Diet Wars

There has been an explosive increase in specialized diets.

Diets to repress inflammation and allergies, diets free of gluten and lectins, as well as the slew of medically supervised, elimination diets.

They all balance the three nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) according to their own particular bias.

So long as the metabolic type of the dieter matches the foods in the diet, everything works.

When the diet does not match the dieter, metabolic dysfunction occurs.

High, carbohydrate diet in sedentary people produces weight gain and obesity.High protein diets in people who exercise produces muscle build up, inflammation and arthritis.

High protein/high fat diets produce cardiovascular disease.

Its not the diet that produces the change, its the individual.

Athletes need an Athlete's Diet. A diet rich in colorful plants, and an assortmrent foods doused in olive oil, garlic and herbs.

 

The most popular approach to dieting is the high protein school.

These diets are better described and should be thought of as, carbohydrate restriction diets. They intentionally reduce the carbohydrate content of meals in order to starve the body into burning its fat stores.

On the other end of the nutrient spectrum are the pure, high carbohydrate diets.

Health conscious dieters, with a family history of heart disease, follow these diets.

They view fat as the enemy. Any and all fat. They aren't opposed to just saturated fat, which is universally condemned, but they also avoid monounsaturated, olive and omega-3 fats as well.

 Their restrictive obsession with fat is not only unhealthy but it removes much of the pleasure from eating.

Fat obsession is based on the fact that fat clogs arteries. 

Heart protective diets are good for those with a genetic predisposition to cardio-vascular disease.

These diets are preventative because it allows only extremely low fat amounts and relies heavily on very high carbohydrate foods.

While the precise definition of low and high is open to argument, the theory behind this dietary formula is based on the opinion that dietary fat is the ingredient most responsible for hear related illnesses.

Heart protective diets emphasize complex carbohydrates and whole grain products, as opposed to highly refined products and sugar. They emphasize complex carbohydrates based in part, on a diminished insulin response.

 

Certain fats are essential to health and extremely important, especially for people who exercise. By eliminating foods that contain these healthy fats, athletes are damaging their bodies.

This type of obsession with fat mirrors the way the high protein gurus demonize carbohydrates.  Both schools are right... for some people but are dead wrong for athletes.

High protein diets are unhealthy for people who exercise because they do not provide enough fuel, vitamins, minerals or antioxidants required for activity.

They do however, meet the needs of America’s sedentary majority. Low fat diets are beneficial to sedentary people since they don’t exercise and therefore don’t need as much omega-3 fatty acids.

The strategy detailed here is based on a high, colorful, complex carbohydrates.

Its main difference with all other diets and programs is its dependence on exercise to a disproportionate degree.

Based on and this assumption, this program recommends foods that contain all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and oils needed to fuel and recover from exercise.

From a health standpoint, all benefits are due to the positive effect of exercise.

The foods are chosen because of the support they provide to a body engaged or recovering from exercise.

Any diet that purports to be healthy must provide the body with the nutrients it needs to meet the demands required by the dieter’s activity. Diets that do not provide them should be considered as unhealthy.

High complex carbohydrate diets contain intricately bound compounds phytonutrients created buy of the plant's cells. Phytonutrients are ingested along with the complex grains, whole vegetables and fresh fruit of foods. These compounds are botanical antioxidants that provide protection against free radical attack.

Free radicals are produced in greater amounts during exercise and aerobic metabolism.

Followers of high carbohydrate diets avoid the ubiquitous snacks, sweets and sugars that saturate the American diet. They also avoid animal sources for protein because they are rich in saturated fat. The advocates of high protein diets point to the insulin effect that carbohydrates produce in explaining why carbohydrates need to be limited. The fact is, it is not carbohydrates in general that are bad, it is the refined ones.

One adverse consequence of refined carbohydrates is a loss of fiber. Due to a higher concentration of simple sugars and reduced fiber content, refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed and are either immediately used as an energy source or stored as fat.

The Two Extremes

High protein diets limit and severely restrict the amount of carbohydrates in meals. High carbohydrate diets severely limit or eliminate the amount of fat in meals.

If there is a pattern to these two opposite style diets it is this. Both low carbohydrate diets and low fat diets are extreme restriction diets. They work best in people who are afflicted with a disorder in metabolism. They should not be used by people who have an active and normal metabolism. 

Those people who fail to metabolize sugar properly develop diabetes while those who fail to metabolize fats properly develop atherosclerosis. The two extreme schools attempt to reverse the chronic disorder by its choice of restricted nutrient. They either reverse the metabolic stress caused by sugar or they reverse the stress caused by fat by eliminating it.

Cardiac patients respond well to low fat diets because these diets best oppose the stress involved with the improper formation, transportation and removal of lipoproteins.  Lipid metabolism has a profound effect on cholesterol levels, the leading cause of atherosclerosis.

Obese patients respond well to high protein diets because these diets best reverse the stress associated with improper insulin binding and glucose regulation known as diabetes. So starving the body of carbohydrates makes medical sense. It doesn't for people who exercise.

All diets are not alike. One diet can never fit all. The best diet is the one that best meets the needs of the individual.

An individual who exercise is best served by a diet that meets those needs. And that diet is a diet built on colorful, complex carbohydrates.

Calorie restriction diets have been around for many years. There are many proponents of these diets.

The most recent contribution to its cause is the Longevity Diet by Brian M. Delaney and Lisa Walford. Their concept is quite simple, the less stress placed on the body to metabolize food, the less harmful by-products that are produced.

It is an accepted medical fact that already-malformed compounds and free radicals attack vital structures and cause them to dysfunction. This is the event that often initiates disease.

The various authors of calorie restriction diets include Roy Walford (Beyond the 120 Year Diet), Artemis Simopoulos (Omega Diet), Dr. Alan Howard (The Cambridge Diet) and Craig and Bradley Wilcox (Okinowan Diet Plan) as well as the aforementioned authors. They all point to longevity as the factor that determine a diet’s success.

They all considered the molecular aspects of aging and concluded that the less food that is digested and assimilated, the longer a person will remain healthy.

These diets are often combined with antioxidant supplements as a strategy to counter the stress of aging. These anti-aging plans promote the idea of not only eating less, but eating better as well.

These are good diets to follow if exercise is not part of one’s daily life. It is a poor diet for athletes.

Despite its anti-aging claim, athletes who follow the calorie restriction guidelines will fail to provide adequate nutrients to recover from exercise and will more likely injure themselves and lead to premature aging. This is the precise opposite of the diet’s intended effect. Calorie restriction diets are not recommended for athletes.