The following is a transcription of a Facebook Live for your convenience. Please either read the transcription below, or watch the video itself! Enjoy!
[DIET TRENDS DISSECTED - with Beakers & Botanicals
EPM: So today we wanted to talk about something that we get asked all the time about, and that's different diets, so different options.
AL: Yes, there's so much information; misinformation; confusion. So many people in different ‘diet camps’. Extreme this way ‘don't eat meat’, extreme this way ‘only eat vegetables’, don't eat like so there's so much information out there that we kind of wanted to do a segment on this topic.
EPM: And so many documentaries.
EPM: Every time a new documentary comes out, we get flooded with messages about different types of diets. So people are becoming increasingly overwhelmed about what to do with their diet, and yes. So we thought we would kind of be, just give really brief overviews of a bunch of different types of diets.
AL: Yes, kind of go through all the main ones that you'll hear about that are kind of trendy on the internet or in documentaries, and kind of just give like sort of the state of the broad evidence of what it could be useful for, what it's kind of not so great for. And also kind of a bit of our own clinical experience with some of these talking to patients, or even ones we've tried because we try a lot of these diets ourselves
EPM: Yes, we do them all, pretty much. But I think it's really important to note that you know we're going to get to these conclusions after, but as much evidence as there always is for one diet and you'll see everybody's telling me you need to do this.
There is always a counterpart, and there will always be a camp of people that are 100% opposed to that diet. So it's really hard to kind of follow the online and social media movements behind different diets because as much as you'll see something being promoted, there is always a counterpart to that and that's what we're really finding.
AL: Well almost any time we do a diet and post about it, we get into these conversations with people that absolutely love that we're doing that diet, and they decided that is the diet. And then there's a whole group of people that hate us for doing that diet.
And it's like very extreme; we're kind of in the middle. I don't hate people that do vegan diet; I don't hate people that do carnivore diet. We're just trying to figure out what works for each individual and it's pretty varied what can work for each person.
EPM: Oh yes, completely. And I think with the emergence and this is where I think the whole reason behind all the diet hype right now is that there is an overwhelming amount of you know digestive disruption that's happening. People's guts are just really messed up.
AL: Why is that? And that's what we were talking about. A good starting point is to talk about what is the Western diet? Or like people talk about junk food or eating crappy food, and that's kind of talking about the Western diet. But like what does that actually mean in terms of what is in there that's bad for you. Well, you can kind of pinpoint it down to like certain little groups.
EPM: So exactly refined sugars, carbs, saturated fats and low in fibers is kind of what we look at is a typical Western diet, high in really processed foods.
AL: Yes. We kind of call it the big four or five like sugar dairy, gluten or grains, and alcohol. Like a step one a lot of times its sort of moving towards paleo, which is reducing processed foods like that. Which are high in a North American diet, as well as like really high meats. Which I'm not against meat, but there are definitely people who are over-consuming animal protein as well.
EPM: So I think that's why we wanted to do this. Because people a lot of the times they're reaching, we're trying to do more restrictive diets because there's a lot of issues happening with the gut, people are not getting answers from their doctors, from their gastroenterologist so then they're looking online. Okay, what diet should I do to help myself, because they're really struggling and they're not able to tolerate a lot of foods? So let's get into it then.
AL: Yes. So we've kind of defined the Western Diet, high in processed foods, sugars, a lot of refined grains, probably more meat than we need.
EPM: Not enough vegetables, and fast-food, crappy you don't have to digest it though.
AL: Yes, very little fiber. That's kind of how we would define Western diet, like kind of pinpointing those.
EPM: Any pros to that diet?
AL: I mean you're getting your calorie requirements, people aren't starving but everyone's also overweight and bloated and has bad digestions. People aren't dying and starving, but everyone's overweight and tired and has brain fog and all these digestive issues. That's the state of the Western diet.
EPM: So we would not recommend that diet.
