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Posts tagged ‘LCHF’

The One Diet to Rule Them All…

Which diet is best for you?

I have recently been reading a lot of ‘diet books’ and related blogs and looking at some of the most popular diet programs currently in vogue.

Within the space of just a few days:

  • I read an excellent report on the benefits of ketogenic diets for type-2 diabetics and people suffering from neurodegenerative disease. The article was written by someone knowledgeable, intelligent, published and well-respected, and backed up by plenty of examples of people who have enjoyed success with ketogenic diets (personally, I know several who get great results!)
  • Then, without looking for it, the very next day I happened across a well-reasoned argument against ketogenic diets, again written by a knowledgeable trainer with a long track record of client success stories. He warned of the dangers of low carb diets negatively affecting thyroid function, and he shared many anecdotal stories of female clients who have suffered hormone disruption through trying ketogenic diets. He also argued convincingly that ketogenic diets can cause some people to suffer sleep abnormalities, hormone problems, mood swings, anxiety and misery (life without carbs – not much fun!)
  • Ummm, one blog full of reports of people going super low-carb and finally ditching that stubborn belly fat they wanted to get rid of. The other blog full of reports of people feeling tired, run-down, burnt out on ultra low-carb, who then ate more carbs and felt strong again and saw that stubborn belly fat finally melt away! Confusion much!
  • Then I was reading a book about the benefits of intermittent fasting and the health benefits of fasting in general. Again a well-researched and well written book, lots of scientific references and plenty of anecdotal references too. Mental benefits, fat burning benefits, metabolic benefits, weight loss, improvements in blood sugar management, insulin sensitivity and more
  • I had a look around online and found many blogs and groups proclaiming the benefits of intermittent fasting diets, full of weight-loss success stories…and I found a similar number of blogs and groups bemoaning that ‘intermittent fasting diets don’t work’ or that as soon as they returned to eating ‘normally’, these people regained any weight they had lost – “it’s just a fad” they proclaim
  • I read a wonderful book a couple of weeks ago about some of the newest research into the effectiveness of Paleo diets and how many people enjoy weight loss results on a Paleo-style dietary regime. Then I read a series of very confusing blogs, and it became clear to me just how muddled the Paleo message has become, which is kinda sad. Some people seem to interpret Paleo as meaning ‘fairly low carb’, and some seem to think it means LCHF (low carb, high fat) and some seem to eat lots of carbs. Some think ketogenic diets are an extension of Paleo, while others look at hunter-gatherer tribes eating high carb diets (many roots and tubers) and argue that Paleo is actually pretty high carb
  • Oh the glorious confusion! I found stories of folks getting weight loss results and improved health from all variants of this Paleo interpretation! These people were all following variations of what they believe to me a Paleo diet, some very low in carbs, some really quite high in carbs, and all achieving weight loss results or health improvements. Then I searched around and found opposing legions of people complaining Paleo is too hard, Paleo is too restrictive, Paleo doesn’t work and they failed to lose weight on a Paleo diet!

Now let’s just see – Read more

Should we all be cutting back on starchy carbohydrates?

I have seen a lot in the press recently about type-3 diabetes, the proposed alternative name for Alzheimer’s disease.

This is not particularly new, Type-3 diabetes has been offered as a name for Alzheimer’s for over a decade now, but it does increasingly seem to be coming to the fore and reaching mainstream discussion more recently.

It makes me wonder how many more people are starting to see that high refined carbohydrate consumption is not our long-term historical norm. Now, I didn’t just write “humans are not supposed to eat carbs.” No, that’s not what I said. Humans have always eaten carbohydrates, just not is such great quantities, and not refined and processed, the way breakfast cereals, sliced bread, quick-cook pasta and baked goods are today. These refined carbs (sugars!) and all highly processed grain products (bread, pasta, cereals) are a relatively new addition to our diet, and in such bulk, they seem to be causing some serious problems.

And with all the increase in grain consumption, we are seeing an increasing rise in the human consumption of glyphosate, the highly controversial herbicide from Monsanto. This is of great concern to many – the numbers reported in that link are certainly ringing alarm bells.

It seems there are plenty of good reasons to look at consuming fewer foods made from processed grains, and fewer refined carbohydrates in general.

Low-carb diets have become amazingly popular in recent years, first it was The Atkins Diet, and more recently the Paleo movement.

