I get asked about the Ketogenic diet all the time. It doesn’t surprise me as people are dropping weight like crazy on this diet. Although there is science to back “burning fat as fuel” in the Keto diet, I’m not sure all the complexities of fad diets are worth the effort for long-term success.
Sugar is Main Culprit
Most fad diets remove sugar and processed foods. It’s a no-brainer that if you remove sugar sources (including refined carbs that turn to sugar in the body), weight is going to drop. Sugar is the underlying culprit that puts fat on the body in addition to causing inflammation, gut irritation, yeast imbalance, heart disease, diabetes and is even the main food source for cancer cells. I think we can agree that sugar is bad. But what about all the other complexities of this diet and others?
Fad Diets are not always Health-Promoting
Removing sugar and refined carbohydrates seems to be a common theme with many of the fad diets that have success dropping weight. But not all these diets are health-promoting long-term. One can drop enormous weight eating bacon, steak, cheese, and butter if you simply remove sugar and processed foods. But that food protocol is not health-promoting long-term. Without fibrous, nutritious green vegetables, high-antioxidant fruit, detoxing cruciferous vegetables, heart-healthy whole grains and legumes, and Omega3-rich healthy fats, your digestion will suffer, your arteries will clog, and health will begin to degrade quickly.
Sustainability of Fad Diets
In addition to the health aspects, a diet that has many restrictions and rules will not be sustainable for most. If your diet requires making multiple dinners for your family, or you enjoy eating out or socializing with friends, the inflexibility and deprivation will wear on you. Eventually you will crave a juicy peach or banana. And after your body has learned to live on protein and fat alone, a bit of carbs may throw it completely off kilter and the weight comes pouring back on. This is where we lose with strict dieting.
The good news is that biohacking, or simply eating to rewire your biology for optimal health, is possible with simple changes. Long-term, small incremental changes to shift your eating habits to health-promoting whole foods, is where you win. Cutting the processed and overly refined foods laden with sugar, flour, starches, preservatives, dyes, and other nonsense are the very components of these diets that make the biggest mark on your weight AND your vitality.
Core Health-Promoting Food Protocol
Although It really can be summarized in one sentence, i.e. eat real whole food and cut the processed junk, here is a list of core principles when it comes to finding a food protocol that works long-term for vitality, longevity, and life-long disease prevention:
- No surprise, this core protocol starts with whole foods from nature. This protocol puts vegetables in the starring role on your dinner plate and even includes some cultured vegetables for proper gut balance.
- Toss the sugar and simple carbohydrates and even limit complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes. Limit yourself to one half cup daily (although Blood Type A thrives on whole grains and most legumes in which case, have at ‘em).
- If animal protein is your thing, think of it as a side-dish surrounded by, you guessed it, alkalizing veggies. And always choose organic, sustainably-raised i.e. grass-fed (for optimal omega 3 fatty acid balance), and no hormones or antibiotics.
- Fruit is also a condiment and the focus should be on low-sugar, high-antioxidant fruits like colorful berries. Other fruits have different nutrient profiles so include them in moderation. Taking the fiber out and drinking your fruit (i.e. juice) is a no-no.
- Fat and protein sustain, satiate, and control sugar spikes. If you’re hungry every couple of hours, you’re not adding enough fat and protein to your meals. And remember, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other plant foods have protein. Add beans to salads and nuts to oatmeal, for example.
- Processed food aisles are used rarely, only for things like pure olive and coconut oils, vinegars, tamari, tea/herbs, legumes, whole grains, and nut butters. Other processed/boxed foods are expensive, dry, and hard to digest – steer clear as best you can. Read and approve ingredients for those exceptions (we all need a cracker sometimes).
Tailor this protocol for your individual needs by considering food sensitivities, blood type, lifestyle, and goals. Happy eating means a happy life. Enjoy some whole food recipes to get you started.
Linda inspires wholeness bringing empowerment and well-being to those willing to learn. Linda’s motto, “Attaining health one bite at a time,” is achieved through simplifying health and growth strategies through wisdom, compassion, acceptance and practicality. Linda offers customized health consultations, cooking instruction, and coaching as one-size does not fit all. www.TrueBalanceWellness.com