Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

6 Things the World’s Most Successful Diets Have in Common

Food
6 Things the World’s Most Successful Diets Have in Common

By Kris Gunnars

Many diets have stood the test of time. They became popular a long time ago, but people are still doing them and still getting results. This includes, but is not limited to:

One of the things that all diets include is vegetables. Numerous studies show that vegetable consumption is linked to reduced risk of disease.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

People tend to focus on (and argue about) what sets these diets apart.

So far, this “debate" has not been productive. Not by a long shot.

Perhaps, instead of arguing, we should be focusing on all the things these diets have in common.

Chances are that these are universal laws that work across the board, and can deliver results no matter what the rest of your diet is composed of.

The truth is, all the diets (or “ways of eating") mentioned above, and all diets shown to be compatible with long-term health, do have a few important commonalities.

Here are 6 things that all successful “diets" have in common.

1. They Are Low in Added Sugar

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the diet.

Although some people can tolerate moderate amounts of sugar without problems, most people are eating way too much (1).

When people eat too much sugar, it overloads the liver, which is forced to turn the sugar into fat (2, 3).

Part of the fat gets shipped out of the liver as VLDL cholesterol, raising blood triglycerides, but some of it also remains in the liver (4, 5).

Sugar is believed to be a major driver of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (6, 7).

Sugar has also been associated with many diseases, including some of the worlds biggest killers. This includes obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (8, 9, 10, 11).

Sugar is also “empty" calories, because it supplies a large amount of energy with literally no essential nutrients.

Pretty much everyone agrees that added sugar is bad. For this reason, most successful diets make it one of the main priorities to cut back on added sugar.

Bottom Line: There is almost universal agreement that a lot of added sugar is unhealthy, and most successful diets recommend limiting it.

2. They Eliminate Refined Carbohydrates

Another ingredient that people agree is unhealthy, is refined carbs.

Refined carbohydrates are usually grains that have had all the beneficial stuff removed.

The most common one is refined wheat flour, which is consumed in massive amounts in Western countries.

Refined grains are made by pulverizing whole grains and removing the bran and endosperm, which are the fibrous and nutritious parts.

For this reason, refined grains contain little more than starch, chains of glucose molecules.

Refined starch provides lots of energy, with almost no essential nutrients (empty calories).

Without the fiber found in the whole grain, starch can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which leads to cravings and overeating a few hours later when blood sugar comes crashing down (12, 13).

Studies have linked consumption of refined carbohydrates with all sorts of metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (14, 15, 16, 17, 18).

Although some diets (like paleo and low-carb) take things a step further and eliminate grains altogether, all successful diets at least emphasize limiting refined grains and replacing them with their whole, healthier counterparts.

Bottom Line: All successful diets eliminate refined grains like wheat flour, which is very unhealthy. However, some diets take things a step further and eliminate grains altogether.

Read page 1

3. They Eliminate Industrial Vegetable Oils

Industrial vegetable oils entered the human diet only recently.

Until about a 100 years ago, we simply didn't have the technology to process them.

This includes soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and a few others.

There are many problems with these oils. One of the main ones is their high content of polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids, which most people are eating way too much of (19).

There is evidence that linoleic acid, the main Omega-6 fatty acid in vegetable oils, gets incorporated into the body's fat cells (20, 21).

It also finds its way into LDL lipoproteins, making them much more likely to become oxidized. This is a key step in the heart disease process (22, 23, 24).

They may also contribute to endothelial dysfunction, one of the earliest steps in the pathway towards heart disease (25, 26).

Whether they actually cause or protect from heart disease is controversial. Some observational studies show them to be protective, but many controlled trials suggest that they may be harmful (27, 28, 29, 30).

There are also many observational studies linking vegetable oil consumption to cancer (31, 32, 33, 34).

Also, the way these oils are manufactured is highly disgusting, and pretty much all of the beneficial nutrients are removed from the oils. Therefore, just like added sugars and refined grains, vegetable oils classify as “empty" calories.

Out of all the diets and dietary patterns shown to be compatible with long-term health, none of them included industrial vegetable oils.

Keep in mind that this does not apply to coconut oil or olive oil, which are completely different and extremely healthy.

Bottom Line: Industrial vegetable oils are incredibly harmful and contribute to numerous problems at the cellular level. No diet shown to be compatible with long-term health includes vegetable oils.

4. They Eliminate Artificial Trans Fats

Pretty much everyone agrees that artificial trans fats are unhealthy.

Trans fats are usually made by “hydrogenating" vegetable oils, which makes them solid at room temperature and increases shelf life (35).

Numerous studies link trans fats to increased inflammation, and strong associations have been found between trans fat consumption and heart disease (36, 37).

Trans fats are toxic, unnatural and there is absolutely nothing beneficial about them.

Bottom Line: Trans fats are highly toxic, made by hydrogenating vegetable oils. Many studies show a link to inflammation and diseases like heart disease.

5. They Are High in Vegetables and Fiber

The different diets eliminate all sorts of different foods.

Plant-based diets minimize (or eliminate) animal foods, while low-carb and paleo diets eliminate grains, for example.

However, one of the things that all diets include is vegetables.

There is universal agreement that vegetables are healthy, and the evidence supports it. Numerous studies show that vegetable consumption is linked to reduced risk of disease (38, 39, 40).

Vegetables are high in antioxidants, all sorts of nutrients, and are loaded with fiber, which helps with weight loss and feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut (41, 42, 43).

Most diets also include fruit. Even low-carb diets allow for berries and small amounts of fruit (a low-carb diet is NOT a no-carb).

Bottom Line: All successful diets emphasize eating plenty of vegetables, and in most cases fruit as well. These foods are high in antioxidants and healthy prebiotic fibers.

6. They Focus on Foods Instead of Calories

One interesting thing that all of these diets have in common, is that none of them emphasize calorie restriction.

Instead, they put the emphasis on eating whole, single ingredient, healthy foods.

Although calories are obviously important for weight management, simply restricting calories without regard to the foods you eat is rarely effective in the long-term.

Instead of trying to lose weight or restrict calories, make it your goal to nourish your body and become healthier.

Most successful diets emphasize a lifestyle change that includes whole foods, and let weight loss follow as a natural side effect.

This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Probiotics 101: Everything You Need to Know

6 Common Food Additives Used in the U.S. That Are Banned in Other Countries

Canned Tuna Shopping Guide: How Does Your Brand Stack Up?

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less