Diet and health
'Diet' here means what you consume by eating and drinking.
For most people diet is the most important factor in our health and longevity.
For people who are:
- extremely obese and sedentary (very little movement and exercise),
- and/or probably for some people who are extremely mentally unwell and isolated and withdrawn,
then exercise and movement, preferably outdoors and in nature and fresh air, are as important as diet, and potentially more important.
Whatever, diet is of paramount importance for recovery to good health and/or maintaining good health, alongside exercise and movement.
And when healthy or unhealthy, no amount of exercise will mitigate (counter or fix or resolve the effects of) a diet that is unhealthy.
So what is a healthy diet?
Firstly each of us is different.
1. People who are metabolically healthy (basically lean and fit people) generally can eat and drink safely more sugars and carbohydrates than people who are metabolically unhealthy.
2. People who are metabolically unhealthy tend to develop insulin resistance (which is basically the beginnings of diabetes type 2) more easily than people who are metabolically healthy.
3. Genetics are also a big factor in each of our uniquely different range of reactions to food and drink.
Secondly, regardless of individual differences, there are some simple dietary facts applicable to every human.
This is because in very broad terms, we have evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years, as Homo erectus (recent human-like species including Neanderthals), and for earlier millions of years, from apes (hominins).
While the precise ancestry of humans (Homo sapiens) is uncertain and debated, the principle that we have evolved according to a diet and lifestyle dating back hundreds of thousands of years is very clear.
An important milestone in human evolution is the agricultural revolution, which occurred within the last 10,000 years.
Prior to this time, humans were hunter-gatherers.
Before 10,000 years ago there was basically no widespread large-scale cereal farming, and no large-scale domestication of livestock (cows, pigs, sheep, etc).
The agricultural revolution was the beginning of fixed settlements, farms, cities and governments, and much else that is normal for us today.
The obvious exception to this timescale are the Native American Indians in the North Americas, and the indigenous (earliest native people) of the South Americas, who remained hunter-gatherers across two entire continents, until the 'Columbian revolution' (named after Christopher Columbus's explorations to the Americas, from 1492. European settlement and colonisation of the Americas caused the virtual extinction of the hunter-gatherer peoples through the 1500s to the 1800s, and this was also the completion and last major stage of the agricultural revolution, although relatively small communities adapted and survive today, in different ways and to varying degrees.
The 'Columbian revolution' – about 500 years ago – was extremely significant for the human diet for other reasons:
- It was the beginning of globalisation and a globalised economy.
- It coincided with trade between Europe and the Eastern continent, especially China and India.
- It saw the start of the global trade and 'mass market' production of dietary products containing sugars, and caffeine, in the form of tea and coffee; also chocolate (via cocoa/cacao beans or more technically, seeds).
- It saw the beginning of global trade in slaves, notably taken from Africa to the Americas, as an essential feature of the industrialisation of food mass-production. N.B. Slavery has existed in different forms for millennia, although prior to 500 years ago not as a feature in the global economics and mass-production of foods and drinks.
- It saw the beginnings of the globalisation of the tobacco and alcohol industries.
- food and drink (diet)
- economy and big business
Sugar is a 'gateway' drug to addictions, and fundamentally damaging to health in all of its many and increasingly different forms.
Carbohydrates, especially complex and highly processed carbohydrates (such as white bread), but also in supposedly 'healthy' foods such as basmati rice and pasta, are a form of sugar.
Nowadays most people are eating carbohydrates at levels that are two or three times greater than our bodies can tolerate.
In many very reliable studies (Weston Price's work is foundational) people whose diets and lifestyles are 'hunter-gatherer' - notably in studies of remaining hunter-gatherer people - do not become chronically diseased in the way that most modern humans do.
And increasingly, there is compelling evidence that people who are:
- chronically ill, especially those suffering from diseases caused by metabolic ill-health,
- specifically pre-diabetes and diabetes type 2,
- (inflammation and insulin resistance is another way to understand this),
- causing heart disease and strokes especially,
- and causing a shortening of life and quality of life,
- and causing a dependency on pharmaceuticals,
can be healed and cured to very significant degrees, and in many cases can be made extremely well again, by changing diet.
Explore the significant new metabolic health business HealthResults.com.
Note that the information here is not clinical diagnosis. If you are unwell already, especially if you are on pharmaceutical medication, involve a suitably qualified health professional in your decision-making; someone who understands nutrition according to the expertise and evidence of LowCarbFreshwell.co.uk and/or PHCuk.org.