Lately I’ve come across many different people who claim that we should all eat a certain way and/or eliminate a particular food group from our diets (dairy, carbs, meat etc).
However, for every claim that there is something bad about a particular food & why we should avoid it, there is another that claims it is good for us!
So what’s going on? Here’s my view
Update July 2018: I’ve just finished reading “The diet myth” by Tim Spector which has further emphasised many of my points below but also gave me more insights into why we all respond differently to food. This has been one of the most interesting and helpful books I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you are someone who often feels confused about the information on diets/foods then you should definitely give this book a read, you’ll be glad you did!
Firstly, I want to point out that one diet to suit everyone is unlikely to work & to illustrate this I like the example of medication and side effects. If you’ve read the leaflets of medication packs you’ll see there is a list of potential side effects, so out of all the people that take that medication some may be perfectly fine and others may react quite badly. Even within families differences can be seen.
I do not believe that one diet suits everyone, what works for one person may not work for another and recently studies have shown that people do
react differently (especially regarding insulin response) to different foods. A woman in one study had sugar spikes after eating tomatoes, a food which some would consider quite healthy yet for this woman but not others in the same study, this food was not beneficial for her body. http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(15)01481-6
This is also thought to be largely due to the different gut bacteria that we have which can vary greatly from person to person therefore it can be altered partially by nutrition.
As this individual dietary testing is not yet available to everyone, it can be hard to tell what is tolerated well by our bodies; however there are steps we can take to improve this:
-Keep a food diary and record how you feel after eating that meal (energy, fullness, gut reactions, spot breakouts)
-Try increasing or decreasing a macronutrient (good fat, carbs, protein) in various proportions and observing what results from it
-Take a look at your lifestyle to identify what your energy & nutritional needs are e.g if your job is very active and you need lots of energy then a very low carb/protein diet probably isn’t best for you
Too many people these days are letting others tell them what to eat and how they should feel after doing so rather than paying attention to their own body. If someone tells you to cut out all of your carbs & yet you still feel rubbish 8 weeks later with no energy (even though the rest of your diet is impeccable) then it’s time to try something else as clearly your body is not functioning at its best.
A great quote I heard recently was “Your body is the best doctor in the house, listen to it”
Benefits/signs that you have found the right eating plan for you
✓you feel much more satisfied with what you have just eaten and less likely to snack
✓your body functions better and you have more energy
✓you see positive changes such as better skin, nails, more muscle definition etc
I do feel however that there are a few important points to consider regardless of what eating plan you are on:
1. Portion control: regardless of what you eat any high excess of energy is something your body does not need and therefore it will be stored as fat
2. Quality:try your best to choose good quality, well sourced food no matter what it is, try buying organic where possible and choose whole grains and foods in their most natural, least processed forms
3. Feel good: If you don’t feel good about what you eat majority of the time then this will eventually manifest itself in an unhealthy relationship with food, furthermore, food is meant to be something that we enjoy and take pleasure from so if you’re not enjoying it then you’re missing out on a really big part of life and no one wants that
|Beautiful candied beetroot from one of my fav fruit/veg stalls
Bottom line– life is too short to be miserable on a diet plan which is clearly not working out for you, so try to listen to what your body is telling you & find ways to nourish yourself, that feel right for you rather than making you want to bang your head off the wall!
I’d love to hear how everyone else loves & best takes care of their bodies.
Be good to yourself xXxNote: Obviously people with issues e.g. diabetes should consult their doctors before drastically changing their diets.