Yes, the picture is a bit ‘tongue in cheek’ but it demonstrates what I mean (is a picture from my ‘You Are What You Eat’ series). The more I learn about nutrition the less I know and this was also stated by a top Russian Food Scientist when he went on to say that how our body works is far more complex than we can imagine at present. This is the reason so many people get confused about what foods they should be eating because often times ‘the experts’ really don’t know the complete picture as far as what an individuals requirements are themselves!
A very simplistic way of looking at it is that other than highly processed foods (including Genetically Modified products) we shouldn’t actually label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Also any food that is touted as a ‘health food’ can be bad for most of us if it is consumed in large quantities. Some foods and specific diets suit ethnic groups from the many environments throughout the planet but do not suit others. Take the Eskimos for instance, who live on a high fat, high protein diet. Their intestines are far shorter than most of us as an adaptation to this diet and has taken many generations to acquire, so there is a faster assimilation of their food as a consequence. Another example is that Potatoes were eaten originally by people who live in the Andes of South America but were introduced to the rest of the world only a couple of centuries ago, so should only be eaten in moderation, rather than used as a staple diet. The list goes on but the main point is that we need to take each individual separately to see what suits them when giving them diet information.
So if it that complex, what is the best approach?
Keep it simple. We firstly need to look at the person and their ethnic background. Then take stock of where the live at present and what foods are available to them. Most importantly they should be tested to see there are any deficiencies of vitamins and minerals within the physical makeup. Then set up a list of foods that they should eat to create homeostasis if possible. This is the only time I can think of that someone may need supplementation within their diet, but this supplementation should be from natural products because the synthetically made supplements cannot be used by the body.
The old saying of ‘Eat a Variety of Foods in Moderation’ doesn’t cut it anymore because it doesn’t give clear and specific instructions to someone about what foods they should eat and what foods to stay clear of and in their specific case. If an individual needs to make wholesale changes in their diet, they should do incrementally and keep an eye on the body’s reaction to certain foods – just like when you introduce a baby to solid foods and keep an eye how they assimilate specific foods.
Another factor in modern nutrition we should take heed of is that we eat far too much for optimal health. Some people say that the measured daily quota of between 1800 and 2400 calories is far too high and that it should closer to 1200 calories per day. (Also that people can eat anything up to …and beyond 4000 calories per day!) Although Food Scientists would tell you that counting calories is far too simplistic, the fact remains that most people who are overweight or obese eat too much. One of the major reasons why is that even our fresh produce is nutritionally deficient, so people will eat more as a natural consequence. This is even more the case when people eat mostly highly processed foods. But being within healthy guidelines of weight and body fat doesn’t mean that they are healthy, this is why it is so important that people get screened thoroughly in physiological makeup when seeking nutritional advice.
Another important question a nutritionist needs to ask a client is how they feel. Because if we understand that what people look like is only a superficial guide and someone who covers this topic extremely well is Ari Whitten, who concentrates on the energy levels of his clients.
This post is taking a ‘broad brush’ approach to a very complex subject which has created a huge industry and a myriad of ‘Best Seller’ books but the main point is to understand the confusion of the general populace is because we still have a long way to go to obtain more accurate answers to the many questions they ask.
If you require more specific answers to your individual needs you can contact me through this Website.