Once again, we are being told that we need “balance” in our diets (without anyone actually stating what that is or how to achieve it), following a report indicating that high protein, low carbohydrate diets increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and atherosclerosis (Daily Express, 27th June 2012).
The call for balance is being put forward by a spokesperson from the British Heart Foundation, who states:
“Eating a mix of all food groups, rather than cutting anything out completely, will help you to stay healthy inside and out.”
But is balance, quantified in this instance as eating from all food groups, appropriate? Not so, according to Swedish researchers, who have definitively concluded that their traditional diet, high in dairy products, is one of the main causes of their country’s alarming incidence of osteoporosis. This “food group”, which incidentally was only accepted onto the food pyramid about 100 years ago, following extensive lobbying by the dairy industry in many countries, is one to be avoided if we hope to maintain skeletal health. Likewise, processed carbohydrates and refined sugar, which are somehow now considered to be a food group (via lobbying from the sugar industry no doubt), are a group to be avoided if we want to remain healthy “inside and out”, whatever that means.
Do we therefore want to eat from every food group? I would say no. The healthiest people in the world do not. Those who have successfully reversed chronic degenerative disease do not. Those interested in peak performance and maximum longevity do not. If eating from all food groups is the way to achieve balance, I’ll stay very much off balance, thanks. How about you?