Everyone's Diet: A Survey Of Food Plans 1: Food Concerns
We're All On Diets. Some Are More Healthful Than Others, They Just Don't Taste As Good.
Diet doesn’t only mean a program designed to cause weight loss. You can “go on” many kinds of diets. There is the Lucille Uttermohlen Slow Fat Diet, which is how I maintained my bathing beauty physique until I was at least 20. There is the “whatever food is available” diet, which is what we all subscribe to, especially during the holidays.
The advantage to the diet I’ve been on for my whole life is that it is easy. It consists of lots of things that taste good. It is available on your grocer’s shelves in convenient bags, cans and boxes, and at the fast food restaurant drive up window of your choice. An added virtue as such things go, is that it has very little nutritional value.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding healthy eating. There are many weight loss programs available. Each one claims that sticking strictly to its precepts will guarantee you a long, healthy, disease free life. Next week’s news will be that people who engage in the latest diet fad are dropping like flies, and requiring emergency medical intervention.
To find the diet that’s perfect for you, you would have to have a degree in food science. Even then, there are plenty of people who will delight in telling you why your professors are wrong.
The only food choices that make sense are those our bodies are designed to metabolize and use to rebuild themselves. Now, if we could only figure out what those foods are!
There are so many diet plans that we consumers can't help but be confused. We can give up meat, or eat nothing but. We can avoid certain foods, and live primarily on certain things that will increase our metabolism and render us bathing beauty thin in two weeks or less. Some programs call for strict portion control. Some call for varying periods of fasting. Some programs call for supplements, and some would have us believe that the secret is massive water consumption. Wouldn't that regime make Northern Tissue's stock holders very happy!
With most of these programs, the dieter does lose weight, only to gain it back when she gets so bored with the plan's limitations that she splurges on what is forbidden, and can never face the recommended stuff again. Sadly enough, she is not only likely to regain any weight she has lost, but will probably pack on a few souvenir pounds to boot.
According to government statistics, men, women, and now even children suffer from obesity. Our pets are too fat, too. Is there anything we can do to reverse this trend? I don’t know, but maybe exploring the choices will help us make food decisions that are at least logical. Let me know what has worked, or not worked for you. Together, we may find the secrets to weight control success. If nothing else, we can trade some yummy recipes.
Allan Sherman Parody On Somewhere Over The Rainbow
This book clarified a lot for me. You might enjoy it, too.
A Diet Of Worms, But It's Not What You May Think
A famous “diet” was the Imperial Diet of Worms. There were no calorie restrictions. A “diet” was a 16th century parliamentary body and Worms was the city where it was held. The best known diet occurred when Emperor Charles V wanted to know whether Martin Luther was a heretic. Martin was the father of the protestant reformation, and the founder of the Lutheran religion. I don't know what diet he was on, but I doubt that it included worms, at least not intentionally.
So, Does Anyone Know Nutrition From A Hole In The Ground?
So called “expert” advice can be confusing. Some nutritionists tell us that everything that comes in a box or can will kill us. Others swear that once the FDA approves it, it is good for you, and can be consumed with abandon, or your favorite wine.
Having said that, most nutrition gurus agree that refined anything is bad for you. White flour has had the nutrition milled out of it. White rice has been stripped of its nutritious husks. Other grains and grasses have been processed to the point that any nominal nutrition they might have is because of the additives the manufacturer puts back into the product. Then they can claim that whatever they’re selling is good for you.
Are you old enough to remember how Wonder Bread built strong bodies in 12 ways? Well, it wasn’t the over processed white flour that let them make that claim. It was the vitamin supplements the company dumped back into the bread that gave it a claim to healthfulness. Our mothers learned to slap a little sugar laden peanut butter on it, and call it lunch! Top it off with chocolate milk, and you were set for an afternoon of play, scholarship or potential diabetes.
