What exactly is food? Food is any material consumed to give nutrition to an organism, to sustain its growth. More specifically, food is typically of animal, plant or fungi origin, and includes necessary nutrients, including protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, or iron. The diet that humans follow largely determines our general health and the quality of our lives; consequently, healthy eating habits are crucial for long term weight control. Numerous researchers have devoted significant effort to identifying, describing and analyzing the physiological mechanisms involved in weight loss and the regulation of food intake during weight loss and weight maintenance.
Scientists understand the relationship between diet, obesity and diabetes – the main complications associated with obesity – better than any other area of medicine. However, effective management of these diseases requires a multifaceted approach that takes into consideration all the factors that contribute to the development of these conditions. Among these, one of the most important is the change in diet – whether you choose to reduce your fat intake, increase your fiber intake, reduce your sugar intake, increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, etc. – which cannot be achieved by simply going on a low-calorie diet; in fact, the most effective way to combat diabetes and to slow the development of heart disease is to adopt a sensible balance of diet and regular exercise.
Research has shown that diets low in fat but high in carbohydrates lead to higher blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease, while diets low in sugar but high in carbohydrate lead to increased triglyceride levels, a clear indicator of high blood sugar. Similarly, it has been observed that those who ate more carbohydrates but less fat developed diabetes at a much higher rate than those who ate less carbohydrates but more fat. Similarly, studies have shown that people who consumed more sugar developed more insulin resistance as compared to those who ate less sugar, even when the amount of food taken was the same. Surprisingly, studies have also shown that diet (as opposed to starvation) can actually help in reversing diabetes. The reason for this is that when the body is provided with sufficient amounts of glucose, the pancreas releases insulin – which is required for glucose transport to tissues and other parts of the body – thus preventing the development of kidney stones, heart attacks and other health problems.