Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Which Diet is Best?

I have often been asked this question – which diet is best?  Nutrition is probably the only art and science that can be both right and wrong at the same time.  Why?  Simply because we are all unique and one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

The common ones are:

  1. Paleo (eating foods that our hunter gatherer forefathers used to eat, no grains or legumes)

  2. Keto (over half your caloric intake is from fats, about 30% from protein and approximately 10% from carbohydrates)
  3. Gluten free (eliminating wheat, rye, barley, oat, spelt and kamut)
  4. Dairy free (eliminating all foods made from the milk of a cow, goat or sheep)
  5. Vegetarian (mainly plant based with some eggs, dairy, honey) 
  6. Vegan (no animal products at all)
  7. Low fat (when fat is taken out, the mouth feel changes, satiety factor is reduced so other flavours, salt and sugar is enhanced to make the food palatable)
  8. FODMAP (where specific carbohydrate containing fructose and the various saccharides make digestive symptoms worse)

Each diet has its own merits and demerits, some more than others.  Ultimately it depends on the health objective (do you want to lose weight, gain weight, increase your energy, eliminate bloating, flatulence, gut pain or diarrhea or constipation or reduce pain), the genetic make up and the presentation of health or disease.  There are some strong indications of certain diets consistently being useful for a lot of the times with certain conditions, e.g. gluten and dairy free with IBS or eczema.  In times that the benefit is not there, there is a deeper underlying cause.  The most important aspect of any diet or treatment is to identify the underlying driver of that imbalance.  Sometimes the underlying is simple to identify, other times, most tests, functional and pathology tests have to be employed to work out what caused the symptom(s).

In summary, no ONE diet is the best.  What we do know is best is feeding ourselves only until we are 80% full at a meal and to have a proper break from meals between dinner and breakfast, hence the name break-fast.  We are designed to be fasting at night, or what is better known as time restricted eating.  Whilst we could be feasting during this holiday season, just remember to have a break from feasting after those big, rich meals to allow your body to recover and have a break!  Make 2021 your best year yet, feel the vitality and confidence!

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