It was a great pleasure recently to give a talk to around 150 people about how to take charge of their health. It is always wonderful to meet with people who are engaged with their own wellbeing and also interested to learn new things.
One of the other presenters was American author Jimmy Moore. He described his own journey in literally becoming half the man he used to be. Moore is a supporter of low carb diets in general and the ketogenic diet in particular. He bemoaned how much time people in the low carb movement spend taking shots at each other when in reality they had much in common.
This has become even more relevant in the light of revelations that the sugar industry paid researchers to blame fats rather than sugars in the diet as a health issue. This led us down the awful path of low fat diets over the last 40 years.
Not only is a low fat diet not healthy. It has been the single biggest contributor to the rise in type two diabetes and obesity. Thus Moore’s view that those who have been promoting a low carb diet need to recognize their commonality and better unite against those clinging to outdated ideology is sound.
Like many pioneers he has experimented on himself. Part of this has been to do fasts. He stated that his longest fast was 17 days. He monitored a number of parameters in his blood to see the effects on his metabolism.
I have no desire to replicate this for various reasons including that I enjoy food. Neither would I suggest trying this at home. For most of us it is neither necessary nor appropriate. However shorter periods of fasting have been shown to have health benefits for some people.
Many who have done the 5:2 diet find that two days a week of eating very little improves their energy levels and also helps them lose weight. Many religions have a period of fasting as part of their calendar so the idea is not that new.
Governments, health departments and others in “officialdom” continue to cling to the notion that fats are bad and we should eat lots of grains. Their belief in their ideology trumps the evidence that they are wrong! Remember these are the same people who argue that medicine needs to be evidence based and practitioners who are not doctors are “non-scientific”.
The human body needs essential fatty acids and amino acids (protein). There are no essential carbohydrates. In fact the more carbs (especially refined processed carbs) the more we flog our insulin system. This can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type two diabetes.
We are all similar and yet we are all different. Thus the notion of one “healthy” diet for all is wrong. We need to experiment and find what works best for us. Part of this is being questioning and open to new ideas.