Which is The Best Diet and Why?
This has always been a complicated question. In my attempt to answer properly, I must firstly say that there is no such thing as the ‘best diet' that's suitable for everyone.
Our bodies are too complex to have one perfect diet that fits all. Your body constitution, the conditions that you suffer, the environment you live in, nutrient requirements you have, your digestive power and ability to properly absorb those nutrients, all differ from anyone else. Therefore there is no diet that suits everybody the same.
There are some general rules that all healthy diets should follow…..
The word “diet” triggers a radical response in most people. Many follow a protocol which they themselves don’t fully understand. Therefore lets rather make lifestyle changes which are generally less extreme, sustainable and therefore deliver better health outcome in the end.
When it comes to my basic dietary fundamentals nothing is more important than eating real food. That means avoiding processed food, refined carbohydrates, and foods that are packed, flavoured and artificially preserved. This demands a change in both your lifestyle and diet as cooking and sourcing food that is whole, fresh and doesn't contain additives. This can be can be difficult and that’s why people can find it so hard to adapt.
Education, increased self-awareness, and motivation of a patient is probably the most important part of any dietary program to ensure consistency with the diet.
For cancer patients or chronic disease patients I generally advise a lower carbohydrate diet. This is beneficial as it reduces blood glucose levels and insulin spikes which is a growth factor for cancer. I advise my patients to have roughly about 150 g of carbohydrates per day. I also educate on what carbohydrates are. By carbohydrates, I don't just mean sugar that's added to food, but the actual carbohydrates that all foods contain such as vegetables, grains, and even meats.
In order to maintain lower carbohydrate intakes, we can actually count those carbohydrates and come up with a rough diet plan that contains about 150 g per day. This can be done easily by search online and finding out how much of carbohydrates are in each food item. You can also use various mobile apps to find the information you need.
Carbohydrate counting can be a little bit tough in the beginning. Initially you will need to check almost every food item to find out the carbohydrate content and to get an understanding of what 150 grams of carbohydrates looks like in a day. Later on, it becomes intuitive and you don't actually need to monitor it that closely.
The other dietary factor that I advise anyone that has a chronic disease is the avoidance of gluten. Gluten is inflammatory as it causes the release of zonulin, which stimulates leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is the opening of the tight junctions in the small intestine, which then enables proteins that haven't been digested properly go through the intestine to the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the liver. The liver is by far one of the most important organs in our body when we are chronically ill. However, having said that I must also say that many gluten-free options are heavily processed and therefore aren't viable alternatives.
When I mention gluten free many of my clients then mention going grain free in general. However this is one of those cases where we cannot fit everyone into one dietary box.
For example, to say that all grain is bad for everybody would be too radical because there are B vitamins, beneficial fibres, complex carbohydrates and proteins in non-glutinous grains. Also cutting out all grains in everyone is radically reducing dietary variation which can be very detrimental in some people who already have other dietary restrictions. So that's where the individuality comes into play. For some, they may need to go off all grains because they can't deal with the phytates, which can cause gastrointestinal inflammation and are anti-nutritional binding minerals and vitamins. Whereas others have the enzymes and digestive ability to break them down and don't have any issues with the phytates.
Another case of individuality would be when people are advised to stay low on a carbohydrate diet, people often consume higher amounts of fat or protein to replace it. For for anyone having a kidney issues, they can't have high levels of protein because it will damage the kidneys even further. Likewise a person without a gallbladder would never be able to successfully break down a high-fat diet. In these cases we need to modify the intake of carbohydrates and support the body where its lacking.
That's why when you try and put people in boxes and label them, it becomes complicated, because you can have kidney issues, you can have a gallbladder removed, or you can have insulin resistance. All of a sudden your diet looks very different from what someone else's would look like.
Your ability how to break down food matter plays a large role in what diet is suitable for you. Some people aren't able to break down certain foods. Some may need them cooked whereas others can consume them raw. Without questions and an in-depth investigation into your body and your body type, chances are pretty low that you find the perfect diet for you.
So you need to start looking at yourself in-depth. It is best to get help from a qualified practitioner who knows and understands the biology of your body. Then they can work out what deficiencies you have and design a diet that supports you, correcting those deficiencies and working with your body.
Finding your perfect diet isn’t 100% guesswork. A lot of details can be found out through looking at what's going on in your body, what allergies or intolerances you have, if you don't have a gallbladder or how well you gall bladder functions, checking a blood test to analyse your kidneys function and your iron status. Eventually, once all the investigation is complete, there will be a certain level of trial and error, but that's only about 10 % of the diet. By completing the whole journey you should be able to find a diet that fits you 100%.
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