Do all dietary roads lead to sustainable health?
Diet Vs Dieting
It is important to distinguish between your diet, which is the type and quantity of food you eat, and dieting, which is following a restrictive eating plan, over a set timeframe, (usually) to lose weight.
Short-term dietary interventions will never deliver sustainable improvement in weight or general health. In fact, the chaos of temporarily disrupting your life and nutritional pattern will often have the opposite effect.
It takes a while for your body and mind to adjust to new, sustainable behaviours – but it is well worth the wait! If you would like to upgrade you and your family’s health, the key is to get good advice, set achievable goals and take your time to develop healthy discipline around food and exercise.
The Highway to Health
There are many routes to a healthy lifestyle. ALL of them involve getting enough sleep, managing stress, and doing a minimum 150 minutes of medium to high intensity exercise every week.
There are some popular dietary detours that require careful consideration and significant commitment.
CAUTION: Seek professional advice before embarking on any kind of restrictive diet.
Low Carb / High Fat (LCHF) is a lifestyle choice to permanently reduce Carbohydrates (Carbs) and increase healthy edible Fats (e.g. butter, cheese, olive oil, avocado), with moderate protein intake (e.g. eggs, fish, white/red meat, bone broth).
Most people identify Carbs as starch or sugar-based foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, pastries and potatoes, which is correct. Limiting or eliminating these high density / high GI Carbs is beneficial. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes are also Carbohydrates, but they are the cornerstone of a healthy diet and cannot be eliminated.
Keto is a type of LCHF diet that promotes healthy equilibrium through metabolic adaptation rather than by reducing calories. Here is how it works:
When the energy molecules – Glucose and Fructose – are in short supply due to a Carb restricted diet, the next best source of fuel is long-term stored body fat (fatty acids). The presence of ‘ketone bodies’ in your blood/urine is evidence that the liver is converting fatty acids to useable energy i.e. you are ‘in ketosis’.
Studies have shown that deliberately triggering your body to draw on body fat, rather than short-term Carbohydrate energy (glycogen), will result in weight loss, improved insulin control and increased mental and physical performance.
Paleo imitates the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors and rejects foods that came into existence after we stopped hunting and gathering. These include dairy products, sugar, grains, legumes and industrial seed oils such as sunflower, canola and sesame.
Paleo is based on the premise that the human body has not had enough time to adapt to digesting and processing the refined products of industrialised agriculture.
Mediterranean acknowledges the traditional diet of people living in the region, which seems to have contributed to their healthy longevity.
The diet sensibly eliminates processed food including sugar and refined grains (although bread is allowed), and promotes healthy fats such as olive oil and hard cheeses; whole grains and legumes; fish and a little poultry and red meat.
Sustainable weight loss and lifelong metabolic harmony is achieved through nutritional quality NOT counting!
Any diet that involves restricting calories, eliminating one or more of the three macronutrients, or limiting your opportunity to absorb a full range of micronutrients, is not healthy.
Download the ‘Making Friends with Vegetables’ activity to help your child become more familiar with vegetables, and learn simple ways to cook and prepare them.