Learn the Benefits of A Healthy Diet

The benefits of a healthy diet go far beyond merely weight loss and 'looking good.'

In fact, in my opinion, maintaining a healthy weight should simply be a reflection of a healthy lifestyle, not something you are willing to destroy your health to achieve.

Many Americans are unaware that unbiased scientific research on the benefits of a healthy diet are plentiful, some foods are consistently proven to promote optimal health, while other foods are consistently found to promote disease.

Lets look at the current composition of the average American diet:

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

51% Refined and processed foods

42% meat and dairy products

7% fruits and vegetables

What's wrong with this picture?

1. Refined foods contain no nutritional value, yes, they may have synthetic vitamins and minerals added to hide the fact that they are devoid of any nutrition but synthetic nutrients do not provide the same benefit as whole food nutrition.

2. Refined foods are high in calories and fat and contain very little fiber

3. Refined foods are high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and cause severe blood sugar fluctuations.

4. Fruits and Vegetables are the foods consistently found to prevent disease, yet they are rarely consumed by the average American.

Is it any wonder why we experience such a high rate of disease in this country?

Carbohydrates: Fact vs. Fiction


Some would have you believe that carbohydrates should never be a part of a healthy diet, others would have you believe they should be limited. Carbohydrates are one of the BENEFITS of a healthy diet! Limiting carbohydrates is a way to lose weight by exploiting your body's starvation mechanisms and mortgaging your health in the process.

Carbophobia needs to be replaced with the facts about the role that carbohydrates play in our health, a healthy diet, and physiologically how our body functions so that we can lay to rest the carb fear for good.


• Carbohydrates are the body's major and MAIN source of energy!

• Carbohydrates fuel the brain, central nervous system and muscles.

• The Institute of Medicine has stated that the brain alone requires a minimum of 130g of carbohydrates per day to maintain its basic functions.

Muscle building- carbohydrates are absolutely required to fuel the muscle cells in the body, without significant carbohydrates the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy. Long term diets low in carbohydrates will actually lead to decreased muscle mass and an overall saggy look as weight is lost.

Study on High Fat vs. High carbohydrate on endurance training


A study conducted at the August Krogh Institute at the University of Copenhagen compared athletic performance in individuals consuming a typical high fat diet, to those consuming a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.

The results of the study shouldn't be surprising to those who understand nutrition physiology, but may surprise those who do not understand the role of carbohydrates in the body.

10 male subjects consumed a high fat diet: 63% fat, 20% carbohydrate and 17% protein

10 male subjects consumed high carbohydrate: 67% carbohydrate, 18% fat, 17% protein

The athletes trained for 7 weeks on exercise cycles, at the end of the 7 weeks the men were tested to see how long they could pedal at about 85% of their maximal heart rate.


High Carbohydrate Group results:
• Improved their endurance 191%
• Improved muscle glycogen levels from 432 to 611 mmol/kg d.w.
• Heart rate during final test averaged 159 bpm

High Fat Group Results:
• Improved endurance by 86%
• Glycogen levels did not increase
• During the final test their heart rates averaged 174 bpm, indicating more stress on their cardiovascular system

Carbohydrates are necessary for health, they fuel the brain, central nervous system and muscles. If we do not consume enough carbohydrates our muscles will not have the fuel they need.

Do Carbohydrates Make you Fat?


This is a very interesting idea to me, ANY excess calories whether they come from fat, carbohydrates or protein will be stored as fat. However, there is a difference between excess fat or excess carbohydrate consumption that is a KEY to weight loss.

Excess fat calories are already in the form of fat, therefore the body only has to burn about 3% of the calories to convert fats into body fat.

Excess carbohydrates are NOT in the form of fat and must be converted into fat before being stored as body fat. During this process of converting carbohydrate into fat for storage 30% of the carbohydrate calories are burned, this is a MUCH more inefficient process than storing dietary fat as body fat.

I always tell students: You don't say I hate this carbohydrate on my hips, you say I hate this FAT on my hips!

Answer: Carbohydrates do NOT make you fat!

http://www.med.yale.edu/library/heartbk/5.pdf accessed 7/8/10

Carbohydrates and Fiber are part of a healthy diet!

We NEED fiber for health! Meat, Dairy, Eggs, Processed foods and sugar that make up 93% of the American diet contain NO fiber.

Fiber is one of the key benefits of a healthy diet:


Research has shown that soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels, lowers insulin requirements and improves blood sugar control in diabetics.

Indigestible fiber soaks up water and expands, bulking up the stool relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. This action also reduces transit time of food preventing putrefaction of meat and dairy products in the intestinal tract lowering colon cancer risks.

This bulking action of fiber also prevents small pockets from forming in the intestine, called diverticulosis. These pouches can become infected and inflammed leading to very painful diverticulitis.

Lembo A, Camilleri M. Chronic constipation. N Engl J Med. 2003; 349:1360–68. Aldoori WH, Giovannucci EL, Rockett HR, Sampson L, Rimm EB, Willett WC. A prospective study of dietary fiber types and symptomatic diverticular disease in men. J Nutr. 1998; 128:714–19.

Fiber is also very satiating and helps you to feel full before consuming excess calories. Fiber is excellent for weight loss and is a critical component of a healthy diet.

