Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Food Wars

16.2 Food WarsEdit

16.2.1 Planet FoodEdit

Western Diet TraditionsEdit

Eastern Diet TraditionsEdit

Mediterranean DietEdit

The Mediterranean diet has its basis in the traditional diet of the peoples of Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Southern Italy, and Crete. During the 1960s researchers discovered that the people who lived in these regions lived longer, healthier lives than Americans even though they had less access to quality health care. After investigation, scientists realized that the difference in health between these two populations was due to diet (Willett et al., 1995). This diet is easy and inexpensive for people to follow. As another bonus, it actually tastes good (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013)!

The traditional components of a Mediterranean diet are these:

• Moderate consumption of alcohol (1 glass a day)

• Seafood at least twice a week

• Limited consumption of red meat

• Limited consumption of sweets and dairy

• Use of olive oil instead of other fats

• Meals based on fruits, vegetables, and grains instead of meats

• Use of spices and herbs instead of salt to flavor food

• Having fresh fruit for desert instead of sweets (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013).

In addition, the Mediterranean diet places a very high emphasis on sharing meals with friends and family. It is as much a culture as it is a diet. This diet was actually nominated to be an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (Mediterranean diet).

This diet is shown to have myriad health benefits. There is a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, and obesity in adults who follow the Mediterranean diet (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013). Even though people following this diet receive a majority of their calories from fat, they remain healthy (Whitney & Rolfes, 2016, p. 164). This is because the main fat source of this diet is olive oil. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that contains a lot of vitamin E (a natural antioxidant). Studies have shown that eating more monounsaturated fat increases HDL levels while keeping LDL levels constant. This then, obviously, assists in the protective factor of the Mediterranean diet against heart disease (Willett et al., 1995). This diet also advises eating fish at least twice a week. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids also help to lower the risk of heart disease by decreasing blood triglyceride level, inflammation, and blood pressure (Whitney & Rolfes, 2016, p. 165-166). Also, because of the Mediterranean diet’s emphasis on a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, people following this diet are almost assured to receive all of their necessary micronutrients (Willett et al., 1995).

Sadly, the Mediterranean diet is disappearing from the region it originated in because of globalization and the introduction of the traditional Western diet (An age-old, 2015). The main components of meals are changing to meats and dairy instead of the healthier vegetables and whole grains (Preventing the Mediterranean).

Works Cited

An age-old model of healthy living, the Mediterranean diet is now under threat-UN. (2015, June 11). Retrieved from:

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, June 14). Mediterranean diet: a heart-healthy eating plan. Retrieved from:

Mediterranean diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Preventing the Mediterranean diet from vanishing into the sea. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

The western diet is known as “The killer”. The Western diet is a diet acknowledged for its lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. This diet is characterized by red meats, fast foods, high sugar beverages, high-fat dairy, and refined carbohydrates.

A typical day on the Western Diet may look like this:

• Breakfast may consist of a stack of white flour pancakes with a side of sausage, with whole milk and syrup. • Lunch might be a fast-food cheeseburger, French fries and a high-sugar soda. • Dinner might be fried chicken or meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. • Desserts and snacks include potato chips, cookies, ice cream, candy bars and other processed snack foods. ( Leading Diet Review Site, New Healthy Recipes, Breaking Health News)

Although, these foods can be eaten in small portions, the Western Diet is measured by its tremendously large portion sizes, often large enough to feed more than two people. The ingredients usually found in these foods contain high fructose corn syrup, trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils, sugar, bleached grains, enriched flours, food dyes, artificial flavors and many other chemical flavorings that strip foods of nutrients ( Leading Diet Review Site, New Healthy Recipes, Breaking Health News).

Studies have shown that the ‘Western diet” can be damaging to a child’s cognitive development, eventually hindering their academic performance (Collins). Researchers surveyed more than 2,800 students about their nutritional habits and examined their exam scores (Collins). After they organized differences in body mass index interpretations and physical activity levels, they learned that students who ate mostly fresh fruits and vegetables recorded an average of 7 percent higher in mathematics, writing, and reading related to their counterparts who ate a “Western” diet (Collins).

Teenage years are a sensitive period for the development of the brain. This time is also a time where nutrition is very important. Because this stage of life is so crucial I believe schools and all health departments should promote healthy eating. “To date, this is one of the few studies to report on the associations between dietary patterns and academic performance; therefore, more prospective studies are required to support our findings (Collins).”