AL: No. That's kind of a good starting point like what's kind of wrong with the Western diet? We've kind of said those are like the main factors that we know are bad for you, how do we start shifting that? And I kind of mentioned the starting point that we use at NutriChem would be sort of a paleo or some form of paleo.
EPM: Some form of paleo. So paleo stands for the Paleolithic Diet.
AL: It's trying to replicate human hunter-gatherers from the Paleolithic era when you were probably like roaming and just sort of eating plants and meat.
EPM: Yes, exactly. So basically what it is it's meat, vegetables, some fruits what you're cutting out.
AL: Well that's where we kind of get into, even within paleo there are different counts.
AL: Yes, but just so people are aware. If you look up you do your internet research and look up paleo, there are different versions. There's more like caveman paleo which is just meat and vegetables more, and no starchy vegetables. And then there's classic paleo which is meat, vegetables and then could even allow for some fruit.
AL: There are different camps within paleo, but basically it's meat and plants.
EPM: Okay, so what are we cutting out. So basically on paleo, that means no grains, no dairy, no sugar, no processed foods, no legumes, and no alcohol. The studies on paleo, so there are not that many studies on paleo, but there's...
AL: There's not that many studies on diet, there's not as many as we would like.
EPM: There's more now, they're all past 2015. They're all like kind of new now. But the areas that it is studied and its strengths lie in weight loss and metabolic conditions in terms of the studies.
So sustainable weight loss, so it's kind of like the Atkins era. How Atkins started where it was like a lot more meats and protein and low on the carbs. So this is kind of the new era of let's say the Atkins protein diet for weight loss. And metabolic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, weight loss or insulin resistance that sort of thing. And so I guess our opinion on it...
AL: I think it's a great starting point for people if you have a you know kind of crummy North American diet. Kind of getting rid of those processed foods right off the bat, like you're probably going to feel better. And this is kind of like the whole thirty if people have heard of the whole thirty. You do thirty days of basically this type of diet, a paleo type diet.
EPM: And that's key, it's the short term.
EPM: That's key. The way that we talk about diets, and we are going to be talking about diet it's not okay this is just how you have to eat for the rest of your life. The way we utilize diet is to shift your gut, break really strong addictions to grains and sugars. To see how good you can feel or really shift the gut microbiome. So when we're talking about oh we recommend this, oh we like this diet, not because we think this is the way people need to just eat period.
Again short term; these things are not studied long term. So my opinion, the major Pro in this is that there's no processed food. So immediately people feel better because they're not consuming processed food. And automatically when you take that into someone's diet, they now have to eat more whole foods, more vegetables, better-cooked meals that sort of thing. So I like it, it forces people into kind of shifting their way of thinking about food and cooking a lot more.
AL: Yes, I agree. Paleo for us is one of the starting points.
EPM: It's a good starting point. So yes that's our cons, what about cons?
AL: Well, I was just going to say another thing like yes, a lot of these diets we recommend for like a short term is like a reset, it's not how you have to eat forever. But I think paleo is one of the ones that would be considered more sustainable long term, that people do okay on for a longer time. If you were considering doing a more long term thing, I mean paleo is one of the more sustainable ones.
EPM: I agree, I totally agree.
EPM: It's difficult, people will go through withdrawal in the first week if you have more sugars and carbs in your diet, you will. You'll feel more lethargic usually, but it gets better.
AL: And it is restrictive in that you're not supposed to have any alcohol, for example. So it's a little bit different than like the Mediterranean, and you can have a little bit of red wine or something. Some days allow for like a moderate amount of like alcohol is a treat, whereas paleo, if you're kind of being strict, doesn't really allow for that.
EPM: So I guess the social component is a con.
AL: Which is always tough with diets. The social part of eating is always what's hard into one of these diets, for sure.
EPM: So next number two, keto.
AL: Very trendy right now.
EPM: Adams keto, he's not keto.
AL: Here's how it happened, I started very keto very high fat...
EPM: We both started keto.
AL: Yes, I did well with it. I lost a good amount of weight with it and I've been feeling good.
EPM: How much weight did you lose?
