Over the 30 years that I have been involved with nutrition I have seen lots of changes in the recommendations for what constitutes a healthy diet. I always look in bookshops to see the latest recipe books and at the moment vegan and ketogenic diets are filling the shelves. Over the years we have had low fat, carb free, high protein and high fibre to name a few. But not many regimes have stood the test of time and the main reason is that they are diets, that in their restrictions make them difficult to maintain.
What also happens is that scientific evidence often disputes their health claims. High protein diets have been linked with cancer and heart attacks, low fat with a lack of essential fatty acids. We are however all affected by trends even it’s because of the food available in supermarkets and there are always some positives that come out of these new regimes. Cutting carbs especially the over processed ones that you find in white bread, cakes and biscuits is definitely a good idea as is adding some fat to your diet.
When I trained as a nutritional therapist in the 1980’s I was lucky to have an amazing training where I was taught that sugar was the problem not fat but that the fats consumed needed to be mainly the healthy ones we find in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. Over the years I have stayed with these principles and all my books are sugar free and contain healthy fats. Just recently however I’ve read a few books about the ketogenic diet. These all lean to a much higher intake of fat and I’ve been influenced.
So I started adding more fat to my breakfast and I’m amazed at how different I feel. I normally eat wholegrain porridge served with ground seed mix and fresh fruit and thought I was getting sufficient good fats from the seeds. Now I add some coconut oil or milk, some nut butter or ground almonds or I make my own milk from nuts or seeds and use it to make the porridge. Normally I need a snack mid morning and don’t feel good without it especially if lunch is late but the addition of more fat means that my blood sugar feels more supported and my brain works better.
I think that what’s important is to take note of these trends and to take on board some of their positive attributes without necessarily going to extremes. What has never been disputed is the fact that we should eat lots of vegetables, and if we make these the basis of most of our meals we won’t go far wrong whether we are vegan, vegetarian or meat eating.