Food is Information
Mar 01, 2020
Science can be messy and humans make it worse!
SCIENCE NOT DOGMA
I refuse to allow scientific debate and nutrition to become personal like some groups will. I am a nutrition student. I don't identify with a diet. I am diet agnostic! I have changed my philosophy and dietary habits over the years based on science, N=1 experiments and my understanding of the human body.
This tendency for people to become entrenched in dietary camps and live in echo chambers is dangerous and is the enemy of progress. If your goal is to live the healthiest and longest life possible, I am with you. If your desire is to be correct or to prove a moral superiority...I have no time for you.
FEAR IS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR
The origin of our fear of specific foods is rooted in places you wouldn't believe. As humans, we have a tendency to believe the message that is most often repeated and repeated the loudest. Understanding this will help us dig through what is real and what is imagined.
Your choice to eat specific foods based on personal reasons won’t change the nutritional profile of that food. Take red meat as an example. It contains the nutrients it contains. It can be objectively measured and requires no further debate. Your choice does not influence the facts of the matter. This is my problem with nutrition science and public opinion on food. Shouting from the rooftops that fat is bad and red meat is unhealthy does not make it fact. It contains specific nutrients, the human body requires specific nutrients, these ARE the facts.
The complexity of trying to understand what is an optimal human diet through research is immense. We will most likely never be able to account for all confounders. Genetic variability, gut flora, current metabolic state or a person’s digestive abilities...the list is endless. And foods are not as simple as calories or only macronutrients. They are amazingly complex and work synergistically with our bodies. It's exactly why a fake meat will NEVER be able to provide the same level of nutrition. Whether it tastes, looks or even bleeds like meat is irrelevant. It is a smoke screen to distract you from the fact that you are putting a lesser food in your mouth. Just because it has the same caloric content or macronutrient profile does not make it equally nutritious. This is a concept we must rid ourselves of. The calories in vs calories out debate has hurt us in so many ways. An untold part of the story is that this reduces complex foods into tidy little categories like, fat, carbs or calories.
The final point on what is healthy or not is that we have yet to settle on biomarkers that truly indicate health or predict disease! Some people think cholesterol is bad, some good, some think the particle size matters, and others do not. Is all inflammation bad? Let’s look at inflammatory markers but which ones? On and on it goes…
OK... NOW WHAT?
What I can tell you from years of research, personal experimentation, clients successes and failures is this…being diet agnostic is a good start, however, there are some rules that will apply to all human beings. Eating real food is an absolute must! You will never achieve the optimal you if you try and skip this step and fill your diet with artificial foods, shakes, bars and prepackaged meals. That is your old life. You are eating like a human now so let’s do this right. If you follow my work one phrase always comes up and is needed now more than ever. Food IS information. For better or worse this is absolute fact. It does not exist merely to fill a void or quench your hunger. Every time you feed you have the opportunity to move towards health or disease. This is the continuum of life! It is not hyperbole or overly dramatic. This is the biochemistry of how food interacts with our body. Please follow us on this journey as we help to uncover things that will help you in your real life. This is not a diet. This is not a weight loss strategy. This is your new life!
The beginning of this road is simple. How you finish the journey...That is everything.
Until next time…feed with a purpose!
J. Gulinello is a contributing writer to Sapien.org and you can follow his work on social media as well @perpetualhealthco