Percentage of high school students who were obese in 2013

(Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

Whitney E. & Rolfes S.R. (2016). Understanding nutrition (14th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Willett W., Sacks F., Trichopoulou A., Drescher G., Ferro-Luzi A., Helsing E., & Trichopoulos D. (1995). Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating. The American Journal of Nutrition, 61, 1402S-1406S. Retrieved from:

16.2.2 Cutting MacronutrientsEdit

Low-fat DietingEdit

Plant Based Low Fat Diets
Vegan Low Fat Diets

Low-carb DietingEdit

Atkins Diet

Paleo Diet
The Paleo or Paleolithic diet is a popular diet that consist of eating whole fresh food, lean meats and healthy fats. The main concept behind the paleo diet is to adopt a diet that is similar to what supposedly the caveman and early humans had during the Paleolithic period. Early humans were known to be hunters and gatherers and as for that reason they ate a lot of fruits, vegetables, wild meat, fish, nuts, and eggs. Therefore, the paleo diet consist of only eating unprocessed meats, fish, lot of fruits and vegetables, and a moderate level of nuts and seeds. The paleo diet does not include any dairy products, grains, processed food, refined fat, or any food with added sugars. Contrary to popular beliefs this diet is not a low carb diet since it consist eating fruits and vegetables which contribute as a source of starch and sugar and instead this diet is more known to be high in protein. Some of the benefits that have been claimed from carrying out a Paleolithic diet include weight loss and lower cholesterol levels to name few, however, these have not been proven until recently. With the overwhelming increase in popularity researchers have begun to conduct scientific studies in order to determine whether or not the Paleolithic diet can truly improve an individual’s overall health. The University of Eastern Michigan recently conducted a study that put the Paleolithic diet to the test in order to see if participants between the ages of 40-62 who suffered from high cholesterol levels and weight problems could improve their health by strictly only carrying out the diet instead of getting on medication. The results showed that after 4 months of being on a Paleolithic nutrition or diet the participants saw a significant drop (P < .001) in the mean of total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides and an increase in their HDL, which in return lowered their risk of developing heart disease, and there were signs of improvements with their weight as well. Although there are many other studies that have recently come out with results that seem to support that the diet does in fact work efficiently in helping people lose weight, lower cholesterol, and reduce risk of developing other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, there are still some nutrition experts that believe that the paleo diet may not work on everyone. Some dietician and nutritionist are even saying that excluding dairy products, beans, and healthy whole grains, such as the paleo diet has you do, may be a bad idea as these food items can bring a great amount of nutrients to a person’s diet and that when eaten in moderation can bring great benefits to a person’s overall health. The U.S News and World Report has also came out with a report that bashes the diet because after reviewing it Gretchen Spetz RD ,(registered dietician), found the diet be a very restrictive diet as you can only eat certain fresh food groups and certain types of meat and can also seem confusing to dieters. The paleo diet is and always will be a diet. There are and will always be people that are in favor of it and other that are against it. It important that it may not work for everyone bust has proven to be effective at times. As the paleo diet gains popularity expect to only see more information and studies on the matter.

References: 1:Whitmore, M. (2015, May 13). Why is Paleo So Popular?-Filter Food. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from 2:McGuff, D. (n.d). 15 Real Benefits of the Paleo Diet. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from diet.html#.VkoZWJVdE3F 3:Why is the Paleo Diet So Popular? (2013, May 12). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from 4:Lindeberg, S. (2005). Palaeolithic diet ("stone age" diet). Food & Nutrition Research, Taylor and Francis, 1-3. Retrieved November 15, 2015. 5:Cross, J. (2015). Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations. Editors' Bulleti Pubmedn, 1-5. 6:Webb, F., & Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition: Concepts & controversies (13th ed., pp. 144–147). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 7:Eckelamp, S. (2015, January 29). Weight Loss Tips. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

Zero Carb DietEdit

16.2.3 Fleeting Food FadsEdit

Grapefruit DietEdit

The Grapefruit Diet has been around for over 80 years, beginning in the 1930s. It was introduced by Kelly D. Brownell, PhD. The Grapefruit Diet was designed to jumpstart a weight loss program so dieters could potentially lose large amounts of weight in a short duration of time. The diet is supposed to last for 10 to 12 days and has been highly popularized for being known as the diet where it is possible to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. The diet claims that by eating half of a grapefruit before a meal high in fat and protein it will create a metabolic reaction making that individual a fat-burning machine (Freedman, 2001, p.7S). This thermogenic component in the grapefruit supposedly comes from a fat-burning enzyme within the fruit that acts as a catalyst and assists the body in burning high fat foods, resulting in weight loss. Grapefruits have no fat, they are low in calories and sodium, and are fully packed with vitamin C. The grapefruit diet is a low-carb diet that restricts one's total daily calorie intake to 800 calories per day. The diet severely restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, even the necessary carbohydrates such as: vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The grapefruit diet highly encourages eating foods such as meat, eggs and any other foods that are rich in protein and fat.

