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Healthy diets

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How to construct a healthy diet
Construct Daily Diet Plant based

Vegan sources of protein

Vegan Protein nuts vegetables

Healthy plant-based diets – “A diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.”



Changes to the American diet over the last century

Old American diet

* Near the start of the 20th century, Americans each ate about 120 lbs if meat per year. By 2007, we ate about 222 lbs.

* About 1913, Americans ate about 40 lbs of processed sugar per person. By 1999, it had increased to 147 lbs per person.

* About 1909, Americans ate about 294 lbs of dairy products per person. By 2006, that number was over double…605 lbs of dairy per person!!

* This information came from the companion book to Forks Over Knives.

Write about health effects due to these changes


How lose weight and stay healthy

Plant-based diet

This is not the same as vegan or vegetarian!

Give meals flavor with spices, not fats, oils, or sugar.

Think of high calorie density foods (nuts, avocado, oils) as condiments. So can you have a slice of avocado on a bean and rice burrito? Sure! But don’t sit down with guacamole and a bag of corn chips.

Calorie dilution allows people to fill their stomach with fewer calories.

caloric density of foods Calorie dilution.png

The China Study

The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, 2005

The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer. The authors conclude that people who eat a predominantly whole-food, plant-based diet—avoiding animal products as a main source of nutrition, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce, or reverse the development of numerous diseases.

The book is loosely based on the China–Cornell–Oxford Project, a 20-year study—described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology”—conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, and the University of Oxford. (Wikipedia)

Dean Ornish Diet – tba

Ornish is known for his lifestyle-driven approach to the control of coronary artery disease (CAD) and other chronic diseases. He promotes lifestyle changes including a whole foods, plant-based diet, smoking cessation, moderate exercise, stress management techniques including yoga and meditation, and psychosocial support. Ornish does not follow a strict vegetarian diet and recommends fish oil supplements; the program additionally allows for the occasional consumption of other animal products. (Wikipedia)

The Engine 2 Diet/Rip Esselstyn

– Details tba

Jeff Novick diet

The Five Pillars of Healthy Eating: “A Common Sense Approach To Nutrition”

1) Plant-Centered – Center your plate and your diet around minimally processed plant foods (fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes (beans, peas & lentils).

2) Minimally Processed – Enjoy foods as close to “as grown in nature” with minimal processing that does not detract from the nutritional value &/or add in any harmful components.

3) Calorie Dilute – Follow the principles of calorie density choosing foods that are calorie adequate, satiating and nutrient sufficient.

4) Low S-O-S – Avoid/minimize the use of added Salts/sodium, Oils/Fats and Sugars/sweeteners

5) Variety – Consume a variety of foods in each of the recommended food groups.

from The Healthy Eating Placemat A Visual Guide To Healthy Eating

Also see

Jeff Novick A Common Sense Approach To Sound Nutrition

Dilution Solution Jeff Novick Calorie Density

This excerpt from an interview summarizes Jeff Novick’s view:

Consume a variety of foods in each of the recommended food groups. Now, if there were ten of us in the room, we could each implement these pillars slightly differently and still each have a healthy diet and great health results. That’s because when we look at the research evidence, there’s no one specific diet that is “best.”

Instead, there are common denominators across healthy diets that combine to make up a healthy dietary pattern, and these are reflected in my five guidelines/principles of healthy eating.

What foods do you recommend that people incorporate into their diets? The healthiest foods are minimally processed fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes. These should make up most—if not all—of our daily calories. I recommend that people start right where they are and just keep adding in more of these foods each day.

It seems today that the topic of nutrition and health has become a war with sides drawn and no discussion. I am disappointed in the conversation I see happening on social media because a lot of it is very judgmental, confrontational, and elitist.

The message out there seems to be that if the food you eat is not fresh, organic, local, shade-grown, GMO-free, and picked yourself or picked up at a local farmer’s market or purchased from some elite health food store, then all blended together in some expensive hi-tech blender, you are not doing well enough. And, if you buy any frozen or canned foods, you might as well be eating bacon and cheeseburgers.

We need to have compassion, not only for the animals and the environment, but also for our fellow humans, particularly in the way we treat each other, especially those who may not follow the exact same dietary pattern we do.

source: An interview with healthy eating expert Jeff Novick, posted on Jewishfoodherocom, Dec. 2015

Jeff Novick Healthy Eating Placemat

Jeff Novick’s Healthy Eating Placemat


Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

The popular Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was created to lower blood pressure, but new research says it can also reduce the risk of depression later in life.

A study, to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in April, shows that the popular diet — rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products and very few foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar — does more than what has been shown in multiple studies: Lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL) and body weight….

The odds of becoming depressed over time was 11 percent lower among the adults who followed the DASH diet more closely. The group that followed a Western diet — high in saturated fats and red meats, low in fruits and vegetables — were more likely to develop depression.

