Nutrition Under the Magnifying Glass – Part III
Gluten is not guilty
Arguments about gluten are growing more common. Eliminating from our diets a protein naturally present in cereals including wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt makes sense only for the one percent of the population that suffers coeliac disease. It is more appropriate to check the state of our immune system, the health of our microbiome or the quality of the gluten-containing cereals, since they may contain up to 4% more gluten if they have suffered genetic manipulation. Excessive consumption of the gluten-containing products is also a creating hypersensitivity. So we must avoid eating processed food, since it tends to include gluten, and include the largest posible variety of whole, unmanipulated cereals in our diets.
First we blame a particular lectin, gluten, and next the whole group of lectins. We look for culprits outside ourselves. But precisely the societies that eat the most lectin-rich foods, such as legumes, are the most long-lived and vital. If we keep this up, we’ll be questioning the value of water because of its hydrogen content.
Eating legumes can cause gas, especially when changing from an animal protein-heavy and low-fibre diet. It has to do with the microorganisms in our guts. Regular intake of legumes, however, will change the intestinal flora. That said, it is important to cook legumes the right way.
Can man live on fruit alone?
Saying that detoxing with juices is ‘dangerous’ is untrue. But if the juices are mostly fruit then such a detox would consist of mostly fructose, a simple form of sugar found in fruit. Recent studies show that consuming more than one gram per kilo of your weight per day of fructose can be harmful to the liver and the pancreas.
So we need to ask for whom, where and when a juice detox is appropriate. It helps to consult a certified nutritionist. In the broadest terms, we can say that a cleaning based on green smoothies may be suitable for people with strong digestion during the warm seasons of the year. Even then, the best idea is follow a balanced diet year-round based on vegetables, legumes, seeds, fruits, nuts and high quality water. This diet is very purifying thanks to its fibre content, antioxidants and minerals and low levels of saturated fat, sodium and refined sugars.
Ketosis is the process by which the body obtains energy from fat. Fat contains ketones rather than glucose, which is usually obtained from carbohydrate you eat. Burning it is an emergency mechanism that buys humans extra time to find sources of glucose. But building a weight-loss plan on a system that stresses the body and acidifies it, without learning about a long-term sustainable diet, will make you regain every lost gram with interest.
The mundane magic superfoods
The idea that there is a single superfood that protects us from any imbalance or compensates the ravages of a diet full of processed, toxic, animal or refined foods, can be bad for your health.
Instead, we could consider the foods that built and maintained civilisations, such as legumes, vegetables or cereals, which are sacred in many cultures, superfoods. They have perfect nutritional profiles. Different combinations and preparations of them provide all the nutrients that human beings need.
To be continued…