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The Optimal Diet (or Optimal Nutrition) is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet developed by Polish doctor Jan Kwasniewski. The diet uses specific proportions between proteins, fats and carbohydrates (typically a 1: 3 : 0.8 weight ratio), and it emphasizes foods with "high biological value", such as butter, lard, egg yolks, pork meat and bone stocks.
The Optimal Diet has been used in Poland since the 1970s, but has gained a broader popularity the last decade with the publication of several books by Dr. Kwasniewski. The book's publishers claim that two million people worldwide use the diet. In Poland there are approximately 30 health clinics and 300 doctors that practice according to the teachings of Kwasniewski.. However, although this diet has been claimed to be very effective by various doctors and researchers, this has not been documented in any peer-reviewed journal.
Additional recommended knowledge
Nature of the diet
Kwasniewski's diet is higher in fats and lower in proteins the most low-carbohydrate diets. Kwasniewski claims that his diet is more fine tuned and sophisticated than other low carbohydrate diets, and therefore has a greater potential for success where others fail. Each of the macronutrients - proteins, fats and carbohydrates - is meant to be consumed in an ideal quantity and should be in an ideal balance with the others.
Another characteristic of the diet is its emphasis on food with the highest possible nutritional value. Animal fats are recommended instead of carbohydrates because two thirds of the carbohydrates most people eat are converted to fats. Furthermore, animal fats are composed of a range of semi-essential fatty acids and other components not found in plant fats. Some foods, such as egg yolks and liver, are particularly rich in complex building blocks the body needs, and are therefore emphasized. The diet includes only as much carbohydrates the body needs to function optimally, usually about 50-100 grams daily. Starchy carbohydrates (which are composed of glucose molecules) are preferred to fruit and milk carbohydrates (which are composed of fructose and galactose) as it saves the liver extra work. All the extra effort the body saves in constructing complex building blocks, turning carbohydrates into fatty acids, or fruit carbohydrates into glucose, allows for energy to be spent doing tasks such as repairing the body or fighting off disease.
In his books, Kwasniewski discusses how various proportions between proteins, fats and carbohydrates impact human health. In his view a mixed diet which is composed of about 35-40% of energy as carbohydrates, is the worst of all diets because the body works best on either fats or carbohydrates. He believes that a high carbohydrate/low fat diet, such as the Japanese diet rich in seafood, rice and vegetables, can work quite all right, if sufficient animal proteins are provided to burn off all the carbohydrates.
When first implementing the diet, a specific weight ratio of 1:2.5-3.5:0.8 between proteins, fats and carbohydrates is recommended. This works out to about 12% protein, 80% fat, and 8% carbohydrate in caloric percentages. People with ideal weight are advised to use a 1:3.5:0.8 weight ratio, while those that are overweight are advised to use a 1:2.5:0.8 weight ratio.
As an individual gets adapted to the diet and his health improves, it is recommended to reduce the intake of proteins and fats. The body now runs much more efficiently and requires less work for repairs and disease fighting. According to Kwasniewski, the energy requirement on the Optimal Diet is about 25-40% less than on the average diet. The ratio on the long term phase is typically 0.8:2.0-2.5:0.8, although this varies with the individual.
Daily, the diet can typically include about 20-40 grams organ meats (liver, kidney, brain etc), 50-150 grams muscle meats, 4-8 egg yolks and 2-4 egg whites. Fatty cheeses, cream and marrow, provides some additional proteins. Pork meat is recommended instead of fish, chicken, lamb, beef or game, as pork is the animal closest to humans biochemically. To achieve an ideal balance between omega-3 and omega-6, animal foods from free range animals are preferred. Recommended fats include butter, cream, lard and marrow. Other animal fats such as duck fat, goose fat or beef tallow are also considered good fats. Nuts, particularly hazelnuts, and oils from palm, palm kernel, olive and coconut can be included in small quantities. For carbohydrates, potatoes and vegetables are recommended. They can be supplied with small quantities of grains, berries and fruits. Kwasniewski claims that more than 300 grams of vegetables daily are unnecessary. Salt is strictly discouraged on this diet.
Religious and philosophical aspects
In some of Dr. Kwasniewski’s books, certain religious and philosophical ideas are presented.
In the book Homo Optimus, Kwasniewski claims that the follower of the Optimal Diet will develop a "correct brain function" and become a member of the human species with yet unknown and unfulfilled potential. This individual will be less driven by anxiety and insecurity, be more peaceful, have higher moral standards, but also be much more difficult for government, media and large corporations to control and deceive.
People on unhealthy carbohydrate rich diets, however, tend to literally have more sheep-like personalities due to a dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system. They will be driven by anxiety and insecurity. Dr. Kwasniewski believes these people are more easily controlled and deceived by the government, media and large corporations. He uses several examples from the Bible to back up his ideas.
He also offers speculative ideas of how to change and construct an ideal model of society in line with some of the principles of the Optimal Diet.
Criticism and discussion
The diet has been severely criticized by several professors and doctors in Poland.
Kwasniewski has also undertaken studies showing the efficacy of the diet together with electromedicine, at a health clinic in Poland.
Kwasniewski has published nine books in Polish. Some of these books have been translated into German and Russian, and two books, Homo Optimus (2000) and Optimal Nutrition (1999), have been translated into English.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Optimal_diet". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|