The Mediterranean diet recommends emulating how people in the Mediterranean region have traditionally eaten, with a focus on foods like olive oil, fish and vegetables. U.S. News and World Report called the diet a “well-balanced eating plan” when placing it at the top of its best diets for 2018 list in January.

The DASH diet has been ranked as the No. 1 overall diet by U.S. News and World Report for eight consecutive rankings. Originally started by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as a diet to help reduce blood pressure, the DASH diet is made up of low-sodium and healthful foods. The NHLBI publishes free guides on the plan so you can see if it is right for you.

“The thing about the DASH diet is you’re eating specifically the foods you’ve always been told to eat, pretty much fruit, vegetables, whole grain, lean protein and low-fat dairy,” Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at U.S. News and World Report, told ABC News in January. “And it eliminates foods high in fat and sugar-sweetened drinks and sweets.”

Dr. Jay Sheree Allen, ABC News

Popular diet doesn’t only reduce hypertension, but risk of depression as well, per study

What is the DASH diet? Heart-healthy diet may also reduce risk of depression

Do vegetarians need to engage in protein combining?

Protein combining is a dietary theory for protein nutrition that purports to optimize the biological value of protein intake. According to the theory, vegetarian and vegan diets provide insufficient content of essential amino acids, making protein combining necessary. The theory has been roundly discredited by major health organizations. Studies on essential amino acid contents in plant proteins has shown that vegetarian and vegans in fact do not need to complement plant proteins in each meal to reach the desired level of essential amino acids as long as their diets are varied. The terms complete and incomplete are misleading in relation to plant protein. Protein from a variety of plant foods, eaten during the course of a day, supplies enough of all essential amino acids when caloric requirements are met.


Do humans need meat? Is veganism safe?

Studies are clearly honing in on the idea that the typical American diet is harmful, and that plant-based diets are much healthier. Just remember that this isn’t the same as being vegan or vegetarian. Plant-based diets allow for a small amount of meat on a regular basis (red meat, fowl, seafood, etc.)

From this BBC article, Zaria Gorvett writes

recent concern about the nutritional gaps in plant-based diets has led to a number of alarming headlines, including a warning that they can stunt brain development and cause irreversible damage to a person’s nervous system.

Back in 2016, the German Society for Nutrition went so far as to categorically state that – for children, pregnant or nursing women, and adolescents – vegan diets are not recommended, which has been backed up by a 2018 review of the research.

… there are several important brain nutrients that simply do not exist in plants or fungi. Creatine, carnosine, taurine, EPA and DHA omega-3 (the third kind can be found in plants), haem iron and vitamins B12 and D3 generally only occur naturally in foods derived from animal products, though they can be synthesised in the lab or extracted from non-animal sources such as algae, bacteria or lichen, and added to supplements.

Others are found in vegan foods, but only in meagre amounts; to get the minimum amount of vitamin B6 required each day (1.3 mg) from one of the richest plant sources, potatoes, you’d have to eat about five cups’ worth (equivalent to roughly 750g or 1.6lb).

… though the body can make some of these vital brain compounds from other ingredients in our diets, this ability isn’t usually enough to make up for these dietary cracks. For all of the nutrients listed above, vegetarians and vegans have been shown to have lower quantities in their bodies. In some cases, deficiency isn’t the exception – it’s completely normal.

For now, the impact these shortcomings are having on the lives of vegans is largely a mystery. But a trickle of recent studies have provided some clues – and they make for unsettling reading.

“I think there are some real repercussions to the fact that plant-based diets are taking off,” says Taylor Wallace, a food scientist and CEO of the nutrition consulting firm Think Healthy Group. “It’s not that plant-based is inherently bad, but I don’t think we’re educating people enough on, you know, the nutrients that are mostly derived from animal products.”

How a vegan diet could affect your intelligence, BBC, Future

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Learning Standards

Massachusetts Health Framework

Students will gain the knowledge and skills to select a diet that supports health and reduces the risk of illness and future chronic diseases. PreK–12 Standard 4

Through the study of Improving Nutrition students will
3.1 Identify the key nutrients in food that support healthy body systems (skeletal, circulatory) and recognize that the amount of food needed changes as the body grows
3.2 Use the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and its three major concepts of balance, variety, and moderation to plan healthy meals and snacks
3.3 Recognize hunger and satiety cues and how to make food decisions based upon these cues.
3.8 List the functions of key nutrients and describe how the United States Dietary Guidelines relate to health and the prevention of chronic disease throughout the life span.
3.9 Describe a healthy diet and adequate physical activity during the adolescent growth spurt.
3.20 Identify and analyze dietary plans, costs, and long-term outcomes of weight management programs.
3.21 Identify how social and cultural messages about food and eating influence nutrition choices.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Increased knowledge about nutrition has led to the development of diets containing the variety of foods that can help people live longer and healthier lives. 8F/M7** (SFAA)

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the key functions of animal body systems, including (a) food digestion, nutrient uptake, and transport through the body; (b) exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide; (c) removal of wastes; and (d) regulation of
body processes.

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