Do we know what is a health promoting diet & life style?

The medical facts of what is a healthy diet and life style has never been stronger than today. We can measure the relevant inflammation biomarkers and our microbiome and see for ourselves; did my diet and life style change / improve my health or not?

In the old days we were trained by nature to listening better to our bodies, but today the many signals we receive from our body is cancelled out by our industrial high-tech life style and food intake.

Experts in natural medicine find it mind-boggling how we put the label “new” on a range of old diets, e.g. keto diet [ketogenic diet], as the diet has been known for more than half a century if not for 1000s of years and always should be personalized to the individual constitution and situation. The same goes for experts in clinical nutrition, that also for more than a century have had access to an excellent well-controlled human test model: the patients on 100% intravenous or enteral nutrition. From an MD perspective, it’s like none of all this extensive knowledge never reached the general public.

What is truly new in science, is not the trendy names to combination of “new” diets tested many decades ago, new is:

  1. We have added an arsenal of new inflammation biomarkers [e.g. suPAR, INF-g, Treg] incl. new scanning techniques, that makes it possible to personalise the diet to the individual
  2. The techniques to finally being able to measure the microbiome [16RNA,]
  3. A much better understanding of the immune system incl. stem cells and cancer cells, and that low-grade inflammation is one of the key drivers of our morbidity and mortality.

And what is old, is that we had much of the information at hand from the natural medicine.

In other words, we know very well what we should do to live longer and healthier. The obvious question is then: Why are the general public daily exposed to “new” diets and advices? 

Answer: The food and health industry are a multi-billion industry, that are benefitting from the confusion to launch “new” versions of basically the same (if it is truly healthy) or “innovative” combinations of unhealthy and sometimes even dangerous products and consumer advices.

And why are we not all having a healthy nutrition? (if we for a minute pretend, our choices are not being influenced by the industry).

The answers can be condensed into three points:

  • Availability: If healthy well-prepared food is placed in front of us, and the unhealthy alternatives is inconveniently far away, we soon adapt to what is available to us.
  • Life style & diet: our jobs, relations and interests have made us move further from home, thus consuming what is available on our way, will favour unhealthy industrialized food. We all move less and consume more – a toxic combination.
  • Addiction & habits: when we know something is unhealthy like; alcohol[1], added sugar, high intake of foods “naturally”[2] containing high levels of sugar, artificial flavours, colours and emulsifiers etc. – the logic would be that we completely avoid it, but no. We invent excuses for why we absolutely need it: alcoholic beverages become good for our health, a small cookie or bar is not so bad etc. etc.

It is well-known that alcohol and sugar create an addictive response in our brain equally strong to nicotine, cocaine etc. In addition, the unhealthy diet is maintained by our habits and traditions incl. social gatherings and of course promoted by the industry.

In conclusion: we know very well what is healthy and what is unhealthy food and life style, and we can elegantly document it and optimize it to the individual, as some food & life style is better for you than for others.

Further reading as it develops:
Nutrition ESPEN:

[1] Alcohol is toxic to our cells, from the cells in our mouth to everywhere else in our body. And as for all toxic compounds the toxicity increases with dose and length of exposure.

[2] Almost all of our food products today contain much higher amount of sugars than before 1950, as it makes us eat more of it e.g. a grapefruit or a carrot is no longer bitter but sweet tasting.