Column #284Periidic Table of Elements

Around 55 years ago my view of food was that it was mostly for energy. With it I could power through the day and all was good. It really didn’t matter what I ate as long as it provided the fuel (calories) my adult body and “sharp mind” required. There were bonuses too. If I ate really yummy stuff that was a delight. There were also the social benefits. Sharing fun foods with others was really a hoot.

That was all well and good until 30 years later. By then I was overweight and not feeling like everything was in tiptop shape. So I was thinking that maybe I should start getting annual physicals like everyone else. Most of my friends were being prescribed drugs to make sure they didn’t drop dead. That seemed important.

Well, doesn’t that pretty much sound like what most folks think? And “most folks” include people who want to eat healthily. But thinking one has a healthy diet versus actually eating healthy foods that supply the proper nutrients are two different things. There are numerous reasons why and my bet is that most grass-fed meat eaters are guilty as charged.

First off, people want to be sociable by going with the flow. That way they won’t seem snooty at their church socials, or at restaurants with friends, or when they attend dinner parties. Therefore they still eat the yummy foods that are universally recognizable and readily available in restaurants and grocery stores. They’re also lazy. They don’t want to memorize food chemistry data when it’s so much easier to simply eat socially correct foods. That’s food with labels advertising low salt, low fat, low calorie, organic, gluten free, whole grain, GMO free, healthy, heart friendly, hormone free, farm raised, free range, low sugar, fortified, grain free, and other popular buzzwords. Unfortunately, those popular labels don’t cut the mustard with the scientists in nutrition and biology who also criticize the outdated nutritional advice provided by the USDA’s MyPlate website.

When my nutrition lightbulb finally turned on it took me quite a few months to really change my diet. That’s because the learning curve regarding human biology and the chemistry of individual foods was not a snap. For decades I had known that nutrition for animals was really critical. But like most ranchers, I didn’t apply the same thinking to humans. When I finally did, that’s when I realized the most important aspect of any food selection was its chemistry.

All food selections, including refined sugar, provide some form of nutrition. But a little or a lot of this or that doesn’t cut it. We’ve learned that the foundation food for animal life is the green leaf. It’s that way in the sea and on land. We’ve also learned that the chemistry of green leaves is incredibly complex. As with many plant-based food selections, green leaves have calories, carbohydrates, protein and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sterols, fats, and even natural pesticides. Since it’s the green leafy material that’s the foundation food, the natural balance of the many chemicals in green leaves (such as spinach) is critical for animal health.1 2

In comparison, nuts also have calories, carbohydrates, protein and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sterols, fats, and even natural pesticides. But the relative balances of all of the various nutrients in nuts differs from the balances that are in green leaves. For example, green leaves usually have very low ratios, less than 1:1, of Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) to Omega-3 EFAs. Nuts have extremely high ratios of 20:1 and some way higher.

The differences in nutrient comparisons between leaves and nuts isn’t just limited to EFAs. Many other nutrients also differ in their relative composition. That’s why leaves are leaves and nuts are nuts. But let’s just examine what happens when a human body has an EFA balance similar to nuts as compared to green leaves.

But first, as an aside, I want to mention a 500-year-old observation. “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.” That observation is credited to Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, alchemist, lay theologian, and philosopher of the German Renaissance. He is credited for being the “father of toxicology.” The idea that there’s a natural balance in nature is obviously not new. Believing that anything goes in the chemistry of our bodies is therefore not all that intelligent.3

Because of nature’s natural balance, for our health the relative nutrient balance in our food is critical for all the various nutrients, but especially critical for essential nutrients. Of the fats, only the Omega-6 and Omega-3 EFAs are known to be essential. The body can’t manage the quantities of EFAs in the body but it can manage all other fats. Therefore the EFA ratio of the weekly diet is basically what an animal body will have in its cell membranes. On the other hand, animal bodies can regulate cholesterol up and down because it can synthesize it. Therefore, cholesterol is not essential. But a mineral like salt, which can be removed through urination, is still essential because it can’t be synthesized.4

If a human eats high ratio EFA foods, its body’s ratio will be high. For going on 50 years scientists have shown that high EFA ratios (caused by high doses of Omega-6 and/or low doses of Omega-3) are associated with numerous chronic diseases. Therefore we know that is one more reason why green leaves are a healthy food and nuts are not.5

High EFA ratios can cause the immune system to malfunction. Autoimmune diseases are an epidemic in the United States. Scientists have identified more than 80 of them. Some well known ones are diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, allergic reactions, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Lupus is a disease that occurs when a body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Crohn’s disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract where a body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue of the intestines.

Millions of people suffer from autoimmune diseases by eating the popular, so-called healthy, American foods. Obviously, those “healthy” foods do not provide the proper chemistry. Yes, many of them are advertised as healthy because they are loaded (have a high dosage) of one or two or more very good nutrients. But the relative balances for all the necessary nutrients required to keep a body healthy may be horrible. Consequently, the low and high doses lead to sickness and eventually death. This is why testing for your EFA balance and other nutrients are so important.6

A healthy diet is dependent on a particular chemical balance that makes up the entirety of the foods consumed overtime. That’s why grass-fed meats, Omega-3 meats, wild-caught seafood, and green leafy vegetables are so good for you. There are some additional vegetables such as beans and squashes that can also be considered. But only if they come close to replicating the nutrients in green leaves.7

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. Man Is an Extension of the Leafy, Green Plant by Ted Slanker

2. Nutrient Value of Leaf vs. Seed by Marvin Edelman and Monica Colt

3. Paracelsus from Wikipedia

4. Essential Fatty Acid from Wikipedia

5. The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids by Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos

6. The Omega-3 Personal Test put slanker in the offer code for additional savings

7. Food Analysis: EFA, Protein to Fat, Net Carbs, Sugar, and Nutrient Load by Ted Slanker