Wednesday, 21 May 2008

How crucial is your diet to your health?

I find most things in diet and exercise aren’t as cut and dried as they’re first presented. So I’m generally not really bothered by it all. Just eat the best you can, be as active as you can given your workload etc and make sure you have enough time to recover. I think I could put money on there being a relationship between increased risk of diseases of affluence and increased pressure as markets become more and more competitive and competition for jobs increases.

Basically as we exercise less and have less time to kick back and recover then our bodies just build up damage. I haven’t thought it all through but that’s where I’m leaning because so much of the research has been based on correlations for so long and I’m not sure that we’re that much closer yet to understanding our bodies properly. I’m thinking maybe another 50 – 100 years

So I'm not going to completely answer the question that started this post. The purpose of asking it is to inspire debate and also ask
  1. do we know enough about diet yet to know what's perfect for us?
  2. is diet the be main thing we should be worrying about?
Question 1: Do we know enough about diet?
I don't think so. I do a lot of reading around and I've also tried out lots of different approaches and theories to see for myself. The only thing I've learnt is that as long as I'm eating enough and I get enough unrefined foods, that's not to say they all have to be un-refined, then I feel pretty damn healthy. I do however read all sorts of things that contradict the 'known' and accepted wisdom. What's important to me is that these studies or theories hold weight, even if it's just that they can't be disproven at this point, I'm prepared to wait for the dust to settle but that's going to take years.

Right now I can tell you about many things that haven't required good nutrition to fix. Which is why I'm convinced diet is only part of the solution and it may not be as big a solution as many people indicate. For example in Scott Kuses article http://www.modernforager.com/blog/2007/03/08/five-worst-dietary-trangressions/ he points out that high cholesterol or specifically ldl levels may be the bodies response to heart disease rather than the cause. That's an interesting point and I feel a wise insight. I don't know if this holds up yet given other evidence but I've got a good feeling about it (How scientific is that).

So do we know enough about food to know exactly what we should be eating. My logic is that if we don't 'know it all' then I'm just gonna be happy doing the best I can rather than spending all day worrying. There are more important things in life.

Fundamentally I feel no we don't know enough. We've only just decoded the genome but we don't yet know what it all means. For every answer we're given there are many criticising or questioning it's validity with research to back up their claims.


Question 2 Is diet all we should be worrying about?
We often focus too much on one thing because it's so complex to consider diet as part of a wider picture. I feel we have to accept that this is the case whether it's difficult or not and find ways to analyse these multiple factors at the same time.

I just feel our bodies have been keeping themselves healthy for thousands of years. Modern science, understood correctly has helped enormously in treating specific diseases and provides a valuable insight into our bodies and minds. I feel the greatest benefit comes when you combines a knowledge of food and diet, with daily rhymns and their importance including sleep, activity, work. Bascially we aren't isolated beings. We live in societies we have demands placed on us and we place demands on other people. These things can and do affect us and can have a greater impact than diet.
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