What is a healthy diet ?

Do you ask yourself, what is the best eating pattern to maintain desired weight, achieve optimal health and wake up with plenty of energy to tackle your day? Is it the Mediterranean, Atkins, DASH, Dukan, Paleolithic, Ketogenic, South-beach, Vegetarian, Vegan diet and the list goes on?

Why more people are being diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, arteriosclerosis, diabetes etc?  As our diets becomes more modernized the incidence of disease increase. A simple comparison of cancer prevalence in the US and Japan, for example, shows the number of cancer cases in significantly higher in the US compared to Japan. 1,2 The World Health Organization includes some of the risk factors on the same report such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and obesity. Not surprisingly, the difference in obesity rate in Japan compared to the US is just as striking (Japan – 3.4 %, US – 33.7 %). Similar statistical results can be cited for heart disease (the number one killer in the US but not in other parts of the world), type-two diabetes and other chronic conditions. It must be the eating habits and the lifestyle that makes us sick. The American Institute of Cancer Research states that 40 % of all cancer causes cases could be prevented by reducing risk factors such as nutrition and physical activity. 3,4 Read more here.  

But what is a healthy diet?

There is abundance of information about diets that will successfully produce weight loss such as Ketogenic and the Paleolithic diet, but the long term effects haven’t been studied.5,6  The longest Paleo study for example was done for 15 months, on animal models.  Just looking at one obvious flaw of diets such as Ketogenic, Atkins and Paleolithic is the high amount of animal protein and fat that raise the number of concerns such as: 1) kidney stones – due to being too high in protein causing increased calcium excretion, 2) cancer risk – due to being high in animal protein 6 3) kidney function – possible decline in kidney function (for people at risk for) again due to high in protein7,8. Protein requirements vary widely with medical conditions, activity level and age.

If you would like to be specific and come up with a healthy diet that works for you, some important considerations have to be examined such as: your overall health, activity level, anthropometric measurements and medical history.

However, here are some general, simple tips that almost everyone can benefit from.  (Recommendations exclude certain medical conditions).

  1. Half a day liver detox. If you have been too busy to eat healthy lately and feel boated and always tired and have hard time losing weight. It may be because your liver is exhausted and clogged. Liver plays the role of the detoxification and excretion of chemicals from proceeds food, drugs and alcohol. When your liver is clogged with toxins, pollutants and chemicals your will have hard time losing weight even if you are in caloric deficit. You can detoxify your liver, using herbal extract from milk thistle 9 and use intermittent fasting (drink water with lemon in am, skip breakfast delay lunch, fast for 16-to 18 hrs ) but do that only for 4-6 days for liver detox. Skipping breakfast on a daily bases is not associate with healthy eating habits and weight loss.

Once you have completed your liver detox start implementing the following simple techniques to healthier you.

  • High fiber intake is essential. Average dietary fiber intake among Americans is about 15 gm per day. Low fiber diet is associated with obesity and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends 25-30 gm fiber per day, but this recommendation is suited to be realistic and achievable10. Vegan and vegetarian diet average about 34-41 gm of fiber per day. High fiber intake is directly related to more satiety per calorie consumed and weight loss, better glycemic control and decreased overall inflammation and healthier micro biome12. But taking a fiber supplement does not have the same effect as eating fruits and vegetables. (excludes IBD flare-up, diarrhea, Short Gut Syndrome and more )
  • Limit animal protein. Number of studies has been published showing clear relationship between cancer and animal protein. As the research-based evidence became quite significant he American Cancer Research strongly recommend decreasing your meat consumption to less studied is 18 oz of meat per week. 11 In other world no more than 2 small stakes per week and no other proceed or red meat.
  • Feed your mictrobiome. Researchers are now looking more and more into the role of our micro flora in relation to obesity and overall health.13 In order the feed your gut bacteria eating plenty of fresh vegetables (more veggies than fruits) select fresh as much as possible. Include , fermented foods with active live bacteria

Expect more of articles on:  What is the healthiest diet?

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Adopting a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet, increasing your activity level is necessary to prevent illness.

  1. Cancer country profiles 2014. (2014, December 03). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/cancer/country-profiles/en/1 USCS Data Visualizations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html
  2. 2 Global cancer data by country. (2019, March 20). Retrieved from https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/data-cancer-frequency-country
  3. USCS Data Visualizations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html
  4. [i]https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/data-cancer-frequency-country
  5. Frassetto, L. A., Schloetter, M., Mietus-Synder, M., Morris, R. C., & Sebastian, A. (2015). Erratum: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(12), 1376-1376. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.19
  6. Levine, M. E., Suarez, J. A., Brandhorst, S., Balasubramanian, P., Cheng, C., Madia, F., . . . Longo, V. D. (2014, March 04). Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population.
  7. Calvez, J., Poupin, N., Chesneau, C., Lassale, C., & Tomé, D. (2011). Protein intake, calcium balance and health consequences. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(3), 281-295. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.196
  8. McNamee, D. (2014, January 26). High-protein diets may increase risk of kidney disease.
  9. Abenavoli, L., Capasso, R., Milic, N., & Capasso, F. (2010). Milk thistle in liver diseases: Past, present, future. Phytotherapy Research, 24(10), 1423-1432. doi:10.1002/ptr.3207
  10. Increasing Fiber Intake. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing_fiber_intake/
  11. AICR. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aicr.org/
  12. Zatz, R. (2011). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for High dietary fiber intake is associated with decreased inflammation and all-cause mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease. F1000 – Post-publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. doi:10.3410/f.13371133.14741293
  13. Castañer, O., & Schröder, H. (2018). Response to: Comment on “The Gut Microbiome Profile in Obesity: A Systematic Review”. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2018, 1-2. doi:10.1155/2018/9109451