What Are The Real Food Groups ?
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Fruit, veg, grains, protein, dairy ? Wrong. The real food groups are – muscle, collagen, organs, fat, fluids, and sunlight. These are the inputs to a healthy, balanced diet. Mainstream nutrition is incapable of getting even the most basic things right.
Q. Why do we eat ?
Forget energy, this is secondary, and relatively straight forward. Most of us are walking around with enough fuel stores to last us for months. Glucose we can produce ourselves as required, this only leaves fat as an essential energy source viewed over the long term.
A. The correct answer is - we eat in order to build and rebuild our bodies.
It is important to phrase it this way because doing so informs our answer to the next question –
Q. What should we eat ?
A. The building materials our body is constructed from.
The human body is built out of four main types of tissue – muscle, connective, epithelial, and nervous. The first requirement of our diet is to supply the raw materials these are made out of. We also consist of large amounts of fluid, predominantly water, but containing electrolytes as well. Finally, our body engages in a vast number of bio-chemical processes, we need to ensure the reactants involved in these are available, such as those making up hormones and enzymes.
In deciding on the main categories of food groups, these are the chief considerations. Exactly how we do this is open to debate, it’s the principle that matters. For example, its probably not convenient simply to mirror the tissue types and nominate epithelial as a food group. We could, but the relationship between food type and diet is not quite as direct as that – organs supply us not only with the building blocks of our own organs, but also many of those that go into connective tissue and bio-chemical components, fat and cholesterol sources are the main contributors to nervous tissue and hormone production.
As a general guide, however, the underlying idea is easy to grasp –
To build muscle we eat muscle
To build connective tissue we eat connective tissue
To produce cholesterol we eat cholesterol
To maintain fluids we drink water and eat salts
To replace fat we eat fat
If we round this conception out with nutrient dense organ meats, sunlight for vitamin D, include cholesterol within the fat category, and relate salts to fluids, then we are pretty much covered with six real food groups.
This way of conceiving the topic has some advantages over the conventional version. First, it gets away from a focus on macronutrients such as protein. We do not eat macronutrients, we eat FOOD. Sure, food contains nutrients but this over-analytical way of thinking about it can lead us astray. The difference between food and individual nutrients, macro or micro, is that it comes in packages, and this is as important as the nutrients themselves. The human body is an extremely complex organism, its components and those of its processes are highly intricate, requiring combinations of materials in precise proportions. This is why supplementation is generally of little use, and it is also why plant sources are inferior to animal ones. It is possible to digest and use plant protein, it is even possible, at a stretch, to obtain collagen from plants, but it is not optimal, far from it.
Secondly, it places the focus on WHY we are eating, the purpose of food intake. Fruit and grains provide NONE of the key material required for building and rebuilding the body, while vegetables do so only at the price of ingesting a wide range of anti-nutrients. A major rationale for the present system is its emphasis on fibre, which does not feed the human body at all but the microbiome instead. At the same time, there is no mention of collagen, nor of salts, nor of fat, nor of the superfoods that are organ meats. The mainstream grouping does reflect our current way of eating, but it does not put forward any unifying rationale for this dietary pattern.
In place of such confusion, the over-riding principle in play here is this one –
We should eat animals because we ARE animals
This provides an straight forward and coherent basis for constructing healthy eating patterns, ensuring all our bodies’ requirements are being met by including each of the six real food groups.