You may have heard the saying, "every bite you take leads you on a path toward health or toward disease". This is especially true over the course of time. Or, you may have heard about eating a "balanced diet". But what does that mean? It it the same for everyone? Let's delve into this further...
Homeostasis & Dietary Direction - Defined
Before I define “Dietary Direction”, I should define “Homeostasis”, which means balance and a relative state of equilibrium. Homeostasis is the goal in regards to health. The foods we eat either support or conflict with this balance. Nourishing foods and depleting foods have an obvious effect on homeostasis, but so do health-supportive or health-draining lifestyle habits such as sleep, stress, rest, play, emotions, exercise, work, spiritual practice, and social interaction.
Any refined or processed foods like sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined oils, trans fats, and refined flour products are non-nutritive and move an individual away from homeostasis. If eaten in excess, they drain the body of valuable reserves in order to metabolize them. Poor health can result.
The "Dietary Direction" of a food is an indication of the food’s metabolic effect on the body, and it indicates where on a continuum a particular food, meal, or entire diet lands: anabolic, neutral, or catabolic.
The human body requires foods on both sides of the continuum to maintain homeostasis, and the amounts needed are based on what the individual person’s needs are at different times throughout their life. A health professional may look at the cumulative effect of a client’s diet to determine if their dietary direction is appropriate to foster homeostasis. Over time, the health of a person will be determined by how appropriate their overall dietary direction is in relation to their needs.
How to Determine Dietary Direction
The dietary direction of a meal (or many days of meals) is largely determined by the macro-nutrient ratios. The macro-nutrient in largest amount will have the greatest influence on dietary direction. The catabolic direction is more cleansing and has a higher percentage of carbohydrates. The anabolic direction is more building and has higher percentages of proteins and fats. The neutral direction will have fairly equal amounts of carbohydrates to the sum of proteins and fats. (These are all explained in further detail below.)
In general, here are approximate the macro-nutrient ratios:
Carbohydrates : Protein : Fat (percentages of calories consumed)
Catabolic direction 80:10:10 or 70:15:15
Neutral direction 50:25:25 or 60:20:20
Anabolic direction 40:30:30
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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