We continue our conversation about healthy lifestyles and today we will look at two more theories, namely the concept of the main nutritional factor and the concept of separate nutrition and incompatibility of products.
Proponents of the theory of the main food factor emphasize the primary provision of the body with any one or at least several food substances. All other components of food are considered minor or simply ignored.
Naturally, this approach leads to the fact that some irreplaceable food components disappear from the diet. Another fact speaks of the inconclusiveness of the concept of the main nutritional factor: some diets of this method contradict each other, for example, one diet excludes eggs from the diet, the second – apples, etc.
I can’t say for sure who is the founder of this concept, but I know that the most popular within its framework are the teachings of macrobiotics and the diet of the American doctor D. Jarvis. The word “macrobiot” in Greek means “long-liver.” The doctrine of macrobiotics originated in Japan. Adherents of this theory believe that a person can provide longevity with the help of certain foods under conditions of complete exclusion from the diet of others.
Macrobiotics believe that it is necessary to observe the correct ratio in the diet of sodium and potassium, as well as to ensure the mandatory intake of alkaline equivalents in the body. However, they recommend avoiding foods rich in acid equivalents. In their opinion, the correct metabolism and normal functioning of body cells depend on these ions and the optimal alkaline environment in the tissues in this case. All this ensures good health and longevity.
There are several options for the macrobiotic diet. For example, one of them suggests eating mainly cereals, excluding dairy products and meat from the diet. But studies even of adults who followed this diet found the symptoms of vitamin D and C. It should be noted that the concept of the main nutritional factor dates back to the last century, when the role of many nutritional factors, including vitamins, was not yet known.
It often happens that various techniques of this concept are passed from hand to hand as a diet for weight loss. But you and I are literate people and we must understand that such theories contradict the theory of proper balanced nutrition. Dr. D. Jarvis, for example, considered honey to be the main food factor, and apple cider vinegar, in his opinion, was generally a universal remedy. At one time this theory was very fashionable in our country.
Jarvis believed that due to the high concentration of potassium ions in apple cider vinegar, it is simply necessary and useful for the body, because potassium is the most important mineral element in the activity of the cells of the body, and a modern person receives an insufficient amount of potassium from food. But the analyzes showed that there is much less potassium in apple cider vinegar than, say, in cherries, pears, peaches, apricots, dried apricots, potatoes, turnips and even cabbage.
In contrast to macrobiotics, Dr. Jarvis reduces the issue of organizing nutrition to ensure that the body is provided with acid equivalents, the
source of which is the same apple cider vinegar. Macrobiotics have proven otherwise. Maybe the truth is somewhere nearby. The acid-base balance must be maintained at an optimal level. The main thing is to remember that the absence of irreplaceable components in the diet or a prolonged imbalance of nutrients leads to the occurrence of various diseases.
Modern nutritionists have nothing against honey, on the contrary, just like Jarvis, they recommend using it as often as possible and, if possible, replacing sugar with it. But it should be noted that honey goes well with other products of both plant and animal origin.
Nobel laureate American scientist L. Pauling suggested daily include in the diet up to 2 g of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The daily need for this vitamin is 70-100 mg. High doses of ascorbic acid increase the protective functions due to an increase in the synthesis of a number of biologically active compounds, for example, glucocorticosteroid hormones. According to L. Pauling, ascorbic acid is the best way to prevent cancer and colds.
However, surveys of people who used ascorbic acid in very large doses for a long time showed that they had certain diseases. Some formed kidney stones (urolithiasis), others developed gastrointestinal upsets, others raised their blood cholesterol, which certainly led to the development of atherosclerosis. When prescribing high doses of ascorbic acid, doctors do this taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient and if there are indications in each case.
The ancestor of the theory of separate nutrition was an American scientist Herbert Shelton. He believed that protein foods should be taken separately from carbohydrate and fatty. This is because the stomach mainly processes protein digestion in an acidic environment. Gradually, Shelton’s theory of separate nutrition grew into the theory of the incompatibility of certain products.
According to this concept, products such as meat, fish, milk, cottage cheese are incompatible with bread, flour products and cereals. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, berries, sour fruits, vinegar, mayonnaise, should not be combined with protein and starchy foods, since, according to proponents of this theory, they destroy the pepsin of the stomach. As a result, protein food rots, and starchy food is not absorbed.
Adherents of the concept of separate nutrition recommend eating sugar and sweet fruits separately from all other foods. Sugar is absorbed in the intestines without lingering in the stomach. If fruits are eaten for dessert, then they, remaining in the stomach, cause fermentation and decay, which contributes to the occurrence of gastritis.
We know that in nature there are no pure proteins, fats or carbohydrates. Almost all products contain several components. Even meat, which is considered the main source of protein, has less than a fifth of protein. There is much more fat in it than protein. Therefore, it is difficult to deliver proteins or carbohydrates separately to the body with food. All the components necessary for its vital activity enter our body simultaneously.
Digestion and absorption of food occurs mainly not in the stomach, but in the intestines.
Digestive juices contain a variety of different enzymes and are always ready to digest food that has many components. The simultaneous intake of amino acids, fatty acids and glucose into the bloodstream facilitates the body’s synthesis of its own proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This is more expedient, since the absorbed substances enter the body gradually. With separate nutrition, any factor, for example, glucose, enters the bloodstream quickly and in large quantities, which makes it difficult to assimilate, contributes to overloading the enzyme systems that are responsible for this process.
Finally, food lingers in the stomach for several hours. Therefore, it does not matter whether you ate proteins at the beginning of the meal, and then carbohydrates, or vice versa. Under the influence of peristalsis, all the contents in the stomach – both food and gastric juice – are thoroughly mixed, and only proteins will begin to be digested in it. No rotting of carbohydrates in the acidic environment of the stomach will occur in a short time. On the contrary, pepsin acts precisely in an acidic environment, and with an alkaline reaction, its activity decreases. Everyone knows that in people with low acidity of gastric juice, protein food in the stomach is much more difficult to digest.
However, the theory of separate nutrition has its own rational kernel. Although it should be noted that this is not a discovery by the authors of this concept, but a well-known fact. This is moderation in nutrition, recommendations to eat more vegetables, milk, and combine vegetables with fats.