My problem is that I can find people who have totally different opinions.
A major problem I have is that diet and exercise are mostly treated as vehicles for weight loss in this fat phobic culture of ours, not as health promoting tools in and of themselves. So I wonder how much are healthy diet and exercise overhyped by medicine (because they are seen as vehicles for weight loss), and how much of the advice is based on the impact on weight loss rather than physical/mental health independent of BMI.
Not only that but I get the impression that many nutrition experts have their own biases or philosophies they want to push (such as anti-modernism or anarcho-primitivism), which I do not subscribe to.
- Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks that contain HFCS) and all foods that contain flour.
Some promote whole wheat flour. I don’t know if anyone supports a diet high in HFCS or white flour though, so there seems to be a consensus there.
- Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for calories that formerly came from sugar and flour.
I’ve heard some say plant fats are far healthier than animal fats, etc.
- Eliminate gluten grains. Limit grains like corn and rice, which are nutritionally poor.
Whole wheat is considered healthy by some due to its fiber content and ability to lower glycemic index.
- Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with Ghee, butter, animal fats, or coconut oil. Use no temperate plant oils like corn, soy, canola, flax, walnut, etc.
Walnut oil is high in omega 3s, the health benefits of olive oil are a major selling point of the meditterranian diet. Canola, avocado, sunflower, etc oils are also considered healthy. Some consider butter and animal fats unhealthy.
- Favor ruminants like beef, lamb and bison for your red meat. Eat eggs and fish.
Some favor no meats. Some like the paleo diet only favor foods our ancestors would’ve eaten. So no eggs or beef.
- Make sure you are Vitamin D replete. Get daily midday sun or consider supplementation.
I haven’t heard any criticisms of that.
- 2 or 3 meals a day is best. Don’t graze like a herbivore.
I’ve heard some say health benefits come from grazing 6 or more times a day. I’ve heard other say intermittent fasting (going up to 72 hours at a time without food) is best for health.
- Attend to your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison has a more optimal 6:3 ratio, more vitamins and CLA. If you can’t eat enough pastured products, eat plenty of fish.
I haven’t heard anyone criticize proper omega 3 content. So that is a point that doesn’t seem to be contentious.
Get proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions.
Most modern fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Go easy on bags of sugar like apples. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation. If you are not trying to lose fat, a few pieces of fruit a day are fine.
Some say eat any fruit, some say eat only some. Some say eat organic, some say it doesn’t matter. Some say eat it raw, some say cook it. Some say juice it, some say use smoothies. So the ideas are all over the place.
- Eliminate legumes
Some say eat them. Peanuts can help with type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- If you are allergic to milk protein or concerned about theoretical risks of casein, you can stick to butter and cream and avoid milk and soft cheeses.
Some say avoid all dairy products. Some say eat the whole fat. Some say the skim.
Anyway, I’m not trying to be rude by all that. But my point is that I really don’t know if there is a general scientific consensus about eating for health (rather than weight loss) when the advice usually contradicts other advice. Not only that, but much of the advice is for lifestyle change so radical most people can’t possibly maintain them for life. I’m not going to give up grains for life for a variety of reasons.
Something as simple as eating breakfast every day and making sure the breakfast is high in fiber and protein can have health benefits for blood sugar, mood and cardiovascular health. Plus it is a realistic lifestyle change a person can maintain.
Or switching to healthier cooking oils. Or using whole wheat grains instead of white. Those are realistic lifestyle changes I can make.