VALLEY METABOLIC HEALTH RESOURCE CENTRE:

NUTRITION

Therapeutic nutrition 

Therapeutic nutrition is any way of eating that is designed to improve metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, and PCOS. Examples include whole food plant based diets, low energy diets (including meal replacement systems), intermittent fasting, mediterranean diets, and low carbohydrate diets.

Science and hype 

There is scientific evidence to support these different patterns of eating but we should also be aware that these diets attract a following of people as well as leaders (physicians and researchers included). Anytime this happens, belief systems and  “social tribes” arise that go well beyond the science — these are helpful in some ways but confusing if not harmful in others.

Some institutions, researchers, and guidelines support whole food plant based diets while others support low carbohydrate high fat diets. Your doctor says one thing, the specialist another, and your dietitian yet another. Some well intended clinicians may even say your choice in therapeutic nutrition is harmful. This leads to confusion and adds difficulty to an already challenging situation: finding a healthy way of eating that works for you over not just months but years. We will help clarify some of these issues as you move forward with a pattern of eating of your choice so that you can feel confident and empowered in your lifestyle.  

A Goal

If you are living with excess weight, one goal is to find a pattern of eating that maintains muscle mass (by consuming adequate protein and encouraging exercise) while naturally lowering caloric intake without needing any significant amount of “white knuckle” will power.

In certain settings such as obesity we see that different patterns of eating (such as low fat or low carb) have very similar effects on weight loss. In other settings such as type 2 diabetes the evidence indicates that LCHF is likely favourable compared to low fat diets for lowering blood glucose and reducing medications. In the end though, we need to find the right solution for you.

Your Choice

Your way of eating will ideally  improve your metabolic health but in order to work it needs to fit your food preferences, your values and ethics, and be enjoyable for months and years down the road.  Will power is an “exhaustible” resource so this journey needs to include a sense of joy and ease. In order for a way of eating to work over time it needs to be social, adaptable, and enjoyable. Otherwise we will obtain short term gains but end up in a yo-yo struggle. As part of your journey we will thus bring in the science of behaviour change to make sure we are providing the supports needed for long term sustainability. 

Common Ground

While these patterns of eating seem quite different on the surface they all typically share common ground: limiting the amount of ultra-processed foods with a focus on more meals prepared freshly at home. One of the keys to success is finding a healthy pattern of eating you enjoy and can carry forward in multiple places and situations. We are all unique and each of us will respond differently to a shift in nutrition. 

Nutrition 101: The 3 Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

Are found in juices, sodas, smoothies, fruits, grains, rice, breads, pastas, cereals, and starchy vegetables (such as those that grow below the ground, like potatoes).  Sugar and starches are released in the bloodstream as glucose.  Whole food carbohydrates typically have plenty of fiber and are welcomed in healthy patterns of eating (such as whole food plant based diets) while they are limited in other patterns of eating such as LCHF. 

Protein

Are found in meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy. Protein is also found in plants such as beans and legumes. We need to eat  protein every day to maintain our muscle mass. It is the most filling of all macronutrients. If you are following a WFPBD we would focus on plant based proteins. A ketogenic diet will limit carbohydrate intake so some plant based protein sources will be limited. 

Fat

Are found in high fat dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, avocados, olives, butter, and oils. The cells of our body are fueled by glucose or fat. There are different types of fats: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monunsaturated. Some patterns of eating such as “low fat” diets restrict fats, while others such as mediterranean diet allow higher amounts of fat. On a LCHF diet fat is consumed to allow one to feel satiated (filled up). 

Therapeutic Nutrition Options

[click module of your choice]

Low Carbohydrate High Fat

Whole Food Plant Based Diets

[Come back in fall 2022]

Low Energy Diets, Meal Replacement Systems, and Fasting

[Modules coming in Fall 2022]

VALLEY METABOLIC HEALTH

SUITE 250, 21 Roy Avenue, New Minas, Nova Scotia B4N 3R7

OFFICE PHONE: (902) 915-4435

OFFICE FAX: 1(855) 962-2375