Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
July 31, 2017
Sometimes, we take things for granted. Sometimes, we don’t question what we have been taught. Sometimes, we get proven wrong. The battle for health is figuring out what is myth or reality.
Josh Billings (the 19th Century humorist) put is so clearly: “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”
I’ve done extensive research of peer-reviewed medical articles. Based on these publications and my personal experiences, I have come up with some practical conclusions. Each statement below “in bold” used to be considered a reality by the scientific community but now has been determined to be a myth. My thoughts are in the form of “Consider This”:
“Fat makes you fat”
Consider This: Carbohydrates make you fat because of excessive insulin production. Healthy fats satisfy your hunger and provide fuel. Generally, ingested fat will not become storage fat unless insulin is excessive from too many carbs, or you don’t move your body.
“Running 5 miles a day is good heart exercise”
Consider This: Running five miles a day is chronic exercise because the body does not have enough time to recover. Chronic exercise produces oxidative stress, is unhealthy for the cardiovascular system, and discourages fat burning. In contrast, a healthier exercise program might consist of: (1) Lifting heavy things a couple times a week and (2) Sprinting once every 7-10 days. Each only would take ten to twenty minutes of your time. In addition, a couple of hours of aerobic exercise spaced out during the week along with physical movement throughout each day will round out a healthy routine.
“Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day”
Consider This: The most important time to eat is when you are hungry. If your hormones are in balance, you may actually not need to eat until noon or later. When you do eat, each meal conceptually should be a plate of food partitioned like this: (1) More than half the plate should include non-starchy veggies either raw or sautéed in healthy fat; (2) Less than a quarter of the plate should be some type of free-range or wild-caught protein including its natural fats; and (3) Less than a quarter could be made up of some of these – some nuts or seeds, deeply colored fruit (such as berries or citrus), or a small starchy vegetable.
“Whole grains have plenty of nutrients”
Consider This: Grains contain elements that irritate the gut and interfere with normal absorption of necessary minerals. Grains came into the human diet only about 10,000 years ago, but the human gut never developed sufficient enzymes to digest them properly. In contrast, all the nutrients our bodies need come from eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and animals from head to tail.
“Processed vegetable oils are healthy”
Consider This: Processed vegetable oils are mostly inflammatory and are chemically unstable. When you eat these, they potentially create serious health problems. In contrast, fats from coconut, avocados, olives, animals that are pastured and/or allowed to eat that natural diet, and butter from grass-fed cows support healthy cell function.
“Artificial sweeteners are good for you and help you lose weight”
Consider This: Artificial sweeteners are toxic to the body. In addition, the brain senses the sweetness of these sweeteners, which could stimulate insulin production.
“Eggs are bad for your heart”
Consider This: Free-range eggs provide excellent nutrition for the body unless you are allergic or sensitive to eggs. Some people, who have reactions to eggs from chickens that eat an unnatural diet and are confined to cages, do not have a problem with eggs from pastured chickens. The cholesterol in pastured eggs is rarely a problem–especially if the egg yolk is soft rather than scrambled or hard-boiled.
“If your stomach does not hurt, you don’t have gut problems”
Consider This: Most disease begins when the intestinal lining becomes overly permeable (called a leaky gut), and stuff that should never enter the blood system starts invading. A person does not have to have digestive symptoms such as gas, pain, constipation, or diarrhea to have a leaky gut. To help prevent, control, or eliminate chronic disease, one must make the gut healthy first.
When I treat my periodontal patients, I explain what’s myth or reality. I help my patients understand that it is a myth to assume that flossing and brushing will guarantee a healthy mouth. The reality is that nutrition, lifestyle, and a healthy gut play a dominant role in making a mouth healthier.