There needs to be some simple rules to follow if you want to successfully navigate the current food landscape out there where so many foods are making you fat and sick.
So let’s get into the details of the top 12 food rules:
Food Rule #1
Carbohydrates don’t need to be eliminated… they are not inherently “bad” in reasonable quantities. But grains and processed sugars in particular should be minimized. So to make things simple, you will be leaner and healthier if you get most of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables instead of grains and processed sugar.
The biggest problem with grains, aside from the abuse to your blood sugar regulation system (pancreas and insulin sensitivity), is that grains contain a lot of anti-nutrients which prevent your body from absorbing some minerals, as well as gluten and other substances that cause chronic gut inflammation. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other tubers have less problems in terms of digestive system inflammation than grains do.
What do I personally do?
Well, I avoid grains as much as possible, except on 1 cheat meal per week. That will always be a meal dining out, so that we’re never tempted with breads and cereals in my house. I eat whole fruits (never juice) post workout only, veggies daily and might have a sweet potato once or twice a week.
Food Rule #2
Focus on quality protein sources such as wild game, wild fish and seafood, grass-fed meats, and free-roaming organically fed eggs, while trying to avoid most farmed meats and farmed fish that were fed mostly grains and kept in unhealthy “factory farm” environments.
Food Rule #3
Most people need to be more aware of the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of the food they eat. The ancestral human diet of the Paleolithic era appears that it had a ratio of approximately 1:1 to 2:1 omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats. The current average western diet contains anywhere from 20:1 to 30:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. This is a major problem and one of the causes of degenerative diseases.
In order to balance this out better, you need to AVOID corn oils, soybean oils, cottonseed oils (or anything cooked in these oils), and minimize grain-fed meats and farmed fish that were fed grains. Instead, focus on wild fish, grass-fed meats, grass-fed dairy, free-range eggs, as well as other foods that can help you get more omega-3’s like chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and fish oil and/or krill oil, which are vitally important sources of DHA and EPA.
Take note that animal sources of omega-3 fats are MUCH more powerful to your health than plant
sources of omega-3’s like walnuts, chia, and flax. This is because animal sources of omega-3’s already contain DHA and EPA already converted whereas plant sources don’t, and your body is very inefficient at converting plant sources of omega-3 fats to DHA and EPA.
Food Rule #4
Aside from processed sugar, if I had to pick 3 of the WORST foods in the average western diet that would be most important to start avoiding, it would be corn, soy, and wheat, and their derivatives such as corn syrup, corn oil, soybean oil, soy protein, etc. Do you want to hear an appalling statistic about what the average person eats… Currently, the average adult eating a typical modern western diet in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, etc consumes approximately 67% of their total caloric intake from only 3 foods — CORN, SOY, AND WHEAT (and their derivatives).
Keep in mind that ancestral humans have historically eaten over 80,000 species of plants, animals, and fungi throughout human history, yet modern humans are getting 67% of their calories from only 3 foods. That’s a problem!
Food Rule #5
Beware of hidden calories and inflammation-causing ingredients in condiments and dressings.
Most people don’t realize just how many calories and metabolism damaging high fructose corn syrup they are ingesting in things like ketchup, salad dressings, cocktail sauce, marinades, etc. For example, 1 Tbsp of ketchup has 5 grams of sugar (usually from HFCS), but the average person uses 2-4 Tbsp of ketchup with a typical burger and fries meal. That’s anywhere from 10-20 grams of EXTRA sugar just from the ketchup alone, and not even counting the sweetened drink that most people have with the meal too.
Be a label reader and avoid HFCS!
Food Rule #6
Speaking of sugar, most people don’t realize that they are addicted to sugar, and just how bad sugar is for your body internally. I hear people say things all the time when eating candy or drinking a sweetened drink that “oh, it’s just sugar, I can burn it off easy”. Oh, if it were only that simple.
That’s right… not only does sugar make you fat, it’s one of the direct causes of diabetes, heart disease, as well as feeding cancer cells. Avoid sugar as much as possible with the exception of a small amount of natural sugars in fruits.
Food Rule #7
Butter vs margarine?
I have no idea why anybody is still debating this… I use grass-fed butter, but I would NEVER even touch margarine… not even the so-called “healthy” margarines, which usually still contain inflammatory soybean or corn oils. REAL butter is the only answer in this case.
Food Rule #8
Egg whites vs whole eggs?
Once again, I have no idea why anyone is still debating this. Most of the general population has still not gotten the memo that egg yolks are actually the healthiest part of the egg, with over 90% of the micronutrients and antioxidants, and 100% of the fat soluble vitamins that are so important for our health. Why anybody would only eat egg whites and avoid yolks is beyond comprehension. And no, the dietary cholesterol in eggs is not bad for your heart… in fact, it increases your good HDL cholesterol.
Food Rule #9
Pay attention to your Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is one of the most important substances in your body. It’s one of the single most important things in your body that control your hormones as well as your immune system. If you get sick often or have hormone imbalances, it’s quite likely that the cause is linked to low vitamin D levels.
Unfortunately, it’s estimated that almost 90% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Get your blood levels of vitamin D tested. Your goal should be blood levels between 50-70 ng/ml, where hormonal balance and immune function seems to be maximized. Sadly, most people typically clock in with levels in the 20’s or 30’s or lower, and these sub par levels can cause a lot of health problems.
Mid day sunshine is the most important source of vitamin D as your body produces vitamin D from a reaction with oils in your skin and UVB rays from the sun. Fatty fish, egg yolks, and organ meats are the best sources of dietary vitamin D, but it is hard to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, so small doses of daily mid-day sun is also important for your health (without burning).
Food Rule #10
Along with vitamin D levels, this is one of the single most important things you can do for your health. Your “microbiome” in your gut is made up of TRILLIONS of microbes in total and hundreds of types of these friendly probiotics. These serve so many more vitally important functions in your body than most people realize.
Probiotics are equally important to your immune system as your vitamin D levels. Probiotics are your first line of defense in keeping pathogens at bay and preventing sickness. They’re extremely important for your digestion too.
Food Rule #11
Avoid the unknown health consequences of eating genetically modified foods. Again, going back to the principle that we are most adapted to eating what our ancestors ate for almost 2 million years, that list of foods obviously did NOT include genetically modified foods, since these “frankenfoods” weren’t included in the human food supply until the 1990’s.
There are still no long term health studies proving that GM foods are safe to eat.
Food Rule #12
Lastly, enjoy your food! And enjoy good company with food. Don’t just mindlessly eat food in front of the TV. Studies show that people unknowingly eat more calories and gain more weight when they mindlessly eat in front of the TV. Instead, focus on your meal instead of a distraction…savor each bite you have. Pay attention to each bite.
Enjoy the flavors and the aroma.
Please share these food rules with all of your friends and family! They will thank you for helping them to think about food differently now and enjoy better health.
Committed to YOUR fat loss success,