Finding the truth about health and nutrition requires some effort and a set of filters which I’ll describe in more detail later in this post.
Which Is the Healthiest Diet?
The healthiest diet is one that prevents chronic disease and promotes recovery from existing chronic disease. The science and the clinical results prove beyond any doubt at this point that a whole food plant-based diet low in added salt oil and sugar is the best diet to achieve this. It’s the only diet that’s been proven to reverse the causes of heart disease and type II diabetes (and many other chronic diseases), and not just suppress the symptoms.
Paleo diets ‘can’ be healthier than the standard UK diet (SUK) or the standard American diet (SAD), but they still fall way short of the benefits which can be achieved from a whole food plant-based diet low in added salt, oil and sugar. Also, there is no medium or long-term evidence that they can reverse the causes of any chronic diseases.
Keto diets can be extremely dangerous in the medium to long-term and offer only symptomatic benefits such as weight loss partly due to dehydration, and other benefits which can be better obtained from various forms of fasting.
When you study the last hundred years of diet and nutritional research including clinical trials, clinical results and population studies etc., it becomes clear that whole food plant-based (where animal foods are limited to approximately 5% or less of the overall diet) diets consistently provide the best outcomes in terms of health and longevity.
So-called ‘vegan diets’ (veganism is a philosophy not a diet) can be extremely health promoting and beneficial when they are whole food plant-based, however many vegans eat huge amounts of junk food which is just as detrimental to health as SUK or SAD junk food.
I’ve covered the whole food plant-based diet in more detail in the following posts :-)
- How to Eat Healthy on a Budget – Whole Food Plant-Based
- Best Anti-Ageing Diet and Telomere Protective Lifestyle
- Vegan vs Paleo vs Keto vs Whole Food Plant-Based – Which Is Best for RA
- On a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet – What Can I Eat?
- Dietary Fibre Benefits – Reduced Inflammation and Chronic Disease Prevention & Treatment
- How Not to Die – Live Long and Prosper – and Avoid Chronic Diseases
- Lose Weight on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and Reduce Pain and Inflammation
- Whole Food Plant-Based Diet For Rheumatoid Arthritis
How to Find the Truth About Health and Nutrition?
There’s an overwhelming amount of information about health and nutrition on the web, on television, and in books and magazines etc. My own feeling based on forty years of study, research and personal experience is that at least 95% of the information out there is incorrect and a great deal of it is extremely dangerous.
There are so many fad diets out there it’s no wonder the majority of people are confused about health and nutrition and that’s the point; without this confusion people wouldn’t follow these useless fad diets in the first place and they wouldn’t be so quick to consume junk food and pharmaceutical drugs. The fact that there isn’t a consistent and truthful message spoken by most of the media, so-called ‘experts’, health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and agricultural industries is what creates the confusion in the first place, which then provides people with the opportunity to develop and promote these insane fad diets which offer no long-term benefits to health and and don’t help in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
To cut through some of this confusion I use a number of filters which help me to decide whether or not to take a particular source of health or nutritional advice seriously. It requires a lot of common sense too of course; for example if something seems too good to be true – it probably isn’t true! :-) I’ll list my filters below and hopefully they’ll help you to uncover truthful and beneficial sources of health and nutrition advice and information, and cut through some of the confusion and ***lsh*t :-)
- If you’re considering a particular diet, find out if it’s ever been proven to reverse, treat or prevent at least one chronic disease (or obesity).
- If you’re listening to someone provide nutritional or health advice, check their attitude and delivery. Do they generalise a lot and make sweeping statements, or do they regularly refer to scientific studies or decades of clinical experience.
- If you’re watching someone who provides nutritional or health advice on YouTube, notice if they are surrounded by bottles and boxes of nutritional supplements and diet books. If they are, they’re probably more interested in selling products than helping you with your health concerns.
- Nutritional and health sources/gurus/authors etc., come in many flavours. For example, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, clinical practitioners, scientists, researchers, bloggers and authors with opinions, bloggers and authors who’ve actually suffered through a chronic disease, and so on. Personally I find scientists, clinical practitioners, researchers, and actual chronic disease sufferers to be the most factual and beneficial sources.
- Whenever a nutritional or health advice source makes a claim don’t just take it at face value, go and look for research papers such as epidemiological studies to confirm the claim, for example by using PubMed.
