… The Real Diet …
the “Next Best Thing”

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
February 26, 2018 [printfriendly]




The Real Diet - the "Next Best Thing"


Fads come and go – especially dieting fads. It’s always the “next best thing” that replaces the previous “next best thing”. These diets seem to work to some extent until they don’t. Or, the fad diet you’re on makes you sick. What do you do? Move onto the “next best thing”?


Some of these diets are based on facts. Most of them are based on hype and anecdotal justifications. When a celebrity endorses a new fad diet, the masses rush in to become a part of the “next best thing”.


This style of dieting sets you up for one experiment after another. The Real Diet, which I’ll discuss near the end of this article, should complement your body’s requirements to survive and thrive. It should be a lifestyle diet and not a “next best thing” diet.



Timeline of Diets

Rene Lynch wrote an excellent article, which sets up a timeline of major diet crazes.[1] There are many diets that have gone in and out of favor over the decades. I’ve summarized some of the earliest ones as well as some of the more bizarre ones below:


1830: One of the first “diet crazes” was created by Reverend Sylvester Graham. He emphasized a high-fiber diet based on whole grain breads. His work inspired the manufacturing of graham flour and graham crackers.


1863: William Banting was an Englishman who was obese. To improve his own health and lose weight, he developed a low-carb diet and wrote about it in “Letter on Corpulence”. He was the first to popularize a weight-loss program based on limiting carbohydrates, especially starchy and sugary foods.


1925: Of all things, there was The Cigarette Diet.  Lucky Strike, a brand of cigarette, created an advertising campaign with the slogan, Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”.


1928: The Inuit Diet became popular with the publication of “Studies on the Metabolism of Eskimos” by Peter Heinsbecker. His book emphasized eating meat, raw fish, and whale blubber.


1930: The Grapefruit Diet was a 12-day crash diet. It required eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice at each meal.


1934: The Banana and Milk Diet was created by a medical doctor at Johns Hopkins University for his patients with diabetes. The diet consisted of eating four to six bananas and drinking three to four glasses of milk every day for two weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, patients would eat only meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, avoiding other fats or carbohydrates.


1950: The Cabbage Soup Diet is still popular today. It’s a 7-day diet that consists mainly of fat free cabbage soup, eaten two to three times a day. Other specific foods are allowed as the diet progresses over the course of 7 days.


1962: The Drinking Man’s Diet was published by Robert Cameron. He suggested dieters should count carbs and not calories. He stated that his diet, “… would let you have two martinis before lunch, and a thick steak generously spread with Sauce Béarnaise, so that you could make your sale in a relaxed atmosphere and go back to the office without worrying about having gained so much as an ounce.”


1975: The Cookie Diet was the baby of Dr. Sanford Siegal, a physician who specialized in treating overweight patients. He created a low-calorie cookie made with his secret “hunger-controlling” formula. These cookies were touted to keep appetite down and calorie-count low. There was a scheduled plan for eating Dr. Siegal’s cookies during the day along with a low-calorie meal for dinner.


1976: The Sleeping Beauty Diet suggested that being sedated is necessary to help people lose weight. It recommended taking sedatives when hungry to avoid eating too much. In essence, a person would sleep instead of eating.


1981: Judy Mazel created The Beverly Hills Diet to help her lose weight. It was based on the actions of enzymes on various foods as they were being digested. The diet detailed when specific foods could be eaten and in what combinations they should be eaten.



The Real Diet

Enter The Real Diet.


It’s not a fad at all; it’s a lifestyle. It’s my “slogan” for what humans have been eating over the course of evolution – different foods based on different locations throughout the world.


For the last 200,000 years or so, modern humans – our primal ancestors – have learned to survive and thrive on the foods that were endemic to the areas of the world where these people lived. The DNA of our ancestors slowly evolved to become the blueprint, which guides our lives today. Our gut microbiome, which is continuously evolving more rapidly than our human cells, plays one of the most important roles in our overall health.[2] Our human cells and our gut microbiome require specific foods to provide the nutrients for us to survive and thrive, just as was true for our primal ancestors.


There is enormous variation in the foods that can provide our body with everything it needs. However, over-processed foods, ingested chemicals and medicines, and an overly-antiseptic lifestyle have caused our cells and our microbiome to malfunction.


Fad diets are not the answer. The “next best thing” should be The Real Diet. We need to return to a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory way of eating supported by a lifestyle embedded with efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and reduction in all forms of stresses on the body.



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Crazy-Good Living

Your Gut. Your Health. Your Choice.®
10 Action Steps

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      September 13, 2016   [printfriendly]

Dr. Danenberg LogoI created my slogan, Your Gut. Your Health. Your Choice.®, two years ago. I wrote about its meaning and how the gut microbiome affects autoimmune diseases, specifically periodontal disease.


Seniors & Their Gut Microbiome

On my recent search of PubMed, I uncovered new peer-reviewed articles demonstrating the interrelationships of the gut microbiome, the immune system, and aging. HERE. HERE. HERE. HERE. Senior individuals in their 70s and older demonstrated a disrupted and damaged microbiome resulting in a compromised immune system.


