WHAT IS FORENSIC NUTRITION?
by Konstantin Monastyrsky
Forensic nutrition investigates connections between
food and diseases, while traditional, orthodox
nutrition investigates and promotes connections between food and health.
In practical terms these differences mean the following:
Traditional nutrition seeks out food to improve health
using a simplistic approach: If one apple is good for you, then more
apples are better. If water is good for you, then more water is better.
If fat is bad for you, then no fat is better.
This kind of seemingly logical and, without a doubt,
well-intentioned deductive reasoning gave birth to what I call
nutritional engineering. It is particularly prominent and dominant in
the United States because anyone with a big mouth, good looks, a top
agent, and a bit of luck can get a fat publishing contract and sell a
ton of diet books. (Not that I lack anything above, but my penchant for
picking up controversial subjects and a proclivity for perfectionism
makes it ten times as difficult as being a copycat or sycophant.)
practice, nutritional engineering boils down to doling out foods in the
ratios that fit personal bias, specialty, and business objectives of
each particular ?nutritionist‘ or 'dietitian.' Thus, USDA promotes
the MyPyramid diet, Dr. Ornish promotes a low-fat diet, Dr. Atkins' estate promotes a low-carb
diet, Dr. Amato promotes a blood type diet, Dr.
Jenkins promotes a low glycemic index diet, Brenda Watson promotes the Fiber35 diet, Shelley Case promotes a gluten-free diet, Suzanne Sommers promotes... Suzanne Sommers, and, not to miss the party, Kim Barnouin promotes the
Skinny Bitch diet (no, this isn't a joke), and so on.
It sounds absurd, and it
is—considering that we all start life with identical stomachs,
pancreases, livers, kidneys, and intestines, and that the genetic
differences between you, me, and all of these ?foodies‘ are less than
0.1%. With this background in mind, our
optimal diets can't be that dog-eat-dog opposite, antagonistic, and
irreconcilable, can they?
On the other hand, forensic nutrition doesn't engineer diets or count
calories, but deconstructs the
core assumption behind presumably “good,” “healthy,” and “safe” foods,
and determines their impact on diseases rather than health. It asks the
following questions: What happens if you consume too much fiber? What
happens if you eat too many apples? What happens if you drink too much
water? What happens if you don‘t consume enough fat?
Forensic nutrition is deeply grounded in an existing
well-established, undisputed, and well-settled body of science in human
anatomy, physiology, biology, anthropology, and medical biochemistry —
collectively, fundamental science. This approach precludes personal
biases, which are typical for most medical writers. Hence its answers are exacting
If soluble fiber causes diarrhea, then
exclude foods rich in soluble fiber instead of wiping out intestinal
bacteria with antibiotics just because the bacterial fermentation of excess fiber produces
If insoluble fiber causes large stools, large stools cause straining, straining causes hemorrhoidal
disease, and hemorrhoidal disease causes constipation, then exclude fiber
instead of enlarging (bulking up) stools even more in order to overcome
If overhydration causes hypercalcinuria
(calcium loss with urine), and hypercalcinuria causes kidney stones,
then consume fluids in moderation instead of drinking even more water to
?wash‘ out the said calcium, and ending up with debilitating osteoarthritis, osteoporosis,
and osteomalacia on top of kidney stones.
If a low-fat diet causes gallstones,
then consume fat in
moderation to facilitate a timely and regular release of bile from the
gallbladder instead of losing your gallbladder to a surgeon‘s knife.
Nutritional intervention is the next logical step in
reversing food-borne diseases, or “nutropathies” (nutritional pathologies). It combines nutritional hygiene (proper
style of eating), nutritional profiling (matching food with age-related
physiological needs), and nutritional augmentation (compensating missing
micronutrients with basic supplements instead of consuming factory-made
foods fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamins A, C, and D, and
Nutritional intervention yields particularly dramatic
results in critical nutrition for the morbidly ill, in performance
nutrition for athletes, performers, and professionals, in geriatric
nutrition for seniors, in pediatric nutrition for sick children, and in
many other areas.
Once nutritional intervention is
successfully completed, functional nutrition enters the stage.
Functional nutrition isn‘t a diet per se, but a lifestyle of eating
fitted to an individual‘s social, cultural, and ethnic preferences, and health- and
Functional nutrition provides essential nutrients for
the seamless functioning of body and mind. These nutrients come from
natural foods in season, which are high in nutritional content and
consumed with minimal processing. These can be meat, fowl, fish,
seafood, unprocessed dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and
Carbohydrates in moderation are perfectly acceptable
and even necessary to prevent lean tissue (protein) wasting. Foods that
may cause allergies to particular individuals are excluded.
Obviously, functional nutrition avoids highly processed commercial foods
because they harm digestion.
As you can see, functional nutrition is neither a primitive caveman-style diet, nor a chimera of a balanced diet. Rather, it is a prudent style of
low-fuss, low-impact nutrition that reflects our physiological and
our era, and our individual realities.
The key principles of functional nutrition are described in great depth
in my Russian-language book Functional Nutrition. In the final chapters, Fiber Menace gives a fair
representation of functional nutrition and nutritional intervention in
the context of low-fiber diets.
The principles and benefits of forensic nutrition,
nutritional intervention, and functional nutrition are nowhere as
self-evident as in functional digestive disorders. My current work in
this field deconstructs this
complicated subject with the same rigor as Fiber
Menace deconstructed the aftermath of fiber addiction on digestion and