- The Mediterranean diet.
- The low-carb diet.
- The paleo diet.
- A whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Instead of looking at what sets these diets apart, we focus on the things these diets have in common with the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. These may be universal laws that work across a broad spectrum of people to deliver results, while the rest of a specific diet may be more targeted toward a specific health conditions, like diabetes. Such is the case with #TheRomanDiet, which is targeted to #MasterDiabetes with optimal blood glucose control and thriving health.
All the diets (lifestyles) mentioned above, and the Roman Diet, have the following 6 important commonalities.
- They Are Low in Added Sugar
Added sugar may be the single worst ingredient in the diet. Although some people can tolerate moderate amounts of sugar without problems, most people are eating way too much (1). When people eat too much sugar, it overloads the liver, which is forced to turn the sugar into fat (2, 3). Part of the fat gets shipped out of the liver as VLDL cholesterol, raising blood triglycerides, but some of it also remains in the liver (4, 5).
Sugar is believed to be a major driver of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (6, 7). It has also been associated with many diseases, including some of the world’s biggest killers. This includes obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (8, 9, 10, 11). Sugar is also “empty” calories, because it supplies a large amount of energy with literally no essential nutrients.
There is universal agreement that added sugar is unhealthy. For this reason, most successful diets make it one of the main priorities to cut back on or eliminate added sugar. The Roman Diet, with its focus on optimal blood sugar control, eliminates added sugar as much as possible.
- They Eliminate Refined Carbohydrates
Another ingredient that people agree is unhealthy is refined carbohydrate. Refined carbohydrates are usually grains that have had all the beneficial nutrients removed. The most common one is refined wheat flour, which is consumed in massive amounts in Western countries.
Refined grains are made by pulverizing whole grains and removing the bran and endosperm, which are the fibrous and nutritious parts. For this reason, refined grains contain little more than starch, chains of glucose molecules. Refined starch provides lots of energy with almost no essential nutrients (empty calories). Without the fiber found in the whole grain, starch can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to hyperglycemia at first and then to cravings and overeating a few hours later when blood sugar comes crashing down, perhaps resulting in hypoglycemia in people with diabetes (12, 13). Studies have linked consumption of refined carbohydrates with all sorts of metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (14, 15, 16, 17, 18).
Although some diets, like paleo and the Roman Diet, take things a step further and eliminate grains altogether, all successful diets at least emphasize limiting refined grains and replacing them with their whole, healthier counterparts.
- They Eliminate Industrial Vegetable Oils
Industrial vegetable oils entered the human diet only recently. Until about 100 years ago, we simply didn’t have the technology to process them. This includes soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and a few others. There are many problems with these oils. One of the main ones is their high content of polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids, of which most people are eating way too much (19). There is evidence that linoleic acid, the main omega-6 fatty acid in vegetable oils, gets incorporated into the body’s fat cells (20, 21). It also finds its way into LDL lipoproteins, making them much more likely to become oxidized. This is a key step in the heart disease process (22, 23, 24).
They may also contribute to endothelial dysfunction, one of the earliest steps in the pathway towards heart disease (25, 26). Whether they actually cause or protect from heart disease is controversial. Some observational studies show them to be protective, but many controlled trials suggest that they may be harmful (27, 28, 29, 30). There are also many observational studies linking vegetable oil consumption to cancer (31, 32, 33, 34).
The way these oils are manufactured is highly disturbing, with virtually all of the beneficial nutrients are removed from the oils. Therefore, just like added sugars and refined grains, vegetable oils classify as “empty” calories.
Out of all the diets and dietary patterns shown to be compatible with long-term health, none of them included industrial vegetable oils. Keep in mind that this does not apply to coconut oil or olive oil, which are completely different, usually less processed and therefore much healthier.
- They Eliminate Artificial Trans-Fats
Nearly everyone agrees that artificial trans-fats are unhealthy. Trans-fats are usually made by “hydrogenating” vegetable oils, which makes them solid at room temperature and increases shelf life (35).
Numerous studies link trans-fats to increased inflammation and strong associations have been found between trans-fat consumption and heart disease (36, 37). Trans-fats are toxic, unnatural and have absolutely nothing beneficial about them.
- They Are High in Vegetables and Fiber
The different “diets” eliminate all sorts of different foods. For example, plant-based diets minimize (or eliminate) animal foods, while low-carb and paleo diets eliminate grains. The Health-e-Solutions lifestyle both eliminates grains and minimizes animal foods.
However, one of the things that all healthy diets include is vegetables. There is universal agreement that vegetables are healthy and the evidence supports it. Numerous studies show that vegetable consumption is linked to reduced risk of disease (38, 39, 40). Vegetables are high in antioxidants, all sorts of nutrients, and are loaded with fiber, which helps with weight loss and feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut (41, 42, 43).
- They Focus on Foods Instead of Calories
One interesting thing that all of these diets have in common, is that none of them emphasize calorie restriction. Instead, they put the emphasis on eating whole, single ingredient, healthy foods. Although calories are obviously important for weight management, simply restricting calories without regard to the foods you eat is rarely effective in the long-term.
Instead of trying to lose weight or restrict calories, make it your goal to nourish your body and become healthier. Most successful diets emphasize a lifestyle change that includes whole foods, and let weight loss follow as a natural side effect. This is the approach of the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle with the additional goal of optimal blood glucose control to master diabetes in the healthiest way possible
Our recipe e-books, workshops and home study course will teach you how to transform your lifestyle in a #PracticalLivableSustainable way for better living. You will enjoy a natural, innovative way to help master type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes with healthy, natural, whole, #VeryLowGlycemic, low #InsulinDemand foods. There is strong evidence that better blood sugar control – without the roller-coaster ride of highs and lows – results in better health outcomes and fewer complications in the years ahead.