What is a Healthy Diet? … It Depends

Many will respond with a knee-jerk reaction that saturated fat is bad, carbs are good and everyone agrees that fruits and vegetables are good.

Ever since the food pyramid was presented as gospel for healthy eating, we have seen record numbers in obesity and diabetes, not only in adults but children as well.  Over the last 50 years, obesity rates have tripled in the United States.[1]

Is this a coincidence? or is the famous food pyramid to blame?  Clearly, the famous food pyramid is based on junk science.  Numbers do not lie and when you follow the money, usually there is a secret agenda driving the results.  In the 1960s the sugar industry paid scientists to downplay the detrimental effects of sugar on heart disease and instead shift the blame to saturated fat.[2]

The irony of this is that it is not saturated fat that causes heart disease, it’s the inflammation caused by sugar and refined carbohydrates that cause heart disease.[3]  Sugar signals the liver to create free fatty acids.  When the body digests these free fatty acids, the byproduct creates an inflammatory response.[4]  Chronic consumption of sugar leads to chronic inflammation which opens the door to heart disease and other diseases including auto-immune disease.

It is a given there are certain foods that are bad for you and clearly fall into the category of foods you need to avoid if you want to lead a healthy, pain-free, medication-free life.  These foods include sugar, processed foods, hydrogenated oils, corn and seed oils, MSG’s, preservatives, colors, “natural flavors.”  The saturated fats in processed foods are inflammatory because they are solid fats that increase bad cholesterol.  They are good at extending the shelf life of the processed food, but not keeping you healthy.   A diet with disproportionately high amounts of omega 6 vs. omega 3 fats can be inflammatory as well[5].

It is also a given that fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts are good for us.  These foods tend to be anti-inflammatory and to promote good health.  However, it is not so black and white.  Yes, they have vitamins, minerals, and fiber that we need, but some people may have allergies or food sensitivities to these foods.

A healthy diet depends on the individual’s unique body type and specific nutritional needs.  It really isn’t one size fits all.  A healthy diet should be customized for the individual based on their blood type.  For example, broccoli may be an excellent food for me, but not for someone that has a food sensitivity to it.  To be able to discern what you should eat, it is important to be in tune with and really listen to your body.   If you eat something that does not agree with your body, your body will complain.  Are you listening?  

Ever since I started listening to my body, I discovered that I have an abundance of energy and do really well on a high saturated omega 3 fat diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits.  Ever since I eliminated grains, simple carbs, and sugar from my diet, weight loss became effortless. 

My personal food pyramid looks different. 

The base of my pyramid contains fruits and vegetables, The second tier from the bottom is full of heart-healthy omega 3 saturated fats like avocados, fatty fish, olives, olive oil, and coconut oil.  The third tier from the bottom has organic chicken and grass-fed beef, lamb, eggs, and goat cheese products.  My top tier consists of nuts, seeds, and legumes. 

When I combine my personalized diet with intermittent fasting, being thin and fit is super easy!  Your body naturally wants to go into homeostasis.  When you feed your body the right foods, everything takes care of itself.  It’s that simple.  How do I know it’s healthy for me?  I’m almost 50 with zero health problems, zero meds, very high good cholesterol, and proudly wear a size zero.  If you are eating healthy, your body tells you so and thanks you!

Dina Arvanitakis
Dina is a certified functional medicine nutrition coach and author that is passionate about health and wellness. As a health advocate, she coaches clients on how to implement anti-aging techniques and weight-loss strategies and solutions so they can become their own powerful success stories. She believes that everyone can enjoy a healthy vibrant life once they are empowered with knowledge and the right tools to make effective changes in their lives. A healthy you is a FABULOUS you!