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The Difficulty With Diets

by Jeff Cordeiro

The Difficulty With DietsIt may sound obvious but no one specific diet works for everyone. As a matter of fact, most diets don’t work for most people. To make matters worse, the Standard American Diet (SAD) isn’t healthy for anyone. 

We’ve all heard that diets don’t work but, when the weight-loss companies trot out their latest thick-to-thin spokesmodel, something in the back of our brains tells us that their must be a diet out there for us. A recent study shows that the only commercial diet with proof that it works is Weight Watchers and that data showed the net weight-loss per person was just about 5 pounds after two years on the program. So, how do we get to our ideal weight? 

First, eat less. It has been proven in studies that Caloric Restriction equals a longer and healthier life. A small-scale study at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that a 10-25% reduction in calories lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. Another research paper showed that a calorie restricted diet can improve memory, decrease insulin levels and reduce inflammation. Eating every other day has been shown to work. Smaller portions has been show to work. Fasting has been shown to work. You get the idea. You don't have to count calories. Just eat less and don't take it to extremes. 

The next thing to consider is that the body is a fantastically self-regulating machine. If you do anything all the time, your body will adjust (again, discounting extremes). So, once a week (not on the same day each week), dramatically alter your diet. Splurge. Treat yourself. Eat things you wouldn’t normally. Eat more than you would the other days of the week. This will keep your body on top of its game and it will keep you from feeling restricted and resentful of your new diet. After a few weeks of eating properly, you won’t crave the things you once did. Your body will be balanced and well on the way to your ideal weight. 

Also, eating less doesn’t mean going hungry. You’d be amazed at how many fruits and vegetables you would have to eat to equal the same number of calories you’d get from one breakfast sandwich, burger, or sugary dessert. So, go ahead and fill up – just keep it fresh and natural and keep it balanced. 

So, what is a balanced meal exactly? I believe the basic definition that we were all given growing up is far too general. There are two things to consider when balancing your meals. First, consider your ratio of produce to protein. Second, consider the pH balance of the meal itself. We should all be eating three times as much produce as we do protein. The body can actually only process about 4 ounces of protein at a time, so the rest goes to waste anyway. If the protein on your plate is larger than the palm of your hand, you have too much protein on your plate. 

This ratio of produce to protein is vital for maintaining your body’s proper pH levels. Again, the body will do a Herculean job of trying to correct what you do to it but it can only do so much for so long before it can’t overcome any more. So, help your body. In general, fruits and vegetables make your body’s pH more alkaline and meats and cheeses make your body more acidic. The more acidic your blood pH, the less healthy and more prone to diseases your body will be. 

I also said you need to consider the pH balance of the meal itself. This should not be confused with the effect the meal will have on your blood pH. When I talk about the pH balance of foods, I'm talking about the alkalinity or acidity of the foods on your plate. Most people have low stomach acid production (the opposite of what most think) and may not have a problem eating an orange on an empty stomach. Other people tend to produce quite a bit of stomach acid. They may prefer to begin with more alkaline foods.

The best way to readjust your stomach acid is by eating properly. Never eat when you are stressed. Don't drink anything 30-minutes prior to a meal, during a meal, or an hour after a meal. Eat fruits by themselves. Don't eat proteins with carbohydrates (no meat and potatoes). Only eat one protein at a meal (no surf and turf). Start with easy foods to digest and work your way up to the proteins (you need more stomach acid to digest a protein).

When you digest your food properly, there will be no stomach upset and your body will get every nutrient available from the foods you eat. As your body becomes more efficient at processing your food, it will begin to heal, crave less food and seek out your ideal weight. 

Now consider which produce and proteins you should eat. Dr. D’Adamo's book Eat Right for Your Type (available on Half.com) gives us one possible reason why every food doesn't agree with everyone. There are four basic blood types; O, A, B and AB and many foods have properties similar to certain blood types. As you know, not all blood types can donate to other blood types. When someone of a given blood type eats foods with properties similar to blood types that are not compatible with theirs, a negative reaction occurs (everything from upset stomachs to severe allergic reactions). For more details on this subject, please read my article “Eat Foods For Your Type”.