Meal Plan

Breakfast: • 2 boiled eggs • 2 slices of bacon or meat • 1/2 a grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice Lunch: • 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice • Meat • Salad Dinner: • 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice • Salad with green or red vegetable cooked in butter or spices • Fish or meat • Coffee or tea


There have been clinical research studies to evaluate the grapefruit's fat-burning enzyme potential. Early studies suggest people on this fad diet would lose weight, however this is probably due to the diet's restriction in calorie intake, rather than any fat burning properties in the grapefruit itself. However grapefruit contains the phytochemicals, naringenin and limonin, which have been confirmed to act as antioxidants in fighting against free radicals, and in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol (Chudnovskiy et al, 2014). However, this has been confirmed in rats so it cannot be certain that these two components also have the same effects on humans (Farouk, 2015). Although, latest research carried out b a group of scientist at the Nutrition and Medical Research Centre in San Diego, California have discovered that by adding grapefruit and grapefruit juice to one's diet can aid in weight loss.


1 AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2015, from

2 Consumption of Clarified Grapefruit Juice Ameliorates High-Fat Diet Induced Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain in Mice. Chudnovskiy R, Thompson A, Tharp K, Hellerstein M, Napoli JL, et al. (2014) Consumption of Clarified Grapefruit Juice Ameliorates High-Fat Diet Induced Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain in Mice.

3 Grapefruit diet is fat free, low-calorie diet for rapid weight loss, recent research shows that enzymes in grapefruit help to reduce insulin levels and encourage weight loss. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2015, from 4 Farouk, H., Mahmoud, S. S., El-Sayeh, B. A., & Sharaf, O. A. (2015). Effect of grapefruit juice and sibutramine on body weight loss in obese rats. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 9(8), 265-273. 5 Freedman, M., King, J., Kennedy E. (2001). Popular Diets: A Scientific Review. Obesity Research Vol. 9 Suppl.

Cookie DietEdit

16.2.4 Extreme Weight Loss PlansEdit

Rapid Weight Loss Programs

As society continues to evolve, people around the world continue to have different ideas and opinions on what it truly means to be “skinny”. Individuals across the globe are constantly taking part in new rapid weight loss programs. Society is not completely satisfied with these weight loss dietary plans, including the gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass surgery is only for those who are considered obese. Many patients decide to take part in this surgery because of how rapid results can be. The numbers of these surgeries performed in the United States have been increasing greatly (Jimenez, 2003). The average age for this surgery is anywhere between 41 through 43, but there have been extreme cases such as 18 years old. The surgery is known to be very successful, but there have previous complications in the past. In order to be considered for the surgery, one must have a BMI of over 35 and have severe health problems. The most common type of short-term complication is infection. The most common type of long-term infection is usually anastomotic stomal stenosis (Jimenez, 2003).

There have been several experiments were scientists test to see the consequences between rapid weight loss and gradual weight loss. It has been concluded that athletes who lose weight very rapidly are more likely to feel fatigue and weak. It was also stated that athletes who lose weight gradually would perform better than those who lose weight rapidly.

It is important to choose a healthy and efficient diet plan that will help you lose weight. Seeking professional help and care is essential to having a healthy diet plan. 

Before heading to the doctors office one should be aware to:

- Write any question you may have. (US department of health and human services) - Bring a family member for support. (US department of health and human services) - Bring a paper and pen. (US department of health and human services)

After a doctor has recommended a weight plan that fits best for you, you should conduct research on the program and see if it has any risks or concerns. You should also ask yourself questions like, “What does the weight-loss program include?” It is important that you choose a weight loss program that is realistic and will benefit you in the long run. Money can also be a serious problem for many individuals. If a weight loss program is not in your budget, you should look around until you find one that you can afford. Choosing rapid weight loss programs can sometimes have a negative effect on your body. With that being said, one should choose a program that is healthy, well balanced, and reasonable.

Work Cited

Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from

Fogelholm, G. (1993). Fogelholm GM. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from

Jimenez, J. (2003, September 1). Complications After Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from

Reality TV Weight LossEdit