Thursday, August 20, 2015

My opinion of the Paleo diet

One of the most common questions I get asked as a nutritionist is what I think of a certain popular diet.

Generally speaking, most diets have their positive points and there will always be some people who will have success with it.  As long as a diet provides proper nutrition and enough calories for your body’s needs, and is centered on real (not processed) foods, if it’s something that works for you, great.

Now, the latest buzz in the diet world is…

The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet centers on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by our caveman ancestors, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, and excluding dairy, legumes, sugars, starches (except for an occasional potato or yam), grain products and all forms of processed food. 

Paleo enthusiasts contend that eating in this manner reflects the evolution that shaped our current biology—in other words, our systems originated in an environment where things like milk, grains and packaged foods were not eaten and/or non-existent, and this is the “mold” from which our modern-day bodies developed.

Since this is how we started out tens of thousands of years ago, eating this way is beneficial to our health and well-being, according to Paleo fans.

A lot of people have enjoyed tremendous benefits from the Paleo Diet, but at the same time, just as many others feel fine eating reasonable amounts of grains (not to excess and not refined) or drinking milk, which provide nutritional benefits of their own.

Here are some other diets that some people have sworn by, yet others have sworn at!:

The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet is based on hormonal responses that are generated by eating certain types of foods and stresses proteins and healthy fats.  It limits high-glycemic carbohydrates like grains, pasta, breads, rice and other starches, as well as proteins rich in arachidonic acid like egg yolks, fatty red meats and organ meats.

Over the long term, this diet can be acid-forming and contribute to constipation.

The Atkins Diet
Atkins is similar to the Zone Diet—high in protein and fat and low carbohydrate (mainly vegetables and occasional fruit).  Constipation can be an issue during the early phases of the diet when carbohydrate consumption is extremely limited.

The Blood Type Diet
The Blood Type Diet is based on the theory that certain types of proteins (lectins) in foods will either be accepted or rejected by each of the blood types, and each blood type has certain foods that should be avoided.

The same reasoning applies to securing blood for a transfusion.  You can’t receive transfused blood with a blood type different from yours because your body will reject the lectins in the “mismatched” blood to the point where it can actually kill you.

This diet has had mixed results with some people feeling great, others having bad reactions, and some seeing no change at all.

The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet stresses fresh, local foods in season and includes meat, fish, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and fruits, with the fat of choice being olive oil.

It has pretty consistently been touted as a very healthy diet, and certainly the variety of foods in their freshest states contributes to that.

Vegetarian Diet
The term “vegetarian” can have a variety of meanings. 

Most vegetarians either completely avoid or severely restrict their intake of meat.  Some define vegetarianism as eating fish and/or poultry, but no red meat.  Some eat non-flesh proteins (like dairy and eggs) but no flesh of any kind.

The more strict level of vegetarianism (vegan) avoids all animal-derived products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and even honey in many instances.

With any level of vegetarianism, two of the main concerns are getting adequate protein and a possible vitamin B12 deficiency.  It requires good planning to ensure nutritional needs are met.

Raw Food Diet
This involves eating foods that are uncooked—sometimes including meat and fish.  Grains and beans must be sprouted before eating.

People living in warmer climates do better on this diet than those in sub-freezing temperatures, as there is less warmth generated from eating raw plant foods. 

The Ornish Diet
This is a very high plant- and grain-based diet, with almost no animal foods, and fats are limited to 10 percent of total intake or less. 

Inadequate fat intake is the primary concern here—fats are crucial to the nervous system (including your brain), and are necessary to make hormones, so endocrine disruptions can be an issue.

Which one is BEST?
The answer to that question is: It depends on what’s called your biochemical individuality.

Even though we humans are all put together very similarly, our bodies are also uniquely different—some of us require more of certain nutrients or types of foods than others.

That’s why NO ONE DIET is 100 percent perfect for everyone across the board.

The best diet for you is the one that makes you feel good and have enough energy, and allows you to control your weight.

As long as it provides a variety of nutrients, emphasizes real foods and limits processed, refined and fast foods, you’re on the right track.

What CAN help just about everyone
Having the best diet that works for you is only half of the nutrition picture.

The other half is making sure that your digestion is efficient so you’re actually absorbing and assimilating the nutrients you’re taking in, as well as curbing gas, bloating, heartburn and constipation.

There are two keys to efficient digestion:

1- Structuring your meals so your body can more easily break them down and
2- Giving your body some enzyme help if needed

The Great Taste No Pain health system can guide you on how to construct meals that are much easier for your system to digest.

Great Taste No Pain is NOT a diet—it is based on the dietary science of food combining which recognizes that different foods require different types of enzymes to be broken down…and when opposing enzymes (acid and alkaline) are present in the stomach together, they can weaken and neutralize each other.

When the initial phase of digestion isn’t accomplished by the stomach like it should be, this sets the stage for poor digestion through the whole GI tract.

Great Taste No Pain is versatile and can be used alongside virtually ANY kind of diet!  There are just a few meal-structuring points to remember, and what a difference it can make in how you feel after eating when you help your digestion to get off to a good start!

Now, if you’ve been suffering with digestive problems for a while, chances are good that your body may have expended a lot of enzymes trying to get the job done day in and day out.

Unfortunately, your enzyme resources are limited…and eventually you can reach the point where your body has trouble producing enough for your needs.

That’s when an enzyme boost from a supplement like Digestizol Max can make all the difference.

Digestizol Max contains a variety of 15 different plant-based enzymes (so it’s appropriate for meat eaters and vegetarians alike!) that can give your body some much-needed help in breaking down all of your meals and paving the way for smoother digestion.

Remember—no diet is one-size-fit-all.  Experiment and see what works best for you.

Just make sure your digestion is efficient so you’re deriving all of the awesome health benefits from the diet that’s right for you!

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

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