AL: Probably 30-40 pounds, pretty quickly.
EPM: I lost 40 pounds, but not like you did! haha
AL: Well that's after pregnancy. But yes, I'm not pure keto; I'm a low carb guy more. But I do eat more fat than the average person. But classic keto is 75 percent fat, about 20% protein, and about five to ten percent carbohydrates. It's a high fat, low carb. Historically, it's been very good for like epilepsy, seizure conditions.
EPM: Before we get into what it's studied in, you need to talk about the common misconceptions because I feel like a lot of people, I get this a lot. They don't understand the difference between paleo and keto, because they think Keto is high protein.
AL: Yes. So the issue with too much protein on a ketogenic diet is you'll actually knock yourself out of ketosis.
EPM: Keto is not a high protein diet, it's actually low protein.
AL: Yes, or moderate protein, twenty to thirty percent protein. Because your body can make echoes through a process called gluconeogenesis from protein. So if you're just eating like meat all day, almost going towards like a carnivore or like paleo kind of Acton's high-protein diet, you'll actually struggle to get into ketosis.
Which is kind of your goal if you're really going to do keto, because once you get into ketosis now your body is using fat as its primary fuel instead of carbohydrates. But if you take in too much protein, you won't get into that state. So you won't really get any of the benefits of kind of getting the smooth energy and the lack of ups and downs with carbs. If you eat too much protein, you won't get into ketosis basically.
EPM: Yes. So that kind of brings us into okay, where is keto studied? Like what are the areas that have research behind the keto diet?
AL: Yes. So it's right in the guidelines for certain forms of epilepsy.
EPM: For Seizure conditions.
AL: Yes. There's definitely more and more evidence for things like cancer because we know cancer loves sugar and love simple carbohydrates. So a lot of people are moving towards keto if they're going for cancer prevention.
EPM: Especially green, a lot of it is green, and central nervous system. That's where the research so obesity, diabetes, weight loss it's big. But more stuff again, because we were talking about keto being more of like a biohacking diet where you're manipulating your own metabolism for a specific purpose. So not just for...
AL: Yes, and the purpose is to get into ketosis. Which a lot of people are scared of, a lot of people will say ketosis oh that's starvation. Not necessarily, it just means you're using fat for fuel, which can happen by going with the keto diet and switch into mostly fat.
Your body will start to have to use that fat, or through calorie restriction. So calorie restriction getting into ketosis is harder on the body and harder on your psychology, then going with high fat and eventually making your body into like a fat-burning engine. It's different and less straining than ketosis by starvation.
EPM: Right. So yes exactly, but you can't get into ketosis. But I guess what we wanted to talk about was...
AL: Well previously we talked about some of the pros. And there are a lot of pros to keto even if you don't want one of those conditions. Like some people use it for brain fog, and weight loss.
EPM: Yes. Like any brain central nervous system, you're literally switching your fuel source for your brain. And we did have to do a whole other video on this, so think about that. So like more stuff coming out with migraines, but a refractory like no treatment is helping, Alzheimer's a lot of those sorts of things are kind of getting more into using keto, it's a therapeutic. It's not a diet because we want it, you know we think this is a great fuel source for people.
AL: A lot of the benefits it's low simple carb, its low sugar.
EPM: I disagree a little bit, is that it's actually the high fat for the central nervous system, like Alzheimer’s, all that sort of thing.
AL: Yes. But the strongest connection with what causes Alzheimer's is poor blood sugar control, diabetes and vascular dementia is related to high blood sugar. So to me, I think...
EPM: Because it's inflammatory to the brain.
AL: Yes. So I think the fact that you're just getting rid of sugars is huge, and then healthy fats are good. Some cons to keto?
EPM: Cons to keto on your digestive system, your nutrient levels.
AL: This also depends on how you do Keto too, some people are more plant-based keto which I think is a lot healthier. I don't like the keto where you just eat meat with cheese all day.
EPM: Whipping cream and bacon and that's for some people who are epileptic you really have to do that.
