Why We Thrive on Different Diets

The debate of whether raw, vegan, paleo, high fat-low carb, low fat-high carb, Atkin’s, fruitarian, macrobiotic etc. is better, is a complete waste of time at best. Our body is constantly evolving and changing depending on our phase in life, environmental triggers, toxic exposure, stress levels, age – and obviously also our gender. 

Some people thrive on a diet high in fish and lower in red meats - for autoimmune conditions you want to get more fish to recover. A lot also depends on our race and our country of origin - our genes have adapted to the diet of our ancestors. I.e. Japanese will typically fair better on a diet high in fish, rice, seaweed with little wheat and red meats, people of African decent will want to focus more on starchy vegetables and game meats, while Scandinavian typically want a higher ratio of fatty fish, oats, rye and other grains.

Some people thrive on a diet high in fish and lower in red meats - for autoimmune conditions you want to get more fish to recover. A lot also depends on our race and our country of origin - our genes have adapted to the diet of our ancestors. I.e. Japanese will typically fair better on a diet high in fish, rice, seaweed with little wheat and red meats, people of African decent will want to focus more on starchy vegetables and game meats, while Scandinavian typically want a higher ratio of fatty fish, oats, rye and other grains.

The type of thinking that one macro-nutrient group is bad, or needs to be cut for all people, is overly simplistic. 

We have different needs depending on our current health state.

I.e. if you have adrenal exhaustion and cut carbs drastically, you will further accelerate adrenal burn out – and that will lower your metabolism and lead to weight gain in the long run, regardless of whether you experience a weight loss in the short run.

Men usually do well with red meat in their diet to keep testosterone levels high and balance their mood, sex-drive and metabolism - this is because testosterone needs cholesterol and zinc to be produced. Red meat is sensitive to heat-induced damage of the proteins, which is why it is important HOW you cook your red meat in order to benefit from it. Also, people having undergone surgery do well with adding some red meat in post-surgery to heal quicker due to higher levels of zinc needed during this time. If you have detoxed for too long, and your body is anemic, you will often find yourself craving red meat as well. Begin to listen to what your body needs and feed it accordingly.

Men usually do well with red meat in their diet to keep testosterone levels high and balance their mood, sex-drive and metabolism - this is because testosterone needs cholesterol and zinc to be produced. Red meat is sensitive to heat-induced damage of the proteins, which is why it is important HOW you cook your red meat in order to benefit from it. Also, people having undergone surgery do well with adding some red meat in post-surgery to heal quicker due to higher levels of zinc needed during this time. If you have detoxed for too long, and your body is anemic, you will often find yourself craving red meat as well. Begin to listen to what your body needs and feed it accordingly.

Note that a high carb diet, such as most raw, vegan and fruitarian types will also exhaust adrenals, leading typically to a short burst of feeling better as you clean up your diet, but then providing no fuel for hormone maintenance and stable neurotransmitter balance.

Often leading to an almost overnight metabolic shut-down, where people suddenly experience brain-fog, depression, no sex-drive and weight-gain.

Yet they are eating the same foods as they have been for the last couple of years – but suddenly their body just can’t take it anymore, the adrenals shut off. Your adrenals are like your body’s batteries, so this is pretty bad news, obviously.

What we are looking for shouldn't be food religions and quick fixes. 

And we should all be flexible enough in our eating habits to accommodate our biochemistry needs regardless of fitting into one specific type of fad-diet. Don’t get me wrong though: I get it. We are humans and we like systems, rules and black-white thinking. We like to understand everything. We like to put things into boxes and label them. And if something doesn't fit in that box, well, then there must be something wrong with that item. 

All this overly emotional attachment to one diet regime is very concerning. 

Why is it so important to promote one single diet as the cure for all, when it is obvious for anyone who has studied biochemistry that food will speak differently to different genes and have a different outcome depending on the engine it is put into. Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that humans are different – we think different from one another, we function differently, and we like different foods. 

We know that women are biochemically very different from men.

Women are biochemically differently wired than men - and that needs to be taken into account when finding what works for you food wise.

Women are biochemically differently wired than men - and that needs to be taken into account when finding what works for you food wise.

Not that our significant others were ever in doubt, but hey. Women require a different balance of serotonin, estrogen and oxytocin to thrive in the skin they are in. Most diets simply don't cater for this hormonal difference. Which is quite frankly a disaster in the long-run, because women will often eat a diet made for men to men - and this screws up our hormones and appetite/hunger switch big time. Why we see significant more women than men struggle with carb cravings, eating disorders and weight loss resistance.

Every health issue and disease presents unique biochemical patterns, where foods need to match that to truly work for it and not against it.

There is no one solution, apart from beginning to learn your body and biochemistry and match that with the right strategy for YOU.

When we begin to listen to our bodies – tap into that body-mind-soul connection, there is a lot of inner wisdom that will shine through, that we can use to adjust our foods to match how our body and mind is feeling – based on our own body’s feedback and perhaps some lab testing to understand our current biochemistry a bit more in-depth. When we truly thrive on what we eat, we have found our perfect formula and not some one-size-fits-all that wreck havoc on our body constitution and compromise our health.

Food is pleasure, food is love - and embracing diversity and our uniqueness, is allowing our soul to grow and our body to heal, bite by bite.

References:
Mol Psychiatry 2003;8:646-53. A systematic review of association studies investigating genes coding for serotonin receptors and the serotonin transporter: II. Suicidal behavior. Anguelova M et al.

Obes Res. 1994 Jul;2(4):348-54. Metabolic differences in response to a high-fat vs a high-carbohydrate diet. Bandini LG

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. May 13, 1997; 94(10): 5308–5313. Differences between males and females in rates of serotonin synthesis in human brain. S. Nishizawa et al.
J Am Pharm Assoc. 2001;41(2). Effects of Estrogen on Cognition, Mood, and Degenerative Brain Diseases. Shepherd JE.