- I give more credence to nutritional or health advice if the person providing it is a clinical practitioner with more than ten years experience in actually helping people to treat and reverse their chronic diseases. For example: Dr Michael Klaper and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn
- You will often see nutritional or health advice written in the form of lists such as: “Ten benefits of …”, “Five reasons you should take …”, “Six superfoods you should eat every day!”, and so on. If the claims in these lists are referenced to scientific studies (and not newspaper, magazines or online media sites) they may be worth further research. However, if there are no references and if the person isn’t a clinical practitioner with at least ten years experience, then you should find alternative sources.
- A lot of health and nutritional gurus have built a business and a following based on a particular approach, and when this approach is threatened or disproven by the science as new research comes to fruition, they often fail to change their approach to accommodate the new facts. Sometimes this is due to ignorance but in most cases it’s because their whole lifestyle and business model is based on a particular approach, and they are locked in to that approach because if they change, they will lose credibility and may have to begin again. Obviously under the circumstances, these people are of no benefit to you or me as truthful or beneficial sources of nutritional and health advice.
- Even the best nutritional advice sources don’t know everything and in my experience they all stray out of their core experience and expertise. However, if you listen to and absorb knowledge from a broad range of credible sources while at the same time concentrating on each source ‘s core knowledge and experience, you will develop an extremely solid understanding of nutrition and the most beneficial diet and lifestyle (and its implementation).
- My last filter is a bit difficult to describe. It basically involves assessing a person’s genuine interest in helping others to recover from disease. When I’m watching a video, listening to a podcast, or reading a book to obtain nutritional or health advice/information, I’m always trying to judge the person’s motivation. Are they just trying to make money and promote products or are they genuinely enthusiastic about sharing the knowledge that they have in order to help those with chronic diseases. As I say this particular filter is difficult to describe and maybe it just has to be learned. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money it’s just that the priority should be the desire to help people, promote a healthy diet and lifestyle, and to keep up with the latest research and facts.
- Finally, I can give you some credible and reliable nutritional and health sources to get you started (in no particular order): Brenda Davis RD, Dean Ornish MD, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr T Colin Campbell, Dr John McDougall, Dr Michael Gregor, Dr Michael Klaper, Dr Doug Lisle, Dr Joel Fuhrman, Dr Neal Barnard, Dr Alan Goldhammer, Kim A. Williams, MD, Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND, Garth Davis, MD, Robert Ostfeld, MD, MS, Dr.Baxter Montgomery, Dr. Milton Mills, Linda Carney MD, Dr. Anthony Lim, Jeff Novick, MS, RD, Mic the Vegan, to name just a few. Reading what these doctors/sources have to say and watching their videos on YouTube is a wise use of time, whether you currently have a chronic disease or want to avoid developing one or more of them in the future. My favourites are: Brenda Davis RD and Dr Michael Klaper :-)
In summary; forty years of experimentation, experience and research (still ongoing) has taught me that a whole food plant-based diet low in added salt, oil, and sugar is the healthiest diet for preventing, treating and reversing rheumatoid arthritis (and other chronic diseases). The best source of nutritional advice and information comes from those who have successfully treated hundreds of patients for at least ten years, those who have (genuinely) successfully treated and reversed their own chronic diseases, well-designed clinical trials and studies with no conflicts of interest, and finally researchers who provide scientific or clinical references to support each point that they make.
Remember, there’s no ‘one’ doctor, author, or other single source of nutritional/health advice and knowledge who knows everything, or who is 100% correct. Each credible source has a core knowledge, experience and message, try to identify it and focus your attention there, because that’s where you’ll find the most beneficial advice and resources. For example, Dr Michael Gregor is probably the most credible and honest nutritional health researcher and is the best source by far for summaries of factual and unbiased scientific nutritional research. Dr John McDougall’s core message is to make sure you consume enough starches each day to provide for your energy needs, and he concentrates on making the whole food plant-based diet accessible to the widest range of people with the minimum of difficulty. Dr Neal Barnard has been very successful at treating and often reversing type II diabetes. Dr Joel Fuhrman strongly promotes the idea of nutritional excellence – obtaining the maximum amount of high quality nutritional components per calorie consumed. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn is famous for treating and often reversing heart disease, and if you suffer from heart disease you should definitely listen to what he has to say.
All of these excellent sources overlap to a large extent in their core messages, expertise and experience, but each of them excels in a specific area of whole food plant-based diet and lifestyle nutrition, health and medicine.
“Truth and lies” composite images x 3 are public domain