And there are increasingly many reports of low-carb diets helping people, with challenging health problems such as type-2 diabetes and advanced renal failure. Indeed, I have had plenty of people email me over the last five years to tell me that they follow the MND lifestyle and they have controlled their type-2 diabetes or even reversed it and come off their medications. I have had some emails from people exclaiming “you’ve cured me!”

I do not actively promote Mother Nature’s Diet as a low-carb diet. MND as a way of living includes eating plenty of carbs every day, we just like to eat the most nutritious carbs we can, such as sweet potatoes and squash, rather than bread, pasta and cereals. These vegetables tend to be lower in calories and higher in fibre – in my opinion, much better choices. I promote MND as a healthy-carb diet, rather than a low-carb diet.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet do steer you away from high carbohydrate consumption.

Core Principle 1 states “Eliminate processed grains and starches from your diet”

What’s the point here?

In very broad general terms, there are five key reasons why we avoid eating grains and processed starchy carbs when living the Mother Nature’s Diet way.

1: For the vast majority of people, unless you are an athlete, then you just don’t need lots of bulky starchy carbs in your diet. The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat.

2: Grains cannot be digested unless they are processed or fermented, and in the natural order of things, way back in evolution, these foods would not have formed a major component of our diet.

3: Most of these foods (grains) naturally contain compounds that are not good for a lot of people. These foods contain gluten, phytates and other chemical substances that can cause digestive problems for a lot of people.

4: Grains and starchy carbs – the way they are consumed in the typical Western diet – tend to supply lots of bulk and lots of calories, without supplying much in the way of micro-nutrients – vitamins and minerals. In terms of eating foods that fill your plate, there are much better choices.

5: Modern large-scale industrialised agriculture, particularly grain (wheat and barley, also maize, rice and soya) agriculture, is a major source of topsoil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.

If you would like to read a little more detail, just click here.

We are not excluding an entire food group “from all people, in its entirety, at all times” just because “grains are bad for you” as there is much more to it than that. The reality is that for many people, the popular foods made using grains and other starches, sold en masse in our supermarkets, which form a bulk part of the typical modern Western diet, are feeding people large amounts of easily-digestible calories, eaten rapidly in large quantities, eaten too quickly, too easily, too eagerly, too often, and these foods tend to be of a fairly low overall nutrient density.

In all, this ‘consumption pattern’ seems to be a major contributing factor to growing obesity levels, it seems to be a major contributory factor to the rising type-2 diabetes problem, and it seems to be a major contributory factor to the sub-standard level of micro-nutrients in the modern Western diet.

Additionally, people tend to eat these grains and starchy carbs as ‘the bulk’ element of a meal (think cereals and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta, rice and spaghetti for dinner) and this can often lead to over-eating large quantities of these foods. Because of this issue of quantity, these grains and starchy carbs tend to contribute a substantial proportion of the calories in a person’s diet, but comparatively little micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). This can contribute to weight gain.

Eating the MND way, we swap out those processed starchy foods for better options, namely fresh vegetables. The vegetable still offer some carbohydrate, but they are also offer more fibre, more micronutrients, less starch and fewer calories. For most people, this helps with weight loss and a healthier, more nutritious diet.

Eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way, in Core Principle 2 we also “Eliminate refined sugar, and limit natural sugars” and this further reduces the heavy carbohydrate load in the typical Western Diet.

So MND is not a low-carb diet per se, but it’s a healthy carb diet. It balances good choices of carbs, with good fats, varied proteins and plenty of micronutrients.

Try implementing the MND way into your life, just try it for 90 days, and see if it works for you.

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Why avoid grains and starchy carbs?

Why do we avoid grains and processed starchy carbs?

This, Core Principle 1, is mostly explained in detail here in the 12 Core Principles.

For further reading, you might like to check this post: Back off those carbs!

Now you will understand that:

1: We have not evolved to eat grains, we cannot digest these plants, that is why they have to be processed before we can consume them.

2: You understand there are compounds in grains – gluten, lectins, phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors – that are largely undesirable and have negative side-effects for many people.

3: For most people, the 99% of the population who are not elite athletes, eating a lot of grains and processed starchy carbs is probably contributing to undesirable weight gain.

4: Bulky meals of starchy carbs can cause your pancreas to work too hard and can trigger blood sugar highs and lows. In time, this can Read more