2012 – HOW HEALTHY WILL YOU BE?*
The Ideal Diet is one which promotes health and protects against disease. Two newsletters of the 103 at present on my website (www.huntlycentre.com.au) focus especially on what is a healthy diet:
Ÿ September 2005: Acid / Alkali Balance - The Ideal Diet.
Ÿ March 2009: Foods for Health.
The majority of the remaining newsletters address the many things that can be done, or should be taken, or should be avoided, to contribute to health and help to prevent disease. Why not revisit a selection of these, as you look towards a healthy New Year.
The following is an overview of the importance of a diet made up of 75-80% alkali-forming foods and only 20-25% acid-forming foods.
Acid / Alkali Foods Overview
The word pH stands for “the Potential of Hydrogen”. The more hydrogen ions in a liquid (such as human blood), the more acid it is, and vice versa. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline.
The pH of healthy blood is slightly alkaline (pH 7.3–7.4). Outside this range, is disease and death. In order to keep the blood at the optimal pH, the body has a very efficient system of buffering and neutralising acids that build up in the fluids of the body (in and around the cells).
To buffer or neutralise the acid, a process that involves combining the alkaline minerals that are present in the watery fluids of the body (intracellular fluid, intercellular fluid and lymph) with the acids to form a neutral salt, takes place. For example, when phosphoric acid (in soft drinks and ‘soda pop’) is buffered with the alkaline mineral calcium, a pH-neutral salt, calcium phosphate, is created.
If the acid load is too great, alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium) will be ‘stolen’ from, for example, bones in order to buffer or neutralise these acids. Failing this, the body may store the acids deep in the tissues. For example gout is caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in the tissues such as the toe.
Solving the pH balance is similar to balancing a bank account. Simply put, the alkaline deposits (from food) must be greater that the acid withdrawals. When this does not happen, the body goes into debt, stealing minerals, storing acids in tissues and creating disease such as low energy, fatigue, poor digestion, osteoporosis etc.
Acids are primarily created in the body when excess acid-forming foods are ingested. They can also result from physical and emotional stress, toxic overload, immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and nutrients.
The reason that acidosis (excess acid or hydrogen ions in the body) is so common in our society is mostly due to the typical modern diet, which is far too high in acid-forming foods and far too low in alkali-forming foods.
My newsletter Acid / Alkaline Balance - The Ideal Diet discusses this in detail, and sets out six tables that list the foods as high, moderate and low alkali-forming foods, and low, moderate and high acid-forming foods. In summary, acid-forming foods are all animal products, all meats, dairy products and eggs, and processed and refined foods. Alkali-forming foods include most fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, seeds and nuts.
The aim is to achieve an intake of 75-80% alkali-forming foods and only 20-25% acid-forming foods (preferably from the ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ acid-forming tables referred to above.)
This diet is also nutrient-rich. The ‘macronutrients’, those that supply calories/kilojoules, are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. (Water is also a macronutrient but has no calories/kilojoules.) The ‘micronutrients’ are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, antioxidants etc. These supply no calories/kilojoules, but they are essential for health. See my newsletter Foods for Health.
The Ideal Diet, that which promotes health and protects against disease, is that summarised above. This is the diet for you if you want to be healthy in 2012 and the years that follow. Rather than looking upon this ‘Ideal Diet’ as a diet, regard it as a lifestyle. It is for life to give life.
There are literally hundreds of diets published. Why so many? Why such diversity? Why such exaggerated claims? Let us look at one of the popular types, namely the ‘low carbs’ diet. Low carbohydrate means high fat and high protein. This is typified by the widely popular ‘Atkins Diet’.
The Atkins Diet
Dr. Robert Atkins was a cardiologist who first developed his diet in the early 1970’s, after becoming convinced that an excess of carbohydrate was having negative effects on his patients’ health and weight. He published his first book, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, in 1972, and many times over the years he stated that he followed his plan himself.
People following the Atkins diet eat high-fat and high-protein foods while limiting grains, vegetables and fruit. The initial phase is the most restrictive, while the ongoing weight-loss phase allows 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per day.
The Atkins diet premise is that people gain weight by the way the body processes carbohydrates. The many other ‘low-carb’ diets are similar. What is actually happening is that, when you are on a high-fat and high-protein diet, your body moves into a state of acidosis. The proof of this is the recommended testing of urine for ketones (acid waste). Once you are in a state of acidosis, the appetite goes, and so less is consumed. “I couldn’t eat another egg or piece of bacon”! With less intake, there is weight loss. Then, however, once carbohydrates are reintroduced, ketones are no longer detected in the urine, appetite returns and in the long term follow-up, most people put on all the weight that was lost.
