Home » Health » Fitness

Popular Diets Are Harmful to Your Health

Aug 25, 2008
Most diet books focus on greatly increasing or removing one of The Big Three. Some of the most popular recent trends have been removing most fats or carbohydrates, or greatly increasing protein intake, in the diet. However, nutritional research shows that these approaches are not only not optimal for disease prevention, but may actually be harmful to your health.

Let's now look at several of these popular diets and some of the misinformation and misconceptions commonly associated with them.

Low-Fat Diets

Different Apo E genotypes need varying amounts of fat, and no one should remove all the fat from their diet. There are good fats and bad fats. The good ones are unprocessed polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that have a positive reaction on the cell. They include nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados. Over-exposure to the bad ones -- trans fats especially and too many saturated fats -- causes cellular inflammation, which in turn leads to disease.

If you remove the wrong amount and kind of fat from your diet, your longterm fuel supply becomes unbalanced. The recent epidemic of Type 2 diabetes may have partly occurred because our country has been encouraged to eat a low-fat diet for many years. Based on the popularity of programs like Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, some of our major health organizations encourage a low-fat diet for better health.

However, now that we know more about the importance of fats, it is clear that not everyone can benefit from a low-fat diet. But changing misconceptions this widespread is difficult. Fat has been given such a bad name that a study conducted by the American Dietetics Association discovered a major misunderstanding that people have about it. They found that many people thought they should delete all fat from their diet to have good health, believing that the more fat they removed, the better health they thought they will have. This is extremely dangerous.

If we don't eat healthy fats (particularly the essential fatty acids), we cannot survive because fat is part of every cell membrane in the body. Because the brain has a fat content of about 60 percent, the fat content of a healthy brain cell is important for your brain to work correctly.

However, it is extremely important to know what type of fat you are eating. Avoid inflammatory fats such as trans fats and excessive exposure to saturated fats, as well as highly processed polyunsaturated oils and omega-6 fats. At the same time, you must also have the correct amount of inflammatory-reducing fats from a monounsaturated and polyunsaturated omega-3 source. The correct ratio of fats for all genotypes is very important.

Another critical misconception is not realizing that fat generally comes "packaged" with protein. For instance, beef protein comes with beef fat, and beef has the highest inflammatory fatty acid percentage of any of the animal protein foods. You can't get one without the other, unless it's in an unhealthy, highly processed product.

You need also to be aware of the source of fats in your diet. Most fats don't just come as a simple plain fat source like cooking oils, so you need to know what types of fats come packaged with what proteins:

* Animal proteins (meat and dairy) come packaged with saturated and trans fat
* Plant proteins (nuts, seeds, beans, rice, and soy) come packaged with mono and polyunsaturated fats

Most foods are usually a combination of fats, carbohydrates, and/or proteins, yet people generally see foods as belonging to just one of these main categories rather than being a combination. This means that if you succeed in removing all fats from your diet, you're also removing other important nutrients. You need protein, and it's very difficult to get good protein without getting fats. You need to eat good sources of fat with good protein, such as fish and soybeans, two excellent sources of protein with anti-inflammatory fats.

Not knowing these facts can, in time, cause health problems for anyone on a low-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Another dangerous fad is the low-carbohydrate diet. While certainly successful for weight loss, the problem here is that most of the weight loss is water and lean mass. Carbohydrate is a short-term fuel. Since the brain, intestines, and other organs function only on glucose, which usually comes from carbohydrates, if you are not eating carbohydrates at every meal your body has to ask the liver to take on the extra job of making some glucose.

This is a process with the long name of gluconeogenesis. Essentially, it makes the blood glucose that your body is designed to draw from carbohydrates in your diet, but it comes at a high cost -- it steals proteins from your tissues by breaking down those tissues to gain a source of energy. This process can put added stress on your kidneys and liver because the nitrogen from the amino acids must be processed by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. The result is rapid weight loss, but in addition to burning the fat you want to lose, you also lose some of the body's engine (muscle mass). This means that your ability to burn fat in the future is reduced because your muscle mass, your body's fat-burner, is also reduced. It's like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

The Atkins Diet is the most popular low-carbohydrate diet. One of its primary shortcomings is a failure to distinguish between "good" fats (olive oil and other mono-unsaturates) and "bad" fats (corn, safflower, sesame and other processed polyunsaturates and saturates). Another shortcoming is that since few fruits and vegetables are included, you get very little of the all-important fiber, vitamins, minerals, and health-protective phytochemicals these foods contain. And, even though a few carbohydrates are allowed, this diet makes no distinction between the healthy low-glycemic load carbs and the less healthy high-glycemic load carbohydrates.

While some studies have shown that short-term use of Atkins-type diets may be safe and effective for weight loss (but you have to ask, what is being lost?), many physicians are concerned about its long-term health risks. And I hope you will be, too! With any diet we need to consider results -- are you losing fat, or losing weight in the form of fluids and muscle?

You only need to stand at the checkout line of any major grocery store and read the headlines of a tabloid to know that there are hundreds of diets out there all claiming to help you lose weight fast. While the proponents of these diets claim "one size fits all" -- that their diet will work for anyone and Everyone -- recent research is beginning to put a damper on these claims. Keep in mind, research indicates that these "one-size-fits-all" diets may actually be harmful to your health.

The number one principle of any diet should be "do no harm" to the body. I never recommend short-term, quick-fix, weight-loss diets because of their costs to your health in the form of chronic diseases. By eating the correct diet and engaging in the right levels of physical activity for your genotype, you can maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of developing diet-related chronic illnesses, from heart disease to cancer.

Today we know that how our body processes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is genetically guided. Given this knowledge, the Apo E Gene Diet is about recommending and implementing a comprehensive plan based on your individual Apo E genotype. It is specifically tailored to work in harmony with your own body chemistry. This plan recognizes that while food is a critical element in your health, other environmental factors -- such as exercise and relaxation practices -- are also of real significance and must also be tailored to suit your individual genotype.

This is the area that I have found to be the most confusing and complex for people to grasp, largely because there is so much misinformation and so many misconceptions surrounding what is a "good" food and what is a "bad" food.

Even for those not following a faddish, one-size-fits-all diet, danger lurks for the uneducated consumer in the thousands of processed foods that contain artificial fats and other substances that our body cannot easily assimilate. Everyone should avoid highly processed and preserved foods. The farther away from its source a food has been processed, the more likely it is harmful to the body.
About the Author
Pamela McDonald is a leading Integrative Medicine Nurse Practitioner, who specializes in the prevention of heart and Alzheimer's disease, and chronic illness. To learn more about her groundbreaking book, and program - visit APO E Gene Diet. To subscribe to her free APO E Gene Diet Health Notes - send a blank email to Info@ApoeGenediet.com.
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 182
Print Email Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources