Food Choices eBook

Food Choices eBook

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Food Chemistry, Quality & Safety

This book describes some of the more important and more interesting features of food chemistry and develops a perspective on the healthier food choices included in the Alpha Nutrition Program. Food chemistry is complex and involves both chemicals intrinsic to food and chemicals added to and contaminating food. The food supply in any region of the world involves sampling the chemistry of the agricultural environment. In the good old days, food originated close to home and consumers sampled the local environment. Now food is shipped all over the world. Consumers sample exotic environments with no knowledge of the sources.

There are many complicated issues influencing proper food selection. Food choices have been changing rapidly and will continue to change for personal health reasons, but also in the next decades, we will change collec­tively. Some changes will be voluntarily and oth­ers will well be imposed on us by shifting economics, political upheavals, climate changes, population growth, and crop failures. Food choices in affluent coun­tries already involve new and unusual combinations of food chemistry that has never been experienced before in the history of life on earth.

Thousands of new chemicals have entered the food chain as additives and contaminants. Immune-mediated (allergic) diseases are increasing and create expensive, chronic and debilitating illnesses. Each person interacts with food, home and work environments that determine his or her biological fate. In industrialized countries, the microenvironment of each person is controlled by human constructions and is generally polluted by toxic substances. The extent of this chemical contamination is seldom measured and the effects are poorly understood. As environmental problems multiply, new ill-defined illnesses will increase.

If your premise is that foods in common uses are good foods, healthy for everyone to eat, you will be disappointed. On the other had, if you premise is that foods are too dangerous to eat; you will lead an unhappy and malnourished life. A balanced point of view is developed in the Alpha Nutrition Program. The most reliable rule is that people should eat plant foods that have been in common use for centuries. Vegetables and fruits provide good nutrition and have additional benefits. Non-nutrient chemicals in plants can add unexpected benefits when included in the diet. These non-nutrient substances are now referred to as "phytochemicals" which just means, "plant chemicals".

Springmann et al analyzed the possible benefits of world-wide changes in food selection: What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the environment we all share. Recent analyses have highlighted the likely dual health and environmental benefits of reducing the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets. Here, we couple for the first time, to our knowledge, a region-specific global health model based on dietary and weight-related risk factors with emissions accounting and economic valuation modules to quantify the linked health and environmental consequences of dietary changes. We find that the impacts of dietary changes toward less meat and more plant-based diets vary greatly among regions. The largest absolute environmental and health benefits result from diet shifts in developing countries whereas Western high-income and middle-income countries gain most in per capita terms. Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global mortality by 6–10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29–70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050. We find that the monetized value of the improvements in health would be comparable with, or exceed, the value of the environmental benefits although the exact valuation method used considerably affects the estimated amounts. Overall, we estimate the economic benefits of improving diets to be 1–31 trillion US dollars, which is equivalent to 0.4–13% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2050. However, significant changes in the global food system would be necessary for regional diets to match the dietary patterns studied here.

Alpha Nutrition Program Food Choices

The Alpha Nutrition Program begins with the idea that everyone has a small set of best-fit foods that would allow them to feel and function optimally. The first goal is to identify the simplest set of best foods for each person.  We argue that a return to simpler foods would have important biological advantages. We seem to work better when we have a simple, regular food supply - no surprises.

Alpha Nutrition routines are based on numerous decisions which arrived at a set of policies which do three important things:

  • Simplify a very complex situation
  • Create order when chaos threatens to take over
  • Establish a critical path in a maze of possibilities

The core-concept also made good nutritional and economic sense. Human diets all over the world are based on a set of staple foods. The core of a new, healthy, modern diet should be a small number of staple foods. But which staple foods? The ability of the Alpha Nutrition Program to solve food allergy problems could be considered one of its most important advantages over any other system of diet revision. The Alpha Nutrition Program is based on assumptions about food reactivity, safety, and overall desirability. These assumptions have been confirmed by 20 years of testing different food choices in a large number of patients who suffered from a variety of disorders.

The core-concept developed as we kept score of adverse food reactions reported by patients. The program includes foods that we have found to be highly desirable nutritionally and, at the same time, caused the lowest incidence of adverse food reactions in a large group of people. The program excludes food choices - even popular choices - if we found that these food choices commonly created health problems. We found that rice, vegetables, and some fruits were among the best tolerated and most acceptable of all food choices.

Whatever the complex of reasons behind the food problems we have observed, the health-seeking goal of Alpha Nutrition is based on a return to a diet of simple, carefully selected, natural foods. Fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, and rice products are the primary food choices. Poultry, fish, and small quantities of red meat are also suggested unless you have a vegetarian preference. Legumes, tofu and soya products are meat alternatives. Flavoring herbs, spices, and a small number of prepared or manufactured foods are suggested. These foods allow you to reconstruct daily menus, with confidence of good nutrition, and stable life-long eating habits

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