"We are born to be fit, strong, and healthy." Robb Wolf

March 05, 2011

National Nutrition Month

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has the month of March as the National Nutrition Month. It started off as being a week back in the early 70's. Since 1980, it was extended to a month due to the public's interest on nutrition.

Now fast-forward to 2010. The ADA released new dietary guidelines to the American public with the hope of improving overall health. Here is the new guideline:

"The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more:
  • Whole grains: Increase whole grains by choosing whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Make at least half your grain servings whole grains.
  • Vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Most adults need 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day.
  • Fruits: Add fruit to meals and snacks—fresh, frozen or canned—to get about 2 cups each day.
  • Low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages: Include 3 cups per day for calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium. Lactose-free milk is also an option.
  • Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean: These are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Use in moderate amounts in place of solid fats.
  • Seafood – Include a variety of seafood more often in place of some meat and poultry."
It all seems pretty good and pretty reasonable right? I agree on some. Let me break it down.

Whole Grains
Just refer to the link on the right side of the page that says "Why Grains Are Bad" or click here. Sure whole grains are a much better choice than refined, bleached grains. But a grain is still a grain.

When was the last time you saw a can of beans in the vegetable section of the grocery store? I'm sure they are referring to green and yellow beans, but I don't want to assume. Here is the skinny on beans:
  • Toxic when consumed raw or undercooked. The toxins include enzyme-inhibitors (blockers), lectins (sugar-binding proteins that cause adverse effects such as nutritional deficiencies and immune/allergic reactions and protect the seed from being digested), and other types.
  • Cooking destroys most, not all, of the toxins and diminishes nutrient content.
  • Rich source of carbohydrates which causes your pancreas to secrete high levels of insulin.
  • Poor sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols (help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol)
I 100% agree with eating vegetables that are dark-green, red, orange, purple, and yellow. These vegetables tend to be very high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There should not be a limit as to the quantity of vegetables to consume. Since they are high in fiber, you won't be able to eat too much anyway.

Canned fruit? Here is the problem with canning. When fruits are canned, they are subject to high heat (pasteurization and boiling), refrigeration/freezing and drying (all excellent methods), ionizing radiation, submersion in a strong saline solution (increases salt content), acid, base, or osmotic (very sugary). The high heat is required to decrease the risk of botulism and other microorganisms to flourish in the dark, sugary confines. The italicized portion is the best way to preserve or increase nutrient content in fruits. So why add/alter something from its natural form?

Milk, Dairy, & Soy
First of all... WTF??? Low-fat or fat-free milk? There is very little science out there to back up the misconception that eating little to no fat will keep you slim. A LOT of research has been performed in this area and the majority of those studies dismiss the idea. As an example, the French eat considerably more fat than North Americans (or anyone who has adopted the Western Diet) yet have significantly less rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. The diet of Eskimos is as high as 70% fat and have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.

Fat burns slower than carbohydrates giving you a sustained release of energy rather than constantly gorging on food. This is why you have to eat fat to lose fat. *that was the Coles Notes version* Our bodies need fat so that hormones can be made and transported through the body in order to be utilized efficiently. Raw dairy is best. If you can't get a hold of any then whole milk (3.25%) should be your next choice.

I know I went on a slight detour with regards to dairy but you can get more information on it by clicking here or here.

Secondly... Soy. Soy is one of those agricultural miracles, along with grains, that has made people millions of dollars. Vegetarians rely on soy products for their protein quantity. *realize I said quantity not quality* Here is the low-down on soy.

Soy contains protease inhibitors (blocks the breakdown of protein) that are very sensitive to heat. Consuming soy in its raw state is quite hard on the gastrointestinal system. Therefore it must be heated/cooked in order to be easier on the body. Soy also contains hemagglutinin that causes red blood cells to clump together. Hmmm... Can you say blood clot leading to stroke or pulmonary embolism??? Soy also contains a number of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Is this a bad thing? I think so. Some of these anti-nutrients include:

  • goitrogens: substances that result in an enlarged thyroid gland presented as a goiter
  • tannins: have been found to interfere with digestive processes and are often bitter or astringent
  • phytoestrogens: plant-generated estrogen that can mimic the body's natural estrogen or act as an antagonist, leading to cancer
  • flatus-producing oligosaccharides: carbohydrates that cause gas *I tried to put a fart noise here but don't know how to imbed mp3's into links*
  •  phytates: humans lack the enzymes phytase (found in ruminants - cattle, sheep, goats, elk, moose, etc.) and bind to minerals preventing their absorption
  • saponins: usually bitter to the taste and help protect plants against microbes and fungi
  • antivitamins: a substance that destroys or inhibits the metabolic action of vitamins
There are some benefits to eat soy products but the cons outweigh the pros.

Vegetable Oils
All I can say is canola, corn, peanut, and soybean (refer to soy above) are all a product of agriculture and should be considered processed foods. They are all extracted from their respective "foods" using high heat. And, as we have learned earlier, high heat destroys a lot of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and enzymes. As well, these oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids (inflammatory) and low in omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory).

Olive oil is the only respectable oil out of this group mentioned. It is best utilized by adding it to a salad or dressing of some sort. If you decide to cook with it, it is best used at a medium temperature for a short period of time.

"Use in moderate amounts in place of solid fat." Do they mean animal fat? Or do they mean that crap called margarine? Never replace animal fat. Not only does the meat contain essential vitamins and minerals, but is an excellent source for saturated fat. *I will have a post about the benefits of saturated fat in the near future*

I have no problems with this suggestion. It is always good to try different foods. By eating the same foods every day, you are more prone to developing an allergy or sensitivity to that food or others. The best seafood to eat is wild caught, fresh water. They contain less contaminants, lower levels of heavy metals (i.e. mercury), and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

So... To wrap this rambling up... Am I in favor of this new dietary guideline? Absolutely not. It, along with major food corporations, is leading people astray with regards to their health and well-being. Sure some of the options are smarter choices. They are not necessarily healthier choices.

People like Art DevanyLoren CordainRobb WolfMark SissonDallas and Melissa, and the list can go on, have thousands of followers combined that listen and adhere to the words, knowledge, and recipes of these individuals. A lot of these followers have written back to these individuals with their praise and accomplishments.

Start cleaning up your diet and you will feel better, look better, and perform better. Oh yeah... How can I forget... Live longer and healthier!!!


Ellie said...

Good Job Dawson, I couldn't have said it better!

Sandra said...

Thanks Dawson, excellent post.

Dawson said...

Thanks El & Sandra. It bothers me when so-called "professionals" are more interested in the mighty dollar rather than the health and well-being of others. There needs to be more awareness/education with regards to the quality of food. But it's those corporate giants that have the money, keeping costs low for low-quality food and hoard the media spotlight to promote their "foods". This puts a lot of local "Mom & Pop Shops" out of business. Very unfortunate.