How does one choose the correct diet to follow?
As an Integrative Physician, I believe good nutrition is fundamental to creating good health, when it is not there and sustaining it when it is there. I think some guy said (a long time ago) "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." He's dead now, so a lot of good that did him. Briefly I think it is easier to sort foods into three categories: foods that are just plain bad for you (based on their intrinsically unhealthful properties, or because of toxic ingredients, as with processed foods), foods that are just totally good for you (surprisingly few of these -- organic, local fresh fruits and vegetables. Certain whole grains, and animal food that is organically raised, grass fed or pasture raised, and if milk based, from unpasteurized (raw) milk can probably safely consumed in moderate quantities. There is actually a huge middle area that consists of foods which are either good for you when not taken in excess, or at least not bad for you: I would include in this group healthy fats, such as olive and coconut oil, organic butter from grass fed animals, avocados, beans and other pulses, honey and maple syrup. I agree with A Midwestern Doctor that different diets will work for different people. I do find it easiest to start with trying to get people to avoid the foods that are on the "avoid or minimize" list, rather than getting them to eat a specific way. However, some people do respond best to structure, and being told exactly what to eat. I have not yet developed this structured a diet yet, but I think it would be more successful for those more structure-bound patients.
I switched to a mostly carnivore diet about a year ago and I noticed an improvement in my health. I do buy local from a famer that raises pasture beef and another who raises pasture pork and I also make sure to eat organ meats and lots of grass-fed butter. I'm not as clean as Jordan Peterson, as I still like the occasional dessert and I still eat fruit and homemade bread on occasion. But I get the worst sugar hangovers if I eat to many carbs. I have defiantly changed my gut biome. Overall though I feel less tired and more alert.
To go into more detail, I am in my thirties, female, with type B blood. I noticed my knee that use to hurt constantly from an old running injury doesn't hurt anymore, doesn't pop or groan, and overall, I recover faster when I do anything physical. I also am more sun tolerant (I use to burn if I was outside for half an hour) letting me be outside without sunscreen without burning or being too uncomfortable for several hours at a time, even at high noon. I don't get sugar crashes like I use to when I ate more vegetarian and can actually do a more intermittent fasting schedule.
What led me to this was reading the Carnivore Diet by Dr Ken Berry and though he has changed some of his statements his research and reasoning in the book are solid. I agree with trying to eat more like our ancient ancestors did before agriculture society, I just wish it wasn't so expensive. If they let more cattle do regenerative grazing it helps the land and the animals. Giving the soil back the nutrients, it needs, helping with natural land management and making better for you animals.
I do agree nutrition in not one size fits all, but I do think more people need good grass fed iron rich meat in their diet and less processed junk. And I've seen the cows around where I live in the pastures grazing, they are happy and healthy, and when they are ready, they are killed and eaten with much thanks for what they provide. People are too far removed from their food source, even vegetarians and vegans, to realize what goes on to grow and raise what we eat in this country.
Dr. Jason Fung has written several excellent books that echo many things you covered here. For those who may be interested I would suggest "The Diabetes Code" and "The Complete Guide to Fasting" THANK you "A Midwestern Doctor" for your excellent substack!!
I have a degree in Nutrition Bio.Science from U of Guelph 1992, then went on to be a Chef. I have had two children and weight the same now as I did then give or take 5 lbs (BMI 18). From all I have learned I believe that unprocessed, organic, well balanced foods are essential to aid in satiety and of course nutritional value. The most important thing that I believe has helped me maintain my weight is exercise. I got rid of my car and walk everywhere. I do resistance training/weights. I’m not a big cardio gal but find when I work outside I’m pretty much huffin’ and puffin’ so I count that as cardio. Oh, I also have a dog, this of course is vital for my emotional well being too. Everyone is different but this works for me. I also don’t drink alcohol anymore.
It's simple. You want to lose weight, quit eating a lot, exercise more. Hell with fads.
My wife and I grow and raise over 80% of our daily calories. Huge garden, cattle, sheep, diverse orchard of over 100 varieties., our fallback is always is dairy. Biggest weight gainer for me is apples-easily eat 10+ a day in the fall.
When I was dxed with cancer many years ago, the fad then was citrus juice detoxes followed by a very low fat, vegetarian diet. Plus wheat grass juice, horrible.
After a few months of this, I could barely function. People thought the cancer was about to swiftly kill me, the way I looked.
Then I woke up and went back to eating. And lo and behold, I quickly regained my energy and normality. Later, I did the SCD (special carbohydrate diet, kinda an early form of keto) for 6 months, and it felt good. Hard to be without crispy crunchy breads and pastries forever, though. I tried elimination diets, checking my pulse... when it told me I am sensitive to even onions, I just gave up on all that BS.
Later yet, when they told me I was dying, I said to myself, heck, if I am on the way out, the only thing that makes sense is to eat what I love. :-) And I am sticking to it! (And hey, I did not die! :-)
I was lucky I guess because I grew up in a country where meat, eggs and dairy products were all the food we had. Very few sugary foods. Nobody was obese or had any health issues. To me that's the only proof I need to eat exactly those foods.
I've lost 42 lbs in the last 15 months, NOT by dieting.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in March 2021. A1C was 10.5, started Keto with 20 carbs a day, not net carbs, not micro-carbs just carbs. I asked my Dr at the time to let me try nutrition before starting Metform and she agreed.
The first 3 days were horrible as I got rid of all the sugar cravings but after that it was fine.
3 months later was 5.9, 3 months later 5.4, 3 months later 5.2.
