Wait a minute. What else is there?
The food industry is dutifully putting fats back into our processed foods as they take out carbohydrates, especially sugar. (1) This is in accord with the latest mantra of the experts. There still are many foods advertised as “low fat,” though, in accord with the round of dietary recommendations of the experts that came just before the new low sugar rules.
So if we want to avoid that whole sticky wicket just eat lots of protein. Our bodies are mostly made of protein and you can burn proteins for energy too. You could survive eating almost nothing but protein. Some have recommended this strategy.
But after you finish growing and unless you are repairing after big injury or surgery you need only tiny amounts of protein. Traditionally protein made up only a small part of humans’ diets because it is expensive.
When you eat proteins to build your body you have to eat the right mix of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins because you can make some of them from any others of them but some you can’t. The so called essential amino acids have to be eaten.
But high protein diets maybe bad for your health because they cause more weight gain by increasing more lean body mass without reducing fat mass and increase insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and insulin that shortens your life. (2)
So what’s a mother to do?
There are certainly specific dietary guidelines that can make a difference. Things like don’t eat trans-fats and eat the DASH diet and decrease salt if you have high blood pressure and there are specifically good food choices for high blood cholesterol problems. Our rules about vitamins and minerals are a little more accurate and don’t seem to vary a lot over time. In the case of the dangers of protein it may by just some or only one of the amino acids that cause all the damage.
So it’s complicated. But it is also simpler if we could get off the merry-go-round of the relative proportions of the 3 food constituents of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org or phone-354-6605.