Science has only scratched the surface with this research. We don’t know what we don’t know.


I don’t know what surprises will be revealed in the future, but I continue to be amazed. Although no randomized controlled trials in humans will be done to prove what I have written below, I am going to connect the dots and make assumptions by which I intend to live. While I understand there are normal biological changes as we age, I believe the microbiome of seniors is a result of decades of not supporting and not nourishing a healthy gut microbiome. I don’t believe a damaged microbiome is a result of biological aging. I believe seniors could have an enhanced immune system if they attended to their microbiome earlier in life.


The diet of civilized societies throughout the world has contributed to chronic disease. The foods, environment, and lifestyles of a modern, sedentary, and nutritionally deficient way of life have damaged the gut microbiome and have damaged the lining of the gut. Chronic inflammation has emerged from this damage to become the central cause of practically all degenerative diseases.


As we age, the compounding affects of a damaged gut eventually manifest as a decline in the quality of life. While it may seem that these degenerative states of poor health are part of the normal aging process, I strongly believe these late-in-life manifestations originated decades earlier from the disruption of the gut microbiome. Advancing gum disease also is related to continued disruption of the gut microbiome.


Action Steps

When I speak to groups of lay people as well as health professionals, I start by asking the question, “If you knew a train was coming at you, would you get off the tracks?” The answer to this question will determine the future quality of your life. In essence, the question is, “Will you be proactive?”


From everything I can assemble from all the peer-reviewed research I have been able to read, the dots I have connected translate to these 10 proactive action steps:

  1. Eat a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet.
  2. Avoid processed foods.
  3. Eat organic if possible and only products from wild caught or pastured animals that feed naturally.
  4. Include organ meats and animal products that contain skin, tendons, and other collagenous parts.
  5. Include significant amounts of prebiotic fibers in the form of fruits and vegetables as well as probiotic microbes in the form of various fermented foods.
  6. Avoid exposure to chemicals and medications that could damage the human microbiome.
  7. Encourage getting out into Nature and into “dirt”.
  8. Exercise efficiently, which should include high-intensity interval training, strength training, some aerobic activities, and lots of non-aerobic movement.
  9. Sleep restoratively, which usually means about 8 hours a night.
  10. Learn and practice methods of stress reduction – chronic stress is damaging to the microbiome.


I believe these action steps will maintain a healthy gut microbiome as we age. If you could start this way of living immediately and if you could continue it for the rest of your life, you might be able to support a microbiome that will support your quality of life.


Be proactive! Implement them ASAP!


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Our Foods May Be Killing What Sustains Us

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      July 11, 2016   [printfriendly]

Our Foods May Be Killing What Sustains UsWe may be irreversibly damaging our gut microbiome, and we may not know it. The fact is that we need our gut bacteria. We could not survive without our microbial partners, which outnumber human cells by as much as 10:1 (100 trillion microbial cells to about 10 trillion human cells).


So, What’s Up With Our Food?


A chemical, which is being sprayed on most crops that are grown conventionally on the farm, is getting into our food supply. Then, we eat it. Although this poison may not damage our human cells, it does destroy some important functions of our gut bacteria. Damage to our gut microbiome makes us more susceptible to a host of chronic diseases. We become the victims without knowing what hit us. A bigger problem is that chronic diseases may not raise their ugly heads until decades after we have continuously ingested this toxic substance.


The chemical is glyphosate – better known by its brand name of Round Up, which is manufactured by Monsanto. Everyone knows about Round Up; we use it to kill those pesky weeds that make our yards look ugly. Everyone knows about Monsanto; it’s a company whose goal is sustainable agriculture to meet the needs of a growing global population. All good causes. But, the outcome of Round Up on our food supply is fostering disaster in our bodies by way of damaging our healthy gut bacteria and disrupting our normal digestion. Unfortunately, the full extent of damage that glyphosate might be creating in our bodies is still unknown.


The danger of glyphosate residue on the chemistry necessary for our gut bacteria to function has been known for almost 40 years. Here are two published studies in 1980 that detail the exact biological pathway that describes how glyphosate destroys bacteria. HERE. HERE.  The shikimate pathway, which was referenced in both articles I cited, is not part of human cellular function. But, read this next sentence very carefully. This pathway is critical for our gut bacteria to perform its numerous necessary functions for us to survive.


Damaged gut bacteria affects our entire body including the health of our mouths. All our brushing and flossing will not offset the damage that could occur if unhealthy and infectious bacteria overtook the healthy balance of bacteria in our mouth. There are many published research papers that prove how the state of our gut bacteria affects the state of our mouth bacteria. Here are just two: HERE. HERE.


What To Do?


I often ask my patients, “If you knew a train were coming at you, would you get off the tracks?” In my opinion, the prudent action is to be proactive. Prevention is so much easier and cheaper than treatment later on. Eat foods that are organic. Avoid all processed foods that include any artificial additives. A nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory diet, which is a Paleo-type diet, is an ideal choice. Since chronic disease is the result of cumulative effects over the course of years or decades, the sooner we start a proactive approach, the better.


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