The loss of lbs was just a plus, feel great, look better and happy about the weight loss.
My Doctor is happy and said I am cured. (IMHO only in remission because if I went back to my old way of eating it would return)
The nutritional counselor at the hospital said I would never get below a A1C of 7.
At first I was skeptical of KETO because I saw people at church...loss weight and then gain it back. But, because I did it for my health I haven't. I new way of eating for a lifetime.
Nice overview !
A pill for obesity is surely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.
Overweight must be more than food-related, but who is looking to our environment and our activities? Weight lifting and walking can do a lot. For all we know, personal electronic devices lead to obesity. Or being indoors all day. Or a multiplicity of vaccinations. Or all of the above.
that blood type division is interesting. I am A and can easily do without as much meat, but can not even imagine givng up on my bread, which I mostly bake myself, occasionally eating a Mexican flatbread. Never eat junk food, fried food, or sugar candy, only an ounce of chocolate a day, yes, I am addicted to that. I wonder if our ancestors were settlers, compared to the ancestors of the meat-eaters, hunters? Whereas monkeys and apes were considered vegetarian, it is known that they do occasionally eat meat, or insects. And our teeth are for mixed food too right? We do not have vegan teeth, nor do we have carnivorous teeth. I totally agree with the listen to your body advice. Another strange thing I recently found out. I used to clean teeth after every meal and have had poor stomach for quite some time. 3 weeks ago read an article how this is not good, now only clean before bed, and no more stomach problems, no matter what I eat. And I used 'clean' tootphaste with very little chemicals
"In the second part of this series, I will discuss two of the most important points this article has raised follow from that and my preferred method for losing weight (my most recent attempt lost 31 pounds in 30 days.)
During the "thing" which the unvaxxed in Canada endured for 3 plus years, I lost my employment, my income, became depressed, began baking bread, gained 20 pounds, and sincerely wish to shed this excess weight.
None of my pants fit. 😢 I'm in my mid sixties now and have never been overweight.
Thus, have been researching various weight reduction ideas in order to nip this situation in the bud.
Very much looking forward to "Part 2" of this article.
Losing 31 pounds in 30 days would be miraculous!
I trust you implicity doctor.
Thank you. ❤
Thanks for this - and for the argument that not everything works for everybody. (You’d think that would be obvious but people get very dogmatic about their diets!) I read Dr Catherine Shanahan’s Deep Nutrition earlier this year and have been mostly following what she calls the “human diet”. (I have some disagreement with her on fruits and honey, can’t bring myself to eat organ meats, and can’t eat eggs.) Its a high protein and fat, lower carb (under 100g) way of eating but I don’t count anything.
I lost 5 lb in the first 3 weeks doing nothing else but following the principles (I’m not at all overweight anyway) and feel very good most of the time. I buy 85% of our meats/seafood and veg from local farms and fishermen. I even found local rice! And I have totally given up seed oils which I think is a big problem in the modern diet.
That being said, the high fat/protein diet wouldn’t have worked as well for me pre-menopause. I’ve always eaten plenty of protein but my need for carbs was higher and I never had a weight issue.
Intermittent fasting works great for my husband and I can’t do it at all. But we both are committed to local, clean, good fats, low/no sugar and feel/look good for our ages.
I think what we really need to talk about quite frankly is ADDICTION. If you eat real, whole, organic, yada, yada- it will stop effing with your entire body, mind and soul.
Ask yourself questions like, why do I eat, do I eat out of habit, do I only eat when I am actually hungry, what do I eat, do I eat when I am bored, do I eat when I am stressed, do I eat with a conscious mind, do I even know when I'm full, fill in the questions you need to answer.
I guarantee that most people WILL NOT get past the question-WHY DO I EAT????!!!!!!!
I particularly admire you for stating that one size fits all diets don't work though the 'experts' have always insisted that they, and only they, have the perfect diet. If only people understood that they have to figure out what diet is best for them, the obesity epidemic might be brought under control.
They are saying, in the UK, 60% of people are now overweight or obese. I have Coeliac Disease so have to follow a strict Gluten Free diet. I do it GF bread but no other processed foods. I am slightly underweight which is annoying, however hard I try I can't put weight on! The only meat I eat is beef, no chicken, pork or lamb & I don't eat fish. I eat vegetables & some cheese, no fruit as it's acidic on my stomach, no eggs or bananas as they make me feel ill? It's a very strange & boring diet but it works for me. I think gluten plays more of a role in peoples diets than they think? Alot of top athletes stop eating gluten because they feel healthier & feel they perform better without it? Thanks for this Article, it's a very interesting subject.
ANOTHER GREAT READ, DOC. I will add that readers should consider the list of essential nutrients we need that are not possible to get in a vegetarian diet. I was vegetarian for 7 years while training very hard, and it took me out. 1 month of meat and I was back to 100%. I was vegetarian for spiritual and ecological reasons, but then I realized that it's not my fault that my body works as it does. Now I buy a grass-fed 1/2 steer from a mountain ranch every September and am ranked #1 in US in some rowing ergometer events.
I quit sugar 25 years ago, but an occasional festivity would have me taste a dessert and cause a yeast bloom (now I think those critters hid under biofilms waiting for the sugar). after 10 years of that I finally drew the line. Absolutely no sugar for another 10 years took care of it. Now I have a rare taste of a dessert with no problem. but there were many intestinal cleanses and pre/probiotics in the meantime.
I am an avid saurkraut maker, and recently discovered the power of apple skins to feed akkermansia.