AL: But I also think they could incorporate some vegetables that are still low carb.
EPM: For sure.
AL: So it is hard on the digestive tract, especially when you first start keto. If you're using a lot of oils and foods, like a lot of people get along with stools and diarrhea that's common, MCT oil are the worst.
EPM: And you're not getting your potassium. A lot of your minerals and stuff you do, you do need to supplement with if you want to do it.
AL: Yes. Especially if you're shifting into ketosis you'll get like the keto flu that can actually be pretty draining on like electrolyte. So you have to be careful of like dehydration, you probably want to supplement with some potassium and magnesium when you're first getting used to ketosis.
EPM: Yes. And I guess this kind of leads us into our next diet that we want to talk about, and we were talking about this before. And another one of the reasons that people, you know it's not great for some people Scott, but some people will say I feel really good on keto like my digestive tract feels really good.
That's because they're really not eating a lot of what's called fodmap, so we are going to get into it. So sometimes the benefit on your gut for keto is actually not because of what you're consuming, but because of what you're not consuming. Which are the starchy, carbs rich, fibrous vegetables that can irritate some people's gut? So let's talk about the fodmap diet, what is it?
AL: Yes. So it's basically un-digestible carbohydrates that are like are fibers.
EPM: Fibro oligosaccharide, disaccharide, mono, etc. and polysaccharide.
AL: Yes. But basically like you know even though a lot of these are a healthy foods garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cruciferous vegetables.
EPM: Beans, legumes.
AL: They're often considered very healthy foods, and they are. They provide a lot of important nutrients and fibers. But for some people, those fibers can actually grow on healthy bacteria and disrupt the microbiome, and you get super gassy, super bloated when you cut those out. So vegetables aren't necessarily always good.
EPM: Yes. But it doesn't mean they're bad, it just means they're bad for certain, they're irritating for certain people. Because the bacteria in their gut literally fermenting them, because they're not digesting them, right? If you're not digesting your vegetables properly, it's getting all into your colon. Your bacteria have access to it, they're digesting it, it's releasing a lot of gas and that gas you know creates an osmotic balance in your gut and it'll draw water.
And so people feel like really bloated, really gassy. So fodmaps, the studies on this like low fodmap diet are this is the IBS irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease like Crohn's all that sort of thing. This is where fodmap really excel I guess, is where the research is all there basically. And people really aren't doing a low fodmap diet for weight loss, or cardiovascular health or anything. It really is all about the digestive system. And a lot of the other diets that we've already discussed keto and paleo tend to be quite low in fodmaps.
So a lot of the times, when you're doing the low grain, low-carb diet some people notice a really big benefit on their gut. Because it's just naturally taking out a lot of the beans and legumes that can really aggravate some people's guys. So yes that's a really big pro of the fodmap diet. But if you didn't have gut issues like gas bloating, bowel issues then it would be really hard to notice any difference I think with the fodmap diet.
AL: Yes. And I mean some of the cons are like you're cutting out a lot of sort of healthy vegetables
EPM: It's really hard and it's very difficult to manage. There's a lot of controversies if you can eat this not this, so it's hard to follow. The key with fodmap again like we've been talking about is its short term. So we only do fodmaps for a low fodmap diet usually like max for six weeks, and you really have to be reestablishing the gut.
Like really trying to get your digestive system coming back online, repopulating it with good bacteria and that sort of thing. So you can start to tolerate these foods again. So again this is a therapy, it's not a diet that people should just be following for no reason. It's something that is a therapy to treat IBS and irritable bowel issues.
AL: Yes. Fodmap is a pretty like specific diet for certain people.
EPM: And so good timing. So fodmap, now we're kind of getting into the next one we want to talk about is vegan.
AL: Which we recently attempted.
EPM: We recently attempted.
AL: And failed.
EPM: But I want to talk about the connection between vegan and fodmap because we're going to get into vegan. But when I have vegan, vegetarian patients that are really struggling with gut issues gas bloating, because they're eating so many fodmaps, they are eating a lot which is great for some people who can tolerate them.
