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MARTHA324's Photo MARTHA324 Posts: 9,626
5/14/19 5:00 P

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It can be hard. Just read an article recently by Dr. Nestle and I think the gist of it was that it is very hard to get good data on diet: people misreport what they eat and there are so many variables that influence our health like exercise, sleep, stress, genetics, gender...the list goes on. so just because a group eats the Mediterranean diet for example, they might be in high stress jobs and get little sleep. Their results will be different from people who live in Spain and have a relaxed life and eat this kind of diet.

For me, I keep it simple following Michael Pollan's advice to eat "real food, less of it, more plants." That has been my guiding principle for years and it's working.

That might not work for everyone and we all have to find our way.

Persistence is more important than perfection.

Don't assume your freedoms are assured.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.


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ENGINEERMOM's Photo ENGINEERMOM Posts: 1,184
5/14/19 11:19 A

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The good news:
Addressing high blood pressure through lifestyle change is pretty straight-forward: Less salt, more aerobic and anaerobic movement. So in terms of addressing your specific health issue, there is consensus, and it's pretty well supported through research - eat less salt and move your body hard enough to sweat for at least 30 minutes regularly.

The bad news:
Short version: humans are complicated, and the kinds of tightly-controlled studies that would really allow researchers to make definitive statements about nutrition either are completely unethical (imagine a study where kids were randomly assigned to a particular family and raised on an extremely strict diet) or simply impossible because of the role food plays in our culture.

Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, severely overweight? Designing diets to treat these conditions is harder. The low-fat craze that consumed the late 20th century has been shown to be not nearly as helpful as it was originally billed, and in some cases actively harmful.

Humans are different from the animal models used to study nutrition, and we're different from each other in ways that are just barely starting to be researched, let alone understood.

We're just starting to research how the gut biome interacts with the rest of the body - there's some evidence that the specific microbe growing in your intestines have impacts on resting metabolic rate, hormone levels, mood, even mental health.

There are so many variables relating to food that making recommendations is hard - what might be a very healthy, supportive diet for one person may be actively harmful in another. That's one way in which one food item can have such divergent research results.

For a group of people who have naturally high metabolisms and robust insulin sensitivity, eating a fairly high-carb diet (50-60% of calories from carbs) may be completely fine, even ideal if they are also quite physically active. For another group of people, eating that high-carb diet on a regular basis is putting excess stress on an endocrin system that is barely coping as it is, pushing those folks towards diabetes.

High blood cholesterol was associated with increased risks of heart disease (the jury is still out on whether high blood cholesterol *causes* heart disease, or if the body produces excess cholesterol as a coping mechanism to inflammatory conditions that lead to heart disease - meaning high cholesterol isn't a cause, but a warning symptom).

Dietary cholesterol used to be the main target of blame for high blood cholesterol, from the simple logical argument that if you eat more cholesterol, it must show up in your blood. This came out as "EGGS ARE BAD!" Then more research was performed, and it turns out dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol - our own bodies make most of what's in our blood. The next target was saturated fats - they seemed to be associated with increased blood cholesterol. That turned into "MARGARINE IS GOOD, IT HAS LOWER SAT FATS!" Turns out, trans fats really drove blood cholesterol levels up, meaning margarine is actually worse for you than butter.

Then more research was done, and now there seems to be evidence that animal-based saturated fats are not good for blood cholesterol levels, especially dairy-based sat fats, but plant-based sat fats are fine, and may be helpful.

After literal years of my own research, relying on my biochem husband to explain some of the more technical stuff when it comes up, my general consensus boils down to:

Eat when hungry, stop when full.
Plants first, meat/dairy as flavoring.
Aim for 30-30-40 protein-carb-fat, focus on fats from unprocessed plant sources (avocados, nuts, oils that aren't heavily-processed, nothing hydrogenated)
Everything in moderation.

This works for my body, with my medical stuff (mild depression, genetically high cholesterol, pre-diabetic, overweight) and activity level (6 days of exercise a week, training for sprint triathlons and 100-mile bike rides).

