For what feels like millenia, people have been trying to ascertain what the best diet is for optimal health. The debates can get VERY heated, and many a person has been made to feel inferior for expressing their opinions.
So what is the answer? What is the Perfect Diet?
There isn't one.
I know - what a let down. But the fact of the matter is there isn't one particular diet that is best suited to EVERY single person on the planet!
Sure there are universal elements that we can apply to everybody if you want to be healthier (we'll get to those later!) but if you want me to tell you that Vegetrianism trumps Paleo, or 5:2 beats Mediterranean (or vice versa in either example) then I'm sorry, but I can't because the fact is what the right diet is for one person is not necessarily the right diet for the next. And what is the right diet for you personally right now, may not be the right diet for you in 12 months, or 12 years from now.
Now this doesn't mean that as Naturopaths or Nutritionists we don't all have our own favourite approaches to eating that we personally follow, and that work for us - but to then assume from that one personal experience that everybody should be doing the same is just plain wrong! We are trained to treat each person as unique and individual, and to adapt things as needed in order to get the best results for our patients. Let me give you a few examples:
- A high fibre diet we all know is great for health in so many ways - but if I was treating someone suffering from an acute diverticulitis attack, a high fibre diet would be the very WORST thing we could do at that point.
- Or perhaps I'm treating someone with thyroid disease who has been following a VLCD (very low carb diet). Now some people may do extremely well with that approach, but this person may find that by increasing their carbs they may improve their T3 levels (an important thyroid hormone). However if that same person came to me with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) instead, they would be put on a VERY strict diet that restricts most carbohydrates in order to avoid feeding the bacterial overgrowth further.
- Personal ethics also need to be taken into account. There's no point me telling a vegan with anemia to go and eat a steak if they have chosen to be vegan for ethical reasons. And conversely it would be very detrimental for me not to advocate eating iron rich meat to someone suffering anemia who isn't vegetarian just because I personally choose to avoid meat.
At the end of the day if you've been eating a typical 'Western Diet' which is high in trans fats, refined foods, sodium, sugar and plent of other nasties, and you are ready to change that - no matter which of the various food camps you listen to most of them will say something along the lines of:
- include more plant based foods
- remove refined carbohydrates
- remove processed foods and additives
- don't drink sugary drinks
Just by following those 4 things, you will make a huge difference to your health. The other small tweaks such as eat meat/don't eat meat, eat low carb/eat high carb, eat dairy/avoid dairy, etc will come down to your individual biochemistry, personal values and the health issues you face at the time.
Naturopath & Nutritionist
The Natural Health and Wellness Clinic
(030 5977 7342