The last 75 years have seen massive changes in our diets — mostly not good changes. It started with World War II, when the need to supply troops with high energy but low weight, portable foods led to the invention of K-Rations, the prototype for fast foods. It sped up with the start, in 1958, of the Seven Countries Study (the key publication from this was in 1980) which claimed that eating fat, especially saturated fat, gave you heart disease. One man was responsible for both events; Ancel Keys, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic. As a result we have been told for 4 decades now that fat is bad for you; this has never been proved, and it won’t be proved. It’s just wrong. See under Ketogenic Diet for the reasons why.
Some strange people, such as the journalist Ben Goldacre, have tried to use the confusion around this to discredit nutritional and/or alternative therapies, but it’s rubbish; fats are essential to life, in fact without fats there wouldn’t be any life. We all could, and probably should, live without sugars on the other hand.
Some problems you can’t fix without supplements – i.e. pills.
Scientists talk about two groups of nutrients;
- Macronutrients, of which our bodies contain, and need to take in, large amounts; these you won’t fix without food. A good example is lipids; see under Dietary therapies and Lipid Therapy for more on this.
- Micronutrients, of which we contain much less; these you may not be able to fix without nutritional supplements. For instance the mineral zinc, of which some people are born needing more (I am one of those), and of which we all use more when making new tissues – growing and healing.