There is abundant evidence of disease-reversal with diets of whole, minimally processed food; plant-predominant diets; and even plant-exclusive diets. So plants are good. Wait — are juice cleanses dangerous? Generally not, depending on your health at the start, but neither are they useful. Um, toxins? The intestines, spleen, and immune system are in on it, too. So, you want to take good care of your liver and kidneys, gut, and immune system.
How do you take good care of all your detoxifying organ systems? By taking good care of yourself, of course. That means eating well, not smoking, exercising, sleeping enough, managing your stress, and so on. Is that … healthy? The only use of a ketogenic diet that is clearly medically justified is to treat refractory seizures in select cases, mostly in children.
Which is better: a plant-based diet with carbs, or a low-carb diet with meat? All plant foods are carbohydrate sources. Yeah, but: Carbs are evil. Most plant foods are mostly carbohydrate. Sure, but, I should still avoid carbs, right?
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You cannot have a complete or healthful diet without carbohydrate sources. Why have I been led to believe that carbs are evil?
Carbs are not evil; junk food is evil. What about gluten? It seems like everyone is kind of gluten-intolerant now. About one percent of people have celiac disease, and perhaps 10 percent have lesser forms of sensitivity, which may be related to other factors, like a disrupted microbiome.
But still, 90 percent of people have no problem digesting gluten. Should I eat whole-grain bread? Eat it for that reason. I want to lose weight. Is diet really more important than exercise? It is much easier to outeat running than to outrun all of the tempting calories that modern marketing encourages us to cram in. Both diet and exercise are important to health, and exercise is important in weight maintenance. But to lose weight, the preferential focus needs to be on controlling calories in , more than calories out.
I keep hearing that lectins are toxic and make weight loss harder.
Lectins are distributed across almost the entire expanse of foods consumed by humans, and concentrated in some of the foods most decisively linked to health benefits , such as beans and lentils, along with many fruits and vegetables. However, I also read that they are digestive irritants and slightly toxic due to the lectin content. Beans are really, really , really good for us. But also: Beans make me fart.
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All beans should be cooked; they are nearly impossible for any of us to digest when raw. Despite all the nonsense, the bottom line is that beans are among the most beneficial foods for human health, and offer enormous environmental benefits as well. Given the prevalence of heart disease associated with poor diets in the U. And, as far as farting is concerned, anecdotally at least, the more frequently you eat beans the better your gut tolerates them.
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All of these can be addressed, but you need a clear diagnosis first. So this is an issue you should take to a doctor who can evaluate you, specifically. You should be able to have a healthful diet, and alleviate these symptoms, too. Do I have to eat grains if I want to be healthy? Among their virtues: they are rich in fiber, which tends to be very deficient in the typical American diet — that 15 grams we all tend to eat is half the daily recommended intake.
My friend never eats fruits and vegetables and is quite proud of that. Is it possible to be healthy without eating fruits and vegetables? So, you could, in principle, have a diet rich in beans, lentils, chickpeas, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and perhaps fish and seafood, and it would almost certainly be better than the prevailing modern diets of fast food, processed meat, and junk.
But as good as the same diet with vegetables and fruits? No way.
If I want to lose weight, should I eat less? And if I eat less, will my metabolism really slow down? And if you lose weight, yes, because a smaller body burns fewer calories than a larger one. The effects tend to be modest, however, unless the weight loss is extreme. You can compensate with exercise, and building some muscle, both of which increase your metabolic rate. What kinds of foods do you think will help support weight loss?
And, any food you eat while riding in the Tour de France. What should I care about on nutrition labels? Calories, fat grams, or sugar grams? Okay, sure. But what about the ones with labels? If the ingredients are wholesome, the nutrient profile will be fine. If the ingredient list is dubious — chemicals, various kinds of added sugar, questionable oils, sodium, and so on — the nutrient profile will be, too. It is really the overall nutritional quality of the food, rather than any one nutrient, that matters.
For help getting it right, that even an 8-year-old can use, see here. What about intermittent fasting? Is that actually effective for better gut health and energy levels? Fasting is not more effective than limiting calorie intake every day. Fasting is a way to control average, daily food intake — but not the only way. Can I just eat the same thing every day? Variety over time is important to the quality of a diet, but that can be concentrated at dinner if you prefer.
So, for instance, how about whole grains hot or cold , mixed fruits, and nuts for breakfast — every day? Then, how about a salad, soup, or stew of mixed vegetables and beans or lentils for lunch? And then for dinner, a wholesome variety of choices. Is there really such a thing as a superfood? Yeah, except for quinoa, right?
Which is magical or something. If your diet is excellent, no single food will be responsible for the benefits. If your diet is terrible, no single food will compensate.
This would apply to foods like spinach, broccoli, blueberries, chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils, kale, peaches, or walnuts. What about avocados? Are they bad for you or good for you? One a day is certainly fine. Which is good fat?
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And too much is bad. How do I get that fat balance? To avoid an excess, limit the intake of foods high in saturated fat. That includes most meats, and full-fat dairy. And all junk food is suspect for all sorts of reasons. What about animal fats like lard or tallow? Lard is almost 40 percent saturated fat; and tallow is more than 50 percent saturated.