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A Diet That is Right for You

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the food that we eat and all the different types of diets that are out there. Some doctors and scientists recommend one diet while others totally contradict that recommendation. With all the information floating around out there it’s difficult to know what to believe, leaving many of us wondering: what really is the best diet?

The truth is, following a specific diet (Keto, Whole 30, South Beach, Atkins, etc.) is not necessarily the best option for everyone because individual needs vary so drastically. What I can say is that while following these diets can be beneficial for some people during certain periods of their lives, in order to maintain our health in the long run, we must adjust to a lifestyle that supports both our physical and mental health. The body is always trying to let us know how foods we eat are affecting us, we just need to learn to pay closer attention and fuel it with the nourishment it needs. I constantly see patients who are consuming too many foods that are harmful and too few of the ones that could boost their health. Finding ways to reduce deficiencies and toxicity is a crucial part of learning what the body needs to support your wellbeing. Generally, most of us already know that we should avoid refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, fried foods, and any chemical preservatives or additives. These foods are considered universally stressful to the body and should be limited. Alcohol and caffeine can be incredibly stressful for some and should be consumed with moderation or eliminated all together.  While individual needs can vary, there are some key nutrients that everyone requires to support a healthy lifestyle including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals. Now, there are countless ways to obtain these nutrients but it is important to understand what works for your body and find the options that will deliver these in a way that maximizes your health.

Often times we learn the hard way when it comes to what not to eat by how our bodies react to certain things. Keeping track of what you eat and journaling your mood, energy levels, and physical health for a week or two is a great way to get a sense of which foods to avoid and which to eat more of.  In my office there are many tools that I use to help patients try to figure out some of these challenging issues around food. Some good indicators of how your body processes nutrients include family history and body type. Another is the KBMO food sensitivity panel that I have talked about in the past.

It may be surprising, but a lot of metabolic or food allergy problems stem from our genetic makeup, so analyzing family history can be a great way to determine possible conditions relating to diet. Allergies often develop in response to foods our bodies are unfamiliar with and therefore can’t process correctly, whether through direct exposure or linked to our heritage. Dr. Chris Reading, author of Trace Your Genes to Health and Your Family Tree Connection, has spent a lot of time researching food allergies and conditions that are connected to specific genetic traits and symptoms. For example, one of the things he discovered is that people with a family history of alcoholism, diabetes, and depression are often allergic to wheat. Identifying these allergy-causing foods can help you discover how to adjust your diet to better suit your body’s needs.

Additionally, you can help tailor your diet to what you need based on your body type. Body type can be determined by which endocrine gland is has been most dominant in your physical development, metabolic patterns, emotional tendencies, and food preferences. Aside from a mostly balanced body (known as Eumorphic), there are four main body type categories: pituitary, adrenal, gonadal, and thyroid. Because each of these glands affects the body very differently, the dominant gland creates unique traits that are apparent through your physical appearance (extremities, torso, bone prominence, etc.), as well as weight gain patterns and cravings. Figuring out your body type and adjusting certain aspects of your daily diet can help restore balance and help you lose weight.

Eating well and in a way that is right for your individual needs is a huge component of leading a balanced lifestyle, but it is important to remember to take care of yourself in other ways too. Drinking plenty of water, getting regular exercise, spending time with loved ones, and finding other ways to minimize stress is also critical in helping you improve your overall wellbeing.

If you have any questions regarding nutrition or are thinking about dieting, I would be happy to talk with you and hopefully answer all of your questions. There is no one diet for everyone and it is important to know what your body needs and would be happy to help you assess that in any way I can.



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