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What Should You Eat — Simply Stated

by Tony Bowling on April 27, 2013

It is an interesting pun that the word diet contains the word die. One certainly can feel that way doing some of these fad diets. cave man modern food

The word diet has two meanings:

1. The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats

2. A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Due to the overweight condition of people in many of the richer countries there is almost an obsession with # 2. There are many “diet” fads.

The truth is that if # 1 was addressed correctly then # 2 would mostly disappear.

 Proteins Versus Carbs

I tried the Atkins diet years ago and while it is an effective diet in weight loss it is a terrible diet to endure. One ends up craving carbs so severely that it borders on unbearable. Torture!

On the other hand if one recommends lots of fruit and veggies one can end up ingesting too much sugar via orange juice, potatoes, corn, grape juice etc. and as a result ballon out weight wise with resultant health problems. And without complete proteins* one’s body does not build and repair which is terrible for overall health  — especially the growing body of a child.

So what would be a simple  guideline that includes the best of this apparent protein to carb conundrum?

Let’s just agree here without having to show the proof here that sugar and other foods that have a similar effect as sugar are best to avoid for optimum body health and function.

Well luckily some very bright person isolated these sugary carbs as a definable group with actual statistics:

It is called the Glycemic Index (GI). A lists of foods and their GI exists on line.

Now this index cuts through most of the opinion. You can decide whether you can or should eat a potato or broccoli or a sugary dessert bases on an actual relevant statistic.

Simplified, the GI number shows how sugary a food is. Glucose is 100 which is maximum sugar affect as far as the body is concerned. Other foods fall away from this maximum of a 100 as they have less of an adverse (sugar) affect on a body.  100 is the number one wants to stay away from!

For example:

an apple has a GI of 36.

instant mashed potato is high at 78

cornflakes are terrible at 81

broccoli is 15

Eat a potato if you want but realize it is not too far off being sugar. The cold hard raw stats are there for you to see.

It is a personal thing what is considered low and high but 55 is a good starting point. Stay away from foods that are above 55. Go on line, find a list and start crossing off the food with the high GI. Soon it will become second nature.

NOW, with the use of this GI, one can simply state  “eat lots of fruit and veg” but more correctly should add to that statement “but stay under a GI of 55”.

So if someone now says to you “Orange juice is good for you” (just because it is fruit) or potatoes and corn are “good” because they are vegetables you will know the truth of it. These are food items that are high in sugar affect on the body, elevating  blood sugar levels and probably ending up unused as fat deposits around the waist.

Protein

Just a few days ago I talked to a vegetarian who was unfamiliar with the term “incomplete protein.” I was very surprised. Now while the Atkins diet is a bit of an overkill on protein, proteins are vital to health, body repair and development.

But the term “protein” is too casually used. My peanut butter jar states the protein content but fails to mention that it is an incomplete protein.

What is an “incomplete protein? It is a food that contains some but not all of the essential amino acids (EAA) that the body needs, but cannot make by itself, to be able to repair, build muscle, etc. The muscle/repair functions of the body need all of these EAA at the same time.

A muscle builder who ate peanuts as his/her only source of “protein” would likely be very unsuccessful.

There are only a handful (about 5) of grown foods that are a complete protein. The majority of the many hundreds of fruits and veg, including nuts, are not a complete protein.

Just as a side note one can eat peanuts with another incomplete protein food that happens to have the essential amino acids that the peanuts are missing. Between the two (or more) foods one gets all the essential amino acids for body repair and building.

It is wise for a vegetarian to know some of these completing protein combinations

Eating a vegetarian diet is of course a personal choice.

So this leaves us with the following as a simplified diet (definition # 1) statement:

Eat fresh non-high Glycemic foods and FREQUENT complete proteins.

I would add the following caveat to this statement due to the enormous propensity food manufacturers have for adding chemicals, sugars, preservatives etc. into their creations:

Stay away as a general rule, as best you can, from any food item that has an “ingredients List “. Yes, as simply as that.  A meal or item that a manufacturer has  prepared.

So that leaves us with:

EAT FRESH NON-HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS AND FREQUENT COMPLETE PROTEINS — OMITTING ITEMS WITH AN INGREDIENTS LIST.

Any foods that fall under this statement will most likely be a good food choice.

I hope this will help you with both definitions of diet.

Tony Bowling

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