The Huffington Post, that source of minimal knowledge that we are all unaccountably familiar with, published an article on improving your diet to avoid diabetes this week. At last the World Health Organisation have come right out and said change your diet to reduce diabetes. I am sure the Boards of Nutrition in the UK and USA will be nonplussed.
Why? In the UK, in particular, ours voted against dietary advice for people with diabetes. Several of the board members also have interests in Kraft, Mars, Coca Cola, so naturally they voted against giving people nutritional advice along with their diagnosis of diabetes, as outlined in Hannah Sutter’s ‘Big Fat Lies‘, a thin but very comprehensive volume written by a lawyer shortly after Gary Taubes excellent study ‘The Diet Delusion‘ came out.
Both of these volumes conclude that a low carb diet is the answer, which is part of the truth and certainly better than poisoning yourself with sugar, chemical additives and white flour, but long term, I can tell you that it is not the complete and fully comprehensive answer.
Having spent years on a variety of eating plans, and having listened to an awful lot of people talk about what they eat, I can tell you that after you have got rid of the ‘Pure, white and deadly‘ sugar and flour, you should focus on getting ten, not five, portions of vegetables and fruit per day. You will see a magnificent improvement in your health, and you certainly will not be hungry. Once you have achieved that, you will have little room left for anything else, but I can tell you that low carb in itself contains too much fat, and too much of the wrong kind of protein, which we have been eating far too much of as far back as the seventies. It is also simply too heavy as you get older, so once you hit tipping point on your long term low carb efforts, up the vegetables considerably.
Even a cursory look at the world of raw food will show you the benefits of a raw food diet, but again, it has its problems long term. It is also a steep learning curve for most people, and some people just cannot completely manage it. From a personal perspective, I would say as a rough and ready way of actually having a life – concentrate on getting your ten a day before you even start investigating further as this will get your body working properly faster than anything else.
OK evangelizing over. Can you see why an increasing proportion of the population no longer trust authority figures such as governments to give advice? Advice is never impartial. When your doctor or some aggressive type challenges your choices, they are not necessarily talking from a position of knowledge. The only person that can deal with your day to day health is yourself, and woe betide you if you prioritize anything above your health. (such as caring for someone else.) If someone is sabotaging your health, get them out of your life as fast as you can, because I am (almost) living proof that compromise is not an option.
Why were we given incorrect advice on nutrition for several decades? Money. John Yudkin, a comparatively quiet man who advised against sugar and simple carbohydrates, was not nearly as well backed or funded as Ancel Keys, a noisy American with a lot of research funding to preserve. The result was that millions of people were given incorrect information for decades, the information distributed by the medical profession, who do not receive a great deal of nutritional training. They merely deliver the information.
If I had listened to my doctor instead of Wolfe 6 years ago, I am entirely confident that I would have had my first serious heart attack, and/or had treatment for depression by now. My last few doctors have tested my blood, told me that I eat too much, and that they are very surprised that I am so fit. The fact I have strong symptoms of an impending heart attack or stroke, and have nearly collapsed several times is apparently of no consequence at all. The fact that I am sole carer for a very dependent person does not even ensure that I matter enough to save. I am past caring what they say, since I no longer trust them with my health as a result.
I may not be in perfect shape right now, but I am still here, with the benefit of a great deal of knowledge, if not motivation. (it is very difficult to care how long you live when the future looks a bit lonely and grim.)
So much for that. The point of today’s post is – whatever your health issue – do some reading for yourself. I cannot tell you how depressing it is repeatedly telling people that they need to eat more vegetables and having them decline. As a research interviewer, I was able to tell what people were eating the minute they opened the door, such are the effects of a high vegetable diet. The most important things for your overall health long term? Gym? Protein shakes? Slimming Classes? Expensive healthcare?
No, the most important things, from my insight gained from interviewing hundreds of people:
eat as many vegetables as you can
then eat some fruit and a small amount of fish
get a dog
if anything stops you doing the above, change things and just do it.