Sugar, Wheat and Dairy – The Worst of the Worst
Do you think that you know what sort of foods you need to eat, and those you need to avoid, if you want to be in optimal health?
Think back to what you’ve eaten in the last 24 hours: did it include bread, cereal, pasta, milk, yogurt or cheese? Are you confident that you’re feeding yourself – and your family – well because it did? New evidence suggests that even if your bread was wholegrain and your milk was low fat, what you think is good for you, and what actually is, could well be two very different things.
In the UK recently, 55,000 people completed a survey on their diet and health. The aim was to try and discover what sort of diet those people in optimal health had compared to those who are described as being in “vertical illness”: upright but not feeling great and plagued with a multitude of health concerns.
It shouldn’t shock anyone to learn that sugar was the worst part of anyone’s diet, followed by salt, caffeinated drinks, red meat and refined foods. We all know that we shouldn’t be eating too much of such things if we want good health, and arguably, none at all if we want our health to be great, but wheat and milk were also negatively associated with optimal health.
Quite simply, the more wheat someone reported they consumed, the less likely they were to be in optimal health. The same occurred with dairy intake with people who had less than two serves per day twice as likely to be in optimal health as those that had four. More wheat plus more dairy equals poor health!
If you still bother to read or listen to any mainstream nutritional advice (I certainly don’t; it makes me too angry) then you might still be labouring under the impression that you should be eating lots of grains and dairy food but as the survey above shows this is, quite frankly, terrible advice.
The concept of optimal health versus the absence of disease is a familiar one to anyone with more than a passing interest in their own health. If you have a health concern, let’s say high cholesterol, and you visit your doctor who merrily puts you on a drug for the rest of your life, you could argue that the drug has helped you remain free of disease (actually, that’s very doubtful with cholesterol lowering medication) but are you now in optimal health? Not likely!
There are lots of variables in deciding whether you are in a state of optimal health, or one of the vertical ill, but the ones which I consider important in my clinic are energy levels, mood, quality of sleep and appetite. If you don’t wake up feeling full of beans and with a sunny disposition, thinking hungrily of tucking into high quality, nutrient dense food, then there’s no chance that you’re in optimal health, and anything less than this means more often than not that you’re on the road to a slow decline into chronic illness.
Open up your pantry door and look at how many foods in there are made from wheat. Next, look in your fridge: how foods in there contain milk? How much of your daily diet contains red meat, sugar or salt? Finally, think about how you felt this morning when you woke up.
Taking food out of your diet is easy, finding good alternatives can be trickier if you’re unfamiliar with what’s available. An appointment with me can help you to find out what foods are stopping you from being in your best state of health and what ones will help to get you there.