Then there’s your ancestry to consider. Although the body can adjust to a great many things, it will not alter your DNA overnight. The foods that your ancestors ate for hundreds or even thousands of years are probably foods that will agree with your system. Actually, this is just another way of looking at eating for your blood type. Human migration is the scientific explanation for the existence of different blood types. The complication today is that we eat foods from all over the world and we are more than likely a combination of several ethnicities.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is probably the biggest part of the problem. Fast food, fried foods, huge portions, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and even the supermarket are all partly to blame. I’m sure you understand why the first five in this list are bad but you’re probably wondering why I would lump the supermarket in with these known bad guys. It’s all a function of economics. The foods that you get at the supermarket are the ones that make the store the most profit. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for free enterprise and they should turn a profit. They are providing a great service. You just have to be aware of what you are getting and why. 

Let me explain. In order to feed growing populations, nations push what they have in abundance. In the USA, it was wheat. You can fill a great many stomachs rather cheaply on wheat. I believe that is why our food pyramid was the way it was for so long. However, most of our ancestors aren’t from here and didn’t eat the wheat that grew here naturally. So, we shouldn’t either. According to Dr. D’Adamo, wheat is something to be avoided by every blood type except for AB and only 5% of the population is type AB. 

Then, take into account America’s desire for things that “look” good. To keep bugs from blemishing our produce, farmers spray insecticides. Most everyone knows that these manmade chemicals are not good for us but you may not know that these chemicals have a negative effect on the produce as well. Commercial farming’s use of pesticides has left us with produce that no longer needs to fight off bugs. So, plants cease to manufacture the nutrients that ward off pests naturally. These nutrients are antioxidants and antioxidants are very important for our health. They counter oxidative stress and oxidative stress has been linked to virtually every disease known to man. 

Industrial farming also robs the soil of nutrients, which must be replaced artificially – more manmade chemicals. Of course, produce must be picked “green” in order to make it to the supermarket without spoiling. Some of it is even shot with gas to ripen it once it arrives at its destination. According to a Canadian Study, in 1951 two peaches would have provided a woman with her RDA of vitamin A. Today, it would take 53 peaches to provide the same amount of vitamin A. The moral of this story is only buy from the supermarket when you can't buy local organically grown produce. I’ve found that the healthiest people I meet either grew up on a farm or in a country where going to the local “farmer's market” for that evening's meal was a daily occurrence. 

To learn even more on this subject, Dr. Elson M. Haas, MD spent four years transferring his accumulated knowledge into Staying Healthy with Nutrition (available on Half.com).

To recap: 

Eat less 
Treat yourself weekly 
Eat a ratio of 3 to 1 (produce to protein) 
Eat foods for your blood type 
Eat the foods of your ancestors 
Eat as fresh and organic as possible 


By taking each of these things into consideration, you should be able to customize your eating habits in a way that is very satisfying and full of flavor (don't forget the spices – another great source of antioxidants and a way to balance your pH – but go easy, so you don't need to wash it down with liquids). Your body will be in balance and find its ideal weight, and you will look and feel younger than you have in years.

A great way to reduce your caloric intake and get over 70 super-healthy ingredients into your diet, including protein, essential amino acids, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and 23 vitamins and minerals, is with Shakeology. It can be used as a meal replacement, contains only 140 calories, and comes in the flavors Chocolate and Greenberry. For more information, please click here

As always, I hope you found this information thought-provoking and helpful. 

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Related Information:

Longevity and Resveratrol: Man vs. Nature

Eat Foods For Your Type

Good books on nutrition for health:

Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo (),
Dr. Perricone's Weight Loss Diet (click here) and 
Staying Healthy with Nutrition
by Dr. Elson M. Haas, MD (click here).

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