We need factual and evidenced information to make our own choices about what to eat and this will make us feel much better mentally, emotionally and physically.
With more vested interests among food producers sending out conflicting messages than your average health food shop, it is vital that we can return to an understanding about what food types we need to be healthy and for our bodies to work properly and which ones we most need to avoid.
With people choosing which road to go down for their preferred diet resembling a motorway interchange in Shanghai such as eating a plant-based diet, avoiding food intolerances or allergies, a stand against animal cruelty or to reduce our carbon footprint, avoiding packaging or a paleolithic or the South Beach diet, health food shops tend to try and cater for all these preferences.
A book to read that explains how our bodies work with the food we eat is discussed in this New York Times article. The book Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes is a summary of research and findings since the earliest diet doctors and research into nutrition for our species and concludes that fat and certain calories are good in our diets and sugars and carbohydrates are not. Here is a quote from the article:
Perhaps the remarkable diversity of the human organism — whose various sizes and shapes (double chins, giant thighs and all) are so clearly driven by such a vast array of different appetites and genetic cues — simply means that it is foolish to expect a single diet to serve all comers.
Abigail Zuger, M.D. New York Times, 2010
However, scientists have recognised the causes of obesity and type two diabetes since these have exploded over the last four or five decades, but their findings have been blocked by the financial might of the dairy and sugar lobbies, in particular, with the corporate responsibilities for causing these epidemics being pushed into the faces of the consumer. This Independent article reflects this incorrectly attributed focus on what we eat rather than what we are told and sold.
This article in the Independent is a typical example of how the blame for weight gain is placed squarely in the shopping basket of the food buyer, not the food producer, packager or grocer. If you go to consult a doctor on weight, it is likely you will be told to “eat less and exercise more”. This Time article reveals findings from 2014 by Dr. Ludwig in his commentary linked from the article:
You’ve heard it before: To lose weight, simply eat less and exercise more. In theory, that makes sense. Actually, it’s not just in theory—science has proven that burning more calories than you consume will result in weight loss. But the trouble is that this only has short-term results. For long-term weight loss, it simply doesn’t work, say renowned obesity experts in a recent JAMA Commentary.
Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, 2014.
When you approach a qualified doctor today, their first port of call will not be to have your food intolerances tested and you are unlikely to be given real information about how our bodies respond to different food groups in order to go away and choose healthier things to eat for yourself. In America, particularly, you may be written a prescription for a drug. It is likely you will be given the now-disproven advice to simply “eat less and exercise more”. Unfortunately paid agendas have replaced information for consumers. A guide to discovering food intolerances is Dr John Mansfield’s book The Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss, which outlines the Elimination Diet.
Sugar provides immediate energy and a buzz in its purest form and it is used to make us want a wide variety of junk ranging from a fast food hamburger and chips, through savoury snacks ranging from sauces, crisps and all sorts of other places that you would not expect to find it. Taking the thought that the amount of sugar we need depends on our activities and our biology, this article describes what happens when we have more than is required.
Sugar is essential for the human body as it powers the cells that keep us alive. However, eating too much of it can also have a negative effect on our health. Foods with added sugar that does not occur naturally contain empty calories, meaning that they have no other benefit than to provide energy. If we eat more sugar than our energy levels require, then our bodies have to find something else to do with it, creating a whole host of problems. Excessive sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Joanna Stass, Independent, 2016.
A plant, be it a potato, sweet potato, wheat, rice or leafy green grows via photosynthesis from the sun in the form of combining water and carbon to grow. As you can see, this is the basis of the word carbohydrate and this is another form of sugar. At least, our bodies recognise carbohydrates as foods containing glucose, which is why people who live on a high glycaemic diet – perhaps because they were told to avoid fats and reduce calories – and their blood glucose rises quickly from foods from which they absorb plenty of sugar. This Insider article discusses the effects of consuming too much sugar and its sources based on information from Dr Jennifer Haythe and Rebecca Lee.
A 2011 study published in the United States National Library of Medicine found that diets high in saturated fats and refined sugars can interfere with the brain’s signal to your body that you’re full.
Joanna Fantozzi, The Insider, 2018
Eating out is a minefield of hidden ingredients, dairy and carbohydrates, which may have contributed to at least a decade’s silence about Dr Atkins’ low carbohydrate diet. However, a guide to how to eat out healthily has appeared on Atkins website. Aimed at Americans and their favourite foods, here are some actual suggestions for healthier menu options for eating out.
The only way to find out how our bodies respond to foods in general and what particular items to leave our own diets is through independent research where there is no vested interest. This article explains reasons why carbohydrates put on weight. What to look for is information, not advice.