WE WALK THROUGH THE SUPER MARKET as if it were a minefield. Food has become the enemy.
We have our list of subversive food elements, and do our best to avoid them. We do everything to avoid fat, cholesterol, and the dangerous food of the day.
Eating less fat and food additives is not a bad idea. A healthy diet, however, is not arrived at by process of elimination.
It is assembled from the foods with the most beneficial substances. More often than not, it is what we fail to eat that causes health problems, not merely what we do eat.
Before we can get a grasp of the elements of a healthy diet, the food industry takes advantage of our confusion.
Foods are marketed not on the basis of what they have, but of what they lack. Sugar and white flour are mixed together with toxic additives to create cakes that are “fat-free.”
Margarine-a destructive food if ever there was one – is sold to you under the guise of being “cholesterol-free.“And fried corn chips are celebrated for having “one-third less salt.”
THE NEW APPROACH: EATING FOOD FOR WHAT IT HAS
While eating less fat is good, getting the full range of nutrients needed to handle fat is better.
Eating less sugar is beneficial, but get the fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like zinc and chromium needed to metabolize the small amounts of sugar you do eat.
Avoid cholesterol only if it is oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is found in processed foods or results in the body when there is a lack of antioxidant nutrients.
Oxidized cholesterol is found in powdered milk, scrambled or powdered eggs, mass-produced cakes and cake mixes, aged cheese, and aged meats such as sausages and aged steaks.
Cholesterol in boiled eggs, fresh meat, and seafood is harmless when accompanied by vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, and a healthy diet.
The end of confusion in nutrition comes only when we understand the basic principles of healthy eating.
Adopting these principles, we will find that everything-even a lot of the so-called conflicting information – falls into place.
THE PRINCIPLES OF HEALTHY EATING
- Eat whole, unrefined foods high in nutrient density and as close to their natural state as possible.
- Eat as wide a variety of foods as possible. .
- Eat a diet that promoted longevity in your ancestors.
- Eat according to the needs of your own unique bi9- chemistry and lifestyle.
You may be more surprised by what is not on this list than what is on it. Shouldn’t we lower our fat intake?
Eating foods close to their natural state will do that to the degree that it is necessary. What about decreasing sugar intake?
Whole, unrefined foods are low sugar. How much protein? You rancestors’ diet and the requirements of your own biochemistry dictate more about your protein needs than the current nutrition fad of the day.
Healthy eating principles don’t lead to a restrictive, boring diet. Bland food is not necessarily health-promoting. Herbs, spices, condiments, and interesting ways of preparing foods are often beneficial.
Many herbs we use to flavor foods are actually important- sources of trace minerals and immune-boosting pigments known as bioflavonoids.
What is Carbohydarete ?
CARBOHYDRATES ARE FOODS That are rich in sugars or complexes of sugars. How the sugars are arranged will determine whether we call a food a source of simple or complex carbohydrates.
Fruits and sugars are simple carbohydrates because they contain easily digested sugars.
When sugars are bound into rows, as they are in starches such as whole grains and legumes, they are called complex carbohydrates.
Just as it takes you much longer to know a complicated person, it takes the body much longer to digest the sugar from a complex carbohydrate.
Most of the benefits attributed to carbohydrate foods come from the slower-digesting, complex variety. Complex carbohydrates are, in general, better because they take longer to digest.
The sugars in these foods enter the body more slowly. They do not cause the sharp increase in blood sugar that can be caused by simple.
carbohydrates, especially sugars such as white sugar, honey, and other concentrated sweeteners.
Even fruit, as bountiful as it is in vitamins and minerals and fiber, should not be viewed as a food that can be eaten with abandon.
More than three servings of fruit per day has been found to raise triglyceride levels in sedentary people. A higher intake of fruit is only appropriate for the very active.
Carbohydrate foods in their natural state have many benefits: They are high in fiber, low in fat, and a good source of vitamins.
They can also be a good source of minerals, depending on the mineral content of the soil they were grown in. Carbohydrates, like any food or nutrient, however, are only beneficial in the right amount.
If you want to derive all the benefits of carbohydrates, you need to eat them in the amount that is right for you.
Americans need to eat more of the complex variety. More than three quarters of the carbohydrates we consume come from refined sugars and flours.
When sugars or starches become a larger percentage of our diet than best suits our individual biochemistry, carbohydrate toxicity occurs.
Carbohydrate toxicity is increasingly widespread due to the following misconceptions circulated by the media:
- The more carbohydrates you eat, the better.
- All carbohydrates are created equal.
- All fat is bad and should be avoided as much as possible.
- We eat too much protein and need to eat less.
- None of the preceding is true. The problem with this erroneous nutritional belief system is that it leads one to overload the body with carbohydrates, and the following problems result:
- Excess carbohydrate intake displaces protein, which is needed for energy, tissue repair, blood sugar balance, and immune function.
- Excessive carbohydrate intake will lead to excessive levels of insulin, which can cause weight gain, bloating, fatigue, food cravings, and cardiovascular disease.
- Faddish high-carbohydrate, ultra-low-fat diets do not provide enough essential fatty acids.
- Too many carbohydrates, especially concentrated sweeteners, can stress the adrenal glands into a state of exhaustion.
- Diets too high in carbohydrates upset prostaglandins. a family of hormone-like compounds that must be in balance for health to exist.
- A diet too high in carbohydrates and too low in protein can cause liver damage.
The right amount of carbohydrates for most people is about 40% of their diet, with emphasis on the complex variety.
More than 50% of the diet as carbohydrates or too many refined carbohydrates causes problems. Complex carbohydrates in the right amount are beneficial.
Those who refine and overeat them bring out their bad side. Too much of anything is bad for the body, and low-fat starchy foods are no exception.
While the preceding percentages are a helpful guide, the optimal intake of carbohydrates will differ for each person.
Some may thrive on a diet that consists mostly of carbohydrates. Most, however, will not. Many women over age thirty will feel-bloated and tired on a diet that is 60% carbohydrates or more.
We are all different, and need to examine our own unique metabolism to determine our optimal range for carbohydrate intake.