But if your only protein source is coming from grains, beans, legumes, starchy vegetables that sort of thing. A lot of times their guts are like totally inflamed, but we cannot take away beans and legumes, right?
AL: Yes, because they just don't have a protein source.
EPM: Yes. We're really taking away a lot of the protein and their diet becomes very restrictive. So you know that's something to consider when we're talking about the vegan diet, is the possibility of other concerns that are arising that we can't shift because it's so restrictive in the first place.
AL: Yes. Some of the pros of vegan diet, and I get the ethics of you know having talked to vegans, I get it. And nobody thinks factory farming is awesome, and nobody thinks our treatment of Animals is great, I get the ethical side -
EPM: Some people don't think about that, they really don't.
AL: Some people do it for health - which I think is a little misinformed. Because in terms of like the nutritional part of it, unless you really know what you're doing, it is hard to get enough protein and amino acids.
Having said that, I also think people go way overboard of consuming way too much meat, so there's kind of a happy balance. Yes, I get the ethical argument of it, I don't really see it as nutritionally very sustainable.
EPM: I think you could say that about any diet though, I think it could be worse.
AL: I think vegan, in particular, is tough nutritionally, and I think some of the most unhealthy people we talk to sometimes are vegan. And they're not getting enough amino acids; they're not getting enough iron, B vitamins things that you get from animal products. I'm not saying you can't supplement it, I'm not saying you can't do it in a healthy way, I just think it's one of the hardest ones to do.
EPM: Yes, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. We're always recommending diets that are difficult and they're hard, but I think there is a lot of misconception. So with vegan, basically so the way that the way you break down different types of proteins is there's a hierarchy of a biologically active protein. So the protein sources that contain the most amount essential amino acid.
So there's a multitude of different amino acids that you cannot make, you have to get it through your diet, so there's nine of them. So a lot of the time, so soil is actually the only one that has all the essential amino acids in it or most of them, but you can get all your essential amino acids if you combine different vegetable protein sources. So where the research lies in vegan vegetarian diets.
We keep saying vegan, but the research often is lumped into vegan vegetarian and it is kind of broken down. But the research heavily lies in cardiovascular disease protection in cancers. Specifically colorectal breast prostate and lung. So those are the ones we're really drastically increasing your antioxidants and that sort of thing.
AL: And cutting out processed meals.
EPM: Any cutting out processed meals.
AL: Especially the process meets with like nitrates as a preservative, and the die in them, can is linked to cancer. Like process meats have a connection to colorectal cancer, so cutting that out is great.
EPM: Yes. But I think it's, what we were talking about is when you're getting your proteins from vegetable sources, you do have to consume a lot more carbohydrates obviously, because they're carbohydrate sources. So in someone who's only relying on one plant protein source, and they're not combining or they're eating you know just refined carbs and sugars that are vegan.
You know vegan, muffins, and cakes or whatever it is and pasta. And that's when we tend to see people having a bit of problem with weight management, blood sugar control that sort of thing because they're not combining all the different sources. So you have to be smart when you do it, but I think it can be done, no doubt.
AL: Yes. I will talk to like even our dispensary or clinic, I'll talk to a lot of vegans and you go through their diet. Like there's a lot of like bread and pasta, and not the right variety of naturals.
EPM: Of course, for sure. But immediately see like Western diet people, we do see that also. It's not a diet that, I mean I've never recommended it to anyone to be honest because we do work on the other unity inflammatory level of things. But I think it's important to recognize that we only see people that are struggling. So I don't ever see...
AL: The super successful.
EPM: I don't see any patients that are vegan, vegetarian that are thriving I guess let's put it. I only see the ones that are struggling and saying that are coming through. So obviously, and that's the same with any diet.
We're like everybody started so crappy they're all coming to us, but don't see the people that are doing well, and their digestive systems are doing well. So I think that's important to recognize, I think it's important to look at the pros and the cons. But yes, and then this will lead into the flip side of vegan. So as much as there's like vegan camps, and we did vegan. I struggled with it too, I ate more carbs than I'll ever eat. I was eating tons of like crackers and carbs.
