We Really Are What We Eat – Southampton Chiropractors at The Avenue Clinic Advise You On 7 Things You May Not Know About Your Daily Diet

7 Things You May Not Know About Your Daily Diet

1. Unprocessed Food is Healthiest

Processed food is unhealthy – never forget it!


As the food system has become more industrialised, the health of the population has deteriorated. During food processing, many of the beneficial nutrients in the food are removed. Not only do they remove healthy nutrients like fiber, but they also add other harmful ingredients like added sugar, trans fats and refined wheat.

Additionally, processed foods are loaded with all sorts of artificial chemicals that have absolutely not been proven safe for long term human consumption.

Basically, processed foods have less good nutrients and a LOT more of the bad nutrients.  Eat enough of it over a long period and your body will suffer, or at least it will not functional as optimally as it should.

2. Added Sugar is a Disaster

We all know that added sugar is bad. Some think sugar is a simple matter of “empty” calories, while others believe it to cause health problems.

sugar lumps

It is definitely true that added sugar (sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contains empty calories. There are no nutrients in it.

Health problems associated with eating too much sugar are due to the high fructose content. This is because fructose is metabolized strictly by the liver over time, causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high cholesterol.

Fructose also makes our brains resistant to a hormone called leptin, which effectively makes our brains want to get fat due to the fact that biochemically the brain thinks it wants more sugar.

3. Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial For Bones But Most People Don’t Get Enough

By analyzing the red blood cells of women with and without histories of hip fractures, research has found that higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids from diets that included fish and plant sources of Omega-3’s indicated a greater likelihood of the women not suffering a fractured hip.

The research also showed that as Omega-6 fatty acid levels increased in relation to Omega-3s, so also did the number of fractured hips. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, but Omega-6s are also thought to have the ability to enhance inflammation as well. Neither type of fatty acid is produced biologically, but they are necessary for proper health.

OMEGA 3There are three main sources of Omega-3 fats: ALA (from plants mostly), DHA and EPA (from animals). The plant form, ALA, needs to get transformed into DHA or EPA in order to function correctly in the human body.

Fish — Salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel all have high contents of Omega-3 fatty acids in them. For every 3.5 ounces of fish, mackerel provides the most per ounce, topping the chart at 2.6 ounces of fatty acids. It is suggested that individuals should allow for 3 grams of Omega-3s per day, so a portion of mackerel nearly does that. But there are some Omega-3 concentration in all fishes.

Nuts — Of all the nut sources of Omega-3s, walnuts have the highest concentration per pound.  Other nuts that have only one-sixth of the Omega-3s in them that can be found in a walnut are hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cashews and peanuts.

Flax Seeds provide about 1.8 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, it must be pointed out that Omega-3s differ in chemical make-up and that the body converts them at different rates. Both plant and animal types of Omega-3s are necessary for optimal biological function, so adhering to one type or the other is not recommended.

One study showed that the specific omega-3 sources associated with lower risk for fractured hips were ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which comes from plant sources (like flaxseed oil and some nuts), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which is found in fish. The third type of fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), did not show any significant benefit, but all three fatty acids together were positive for less hip fracturing.

Therefore, it is best to get Omega-3 fats from animal sources, including fish, grass-fed meat, Omega-3 enriched or pasturised eggs, or fish oil.

See our post on Omega 3 Fish Oil and the potential link with prostate cancer aggravation in some men.


4. Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy and Should be Avoided

Trans fats are also known as partially hydrogenated oils. They are made by mixing unsaturated fats with hydrogen gas at a high heat to make them resemble saturated fats. They are used not because they add any pleasure or nutritional benefit to food, but because they are cheap and can make a ‘fresh’ product last many months on shop shelves.

Effectively, for consumers, it’s like eating candle wax  –  despite years of evidence of the damage that trans fats can do.

They can’t be broken down in the digestive system so accumulate and clog up arteries.

They are more dangerous than even the worst naturally-occurring saturated fat. In fact, nutrition experts say they are more dangerous than the butter they replaced.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) called for a ban on trans fats, such as those already in place in Denmark and New York city.

Some 40,000 deaths a year could be avoided, stated NICE, if trans fats and some other substances in processed food were reduced.

