I have some questions. I would like some independent, scientific, peer reviewed advice. I’m not interested in hearsay, myth, government/agri-industry/manufacturer backed studies, but some proper scientific research and point of views. I am not interested in any ethical/environmental arguments for one diet over another.
Firstly, the whole balanced diet approach as identified by what your plate/weekly eating should look like is the continuation of agricultural groups pushing their agenda in the 70’s? There is no evidence that we actually NEED to eat all the different food groups listed? The dairy and meat groups do not provide any additional nutrients that can’t be gotten from the vegetables group, so should really be superfluous nice to haves? (Cattle farmers and dairy industry pushed for their inclusion into the plate – sponsored research to show their products were good for you?)
Secondly, the use of calories is only because we don’t have another easy to use approach to measuring portions and comparing food items? There is actually no way of knowing how much caloric value one individual will actually get vs a different person? In the same vein, the calories in vs calories out model is overly simplistic and fundamentally misleading? If this were really true, surely we would never actually take a sh*t? This excretion of undigested foods and fires must show that the calories we consumer are not all absorbed, our bodies are not even close to 100% effective at extracting nutrients from what we eat?
Right, now for some interesting questions. What research has been done to show how our bodies react to different foods in combination? I imagine that the majority of our understanding of how our bodies work, comes from observing the action of enzymes and bacteria on macro and micro nutrients. This is then extrapolated into how we think our body’s process food. But do we have any actual evidence of how our bodies work on complex processed foods in combination. Do our bodies behave the same way when we eat a slice of pizza, vs an apple, vs cheese cake? Are our internal bacterial biomes set up to handle this variety of foods?
How long does it take for our bodies bacterial colonies to change and adapt? If different colonies are more efficient at breaking down different nutrients, surely eating a ‘balanced’ and highly varied diet is actually counterproductive? My logic here – eating plant and animal products requires larger quantities of bacterial colonies to be present in the gut, ultimately this would make us weigh more than if we were to focus on one nutrition source only?
What volume of bacteria do we need to effectively digest food? Which types are more efficient? My question here, if enzymes and bacteria specialising in plants are more efficient, my body would carry fewer colonies to deliver the same nutritional extraction therefore ultimately weight would drop as there is less biomass to support in the gut? How would this differ if I were to focus on a high animal based diet? Are the bacteria colonies that support the digestion of animal products as/more/less efficient?
How quickly do our bodies and their bacterial colonies change and adapt to new foods? If I were to go completely off animal products, how long would it take for the colonies that support the breakdown of animal products to disappear? Inversely, moving to a low carb, high fat diet; how long would it take for the adaptation? From some personal experience, I found that after moving to the UK, it took 3-6 months for my weight to return to normal, keeping my diet as consistent and close to what I used to eat in South Africa.
I hope someone out there is brave enough to have a go at answering some of these question. I am tired of the rubbish that get touted as scientific evidence or official guidelines and the soap box speakers telling the world that their point of view is right.
Here is my 10c worth, please challenge me on any/all of the below:
Adaptation to new foods takes time – a change in diet will deliver some short term benefits (water loss mostly) but needs weeks/months to bed in and start to see proper benefits.
For high fat diets to be effective, you absolutely can’t eat carbs – the bacteria needed to process this type of diet are denser than those for a carb based diet. Without getting rid of the carb bacterial colonies, you will remain heavy. This needs months of dedication without fault to become effective – having tried, I can’t go long enough to see positive results on this form of eating.
There is little benefit to a vegetarian diet that still uses dairy, eggs, and fish/chicken. Having followed this diet for over 13 year, I didn’t see any changes in weight, and actually still had relatively high cholesterol… I am basing this on still having the same bacterial and enzymes present that would be processing red meat to breakdown fish, eggs and dairy. I really don’t think the body is able to tell if something is red meat or white meat… its animal protein and that requires a specific bacteria to process it.
My next experiment is to go to a plant based vegan diet. Having started playing with this over the last few weeks, I am seeing that eating more carbs – oats, breads (Whole grain is also a marketing gimmick with no scientific basis) potatoes and loads of fresh, raw vegetables have not caused me to picked up any weight, actually dropping me to one of my lowest weights since I can remember. My initial thought is that the animal based bacteria die off quiet quickly when there is nothing to support them. But it will still take a longer term for the plant based colonies to develop and start to thrive.