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Diet and Nutrition > Introduction > The foods we eat

Is our food sustaining us or killing us?

We are what we eat, and we eat for reasons other than hunger. Some do not get enough - and some of us eat to much. Over the past 10 -20 years obesity in the developed world has become a disease. The sedentary lifestyle, combined with an excess of refined foods is leading to a quarter of the population having to compromise their lives due to the effects of excess weight and fall into the risk of diabetes and other dietary related problems.

The dieting industry has a high failure rate. In our experience diet alone seldom works. What does work is a fundamental change in life style which includes dietary changes. In our clinic and in conversations with customers and colleagues, we often hear how diet programs have failed with clients having tried several different and often expensive programs without any significant results, or that they were unable to adapt to the diets.

At this time in our history we have a great choice as to what we eat and in these pages we look at diet and why we go astray from the healthy model.

Of course we favour natural organically grown produce and we are definitely opposed to genetically modified foods.

Chips otr French FriesIt has been reported that cattle when put into fields of genetically altered crops, they actually break out into fields with heavily fertilized and chemically treated crops rather than eat what the genetically altered.

In a study of girls aged 9 to 15, slightly more than half reported exercising to lose weight, slightly less than half reported eating less to lose weight, and approximately 1 out of 20 reported using diet pills or laxatives to lose weight.

Some foods make us well and others may cause harm.

Our bodies contain communities of organisms known as a microbiome. These microbes in weight amount to several kilos, with most of them colonizing our digestive tract where they help to break down and process the foods we eat.

Those who eat an animal protein based diet have high numbers of the bacterium Bilophila wadsworthia in their gut. This bacterium feeds on the bile acids produced by our bodies to digest saturated fats.

  • For those on an animal-based diet, the gut microbes got more of their energy from breaking down proteins.
  • This bacterium has been implicated inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Meat eaters
  • often have a less active bowel.

Those who eat a plant-based diet have large numbers of bacteria that produce a fatty acid called butyrate, which seems to reduce inflammation and facilitate good health.

  • For those on a plant-based diet, microbes got more of their energy from fermenting carbohydrates.
  • The bacterium work synergistically to maintain a healthier digestive tract.
  • Vegetarians suffer less illness and have a longer life span.

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The foods we eat

Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature12820.



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