Our bodies convert everything we swallow into sugar. All right, lies don’t convert into anything useful, no matter how honeyed the tongue that delivers them, or how gullible I -- I mean the idiot who believes them. But if what you consume is digestible, your body breaks it down into sucrose, so it has energy to conduct its processes.
The sugars your body doesn’t use are stored as fat. If you don’t burn the calories you eat, your body will keep them for future use. After all, it never knows when there will be a famine, and it will need the extra fat to survive. Our ancestors did not have the dependable food supply we have today, and they had to be prepared for periods of time when food simply wasn’t readily available. After all, McDonalds probably closed too early.
Your high school biology teacher, and any dietitian worth her salt (woops, you shouldn’t eat that either) agree on this basic fact. The quality of the sugars your body creates, i.e. its fuel, depends on the nutrients it can access. It is how best to get what we need that sparks controversy.
Some tell us that a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans) will help us maintain peak health. Others tell us that the last thing we want to eat is starch, and that we should get all of our food from animals. Vegetables are fine, as long as they are the right kind. There are also those who come down in the middle. You can eat meat, but should get most of your calories from fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Some say vitamin supplements are wonderful, and others say all nutritive pills give us is expensive urine.
What we need in the end is information. Our health professionals can give us competent advice. There are many books and articles to guide us. However, the final decision of what to put in our mouths lies with us. It is a big responsibility, but don’t be too concerned. After all, our parents and grandparents survived, and they didn’t even have access to the Internet.
Dr. Oz Recommends 10,000 Steps A Day For Optimal Health. Wake Me Up When You Get Back.
Cow, Hog And Chicken
Our Food Feeds Us, But What Do We Feed Our Food?
Our food is only as good as what we feed it. Crops grown on healthy fertile soil are bound to have more nutritional value than plants that barely survive to maturity because they can’t get what they need out of the earth. Other conditions that can affect the quality of food crops include fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides. These chemicals can get rid of pests, like weeds and bugs. However, it is only natural that anything applied to the soil will be absorbed by the plants that are grown on it.
The quality of Food animals are also the result of the things they are fed. Cows, for instance, are programmed to eat grass. When they are transferred to a feed lot to be prepared for market, they are fed corn. Since corn is not what their bodies need, they get sick, and have to be fed antibiotics. In turn, the steaks and hamburgers that are harvested from these animals include antibiotics, or anything else the animal has eaten.
Sanitation is also a factor in the safety of foods. Carelessness has resulted in more than one scare resulting from infected lettuces and other garden produce. Restaurants have inadvertently poisoned their customers through careless food handling. In short, food poisoning can occur just about anywhere, and by the time you know what has hit, you can be vomiting your guts up, and, well, we won’t go there.
So much of our food supply is effected by the whims of politicians. Lobbies in Washington influence how the food we eat is processed. In short, if someone will lose money because of a change, whether it is for the benefit of society or not, one corporation or another has a vested interest in working against it.
Genetically modified food poses different concerns. The notion that food crops can be modified to resist disease and produce more food is a good one. Obviously, everyone benefits if we all have enough to eat. The problems with genetically modified foods are that their safety has not been proven to the satisfaction of many. In short, they all can be perfectly safe, or some of them can be fine. We just don’t have all of the facts regarding these man made modifications.
Organic food is the answer for some. These foods are not exposed to chemicals, and are naturally fertilized. (Manure, plant refuse …) Herb asides are not applied to these crops, and because of these precautions, they are considered safer and healthier. However, most of us simply can’t afford the price difference between the food produced by mass agriculture and that grown under pure “organic” conditions.
In view of recent food scares, do you think the FDA should do more to protect our food sources from contamination?
Is Anyone Surprised That Our Food Quality Is A Political Issue?
Peanuts, Sea Food, Honey
Food Sensitivities Make Some Good Food Not So Good
In addition to the other food mine fields, some foods that seem perfectly nutritious can be fatal to certain people. Allergic reactions to foods such as peanuts and sea food can send an unfortunate diner into anaphylactic shock. Honey, long touted for its nutritional value can kill a person who is allergic to bees. Peanuts and sea food can also be deadly to some people.
