on nutrition: old and new food trends | Way of life

Here’s my age: A few decades ago, I attended a nutrition debate between Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Robert Atkins, well-known cardiologists with opposing views on the best diet for weight loss and disease prevention. cardiac. Each of the cardiologists was passionate about their diet, even though the diets were/are in stark contrast to each other.

Ornish presented extensive research to show that a very low-fat, mostly vegetarian diet can reverse heart disease and improve diabetes and other chronic conditions.

In turn, Atkins provided evidence that a low-carb diet — a diet that relies more on protein and fat and severely limits fruits, breads, starches, and other plant-based foods — is effective for weight loss. weight and does not harm the heart.

Who won? In my opinion, this was the third speaker in the debate. A representative from the United States Department of Agriculture showed us that both types of diets have their pros and cons. He concluded with research that shows the best diet probably falls somewhere in the middle.

Times haven’t changed much. Just this morning, I learned about these three “new” diets:

The New Mayo Clinic Diet (as opposed to the Old Mayo Clinic Diet) is an improved plan for weight loss, according to the medical team that developed it. What is interesting in this plan is that it is not a single plan. Dieters can choose their preference for healthy, high-protein, vegetarian, Mediterranean, or gut-healthy keto.

What? One plan doesn’t fit all? It’s true. Genetic research is beginning to show us that, based on our DNA, some of us do better on one type of diet (like the vegetarian diet) while others do well on another (like the rich diet). in protein).

Then there’s the Nordic diet, yeah. As expected, there is plenty of fish as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils. It’s based on research from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland that found improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels in volunteers who ate this way.

And have you heard of the Pegan Diet? It is a cross between two quite opposite diets, vegan (strict vegetarian) and paleo (meat, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds and other foods hunted or gathered by our ancient ancestors who were probably eaten by a tiger before to have a chance to really study this diet, but whatever).

Is it me, or are we finally learning that the real answer to optimal health is to choose a variety of all foods in the right balance? This is what current research tells us. No diet is best for everyone. Just make sure it includes foods from every nutrient group: protein, vegetables, fruit, grains, and dairy (including fortified soy products).

(Barbara Intermill is a registered dietitian nutritionist and syndicated columnist. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating.” Email her at [email protected])

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