AL: Yes. I had a lot of like carbohydrate ups and downs.
EPM: Ups and downs a lot, my energy was good but my brain fog was not. But again it was only one week, so can't really make any conclusions. The first week of any diet is always the worst. Okay, so moving on to the complete opposite a vegan. There is a new diet called the carnivore diet.
AL: It's not totally new like by geography some people are forced to leave to eat meat- the population of the Arctic for example.
EPM: But the Arctic is actually more keto because they eat lots of fat.
EPM: So there's really not a lot of research on this diet. I didn't find any clinical trials on it. Again, I think one of the reasons people like it is because there's no fodmaps in it.
AL: There's no process, there's no sugar, dairy, alcohol.
EPM: So you feel blood because of a lot of the stuff you're eliminating, I don't think it's because you're only eating meat. That diet we haven't done, it's the only diet we have not done. That's a diet I would not do, just because I wouldn't be able to stomach such meat in the morning all day. But yes, it's a diet that's out there; it's an extreme just like all the other. Actually no, the others aren't really extreme.
AL: My biggest one is like that's got to be hard on my digestion.
EPM: Yes. You're shifting the diet immediately without the fibers. Short-term if you want to really like aggressively reset your gut because you're just not tolerating any vegetables at all. Then if you're going to eat only like clean, good quality animal protein, then you know maybe a month to reset yourself and then really like to try to reintroduce some prebiotic foods like really easy ones on the gut so that you can start to tolerate these foods again. That would be my opinion on that.
AL: And then kind of the one that has probably the most evidence, Mediterranean.
EPM: Mediterranean diet always blows all the other diets out, because it's the oldest one that studied the most. So whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, poultry, moderate dairy, and good quality oils.
AL: So it's pretty moderate.
EPM: It's a pretty moderate diet, everything moderation.
AL: Well balanced.
EPM: Well balanced.
AL: You can have a little wine.
EPM: Culture around eating and food is emphasized, but that really dominates in terms of cardiovascular health. That is always the one you know for any heart disease, cardiovascular that is what is kind of more you know talked about as a long term. I think that's a long term goal is to get to the Mediterranean diet, you know.
AL: To me, the long term ones here that we've talked about are the Mediterranean, which probably is the most evidence and Paleo.
EPM: I don't even know if Paleo likes to be that strict with cutting out you know greens, like full-on long term. I don't know if we have to be that strict. I think moderation and being able to enjoy your food. Okay, so actually every single one of these diets actually, except fodmap and vegan are just like no refined sugar. I think that's like the key to all these diets basically.
AL: I think that's a big factor.
EPM: That's a big factor for sure.
AL: If you're going to do two things for your health, probably stop smoking cigarettes if you do smoke and get rid of sugar. Those are kind of the two.
EPM: Well that's really easy to say, stop smoking cigarettes.
AL: I'm not saying it's easy to do, I'm just saying if you can do it.
EPM: Yes. So sugars, processed foods I think are the top ones for my opinion.
AL: I think that's where you get a lot of...
EPM: Processed sugars, most of these not, yes okay.
AL: That's it.
EPM: All right. Well, hopefully, you guys found that it was really long, we had a lot of stuff to get through. Hopefully, you found it interesting. I guess the moral of the story is there's not one diet that works for everyone, even within the realm of each of these diets there are so many layers that you can get into in order to really individualize it based on what that person is presenting with, what that person's health goals are.
Is it weight loss? Is it cardiovascular health? Is it cancer prevention? So these things all need to be accounted for when we're talking about a specific diet. With always got health to me, really number one because the food is going through your gut. So we need to make sure you're digesting and absorbing them.
AL: Yes, you need to respect your microbiome.
EPM: You need to respect your microbiome, that's a good way to end.
AL: All right.
EPM: Have a lovely day everyone.
AL: Thank you, everybody, have a great day.