It’s becoming more and more evident that diet is the major component of good health. How to eat for health (and longevity) is an increasingly discussed and studied topic.
The truth is that you can exercise all you want, but you cannot outrun a bad diet.
No amount of gym time is going to help you stay healthy. Nor will it increase your lifespan if you have a poor diet.
It’s a dangerous myth that you can over eat as long as you “work off” the excess food later.
While you’ll lose a few calories, you won’t undo the damage that’s been done to your body by being overweight.
Further, even if you’re at an ideal body weight, years of eating the wrong diet could cause you to suffer from dangerous chronic inflammation.
Why inflammation caused by poor diet is bad for your health
The health problems are also associated with inflammation and include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
- Some cancers
- Neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer and Parkinson Disease
For full details of the dangers of chronic inflammation see here.
Why being obese is bad for your health
You’ll be considered to be obese if you weigh at least 20% more than what is ideal for someone your height.
This ideal is measured by your BMI (body mass index). Score higher than 30 and you’re considered obese.
That extra weight can lead to multiple health issues.
Especially dangerous is the fat around your middle known as Visceral fat.
If you’re overweight you’ll be at a higher risk for many diseases including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Gall bladder disease
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol
- Coronary heart disease
- Certain types of Cancer
- Sleep Apnea
- Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
What type of diet makes you fat?
Any diet that causes big spikes in your blood/glucose level after each meal will make you fat.
The reason for this is simple:
When your blood/ glucose levels go up too far, and too fast, you’ll produce the hormone Insulin.
This hormone acts to keep your blood/glucose levels within a small, healthy window.
While Insulin keeps your blood/glucose levels at a healthy level, it does something else which should interest you if you’re overweight:
Insulin is the trigger for your body to store fat.
The presence of Insulin allows the cells in the muscles, fat and liver to absorb glucose that is in the blood. The glucose serves as energy to these cells, or it can be converted into fat when needed.
However, when you are eating more than enough for your daily energy needs, the fat that is stored is never needed.
Because of this, each time you overeat, more and more fat is laid down and stored. You’ll soon see the result as the scales move ever upwards.
So, in order to minimize your fat storage you need to eat the type of foods that will not trigger a big Insulin response.
When you eat in a way that is tune with your hormones, your insulin levels won’t spike. You won’t be suffering all the damaging effects of this, and you won’t be storing fat unnecessarily.
Foods that keep Insulin levels stable ( and fat storage at a minimum)
Without a doubt, foods that are made up of simple carbohydrates are the biggest culprits when it comes to Insulin spikes and fat storage.
Further, a few hours after a meal of simple carbohydrates, you will feel hungry again. This is due to the Insulin quickly lowering your blood/glucose levels.
In other words, the more simple carbs you eat, the more you’ll want to eat.
Sugar is obviously enemy No. 1 when it comes to simple carbs. You should consider never eating sugar. It’s 100% carb and 100% bad for your health.
Moreover, its one of the biggest causes of chronic inflammation and well as weight gain. There isn’t one single good thing to say about sugar.
For more information about the dangers of sugar especially High Fructose Corn Sugar read here.
Other foods that contain simple carbs include:
- All baked goods such as bread, cookies and cake. Anything made with grain flour
- Breakfast Cereal
- All candy
- Soft drinks
- Many sauces
- Most ready-made meals
- Most “reduced fat” or “Diet” food items
It’s important to here to make the distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates.
Generally speaking, foods which are complex carbohydrates can be healthy, and will also contain healthful amounts of fiber.
In the case of complex carbs, the healthy choice is to limit the carbs.
However, there is no such thing as an essential carb, so although not unhealthy per se, they will still spike your insulin levels if you eat them too often.
For a complete guide to eating the correct type of carbohydrates see here.
How to eat for your health and longevity
In order to eat in a way that will keep you the right weight and healthy, you’ll need to eat in a way that:
- Minimizes your intake of Carbohydrates
- Minimizes or omits all simple carbohdrates
- Includes only nutritionally dense whole foods – single ingredient foods are best to avoid hidden sugars and additives
- Works well with your hormones especially Insulin
The way to eat for health, longevity and weight maintenance
There is now a small mountain of evidence that supports the idea that it is carbs that cause weight gain, especially the nutritionally empty simple carbs.
If you’re confused at this point because you’re thinking of the well-known food, you’re not alone.
The food pyramid is almost the exact opposite of the way you should be eating.
It puts carbohydrates right at the bottom, and suggests that these should form the basis of your diet.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in ever growing levels of obesity and chronic ill health.
To maintain weight, improve health and live a long healthy life you need to eat in a way that will reduce inflammation and keep blood/glucose levels stable all day.
By following a diet that does this, you’ll find that your weigh will stabilize at a normal level. You’ll lose excess weight, especially visceral fat and you’ll reduce chronic inflammation.
When you reduce these important markers of poor health, you’ll be on the path to becoming as healthy as you can.
Diets that are good for weight loss and longevity
Any low carbohydrate diet is going to work its magic for all your weight loss goals.
However, you should consider starting a keto diet which has multiple health benefits.
This is a very low carb, medium protein and high fat diet that is known to achieve rapid weight loss that you can keep off.
Even more, it has many health benefits caused by its ability to stabilize blood/glucose and stop inflammation.
Many people with Type 2 diabetes have found that their condition reverses completely after a few weeks on the keto diet
Moreover, other conditions such as epilepsy in children, migraine and mood disorders have been proved to be reversed or minimized when eating very low carb foods.
There is also growing evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease can be prevented or reversed with the use of the keto diet.
In summary: How to Eat for health and Longevity
The two most important blocks to both good health and longevity are:
- Chronic Inflammation
To minimize your risk of obesity and ill health you’ll need to eat in a way that will help you to reverse these two conditions.
There is overwhelming evidence that low carb diets and the keto diet are both able to do this.
Further, the results of these low carb diets can be seen and felt in your body within a few short weeks of starting.
All low carb diets can be maintained long term, or you may want to use them only until you reach your health and weight goals.
Whichever you decide, you can be sure that even just a month or so of low carb eating will leave you feeling very much healthier.
As with all diet changes, it takes some effort and care to get it right at the start. However, the results that you’ll see will make that change well worth your effort.
You’ll be looking good too.