I have a friend who is a yoga instructor and trains for Iron Man regularly, and he eats an entirely vegan whole foods diet - ends up with more carbs and less protein than my body seems to prefer, but it works for him.

My BIL was/is (work in progress) quite obese and has been doing keto under a doctor's supervision, and that's been working for him. My sister vacillates between lower-carb vegan and meat-based low-carb diet (she eats both and mixes things up, just happens to enjoy vegan food).

My mom eats very low salt, and low fat, via WW. She has high blood pressure, and is very sensitive to salt (retains water if she eats more than a pretty minimal amount). Her diet works for her.

You have to just try different things, and figure out what works with your body. That may or may not be the same diet that works for your friends/family/neighbors/coworkers, and that's ok.

Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.


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NIRERIN Posts: 14,704
5/3/19 6:33 P

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The first thing to remember when researching on the internet is that anyone can put up just about any information they want, make it look good and other people will run with it from there on out. The second thing to remember is that most studies start out as small studies, about a specific thing in a specific subset of the population over a short amount of time. The smaller the sample, the shorter the time and the more specific the subset the easier it is to come to a generalization. The problem is when those studies are expanded the generalizations tend to wash out a bit with a larger and more diverse sample size over a longer period of time. Which is to say that there isn't one right way to eat for everyone and there aren't a lot of foods that are such poor choices that they cannot be redeemed.

Dark leafy greens seem like a great choice, but for people with certain medical conditions or on certain medications they will do more harm than good. A study of the general population would yield an overall benefit from an increased consumption of dark leafy greens while a study of that particular subset would show an increase in dark leafy greens as being detrimental. Same item, different people, different results.

-google first. ask questions later.

SLASALLE's Photo SLASALLE Posts: 17,433
5/3/19 6:13 P

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It's definitely all about the source you're using and making sure it's a reputable source. Kind of like all the fake news out there right now running around.

SparkPeople is my primary source, then I move to Mayo Clinic and other well-known reputable places.

Good luck!!



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URBANREDNEK Posts: 12,545
5/3/19 11:14 A

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Is "healthy" eating a confusing subject? It sure can be!

A few things to keep in mind when looking at the various recommendations:

- There is a great deal of difference between the various types of "studies" (observational, cohort, number of participants, length of time, etc.), so you have to look at the type of study and how it was conducted to determine how much "weight" you give the conclusions.

- The great thing about the scientific process is that it keeps questioning and testing existing hypotheses and theories - which sometimes confirms them, and sometimes turns them on their head! Changes over the years in recommendations and understanding are a good thing, since it means that scientists are continuing to question old results and test with new technologies and approaches, and aren't just spouting old dogma.

- New technologies and methodologies are showing that there are far more differences in the microbiomes of human digestive systems than formerly thought - and that these may have a far greater impact on overall health than even the human genealogy differences. This means that there is even less of a chance that there is a single "healthy" approach to diet for the majority of humans, and that we need to be able to adapt our choices to best suit our own individual combination of genes and internal bacteria.

With these points in mind, it really makes sense to work with our own health team (doctors, nurses, registered dietitians) to figure out the dietary approach that is best suited to our own bodies, our own health histories, and our own gut responses.

While there are some basics that seem to apply to a majority of people, such as fulfilling vitamin and mineral and fibre needs with primarily vegetables, the response of an individual to grains, nuts, legumes, various fats, and dairy is going to need to be determined by that individual.

For yourself, with your new diagnosis of high blood pressure, you should get your doctor to refer you to a Registered Dietitian and work with them to determine what your best choices might be. While waiting to get in, take the time to track your normal eating and activities and note your blood pressure at various times through the day, along with how you are feeling, how soon after a meal you are hungry again, which foods make you feel more or less satisfied, and what your energy levels are a couple of hours after eating. This information can help the RD see what kind of responses your current choices are having in your body, and can help both of you decide on some first changes to try.

Try not to be intimidated by the apparently contradictory info out there - and just keep in mind that not all info applies to all people! Work with the pros on what is suitable for YOU, and find a way of eating that you really enjoy and that makes you feel good. Oh - and find yourself a bunch of fun activities that will give you both cardio and strength fitness gains, since that will have as much (or more) of an impact on your blood pressure as your food choices.

