Published on March 31st, 2022 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Three Functional Facts About Diet
We all have watched what we eat, trying many different eating plans to get healthy and maybe lose a few pounds. Particularly among families, the search to make eating enjoyable and food preparation easier can feel overwhelming. There is pressure to satisfy so many individual health needs in a limited amount of time on a budget. Bear in mind that many dietary plans that work for some people might not benefit everyone equally. For example, a patient that is insulin resistant has very different needs than someone that is hypoglycemic.
Also, people of different ages have different capacities and dietary requirements. Kids and growing teens can probably eat a few more starchy foods and burn through the energy excess more quickly than adults. Seniors probably need higher amounts of protein than they think. It’s not only what food gets consumed and in what amount, but when. So do factors such as how to include overlooked categories such as essential dietary fats into our meals for stability.
We Must Have a Health First-Approach to Diet
Packaging messages about low fat, low sugar (and even high fat, low carb) proliferate up and down the grocery store aisles as we seek out new food habits to embrace. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in weight loss and human performance. The truth is that many factors cause us to lose a step as we age or our bodies to hold onto weight. Body toxicity and inflammation will affect our immune system health and hormones regardless of how we eat or whether we work out. At the root of this can be unseen elements like stealth infection, blood sugar dysregulation, or yeast overgrowth that are not being addressed through diet.
Meal Timing, or Frequency of Eating, Matters Most
Another ingrained message has to do with calorie counts, or developing a recommended daily allowance of certain kinds of nutrients instead of thinking about food itself as brain fuel. We are often led to “eat thin” and believe that belly fat is worse than brain fog or bad brain. A low-calorie food is not necessarily a healthy food, and is very often nutrient-poor. An example of this would be rice cakes that provide neither essential nutrients nor fuel to the body or brain. Much like sugar itself, cheaper sources of carbohydrates can alert the brain’s “stress physiology” that has long-lasting inflammatory effects. Instead, focus on signs of fatigue, mental alertness, brain fog or anxiety as better indicators of what and when to eat.
Ditch the Low Fat, High Cholesterol Myth
Regarding health, the most damaging of all beliefs about food has to be the mountains of misinformation regarding low fat. Patients are taught to believe that above all else, they should avoid cholesterol, when in fact it is a molecule of life that our bodies make when there is an insufficient amount in our diet.
Low fat has led to high sugar throughout our diets and our lifestyles, causing an epidemic of brain and body diseases from diabetes to dementia. Quality dietary fats are essential, comprising the very structure of our cells and the protective covering for our nervous system.
To learn the truth about how our bodies and brains work, find a trained physician that can help go beyond the healing power of food to postprandial body and brain physiology, so that food habits better support a healthy, aging brain. Digging deeper into what our bodies need for better health, functional medicine doctors overturn decades of false beliefs about cholesterol, calories, and dieting itself.
Doug Pucci, DC, founder of Pucci Wellness, is a functional medicine doctor in Oradell, specializing in brain-body care, hormone balance and inflammation. For more information, visit GetWell-Now.com/About.