Current Dietary Guidelines & Metabolic Disease
Peoples’ ability to understand and navigate the world around them has become severely compromised and that includes health and diet. To make sense of the range of opinions and information that vast majority don’t understand or have the time to follow, general norms and guidelines are created. These norms and guidelines are often influenced by many people, interests and considerations resulting in inaccuracies, generalizations and misinformation in many cases. For example; current dietary guidelines suffer from several fundamentally flawed perspectives:
Saturated fat and cholesterol myth
The relationship between eating saturated fat and heart disease is not as it is made up to be. Saturated fat that is mostly from animal sources and some plant sources like coconut oil, do not just go to our veins and cause heart and vascular problems. Adding fat to a high sugar and carbohydrate diet will cause health problems but replacing some of the sugars and carbohydrates with the fats will result in better health. This is why the SAD (Standard American Diet) that is high in carbohydrates including sugars and fats has resulted in obesity, diabetes NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) and other metabolic diseases.
Of course the kind of fat one eats is very important. For example most seed and vegetable oils are high in omega 6 (high omega6:omega3 ratio) and are highly processed causing inflammation in the body.
Here is a great documentary explaining it all.
Non-essential carbohydrates including sugars
Our body does not need carbohydrates including sugars to survive as these are metabolized by the body as needed from protein, fat and other food consumed. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of fiber and vitamins but opting for less sugary, starchy alternatives, specially for people with metabolic syndrome / diseases, is more beneficial.
It is not about calories and calories are not the same
What we eat is important, it is not about calories, it is about nutrients and providing body with easily digestible and accessible nutrients. Foods that would not cause inflammation and over work organs like pancreas, liver and GI tract. Also, everyone is different and it maybe possible to achieve the same positive results using various diets as long as certain fundamentals are understood.
For example there is a difference between nutritional ketoses (see doctor Stephen Phinney’s video here) and LCHF (low carbohydrate, high fast diet). While nutritional ketoses can help with managing and even treating metabolic diseases, for a healthy person, a healthy eating of moderate carbs with higher protein and fat would suffice.
N of one concept, study with one participant, you!
Experiment on yourself, establish a quantifiable baseline for your weight, health, and mental status using blood tests, food/mental diary and overall health scores. Use food and lifestyle changes to address the root causes of health conditions as doctors use medications to target symptoms of the diseases. Of course medications are needed in many cases but for most metabolic conditions, the right diet can help reduce drugs’ dosage/duration and prolong their effectiveness. LCHF diet can also revers conditions such as type II diabetes!
The body is a system
We have to look at our bodies as an interconnected system rather than individual components. Modern medicine treats individual diseases without consideration for common causes for different metabolic conditions and what the treatment may do to other parts of the body. Many of modern health conditions have common causes rooted in our unhealthy diet and lifestyle and factors like genetic predispositions maybe have a role in deciding which health conditions one may end up with.
Also, looking for and blaming many of metabolic/autoimmune diseases on genetics is misguided and aimed to mislead in many cases. There are genetic predispositions where certain people may be more susceptible to a particular disease, but genetics does not explain the rise of these conditions (e.g.: IBD), specially during the last few decades and appearance of new additions such as EoE (described 1st in 1993). Nor does it explain the fact that these diseases tend to follow SAD (Standard American Diet) everywhere it spreads around the world.
See more specific suggestions here.
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