Changes to Consider for a Healthier Life!


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One of the many criticisms of the “Atkins Diet” is the mistaken perception that all “carbs” are bad. In order to have a healthy diet, you must have a balanced diet. Restricting any food group can cause a deficiency in critically needed nutrients. There is considerable scientific evidence that people from cultures that consume a primarily plant based diet have significantly greater longevity and health than people in cultures that primarily consume animal based foods like meat. I personally believe that the above analysis is an over simplification that is looking at a small part of the big picture. When you look at the bigger picture of the culture in question, two important facts jump out! The plant consuming based cultures have little or no processing in their food supply and substantially greater physical activity than animal consuming based cultures! That being said, there can be no doubt that if Americans consumed far more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, avoided simple carbohydrate like white, processed breads and pasta, avoided processed meats and other foods and dramatically increased their daily physical activity we would create a far healthier population. The IFPA recommendations are that 20% of caloric intake come from protein, 65% of caloric intake come from carbohydrate (no more than 10% from simple carbohydrates), and 15% of caloric intake come from fats (no more than 5% from saturated fat and zero consumption of highly carcinogenic trans fat) remains in place. These recommendations are considered “balanced” by most subject matter experts in the field of Sports Nutrition. The IFPA Faculty and Board recently discussed potential changes to these recommendations in light of the recent scientific evidence that saturated fat intake had no greater risk to health than unsaturated fats. While the evidence shows that saturated fats are no longer to be considered “unhealthy”, the evidence does not show any health benefit to increasing consumption. The IFPA recommendations will stay in effect until additional evidence on the efficacy of saturated fat becomes known. The IFPA Faculty and Board also considered changes to the percentages of each macro nutrient and again decided to keep them unchanged. The primary reasoning is that the 65% carbohydrate recommendation has been found in numerous studies to be responsible for: – Increased longevity – Reduced heart disease (CVD, CAD, CPD, etc) – Reduced cancer rates – Reduced Metabolic Syndrome and Type II Diabetes rates – Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis – Reduced inflammation/acidity – Reduced Parkinson’s Disease rates – Reduced Alzheimer’s Disease rates – Reduced total Cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol – Reduced obesity rates Remember: Carbohydrates are classified as two major types: 1. Simple Carbohydrates are sugars, white bread, white pasta, cakes, candies, pies etc 2. Complex Carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes Complex Carbohydrates are high in fiber. When Americans, who typically consume 11.2 grams of fiber/day, increased their fiber intake to 25-35 grams/day, they lost one pound of fat/month without any change to caloric intake or physical activity. Consider adding nuts to your diet as a healthy snack alternative: – In 2 large trials, eating nuts 5 times/week lowered diabetes risk by 27% and eating nuts every day lowered the risk of heart disease by 32% – Caution: eat nuts in moderation since a one ounce serving of nuts = 160 calories or more Hydration: Consumes a minimum of 64ozs of water/day. Consider adding teas, such as green tea to your diet for the anti-oxidant benefits. Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in a dark, comfortable bedroom. Stress Management: Consider the benefits of prayer, meditation, Yoga and Tai Chi Social: Build a strong social network with friends and family. Many longevity studies indicate that strong social bonds add years to your life. Pets: Longevity studies show that dog-owners and other pet owners live longer than non-pet owners. Best regards, By Dr. Jim Bell CEO IFPA

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