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How should we be eating?

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Sadly, today it seems you can read just about anything and everything about “how to eat properly”.  Books and diets abound. As a family doctor I try to read as much as I can about the science and physiology of how our bodies work.  There’s a lot to “digest”.

 

I am increasingly convinced that for the vast majority of people, we should lose our fear of fat, embrace the goodness of protein, and develop a healthy abhorrence of sugar and starch.

 

Exercise is of course always important for well-being, but it is not the key to having an appropriate body weight and body composition.  The mantra of “calories in versus calories out” is just that, a mantra.  There is increasing scientific understanding of the many hormones that are released and interact with one another when we eat, hormones which both direct digested nutrients to various bodily organs which require those nutrients, while also causing our brains to sense that we’ve eaten the amount we need and therefore “feel full”.

 

From a nutritional standpoint I believe we especially need to be less fearful of animal fat.  Red meat, cheese and butter are not the bad actors they’ve been made out to be.  Eggs are a wonderful food source.  

 

Human beings are omnivores.  I think we are made to eat plants and meat.  If we were meant to be plant eaters only, I wonder why do we have canine teeth and incisors in front of our plant-munching molars?

 

I see so many patients struggling with weight, blood pressure and diabetes.  I am convinced that choosing WHAT we eat can reverse these consequences of our misdirected current food advice.  I increasingly don’t like to characterize most adult cases of diabetes as a disease — it implies something that just happens to us, like getting influenza or cancer, and it severs the connection between behavior and consequences.

 

I’m a foodie, but have never had the inclination to partake of foie gras (greatly enlarged fatty goose livers which are considered a delicacy, ethical concerns notwithstanding).  Always wanting to know how things work, I did a little reading tonight on the methods by which fatty goose livers are made.  The geese are force fed corn and other grains near the end of their lives to engorge their livers with fat.  Hmmm. Force feeding corn (a starch) to geese causes them to develop livers engorged with fat.  Most adult diabetics and many obese pre-diabetic patients have fatty livers.  Food for thought.

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