We all act as if there is some expert who knows what the perfect BALANCED human diet is, which if followed would lead to optimal human health. Such expertise doesn't exist. Nor does that perfect diet.
For me the biggest change in my thinking has been about my personal diet. From lots of carbohydrates, and often the more the better, twenty years ago, through learning to eat less bread and potatoes, to my current diet of zero grains, and only carbohydrates from vegetables and a little fruit. The reason for changing was always in seeking the most healthy diet.
My wife frequently cooks vegetarian meals. For her for many years that was an ideal she aimed for, though we have always eaten at least one substantially meat meal a week, often chicken, but not always. We lived by the low fat, and minimal red meat rule, but we were getting fatter. We have many friends who are vegetarians, one whom has a heart problem. It never occurred to us that his diet might be the cause of a cardiovascular problem. With the new knowledge I've gained recently, I now wonder. Perhaps the lack of fatty acids or some nutriment that can only be gained from eating meat, is the cause of problems in that suspect heart. I don't know.
Prof. Tim Noakes - 'Medical aspects of the low carbohydrate lifestyle' (Sep 2014) (45 min)
Professor Timothy Noakes introduced me to the concept of low-carbohydrate diets two years ago. It seemed too fantastic, so I didn't rush in and try it. Prof. Noakes is a South African professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town. He has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons and is the author of several books on exercise and diet. He is known for his support of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, as set out in his book "The Real Meal Revolution." This best selling book has just been published beyond South Africa. There is an excellent supporting web site here.
Here is a review I wrote for Fishpond: "This really is an excellent book about how to get your weight under control and how to live more healthy life. Prof. Tim Noakes writes an very informative essay about the science that supports low carbohydrate and high fat diets if you want to lose weight. He also makes it clear that high cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease. In fact higher cholesterol is associated with better brain function and longer life.
The bulk of the book contains recipes by Jonno Proudfoot, that are a delight because he teaches us how to successfully use fat in our diets and how to avoid carbohydrate."
For high quality science, this rather technical book is the best I know. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Written by Prof. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek (2011). Dr Volek is probably the world leading researcher on the use of low carbohydrate diets.
If you are interested in sports performance try this version; The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Written by Prof. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek (2012).
Dr. Stephen Phinney - 'The Art and Science of Low Carb Living and Performance' (Sep 2014) (45 min)
Steve Phinney is a physician-scientist who has spent 35 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation. He has held academic positions at the Universities of Vermont, Minnesota, and California at Davis, as well as leadership positions at Monsanto, Galileo Laboratories, and Efficas.
Dr. Phinney has published over 70 papers and several patents. He received his MD from Stanford University, his PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT, and post-doctoral training at the University of Vermont and Harvard. His work has been neglected, but Dr Jeff Volek, conducted many experiments based on the work of Dr Phinney, and they now work closely together.
Dr. Jeff Volek, on the physiological effects of very low carbohydrate diets. (Dec 2013)
Obesity is a condition of excess fat accumulation in the adipose tissues where the person is literally stuck in storage mode. The most efficient approach to accelerate the body's ability to access and burn body fat is to restrict dietary carbohydrate while increasing fat intake for a period of several weeks, after which fatty acids and ketones become the primary fuel at rest and during submaximal exercise. The coordinated set of metabolic adaptations that ensure proper inter-organ fuel supply in the face of low carbohydrate availability is referred to as keto-adaptation. This presentation will discuss the physiological effects of very low carbohydrate diets with an emphasis on their unique effects on both features of metabolic syndrome and human performance.
Dr. Jeff Volek is a Full Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut where he teaches and leads a research team that explores the physiological impact of various dietary and exercise regimens and nutritional supplements. Through more than a decade of research dedicated to better understanding low carbohydrate diets, Dr. Volek has accumulated an enormous amount of laboratory and clinical data on how carbohydrate restricted diets affects human physiology, and acquired a unique knowledge pertaining to the individualization and formulation of safe, effective and sustainable low carbohydrate diets.
Dr. Stephen Phinney - 'Achieving and Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis' (Sep 2014) 20 min
This one is for the really dedicated. Help for those who intend to use a ketogenic diet.
If you want an interesting historical read that puts the nutrition debate in perspective, Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health, (2014) by Denise Minger is a good choice. Denise Minger, is a journalist, but she has good research skills. Here are two well written reviews Michael R Eades, MD., or the Weston Price Foundation.
There's a wealth of very good resources online too many for me to evaluate. I've created a page of links here. I've tried to group them in a sensible way.