In addition to out and out allergies, certain medical conditions can put otherwise healthful foods off limits to some of us. A person with diabetes has to be careful about anything that contains sugar, including fruit and some vegetables like beets and carrots. Refined flours and of course, cane, beet and other sugars are dangerous for the diabetic to consume. Refined grains and processed foods such as bacon and hot dogs are also dangerous to people whose health is compromised. They aren't all that great for the rest of us, either.
Once kidney disease has been diagnosed, extra care must be taken to avoid certain minerals that don’t pass through the kidneys easily. These include phosphorus, potassium and sodium. The problems that can arise from these restrictions is the fact that the body needs certain amounts of these minerals to survive. Thus, a person with CKD (chronic kidney disease) has to eat foods with these elements, but must be careful not to over-dose on them. Meat, too can pose a danger to someone with kidney disease because an overload of protein can cause kidney function to decrease.
Thus, we consumers are left with many choices to make, and pit falls to avoid. If you have medical concerns, you should talk to a dietician. You should also do your own research. After all, all professionals are limited to what they remember about what they’ve been taught. When I was cooking for my mother, I did a lot of research about what foods she should eat. Too often, I found that trained dieticians didn't know as much about what she could and should have as I did.
Whenever you embark on a new diet plan, or participate in a new exercise program, you should consult your health care provider. Your only limits could be the same advice we all get, which is to avoid empty calories and processed over preserved foods. However, a hidden health concern, or a condition that your health care provider has previously diagnosed can make certain foods that are otherwise innocuous, or even beneficial to most, dangerous for you. The only advice that makes any sense is to gather all the information you can before you commit yourself to any food plan.
If your child is allergic to peanut butter, should other children be prohibited from bringing PBJ sandwiches in their lunches?
Food Poisoning Is No Day At The Beach
There are 200 food born bacterium. Here are some of the most common. Most food born bugs can be eliminated by proper handling of foods. Others require a soil test. One, Ciguatera, cannot be identified until it has found a victim.
ampylobacter enteritis: Improperly slaughtered, processed or cooked meat, vegetables or dairy products harbor this bug. Your pets also shed this bacteria in their feces. Use the pooper scooper or clean the litter box, but then wash your dirty mitts.
Cholera: Stagnant or impure water or fish harvested from such places can cause a case of diarrhea you won’t soon forget.
E. coli Enteritis: This puppy can kill you. Dirty water, undercooked ground beef, or vegetables processed with dirty hands can all introduce this deadly bacteria into your system.
Ciguatera (Fish Poisoning): is a rare but incurable disease which is caused by infected fish. It can’t be killed by cooking or freezing, and is contracted by eating tropical fish, mainly grouper. Food processers can’t test for it ahead of time.
Listeria: Can be easily contracted through Raw or improperly pasteurized dairy products, or vegetables grown in contaminated soil. It can thrive in preserved and smoked meats. Canned and raw seafood and fresh fruit can also harbor this sometimes deadly bacteria.
Staphylococcus: This stuff can show up at your picnic in that potato salad your cousin left warming in the sun. If she offers to let you take some home, refuse. If you ate some at the reunion, you’re going to be a sick puppy. Heat can’t kill it, so even putting it in the microwave won’t make it safe.
Salmonella: This bug loves raw chicken, eggs, and your pet reptiles and rodents. Keep your cutting boards and counters clean, and keep your rats and lizards off the table.
Shigellosis: It’s in your poop. The best way to avoid it is to wash your hands thoroughly after visiting with your Uncle John.
Sometimes Bad Is REALLY Bad
All Right, Just In Case You Did Eat Your Cousin's Potato Salad
The Doctor Is In
If Thy Stomach Offends Thee, Cut It Off?
