If there’s one characteristic that most modern diets share, it’s the push for whole grains.
Major organizations like Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association insist that opting for whole grains is a more nutritious, heart-healthy option for managing weight and insulin resistance.
However, we know that most diets have gotten a few things wrong…
When a cereal grain (wheat, corn, barley, rye, etc.) is growing in the field, it already counts as a “whole grain”—that is, it has all of its parts intact. The parts of a grain—the bran (skin), germ (seed embryo), and endosperm (the germ’s food source)—are all kept together when they are harvested and turned into food.
This is different from refined grains, where only the endosperm is kept. If you think about refined grains, then, you’ll notice that we’re not actually eating the actual grain (the germ) at all!
We’re quite a ways past the days of arguing whether or not carbs are evil. It’s pretty clear by now that there are healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.) and unhealthy junk (breads, pastas, pastries, donuts, etc.).
But from anecdotal experience alone, it’s become pretty clear that some folks just don’t handle eating carbs as well as other folks. Even if they’re carbs from whole foods.
And in fact, this may be due to a genetic predisposition:
I recently got asked this question by a reader:
Can Anti-Depressants Cause or Trigger Leaky Gut?
My response was that I’ve never heard of or seen any studies on anti-depressants causing or triggering leaky gut.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but I don’t have any reason to believe that it would be the case.
Variety is always touted as an excellent thing, whether we’re talking about food or anything else.
But when it comes to food, there’s a mounting body of scientific literature that points to variety (in certain contexts) being a big problem. In particular, there is a phenomenon in every human known as sensory-specific satiety. This means that we get full faster when eating the same food, rather than a combination of different foods.
This 2009 study examined this very phenomenon:
The reasons we overeat are numerous and varied. But obesity researchers almost universally agree on one of the biggest reasons: food reward.
The (oversimplified) idea behind food reward is that certain foods cause us to crave them. This is different than a food simply tasting good. For instance, I think pork belly is delicious. But once I’ve had a reasonably-sized meal, I have no desire to eat more pork belly. And I never go to bed craving pork belly.
On the other hand, a chocolate chip cookie sounds good to me just about any time. It doesn’t matter if I’ve just had a huge meal – a chocolate chip cookie will still be tempting.
The reason this occur is generally due to a specific combination of fat, sugar, and salt that our bodies have a hard time resisting. This combination never naturally occurs. It’s only something we create in modern foods.
The 2009 study above didn’t really address the issue of food reward, but it addressed a related reason that we overeat. As I mentioned above, it dealt with the concept of sensory-specific satiety.
In the study, the researchers fed the participants in the study fries and brownies. But the fries and brownies were fed to the participants either with or without condiments (ketchup, mustard, and vanilla cream). And in one circumstance, participants were given fries and brownies without condiments and then with condiments.
What the researchers found is that the participants would eat much greater quantities of both the fries and brownies when the condiments were available.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, since you probably think that ketchup, mustard, and vanilla cream make fries and brownies taste better. But while that might be true, what this study shows is that the participants got tired of the foods (even though fries and brownies are generally pretty addictive). However, once new flavors were introduced, the participants suddenly weren’t as full and were able to eat more of the fries and brownies.
What’s the takeaway here?
Our bodies know when we’ve had enough natural foods (foods that haven’t been combined with too many other natural or processed foods). But when we start engineering and combining foods, our bodies aren’t able to properly control the amount we eat.
Images: Copyright (c) Giuseppe Porzani from Fotolia
About 10 years ago, in Japan, a group of researchers decided to examine the relationship between blood cholesterol and life expectancy in the elderly.
So they went out and found just over 200 elderly folks, all over 85 years old. They ran a bunch of blood tests and then followed them for the next 10 years.
When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to beat deli meat.
Ham, turkey, salami, prosciutto, roast beef, and dozens of other options are sold in almost every grocery store, and they require no preparation whatsoever to eat.
Traditionally, lunches and sandwiches rely heavily on such cold cuts, but there are a ton of popular news articles that paint these meats as incredibly unhealthy.
