If your 2016 resolutions contian less weight and better health, what should you do? Researchers have discovered that what we eat is the leading cause of obesity, major chronic diseases, disability, and premature death. After all, “You are what you eat.”
However in consideration of the confusing diet wars, what should we eat? After extensive study of nutrition research, I suggest avoiding “low-fat” diets but strongly recommend healthy low-fat eating instead. Sound confusing?
Well, that sounds confusing because the American public is thoroughly confused about low-fat versus low-carb diets. There are really two different universes of low-fat eating, each yielding dramatically different results. The “low-fat” universe most people know about has diets with 25 percent to 30 percent calories from fat, usually with a number of unhealthy and highly processed “low-fat” foods, and this approach doesn’t work very well.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. has no qualms about stepping inside the nation’s No. 1 heart hospital and dishing on angioplasty. Invasive treatment is a mainstay of cardiac care, and it pays the bills. Also, it’s what’s wrong with medicine, says the retired Cleveland Clinic surgeon who has been affiliated with the hospital for 40 years. Esselstyn has turned his…
Probably, you will lose a few pounds temporarily, however it takes plenty of willpower, you never break your food addictions, and you ultimately don’t feel much healthier. Virtually all the highly publicized studies, meta-analyses, and low-carb blogs proclaiming that “low-fat diets don’t work” are talking about these faux “low-fat” diets. Mediterranean diets can be moderately healthier, whereas most people eating Mediterranean diets with 25 percent to 30 percent dietary fat are still overweight, with lots of diabetes, heart disease, and other afflictions.
Happily, there’s a universe of truly low-fat eating that leaves the majority of people at a normal weight and dramatically reduces the rates of all major chronic diseases. Sound great? Of course, yet be aware that if you want major weight and health benefits, you’ll need to make major changes in what you eat.
North Ridgeville residents and employees volunteered to use Rip Esselstyn’s guidelines for a week of plant-based eating. Individuals will avoid eating meat, dairy, and oils to see if their health improves in seven days.
In this second universe, people eat a whole-food, plant-based diet with only 7 percent to 15 percent calories from fat. The results? People are generally slim, have little or no diabetes or heart disease, and have far fewer or none of the other diseases involving arterial health, including strokes, dementia, erectile dysfunction, back pain, neuropathy, and certain vision problems.
In multiple studies, the Cleveland Clinic’s own Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. pioneered reversing even serious heart disease with exactly this diet, dropping subsequent cardiac events to zero or near zero. And people eating this way have far fewer cases of cancer, digestive diseases, reflux, kidney disease, kidney stones, gallstones, arthritis, migraines, and osteoporosis. Meanwhile, they enjoy better mood, energy, and sleep, while living about a decade longer.
Nevertheless, if you’re only eating 10 percent calories from fat, what’s the rest? About 10 percent protein and 80 percent carbohydrates. However don’t carbs cause diabetes? Not really.
Most North Ridgeville residents who accepted a week-long plant-based eating challenge found improvements in their cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose amounts. All had lost weight.
A lot of traditional diets were around 75 percent to 85 percent carbohydrates, and those folks had little or no obesity and diabetes.
American’s bodies struggle so mightily to process carbohydrates precisely because we now eat so much excess fat and protein. Compared to the early 1900s, Americans now eat 60 percent more meat, two and a half times more oil, nine times as much cheese, and 16 times more frozen desserts!
When we eat excess fat, fat builds up in our muscle cells, impairing the ability of insulin to “open up” muscle cells to let the glucose in, so our blood sugars rise sharply. In contrast with folks eating excess fat, people who eat lots of whole-food carbohydrates and very little fat and protein have dramatically smaller glucose spikes after eating. Carbohydrates may seem like the blood sugar trigger, but it’s really our high fat and high protein diet that sets up our bodies to fail at what they evolved to do — efficiently process large quantities of the whole-food carbohydrates that are the body’s preferred fuel.
Three years ago, after being 75 pounds overweight and feeling lousy, I switched to a truly low-fat, plant-based diet, lost tons of weight, and now feel 20 years younger. Luckily, your taste buds adjust pretty quickly to eating less fat, and when you eat 15 percent fat or less, cravings for fatty foods usually go away, thus requiring less willpower. Nevertheless, it’s a big change, requiring new thinking, new habits, patience, trial and error, and completely different cookbooks!