Trans fats raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol and can cause abdominal obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance. In the long term, consumption of trans fats raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and many more diseases.

5. It is Critical to Avoid a Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a unique vitamin. It actually functions as a steroid hormone in the body.

The skin makes Vitamin D when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, and this is how we got most of our daily requirement throughout evolution. However, today a large part of the world is deficient in this critical nutrient. In many places, the sun simply isn’t available throughout most of the year. Even where there is sun, people tend to stay inside a lot and use sunscreen when they go out, but sunscreen effectively blocks Vitamin D generation in the skin.

Chiropractors in Southampton at the Avenue Clinic have inexpensive testing kits to use if you think you are low in vitamin D.

If you’re Vitamin D deficient, then you’re actually deficient in a major hormone in the body, and a deficiency is associated with many health problems:

1.) The flu – In a study published in the Cambridge Journals, it was discovered that vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory diseases. An intervention study conducted showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

2.) Muscle weakness – According to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency because for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D.

3.) Psoriasis – In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis.

4.) Chronic kidney disease – According to Holick, patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases (especially those requiring dialysis) are unable to make the active form of vitamin D. These individuals need to take 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or one of its calcemic analogues to support calcium metabolism, decrease the risk of renal bone disease and regulate parathyroid hormone levels.

5.) Diabetes – A study conducted in Finland was featured in Lancet.com in which 10,366 children were given 2000 international units (IU)/day of vitamin D3 per day during their first day of life. The children were monitored for 31 years and in all of them, the risk of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 80 percent.

6.) Asthma – It is thought that Vitamin D may reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Research conducted in Japan revealed that asthma attacks in school children were significantly lowered in those subjects taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 1200 IU a day.

7.) Periodontal disease – Those suffering from this chronic gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums should consider raising their vitamin D levels to produce defensins and cathelicidin, compounds that contain microbial properties and lower the number of bacteria in the mouth.

8.) Cardiovascular disease – Congestive heart failure is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Research conducted at Harvard University among nurses found that women with low vitamin D levels (17 ng/m [42 nmol/L]) had a 67 percent increased risk of developing hypertension.

9.) Schizophrenia and Depression – These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. In a study, it was discovered that maintaining sufficient vitamin D among pregnant women and during childhood was necessary to satisfy the vitamin D receptor in the brain integral for brain development and mental function maintenance in later life.

10.) Cancer – Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC discovered a connection between high vitamin D intake and reduced risk of breast cancer. These findings, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, revealed that increased doses of the sunshine vitamin were linked to a 75 percent reduction in overall cancer growth and 50 percent reduction in tumor cases among those already having the disease. Of interest was the capacity of vitamin supplementation to help control the development and growth of breast cancer specially estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from the diet. If getting more sun is not an option, taking a Vitamin D3 supplement or a tablespoon of cod fish liver oil each day is the best way to prevent/reverse a deficiency.

There is no clear pattern of symptoms. In fact many people remain asymptomatic despite low levels. But here are the more common symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain and weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bladder problems
  • Constipation or diarrhea

6. Refined Carbohydrates Are Bad For You

 Refined carbohydrates are worse than unrefined (complex) carbohydrates for the body’s health.

There are some nutrients in high-carbohydrate foods such as grains that can be beneficial. However, when you process the grains you remove most of the nutrients and then there’s nothing left apart from massive amounts of easily digestible glucose.

Eating refined carbohydrate causes rapid spikes in blood sugar, followed by a surge of insulin in the blood which triggers fat storage and contributes to insulin resistance and various diseases like obesity and diabetes.

7. Supplements Can Never Fully Replace Real Foods

Good nutrition is not just about the individual nutrients contained in foods.

Nuts, for example, aren’t just shells loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids in the same way that fruits aren’t just watery bags of fructose. Rather, these are real foods with a lot of important trace nutrients. The vitamins and minerals, the ones you can also get from a cheap multivitamin, are just a small part of the total amount of nutrients in foods.

Therefore, supplements, at least the supplements we have today, are not able to replace the nutrients we get from real foods although they can be beneficial if you are generally lacking in for example Vitamin D and Magnesium.

Only Small  Lifestyle Changes are Necessary To Eat Healthily!

Maybe we should all try to eat by remembering the following

‘If looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!’