Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I'd been thinking about this for the last few days since a friend asked me this question. I've always advocated eating natural, if possible organic, foods and avoiding all processed foods. I still believe this to be the healthiest form of eating. Leaving out a lot of common types of foods does not seem natural at first. Grains, legumes and fruit are foods that we think of as healthy.
I can see two reasons to eat them in moderation or not at all even for healthy people without allergies.
1. Many fruits and vegetables as well as grains and beans are not the way they were in their wild state but have been selected for higher sugar levels and/or higher starch levels. In many cases they are also lower in fiber than their original counterparts. This is more obvious with fruits like apples where modern varieties are often much larger and sweeter but it is also true for berries, tropical fruits and even vegetables. Just take a look at a typical seed catalog and you'll find different varieties of carrots, corn, peas and other veggies described as "extra-sweet". This is obviously a selling point. In grains it is often the starch content that is much increased and the fiber content that is decreased.
2. Many people nowadays did not grow up on home-made food that is made from scratch. A lot of us have grown up on a mixture of fast food, frozen dinners, snack foods, cafeteria food and very few raw vegetables. Our body has suffered quite a bit for a long time from the resulting overload of corn, wheat and sugar which are the most common ingredients in processed foods. Many people appear to be quite healthy for a long time before obvious signs of diabetes appear and are pre-diabetic and undiagnosed. Eating low-carb for a significant time can be seen as a therapeutic diet to increase insulin-sensitivity in the body and restore it to normal levels. Depending on the person it might be possible to reintroduce some foods back into the diet once hormone levels including insulin have normalized.
For anyone who has never checked their insulin levels before meal time and an hour afterwards this might be a good thing to try.