There are a lot of reasons bandied about as to why deli meats may be unhealthy. I’ll quickly look at them one-by-one:
Partially because probiotics have become such a large industry, there’s a lot of debate over whether or not probiotics are effective. And the debate isn’t surprising.
Nobody has all the answers, but more studies are beginning to shed light on these issues.
Unfortunately, fat loss is a bit variable from one person to another, and quite often, women struggle with fat loss more than men.
Part of that is evolutionary, since it was always more important for women to hang on to fat for childbirth.
All of that is just to say that it’s often easier for men (but not always – my wife loses fat much more easily than I do).
Generally, I tell people a few things:
Please note the following while you read this article: There is no shame in wanting to lose weight or weighing more than you want to. It does not even have to be something you want to change. In fact, you may have other health issues that make it either very difficult or impossible for you to lose weight regardless of what you eat, and that may be a completely different conversation that you might wish to have with yourself about figuring out and resolving the other health issues first.
Do you know what I remember most about being fat?
Every day in high school and college, I would wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and I’d get so angry at how I looked that I would try to physically pull the fat off of my stomach.
I wish I were kidding…
I knew it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t delusional (at least not very), but I tried anyway.
If you know me, then you know that I eventually found a better and less painful way to lose fat and be healthy.
But there’s a point to this story, and it’s not to make you think I was crazy. It’s this:
I’ve long thought that genetic tests aren’t really all that useful.
I fully believe that the study of genetics, the research into genetics, and the technological advancements we’re beginning to see are amazing. But testing hasn’t seemed all that useful to me because – in general – it probably won’t change how you should live and eat, no matter what the results are.
The reason I’ve always believed that is because a healthy diet and lifestyle is generally healthy for everybody, regardless of genetics. It might be more important for some people than others, but really, we should all be eating real foods, sleeping enough, de-stressing, etc.
I actually wrote this article because readers ask me quite often whether they need to eat more protein, fats, or carbs for breakfast.
And I understand why this question is so popular. There are thousands of articles about breakfast, and most of them seem either contradictory or else they just repeat the same information over and over again.
I’ve got a few tips below, but here’s the thing you need to remember above all else.
Growing up, there were few foods I disliked more than broccoli. (Collard greens was one of them – I just couldn’t stand the smell when I was a kid.)
Fast-forward a couple decades, and I want to put broccoli and collard greens in everything. My mom would be proud, except that she doesn’t actually like broccoli. Oh well.
Your own mom might have tried to feed broccoli to you as a kid, and it turns out that she had good reason to do so—broccoli is a true superfood. This famous green has been linked to a variety of positive health effects in nearly all of the body’s systems, from the circulatory and immune systems to mental health.
Just what sort of healthful benefits is broccoli packing in those green bunches?
As far as antibiotics go, we never specifically suggest that anybody not take antibiotics that they’re prescribed. It’s a personal decision, and more importantly, it’s a decision you definitely want to consult your doctor/dentist about to be aware of the risks if you decide not to take the antibiotics.
This guest post is written by Cindy Holder Poole about her own experience with lupus.
Sixteen years ago I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. My life changed in ways I would never have imagined.
While I had been fairly healthy and athletic during my younger years I had found myself working too much, sleeping too little, and about to embark on a downward spiral that ended many of my hopes and dreams.
I was told to avoid sunlight and rest when tired. I was told diet wouldn’t help but to watch my weight. I was also told to avoid stress which was difficult since I worked as an air traffic control specialist at Los Angeles Air Traffic Control Center. Shortly after my diagnosis I gave birth to my second child and then found out that my oldest son had a form of muscular dystrophy. Stress just kept coming at me! I gained weight and my disease progressively became worse. Eventually it became difficult to even walk.
For the most part, it’s fairly common knowledge that breast-feeding is a healthy thing to do for infants, unless there is a specific and situational reason not to or why it’s not possible.
However, apart from the notion that it’s the natural thing to do, or that it imparts relational benefits, it’s not common knowledge WHY it’s necessarily a good thing to do.