Choosing the Right Diet
It is very hard to know which is the right diet. Even in integrative medicine circles, there is debate about vegan, plant-based diets, ketogenic diets and nutritarian diets. The reality is that there are studies to support them all, but science is evolving as we learn and try new things. Each person is an individual with different genetics, epigenetics (how the environment turns genes off and on), environments, medical and family histories, and it all matters. The growing field of “nutrition as medicine” includes a broad range of providers like nutritionists, chiropractors, health coaches and doctors to maximize health for us all.
They can check inflammatory markers and advanced cholesterol panels to figure out the best diet for a patient. When someone comes in with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and their labs are great, they are probably on the right track. When the labs show a lot of inflammation on that diet, their markers usually improve with a plant-based diet. There is a correlation between blood type and diet, so it may be helpful for us to know our blood type, and the easiest way to discover that is to donate blood.
Most importantly, once past the first few weeks of starting a new diet, assess how we feel (clear-headed, energized, less inflamed). If so, it is the right path. If going with a whole food, plant-based vegan diet, take some cooking classes or read some books and pay attention to micronutrients and fat content. Seeing a nutritionist is recommended to be sure of getting the maximum nutrition. Functional and holistic-minded nutritionists are popping up everywhere, which is great news for the health of our population in the future.
Cammy Benton, M.D., ABIHM, IFMCP, is the owner of Benton Integrative Medicine, with locations in Charlotte, Huntersville, and Denver, as well as the founder of Compass Integrative Health Center, a nonprofit dedicated to launching a hospital that utilizes traditional and integrative treatments. For more information, call 704-775-6029 or visit www.BentonIntegrative.com.