Fruit is a major part of a healthy diet


• Fruit contains the same balance of water content as the human body

• High in antioxidants to prevent free radical damage in the body, it can also protect against damage from sunlight.
• Fruit contains dietary fiber that benefits the digestive system

• Does not contain saturated fat or cholesterol
• Contains the perfect balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids

• Antioxidants in fruit have been found to protect against Age Related Macular Degeneration

Fruit and Veggie consumption and reduced risk of chronic disease

”Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers."


"Cardiovascular disease and cancer are ranked as the first and second leading causes of death in the United States and in most industrialized countries. Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and some of the functional declines associated with aging."

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):517S-520S.

Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from synergistic combinations of phytochemicals.

Liu RH. Department of Food Science and the Institute of Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Harm from Consuming a High Fat Diet


A study in the Journal of the American college of Cardiology looked at the effects of a high fat diet on dilation and elasticity of the arteries after a fatty meal.

After a single meal containing 67% calories from fat: ham and cheese sandwich, buttered bread, whole milk and ice cream.
• Systemic arterial compliance fell at 3 hours and 6 hours by 25% and 27%

• Post meal effects indicate risk of coronary heart disease through vascular dysfunction

The other subjects ate a meal containing 10% calories from fat: Bread, cereal, fruit, low fat milk

• No impairment of arterial wall compliance was seen with low fat eating

Nestel P. Post-prandial remnant lipids impair arterial compliance. J Am Coll Cardiol 37:1929-35, 2001.

Common Theme in Diet Research.....
A diet high in fruits and vegetables protects against:
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Cancer
• Cardiovascular disease
• Alzheimers disease
• Cataracts
• Functional declines with aging
• Improves endurance and fitness
• Stroke
• Constipation
• Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis
• Age related macular degeneration
• and much more.......

The number one cause of death in the U.S.

Cardiovascular Disease

Percentage of fruits and vegetables in the American diet?

The connection between poor diet and disease is well known and proven in research........

The biggest problem is resistance of the American public to recognize the benefits of a healthy diet and actually implement them.

Health Risks of Common foods



A study in 2009 found that the risk of breast, colon, lung and other cancers were higher in individuals who had high egg consumption vs. low egg consumption.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):869-76. Egg consumption and the risk of cancer: a multisite case-control study in Uruguay.

Prostate Cancer

A recent study published in the September 2005 issue of The Journal of Urology found that dietary change can affect the progression of early prostate cancer in men.

93 men with elevated PSA levels were split into two groups:
Group 1 followed a low-fat plant based diet
Group 2 continued with the typical American diet.

Group 2 Results 6 men in the typical American diet group went on to have surgery, radiation and chemotherapy because of continued rise in PSA levels and progression of their cancer.
PSA levels in the typical American diet group rose by 6%

Group 1 Results NONE of the men consuming the plant-based diet required any further treatment and their PSA levels decreased 4%.

Ornish D, Weidner G, Fair WR, Marlin R, Pettengill EB, Raisin CJ, Dunn-Emke S, Crutchfield L, Jacobs FN, Barnard RJ, Aronson WJ, McCormac P, McKnight DJ, Fein JD, Dnistrian AM, Weinstein J, Ngo TH, Mendell NR, Carroll PR. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. J Urol. 2005 Sep;174(3):1065-1070.

Osteoporosis can be prevented through a healthy diet

The journal of Nutrition contained an article in the June 1998 issue discussing the direct correlation between dietary protein intake, acid load and calcium loss in the urine.

The conclusion of this article demonstrated that the metabolic waste products of protein metabolism and the subsequent loss of calcium from the bones to buffer the acid load lead to bone loss over time.

"The effect of a higher protein, acid-ash diet has also been shown in elderly people who participated in a study in which they ate 0.8 or 2 g protein/kg body weight (Licata et al. 1981 ).

Urinary calcium nearly doubled with the higher protein diet, increasing from 90 ± 17 to 171 ± 22 mg/d. Calcium balance was positive (+40 ± 35 mg/d) when subjects consumed the low protein diet. Negative ( 64 ± 35 mg/d) when they consumed the high protein diet."

The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 128 No. 6 June 1998, pp. 1051-1053

Excess Dietary Protein Can Adversely Affect Bone1,2 Uriel S. Barzel3 and Linda K. Massey*, 4 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10467 and * Food Science and Human Nutrition

The foods that consistently prevent disease are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Foods found to cause disease include dairy, meat, eggs, refined fats, processed foods and sugars.

The composition of a healthy diet becomes very clear as you review the foods that have never been found to contribute to disease and those that are frequently found to contribute.

The benefits of a healthy diet literally have little to do with weight loss. Optimal health is the most important benefit of a healthy diet, being skinny means nothing if you are 6 feet under!

It is time that we shift our priorities away from merely weight loss toward the totality of benefits of a healthy diet. We can prevent cataracts, most cancers, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other fatal diseases if we come to realize the benefits of a healthy diet. This means finding truth behind the financial interests of agricultural interests that make up the USDA.

The benefits of a healthy diet go far beyond weight loss and there are probably many more benefits of a healthy diet that we have not even discovered.

If you are ready for a dietary change and optimal health check out the menus and recipes.
Recipes for a Healthy Diet