In this post, I will explore:
– The origin of the nutritional pyramid
– How did we get to this point?
– An uninformed society
– A Forgotten Harvard Anthropologist
This is the first post of a series of 3, where I’ll explore everything you need to know to build a strong and healthy body. Some of this information you probably already know, some may you don’t. In either case, it is very desirable to read the entire post to align our beliefs. So, let’s start.
The current situation
We live the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other diseases caused by poor diet. Today, a huge percentage of people can not keep their weight constant and healthy, even if living the many deprivations that the traditional diets impose.
What is the problem?
The problem lies in the mistaken nutritional assumptions, which were established in the early 1950s and are still followed, even with the alarming number of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases due to poor nutrition.
The man naturally eats what nature can offer him. Our body is fully able to eat these foods. What we propose is a diet with this thinking, simpler and healthier, something that the human being has been doing for at least 3 million years.
Today, the society has distanced itself from its first eating habits, indulging in the convenience of foods manufactured by the industry. Is our body able to recognize in the same way “natural” foods and foods invented in the last 50 years?
In this post series, I will address some misguided assumptions about eating that are widely accepted as a synonym for health. In a reasonable and practical approach, I’ll present you a simple way to eat well and live better. With this text, I intend to guide and make each person aware of the search for an essential life through simple and healthy habits.
Despite all the confusion related to nutrition nowadays, the way to eat healthily exists and has been tested for thousands of years. Moreover, it was this way that made possible to live even in the most inhospitable environments on the planet. Based on an evolutionary vision of nutrition, we came to propose the Essential Diet.
The origin of the nutritional pyramid
How did we get to this point?
In the early 1950s, Ancel Keys (an American physiologist) suggested a hypothesis that the consumption of fat and the cholesterol present in blood was the causes of heart disease.
For Ancel Keys a healthy diet should be low in fat, replacing the typical egg, meat, and butter with bread, pasta, and margarine.
The hypothesis of his study originated the nutritional pyramid and various beliefs about health and nutrition that persevered until today.
To prove his theories, Ancel Keys visited Naples in a post-war Italy (in 1951, the year that Ancel Keys created his hypothesis, Italy was destroyed because of World War II).
He and his wife Margaret (who was a physician) performed some procedures with part of the population, checking cholesterol levels and asking what they used to eat.
After visiting Naples, which was one of the countries present in his study, Ancel Keys was confident that his hypothesis was right. According to him the consumption of saturated fat was the cause of heart disease.
But what escaped the (not so attentive) observation of Ancel Keys was the precarious situation in which those people lived, what disfigured their eating habits.
Within a few decades, his hypothesis would negatively influence the eating habits of 21st-century society.
The theory of Ancel Keys, which related fat consumption to cardiovascular diseases, originated the low-fat diet, that until today (70 years after the publication of his ideas) is still seen as healthy.
An uninformed society
I must emphasize that science has been clear on this issue for many years. It is already widely accepted and proven that fat consumption has no relation to the occurrence of coronary diseases.
And more than that, this information is well-known and has already been widely disseminated by dozens of books.
1. The Big Fat Surprise – Nina Teicholz
2. Bad Calories, Good Calories – Gary Taubes
3. Why We Get Fat – Gary Taubes
4. The New Primal Blueprint – Mark Sisson
5. Death By Food Pyramid – Denise Minger
6. Eat Fat and Grow Slim (1958)
7. Calories Do not Count (1960)
8. Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (1972)
9. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet (1993)
10. Protein Power (1996)
11. Sugar Busters (1998)
12. Primal Body, Primal Mind – Nora T. Gedgaudas
Dr. Atkins (a famous cardiologist) in 1972 already advocated a diet rich in fat, which became well-known for his best-selling book “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution,” and his diet even appeared in the well-known fashion magazine, Vogue, titled as “The Famous Vogue Superdiet.”
Even with so much information available, nutritionists and fitness professionals seem to be unaware of this fact, propagating misconceptions of a failed way of thinking, to put it moderately.
The nutritional councils that have been published since the 1950s had the opposite effect of what was expected, making society anxious, obese and sick.
Just take a look, in the scary numbers related to occurrences of obesity, diabetes, and stroke to realize that something is very wrong.
Society has become used to this idea, products have been produced for that purpose, careers have been built on this premise, and this all seems to be more important than people’s health.
In a society that does not read, it is not enough to have information available. It is necessary to acquire a critical sense and accountability for the choices and not to outsource them, hoping to find the truth through conventional means, which do not help at all in this process.
The vast majority of people are still the easy target of the industry, with their processed foods, miracle diets, and uninformed professionals.
A Forgotten Harvard Anthropologist
At the beginning of the book “The Big Fat Surprise,” Nina Teicholz presents an interesting study by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a Harvard anthropologist who experienced a full year of eating only meat (and water). The results were so surprising that he adopted this eating habit as a lifestyle.
In 1906, Stefansson went for the Arctic. He was the first white man to live among the Eskimos, and they taught him how to hunt and to fish. He came to live exactly as his hosts, including eating only meat and fish for a whole year.
For six months he ate nothing but Caribou (an animal like an elk), in the following months only Salmon and for one month, just eggs. He noted that 70% to 80% of his diet was based on fat.
According to his research, the diet of the Eskimos represents the greatest challenge for modern nutrition since their food pyramid consists only of proteins and fats (no fruits). Eventually, they even consumed vegetables, but the main reason for their consumption was simply the absence of any other food.
Although they maintain this diet so out of the standards of today’s healthy, they have a high life expectancy, with no records of diseases of any kind.
Nutritionists of the early twentieth century did not emphasize the importance of eating fruits and vegetables as much as today.
Today a lot of nutritionists and the media announces that to be healthy is important high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Is this really necessary? Fruits are rich in fructose, in the body, it turns into sugar and prevents it from burning fat.
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Thank you for reading that far and remember…
Be smart. Be essential.