body weight, but receives 15% of the cardiac output and uses 20% of the total body oxygen consumption. Rather needy organ! The brain uses about 25% of the total body glucose (from carbs) utilization. Junk carbs are terrible for the brain in a number of ways (oxidative stress and inflammation), yet those good carbs we are talking about are vital. The body can use ketones (from a deprivation of good carbs) as an energy source….let’s just say not a preferred source, we can talk about this in another blog.
Dairy: Another popular belief is to eliminate dairy. Truthfully, I was devastated when Canada removed dairy from the food guide. I am all for getting people to eat more legumes, plant based foods. Fact is like other foods, moderation is key. Dairy is still an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, protein, micronutrients….supports bone growth, hormone production, a very long list. I do not think it is realistic for children to eat enough legumes, oily fish to compensate. Dairy is also, according to numerous studies, to have a role in diabetes prevention. Once again – we are saying moderation – and we are not talking bowls and bowls of sugary fatty ice cream, 18% cream in our coffee…..But a bowl of greek yogurt has endless nutritional benefits – including a natural food source of probiotics (mix in some oatmeal for the prebiotics), protein and precious enzymes, coenzymes and micronutrients. And please, don’t fool yourself about giving your kids calcium from those chocolate spreads……
There are benefits to being a vegetarian – if people are doing it properly – and not living on a diet of pasta and potatoes. Are they eating fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits & vegetables? With many people – being vegetarian is nutritional sabotage, they frequently are low in B12, calcium and the iron in vegan foods is not as easily absorbed by the body as the iron from animal sources – there is a real skill necessary for a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet. However, eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.”
I recently did an interview with Dr. Ross Grant, on the importance of NAD to lower oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic inflammation, in our diets, NAD is a coenzyme our bodies can assemble. However, we need to assure our body is getting the precursors it needs to manufacture the NAD: Yeast, niacin, Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) from cow’s milk, fish, chicken……..what happens if we eliminate entire food groups?
Points to ponder…..its not just about popping a multivitamin for vitamins and minerals that might be missing in our diets. There are hundreds of more examples here. Our bodies are a symphony of chemical reactions, fuelled by enzymes and coenzymes we need to assemble. Food and exercise are our very best medicines. Exercise needs to be efficiently fueled too. Don’t just look at the immediate results – look at the longer picture of health. Make sure your best intentions are not nutritional sabotage.
The supplement like a flu shot against oxidative stress…..
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Shira Litwack: Corporate Wellness Specialist, Chronic Care prevention & management program design, health technologies, population health management on 3 continents.
There is an estimated 750 Billion dollars in U.S. health care waste every year. Our many technologies assure you are not contributing to that $750 billion. Health technology serving the continuum from prevention through chronic illness management.
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