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The Fundamental Principle
Category: Diet and Nutrition
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
If you are a true believer in any of the above food religions, I
expect that you will find my views unsettling. But what I consider
"good diet" results from my clinical work with thousands of cases.
It is what has worked with those cases. My eclectic views
incorporate bits and pieces of all the above. In my own case, I
started out by following the Organic school, and I was once a raw
food vegetarian who ate nothing but raw food for six years. I also
ate Macrobiotic for about one year until I became violently allergic
I have arrived at a point where I understand that each person's
biochemistry is unique and each must work out their own diet to suit
their life goals, life style, genetic predisposition and current
state of health. There is no single, one, all-encompassing, correct
diet. But, there is a single, basic, underlying Principle of
Nutrition that is universally true. In its most simplified form, the
basic equation of human health goes: Health = Nutrition / Calories.
The equation falls far short of explaining the origin of each
individuals diseases or how to cure diseases but Health = Nutrition
/ Calories does show the general path toward healthful eating and
All animals have the exact same dietary problem: finding enough
nutrition to build and maintain their bodies within the limits of
their digestive capacity. Rarely in nature (except for predatory
carnivores) is there any significant restriction on the number of
calories or serious limitation of the amount of low-nutrition foods
available to eat. There's rarely any shortage of natural junk food
on Earth. Except for domesticated house pets, animals are sensible
enough to prefer the most nutritional fare available and tend to
shun empty calories unless they are starving.
But humans are perverse, not sensible. Deciding on the basis of
artificially-created flavors, preferring incipid textures, we seem
to prefer junk food and become slaves to our food addictions. For
example, in tropical countries there is a widely grown root crop,
called in various places: tapioca, tavioca, manioc, or yuca. This
interesting plant produces the greatest tonnage of edible,
digestible, pleasant-tasting calories per acre compared to any other
food crop I know. Manioc might seem the answer to human starvation
because it will grow abundantly on tropical soils so infertile
and/or so droughty that no other food crop will succeed there.
Manioc will do this because it needs virtually nothing from the soil
to construct itself with. And consequently, manioc puts next to
nothing nourishing into its edible parts. The bland-tasting root is
virtually pure starch, a simple carbohydrate not much different than
pure corn starch. Plants construct starches from carbon dioxide gas
obtained the air and hydrogen obtained from water. There is no
shortage ever of carbon from CO2 in the air and rarely a shortage of
hydrogen from water. When the highly digestible starch in manioc is
chewed, digestive enzymes readily convert it into sugar.
Nutritionally there is virtually no difference between eating manioc
and eating white sugar. Both are entirely empty calories.
If you made a scale from ideal to worst regarding the ratio of
nutrition to calories, white sugar, manioc and most fats are at the
extreme undesirable end. Frankly I don't know which single food
might lie at the extreme positive end of the scale. Close to perfect
might be certain leafy green vegetables that can be eaten raw. When
they are grown on extremely fertile soil, some greens develop 20 or
more percent completely digestible balanced protein with ideal
ratios of all the essential amino acids, lots of vitamins, tons of
minerals, all sorts of enzymes and other nutritional elements--and
very few calories. You could continually fill your stomach to
bursting with raw leafy greens and still have a hard time sustaining
your body weight if that was all you ate. Maybe Popeye the Sailorman
was right about eating spinach.
For the moment, lets ignore individual genetic inabilities to digest
specific foods and also ignore the effects stress and enervation can
have on our ability to extract nutrition out of the food we are
eating. Without those factors to consider, it is correct to say
that, to the extent one's diet contains the maximum potential amount
of nutrition relative to the number of calories you are eating, to
that extent a person will be healthy. To the extent the diet is
degraded from that ideal, to that extent, disease will develop.
Think about it!
Next: Lessons From Nutritional Anthropology
Previous: The Confusions About Diets And Foods