One mistake people make when they dive into any new eating pattern. They don’t read a learned source in its entirety prior to getting started. This can lead to some very bad and potentially dangerous outcomes.
So before you change your diet, stick with whatever you’re doing now. It may be causing damage over the long term, but it has at least gotten you here. This is doubly true if you’re already healthy or feeling great.
But if you’re not, it just makes sense to me to consider dieting changes to see what influence, if any, that a change in eating pattern could have before considering traditional medical interventions for chronic mental or physical disease.
That said, do not change your eating pattern until you have fully absorbed what the new eating pattern advocate is actually saying in its entirety.
Second, that eating pattern advocate better at least have letters MD or DO after their name. (I actually think DC’s (chiropractors) are a lot better than people give them credit for).
Take two diametrically opposed camps: vegan versus carnivore. They don’t agree on much, but both agree that there can be significant nutritional deficiency if you don’t do it right.
Take the Carnivore, MD advocate, Paul Saladino. I have loved listening to his podcast and have been very pleased with the nuance. First, he makes clear that you can’t get the benefits by just eating muscle meats. You also have to eat the organ meat too. Additionally, he is actually not totally anti-carb either. He is especially favorable to carbs that are more consistent with hunter/gather eating patterns, things like occasionally berries, honey, the occasional tuber.
That nuance would have been totally lost if I had just jumped into eating roast all of the time.
Same nuance also occurs with keto, especially by learned md advocates. The whole keto philosophy centers on the human variability in processing carbs. Some can do it exceedingly well. Others cannot, especially if they are obese. From what I’ve read from these advocates, they seem to be very keto dogmatic to get people out of obesity, getting them lean, getting them fit. Once exercise is ramped up, they then start introducing carbs. This will also prevent you from eating eggs and bacon all of the time, which be counterproductive to the goals of keto, keeping insulin in check.
That strategy makes total sense to me, especially because our brains do love carbs. They love that quick glucose, one of the reasons we love them so much. You get moody or stressed without carbs! Our bodies make that our first choice for a reason. It’s just easier to get energy from carbs than fat stores and our brain likes it to think. Before the crash, sugary drinks even give you great clarity.
So the dogmatic “fad” diet people actually can get quite conventional after the initial intervention.
One of the problems with carbs seems to be not the carbs as such, but the way in which they have been packaged in processed foods, literally designed to make you crave them and to keep you hungry.
I have seen a lot of keto and carnivore types not necessarily railing against all carbs. Don’t get me wrong. There are some anti-carb dogmatic types, but the good ones have nuance. They look at “ancestral” carbs, how we used to eat them. They look at certain types of oils and vinegars that slow the impact of carbs. Even with big bad sugar, they have a lot less concern with sugar when its packaged in an apple or in honey, things that our ancestors ate seasonally. They also advocate carbs that have been traditionally prepared like stone ground grains or sourdough bread.
So your only dogma should be no dogma.
If you’re healthy, and feeling great, keep on keeping on!
If you’re not healthy or not feeling great, you’re going to need a new diet train.
As a baseline make sure that train was built by an MD. Make sure an MD gives you a boarding pass, checking your vitals and seeing whether you need to take some different tweaks. Fortunately, now there are a lot more MD’s that seem more willing to consider non-traditional models.
I tend to like the rebel md’s, those md’s that admit that their nutrition training was not very good and only deviated from that training after a deep dive into the original studies as well as subsequent studies. What clinches it for me is if they are actually still practicing and seeing patients. So they are constantly honing their craft.
Here’s the other thing with the traditional food pyramid, and this is just purely observational. It’s not that it is wrong, or based upon bad science. It is actually really good and based upon peer review science!
I think it is particularly bad when existing in our current hyper processed, totally food available culture has been decoupled from traditional cultures and eating patterns.
I think that’s one of the reasons why high carb rice cultures did not see issues with obesity and diabetes. Their cooking was connected to learned wisdom from thousands of years passed down. As more hyper processed foods and drinks have entered more mainstream, those negative obesity and diabetes trends have started to match the US for example, a point made by Dr. Fung. The carbs themselves also likely weren’t available all of the time, resulting from involuntary fasting or voluntary fasting with religious practice. You also eat more when you’re alone as opposed to with others, a natural check to not overeat.
Tomorrow, I am going to ask a more provocative question.
Has the medical professional profession completely learned its lesson from Semmelweis? More on that tomorrow. The Semmelweis conjecture.