One of the signs of malnutrition is feeling hungry/cravings despite getting sufficient calories. That's because the body needs nutrients so it urges you to keep eating.
That being said, I think good nutrition is more than just getting the current list of "essential nutrients". Otherwise supplements would be the most nutrient dense food of all. Examples:
The definition of "essential" is overly conservative (anything that can be synthesized in the body is non-essential). For example, glycine is not an essential amino acid because it can be synthesized in the body. Yet it is estimated that people don't produce enough by about 10 grams per day for a 70kg person: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20093739/
Glycine supplementation is known to prolong life: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6516426/
The role of fiber is understated. Soluble fiber can alter gut microbiome favorably, leads to the production of short chain fatty acids (whose list of benefits exceeds that of some essential nutrients), hydrogen etc. which have a huge number of effects on health. There's a lot of research to be done in this area.
Plant phytonutrients/toxins have a hormetic effect on the body among other benefits. One I'd like to specifically point is ergothioneine. The body has a transporter specifically for this chemical, gathers it in millimolar concentrations in some tissues and even recycles it. Yet it isn't considered an essential nutrient, probably because no signs of disease have been observed in this regard (no consideration given to loss of health without obvious disease symptoms).
From what I've heard the RDA is set based on what prevents symptoms of disease, rather than what's optimal for health. I haven't verified this though.
Understating the role of nutrient absorption. Nutrient content is calculated based on what's in the food. But how much can be absorbed? Humans lack the digestive power of our ape cousins (shorter intestines, lower large intestine volume, no coprophagy etc.) Humans can make up for this by cooking, grinding, fermenting their food before intake. But ideal food preparation, bad food combinations etc. is never discussed under "good nutrition".
No mention of calorie restriction and fasting for its life prolonging effects which IMO should be included under the heading of good nutrition...
Tl;dr: We need a new branch of "preventive medicine" that deals with such things
I agree on most and that's how I've been eating, although I take minor exception to:
we don't need fiber, it doesn't help with cancer, constipation or colon health. collagen from animal sources is enough. Also, soluble fiber amounts people are eating these days is way too high, causing millions of people dysbiosis, bloat, leaky gut, lipopolysaccharide poisoning, immune aggrevation and general health issues. Some can tolerate them, depending on gut health, many cannot.
yes, plants are basically the original pharmacy (incl. seeds, leaves and roots). To be taken on a need basis, mostly in small quantities and not everyday the same, esp. the GMO/glyphosate/industrial variety
RDA vs optimal levels has been studied and clinically validated by people who do actual cohort based intervention studies. For sick people, RDA is not enough (not on EAA, not on EFA, not on micronutrients).
Yes bioavailability of nutrients is key, the above chart is corrected for absorption. Most plant matter are seriously inferior in absorption due to lectins, phytates and other plant protective compounds (plants defensive chemical against not being eaten). Many of these can NOT be removed via heating, cooking, soaking, sprouting or fermenting. Some can. Some can be reduced, but not removed.
Calorie restriction works in fruit flies and rats, but not in higher primates (for optimal health span). However, TRE and IF can work, when used judiciously and lord knows 80% of Americans could benefit form that, BUT ONLY if combined with a much more highly nutrient dense diet. Otherwise they will just starve for calories AND starve for EAA/EFA/vitamins/minerals, which is a sure sign to early bad health.
And yeah, that preventive medicine the modern lifestyle medicine and it is already born in the tribes of:
- animal based eating (carnivore etc)
- nutrient dense whole food diets (Terry Wahls protoco, etc)
- Scientific, engineered, industrially produced "optimal food products" ideas (not a fan of this, they produce skewed results about the diet, but can provide basic information about the biochemistry requirements and processes of human food metabolism, and it is a heavily invested field of study, due to scumbags like Bill Gates and all, who want us only eating vat grown "meat" in the future).
The issue is that these are all small tribal camps, that are fighting against insane amounts of industry leverage/funding, entrenched subsidies, political infighting, food plate diet models and just plain old people's dogma about what is deemed "healthy".
99% of the nutrition research is just crap, esp. the epidemiological food questionnaire based nutrition diet research drawing causal ideas about silly correlations with too many confounding variables. It's just noise.
The best idea would be to allow and support different types of diet/lifestyle cohort to proliferate and too long term free-living human temporal studies on those cohorts and then actually compare the results.
But lack of honest funding, multitude of vested interests (agri, food biz, pharma biz, politics, etc) prevents.
So the only solution is to find a diet that WORKS for you, makes you feel good (subjectively and on lab markers) and healthy on short and long term and which you can easily stick to without using will power.
For me, that means an evolutionary consistent, animal based traditional diet as a starting point and doing lots of n=1 trials on your own body to find out what makes you optimally healthy.
I can guarantee you only one thing: it certainly will NOT be the Standard American Diet food pyramid / Plate model. That much is sure.
I was talking based on what I read in the research papers. But I guess if it doesn't work for someone, then it is the research that is at fault for being incomplete, and not the person it didn't work for.
Perhaps I went overboard with propagating plant food (again my view is influenced by what I've found on Google scholar). The variety of what foods different ethnicities can tolerate seems to be huge. It seems to me plenty of people with European ancestry cannot tolerate high amounts of plant foods unlike people in my side of the world (as a counterexample, I've been eating nearly two pounds of fruits and veggies for 8 years now). From what I've seen online, people who respond very well to a carnivore/meat based seem mostly of European descent.
My personal experience from eating a meat heavy diet vs a lacto-vegetarian one is that some aspects of my health have improved (eg: haven't had cravings in years). But I also suspect some minor nutrient deficiencies (or could be something else) developed over the years. I'll see if supplements will fix it. Perhaps my issues are not too serious because my breakfast is primarily animal food. By morning hopefully yesterday's anti-nutrients are out of my system/small intestine, so breakfast is well absorbed.
The main reason I stick with this diet is the perceptual change I experienced on it (it's from yoga where such a diet has been recommended throughout its history). But the nutrient deficiencies (or whatever it is) remains an open problem.
I really appreciated these insights (adding for my notes):
A well balanced diet doesn't mean a reaction/adverse effect free diet (hence the need to experiment). Supplements won't fix the issues other than malnutrition like dysbiosis, bloat, leaky gut, lipopolysaccharide poisoning, immune aggrevation etc. from wrong food
The right diet shouldn't need will power to sustain.
what is deemed "healthy"?
That represents a suggested question tempting choice to answer. If choice consents to suggested questions (a quest towards outcomes); then choice ignores being the response within enacting balance (origin of choice).
Balance (the momentum of motion) represents the solution aka the base for every ingredient choice) within. Balancing as choice aka adaptation (reaction) to origin (enacting; directing; generating) represents the source of self sustenance.
HEALTH, noun - "that state of an animal or living body, in which the parts are sound" aka the animated resonating with the sound of what animates them.