How To Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
Start with your plate. Full of vegetables, some amount of fruit, and a small but adequate amount of high-quality meat or seafood? Grains and starches like potatoes and sweet potatoes in small amounts? Good.
The FDA recommends at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Research suggests that eating even more than 5 servings and eating more vegetables than fruit is connected to better health outcomes and longevity.
When starting a new diet, it’s best to get individualized direction but in general and per meal; 2 + servings of vegetables, 1 serving of protein (meat, poultry, seafood, or beans if vegan/vegetarian), oil/fat (about 25% of daily calories), and optional: 1 serving of fruit and/or 1 serving sweet potato. Nuts and seeds are great snacks in small amounts.
Are refined carbohydrates like rice, wheat, quinoa okay? Some people need refined carbohydrates like grains to regulate blood sugar, mood, and to prevent weight loss. Are dairy products okay? Unfortunately, a lot of dairy is either high in fat or sugar. Added sugar? Sugar is pro-inflammatory and linked to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
Unless needed to revive someone from low blood sugar, sustain energy in cardiovascular training and competing, or prevent dehydration; added sugar is not needed to survive. For a special treat, choose a natural sweetener like honey and maple syrup.
They come and go but is there any merit to them? All the different diet protocols and recommendations in the media can cause a lot of confusion. The most popular diets right now are ketogenic (Keto) and paleogenic (Paleo). Both of these diets recommend no grains.
The Keto diet is especially low in any carbohydrates allowing for only 5-10% carbohydrate per daily calories. This includes vegetables! The Keto diet can help some people to lose weight but because the keto diet can worsen some health conditions, it’s important to work with a doctor before starting this diet.
The Paleo diet, one of our favorites, has no limits on carbohydrates (in the form of vegetables). It allows for meat, poultry, and seafood in moderate amounts and nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes in small amounts. The Paleo diet is a plant centered diet and has been shown to promote healthy blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, improve weight management, improve cholesterol, improve satiety, and lower all-cause mortality.
Athletes and people with anxiety or depression can often benefit from eating foods with a higher carbohydrate load (pasta, bread, rice, quinoa). Diabetics and people with hypoglycemia can’t always follow a no grain diet.