Sir Terry Pratchett: "Science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. It is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good."

"The Inuit Paradox" ( discovermagazine.com/2004/oct/inuit-
paradox
): "...there are no essential foods—only essential nutrients. And humans can get those nutrients from diverse and eye-opening sources. "

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LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 31,144
5/3/19 8:48 A

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Healthy eating is not scary.... incorrect and/or biased information on the internet is. Most are out to sell you something!

Research on CREDIBLE sites.


"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
~ Randy Pausch

"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."
~ Art Turock

"We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved, there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good."
~ 7 Years in T
DARCY-B's Photo DARCY-B Posts: 6,262
5/3/19 7:51 A

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I read SP articles about nutrition unless it is from a medical source I recognize.

Darcy



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SPARK_COACH_JEN's Photo SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 67,125
5/3/19 6:25 A

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Kris has given you some good advice. You can drive yourself crazy with all of the different diets and healthy eating theories out there. By using reliable sources of information based on peer-reviewed research, it helps cut down on a lot of that. In general, a balanced diet with minimally processed foods will go a long way to keeping you healthy.

Coach Jen

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." Mary Pickford

"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch."
SLIMMERKIWI's Photo SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (329,420)
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Posts: 31,698
5/3/19 4:00 A



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I've just clicked on the link from my mobile and my computer and it is going through o.k.

Nuts will damage you health IF you are allergic to them, OR have a health condition they necessitates you to avoid them. Olive oil isn't bad - especially Virgin Olive Oil. It has proven to help people and eating nuts/oils at the same time as some nutrients can actually help them to be absorbed properly.

A lot of what is on the internet is NOT peer reviewed and in fact, is often quite inaccurate. Stay with accredited sites such as Mayo Clinic, SP; American Heart Foundation (or other countries with similar sites) Diabetes Societies, etc.

Kris

Co-Moderator Dealing with Depression
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=953


Team Leader Essential Tremors :-) (Benign and Familial) www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=30225


Co-Leader Crohn's Can't Stop Me
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=17464


I am not a Dr - please check with your qualified Health Professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan


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OD19G6 Posts: 2
5/3/19 2:38 A

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Well some would say that you have to be careful about certain fruits and vegetables that you eat.

Some is saying that all oils is bad including olive oil.

And some would say that nut will damage your health.

And all this is with their system/scientific students.

This is the insanity that I am talking about.

By the way I tried to put in a link but the site won't let me.

SLIMMERKIWI's Photo SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (329,420)
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Posts: 31,698
5/3/19 2:11 A



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I find healthy eating to be very easy. It is because the bulk of my food is fruit/vege, with some lean protein, pulses (lentils etc.) wholegrains and healthy fats via nuts; avocado; Rice Bran Oil; Olive Oil; and oily fish such as sardines.

If you eat processed foods, perhaps the best thing that you can do is to slowly remove them from your diet and replace them with the above, and eat seasonally.

Below is a link to some articles on SP re Nutrition Basics. The articles are written by appropriately qualified people and are peer reviewed.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/resource_cent
er.asp?id=35


Take care,
Kris

Co-Moderator Dealing with Depression
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=953


Team Leader Essential Tremors :-) (Benign and Familial) www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=30225


Co-Leader Crohn's Can't Stop Me
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=17464


I am not a Dr - please check with your qualified Health Professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan


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OD19G6 Posts: 2
5/3/19 12:57 A

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I was looking around the internet for healthy eating and nutrition information. But what I've been finding lately is the healthy eating and nutrition information is divided and that's been a very scary thing to me lately. The foods that we always known as good some say they they're bad and the foods that were always known as bad some say they're good. I mean what's going on here, and the people that are on the opposing view points always have their own systems/scientific studies to back up their information. How can one food item have two different opposing scientific studies? Like I said this is very scary to me because I've been diagnosed with high blood pressure recently and I'm trying to eat more healthier but how can I eat more healthier if the health
information is possibly divided?

I ran across this youtube called: This is why eating healthy is hard. While the video is humorous it tell a very scary message in my opinion.


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