The Atkins diet and all other ‘low-carb’ diets do not provide adequate nutrition. As indicated above, high-fat and high-protein diets are very low in micronutrients, those things that are essential for health. There is little or no fibre, which can result in constipation. There is an increased risk of cancer, especially of the colon and rectum. A significant number of people experience increased cholesterol levels despite losing weight.
How did Dr. Atkins die? On April 8, 2003, at age 72, Dr. Atkins slipped on ice, hitting his head with resultant bleeding in the brain. He became unconscious and was in intensive care for ten days, where he deteriorated rapidly with massive organ failure, dying on April 17, 2003. No Autopsy was carried out at the request of his wife Veronica Atkins.
The death certificate from the office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the City of New York (copy available on request) under “Comments” states: “72yr WM c h/o MI, CHF, HTN fell on 4/8 … head c epidural hematoma”. The translation of this is white male (WM), history of (h/o) myocardial infarction (MI) [heart attack], congestive heart failure (CHF), and hypertension (HTN). The “Immediate cause [of death]: Blunt impact injury of head with epidural hematoma”. External examination documented his weight to be 258lb. It was claimed that he was approximately 200lb on admission to hospital after the fall. 58lb is an incredible amount of fluid retention! Where did the fluid come from? (he was comatose and the only fluids he would have received would have been given intravenously). His height was 6ft 0in. The Body Mass Index (BMI) at 200lb is 27.16. The BMI at 258lb is 35.0. (Normal BMI is 20-25, overweight is BMI 25-30 and obesity is BMI greater than 30). This is the man who claimed he adhered to his diet.
Needless to say, the low-carbohydrate, high-fat and high-protein type of diet is not recommended, even for a short period of time.
The First Recorded Low-Carbohydrate Diet?
The following is from The Practical Home Physician, 1892, as published in A Book of Curious Advice. Most unusual Manners, Morals, Medicine from days of Yore, edited by Ruth Pepper Summers. 2004.
“Banting’s diet became famous throughout the English-speaking world and his name became a household word, synonymous with “dieting”.
William Banting was born in 1798 and started putting on weight when he was about thirty years old. He asked his doctor friends for advice and was told to exercise more. He lived on a river, and then took up rowing and rowed for about two hours every day. All this expenditure of energy made him ravenous and he ate even more than before. His weight really bothered him and he found himself huffing and puffing with even the simplest exertion such as tying his shoes. He started checking himself into the hospital and going to spas. This went on for twenty years until, by the time he was sixty-four, he weighed 202 pounds and he was only 5’5” tall [BMI of 34]. Finally, with the continued advice of his doctor, he devised his own low-carbohydrate diet and was successful at last. On this diet he lost forty-six pounds in the first year. He was so very pleased with himself that he published, at his own expense, a slim booklet entitled “Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public.” This was published is 1863 and given away for free. His little treatise was pooh-poohed by doctors at the time, mostly because it had been written by a layman. But the book was a huge success and went into several printings. People following his diet did lose weight. Finally, to curb his expenses, he started charging for the book.
Mr Banting’s Famous Diet:
Breakfast: five to six ounces of either beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon or cold meat of any kind except pork or veal, a large cup of tea or coffee without milk or sugar, a little biscuit or one ounce of dry toast.
Dinner at 2 P.M: five or six ounces of any fish, except salmon, herrings or eels, any meat except pork or veal, any vegetable except potato, parsnip, beet root, turnip, or carrot, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a pudding not sweetened, any kind of poultry or game and two or three glasses of good claret, sherry or madeira.
Tea at 6 P.M: two or three ounces of cooked fruit, a rusk or two and a cup of tea without milk or sugar.
Supper at 9 P.M: three or four ounces of meat of fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret or sherry and water.”
Mr. Banting’s famous diet seems to be the precursor of Dr. Atkins’ diet, although Dr Atkins did not refer it. Again, this high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that bears Banting’s name is not recommended. It is reproduced here as an interesting glimpse into our past as we move into a new year.
The “unlimited foods” as set out in my March 2009 newsletter Foods for Health, if followed strictly, will lead to significant weight loss and these nutrient dense foods will give good health.
May you have a healthy 2012. The Choice is Yours.
*Copyright 2011: The Huntly Centre.
Disclaimer: All material in the huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
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