If the plethora of weight loss diets aren’t confusing enough, now doctors are redesigning people’s gastric systems to deal with obesity. In general, these surgeries work by making the stomach, and its capacity to hold food smaller. The idea is that some people can’t lose weight any other way.
Since these operations require an extreme change in life style, potential participants are carefully screened before being allowed to undergo the treatments. Physical, as well as psychological considerations must be evaluated by professionals before removing part of a person’s stomach can be undertaken. If the patient isn’t scrupulous about following his health care provider’s warnings and recommendations, not only will the surgery not help, but the patient can develop life threatening vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Still, in some cases, this drastic step may be the best answer to some individual’s obesity problems. 3 out of the 4 surgeries are irreversible, and the one that isn’t the lap band, requires the patient to carry a foreign body in her digestive tract for the rest of her life. To reverse the “lap band” operation, doctors have to perform another surgery to remove the implanted device.
There are side effects that anyone contemplating this extreme surgical intervention should consider. First of all, part of the goal of these surgeries is to restrict the kinds and quantities of food the patient can eat. To succeed on these regimes, the patient must strictly adhere to the food intake plans that the health care providers recommend. Failure to do so will not only keep the surgery from succeeding in its initial weight loss goal, but can also cause the patient to have severe health problems. If the patient has nutrient absorption deficiencies, he may have to take supplements to make up for what he lacks. The substitution of supplements for food consumption has been found to be less than optimum for health. So, it is very important to assess the risks related to bariatric, or any other surgery before committing your body to such an extreme modification. This intervention should never be a first choice.
The health risks of obesity are well documented. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and some kinds of cancers are just a few of the harmful processes that are encouraged by excess weight. A person who is extremely overweight may be risking early death just because of his or her obesity. Thus, although gastric surgery cannot be undertaken lightly, and is not the answer for everyone who needs to slim down, it may be the only hope for weight loss for some. The following is a brief description of the available gastric surgeries:
Gastric bypass: The stomach is divided into two parts, leaving a pouch that can hold about an ounce of food. The small intestine is hooked up with the part that used to be at the bottom of the stomach to what remains. Next, the rest of the small intestine is connected to the part that was stitched to the stomach.
Gastric sleeve: The doctor removes about 80% of the stomach, leaving a banana shaped pouch that holds much less food. The patient will lose weight, but must be careful to get the vitamins and minerals she needs.
Adjustable Gastric or lap Band: A saline filled tube creates a small pouch by segregating a portion of your stomach from the rest of it. A port is installed so that more saline can be pumped into the band as needed. Although weight loss can be slower, you do absorb your food normally, and are less likely to suffer from malnutrition.
The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch: Eventually, you can eat normally with this procedure. A small pouch is created from your stomach. A large portion of your small intestine is bypassed, which keeps food from being absorbed immediately. The part of your intestine that was initially bypassed is reconnected so that eventually you can digest what you eat. It is slowing down the digestive process, as well as the smaller stomach that encourages weight loss.
Have you undergone any of the surgeries listed above? If so, please comment. Otherwise, just say whether the results were good or bad.
Thinking Of Gastric Surgery? This Workbook Will Help You Make This Life Changing Decision
What inspired me to write this hub, and the series to follow is the need for objective information in the nutrition arena. I won’t promote any particular food agenda. There are so many variables that you and your health providers are the only ones who can decide what you should and shouldn’t eat.
There are many theories about food, and I hope to explore them with you so that you can at least ask your doctor and / or dietician the right questions. I hope to provide sources to you that will expand your knowledge enough to know when advice you receive makes sense, and to find what you need to know to protect your own health. Food is the strongest medicine we have, and despite the controversies that surround it, we in North America can take comfort in the fact that our own food supply is safe for the most part. On the next hub, we’ll tackle the fasting diet.
Sources Of Diet Advice
- The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
The Nutrition Source provides evidence-based diet & nutrition information for clinicians, health professionals and the public.
This is research conducted by our government, and should have credible ideas about nutrition.