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The Diet Debate

Do all dietary roads lead to sustainable health?

Diet Vs Dieting

It is important to distinguish between your diet, which is an established eating regime; and dieting, which is a temporary departure from your norm to follow a restrictive or low caloric intake plan – usually to lose weight or cleanse your body.

 

Unfortunately, our natural physiology prevents ‘fad’ diets from delivering sustainable improvement in weight or general health. In fact, the temporary disruption to routine often has the opposite effect.

 

If you want to make sustainable changes, do your research, set achievable goals and take your time to develop a healthy attitude towards food and exercise. It can take weeks, or even months, to adjust to new healthy lifestyle behaviours – but it is well worth it!

Highway to health

There are many routes to wellbeing. ALL of them involve a sustainable plant-based diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress and doing a minimum 30 minutes of medium to high intensity exercise every day.

The dietary detours below have gained popularity over the last decade due to their positive impact on heart, kidney, liver and gut health, and successful treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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Low Carb / High Fat (LCHF) is a lifestyle choice to moderate the proportion of energy intake so that Carbs bring in the least, healthy edible Fats bring in the most, with moderate Proteins.

On a LCHF diet, it is essential to maintain recommended energy requirements and nutritional quality. Limiting or eliminating starchy and/or processed foods such as potato, pasta, pizza, cereals, bread and alcohol will lower the proportion of Carbs in your diet. Increasing healthy Fats, such as butter, non-industrial oils, avocado and unsweetened dairy, ensures your dietary requirements are met and curbs your appetite.

Clinical experience has shown that a LCHF diet, in combination with a sustainable fasting regime, can accelerate weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity and increase mental and physical performance.

Keto is a type of LCHF diet that promotes healthy equilibrium through ‘metabolic adaptation’. The Keto diet prescribes very low Carb intake (50gms per day), which forces your body to metabolise body fat (fatty acids) for energy.

Fatty acids are broken down in the liver to create ketone bodies, which the brain and body can use for energy.

Paleo imitates the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors and avoids foods that came into existence after we stopped hunting and gathering, such as dairy products, grains, legumes, sugar and highly processed foods. 

Paleo is heavy on Protein (lean meat, fish, eggs) and includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Mediterranean acknowledges the traditional diet of people living in the region, which seems to have contributed to their healthy longevity. The diet sensibly eliminates processed foods such as sugar and refined grains, although bread is allowed.


This diet promotes healthy fats such as olive oil and hard cheeses, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry and red meat.

Fasting is deliberately delaying consumption of food and drinks other than water (e.g. prior to surgery or a clinical test). Fasting can also be used therapeutically to regulate the body’s energy management system. 

NOTE: Therapeutic fasting is not advised for children and teenagers under 16 years of age.

When the intake of Carbohydrate (Carb) energy is delayed due to fasting, the body automatically switches over to using stored visceral body fat and excess Protein as alternate sources of energy. 

Sustainable lifelong metabolic harmony starts with a disciplined and sensible approach to your diet combined with positive lifestyle habits. 

Download the ‘Making Friends with Vegetables’ activity and get cooking with a child to help them learn basic kitchen skills and become more familiar with vegetables, which are the cornerstone of a healthy diet.

 

Download the printable A4 flyer for this module.