If you are reading this article there’s a huge probability that you have been on a diet at least once in your life. Some of us tried multiple ones. Low carb, low fat, raw foods, fruit diet, cabbage soup, meal replacements, fasting – name it – we’ve done it! Every ‘diet’ is based on the idea that it is a certain food or food group that is to blame. Headlines read: sugar kills you, carbs make you fat, fat causes obesity and heart disease! Long story short – all that is simply not true! The reason why people get hung up on such reasoning is because it’s easier to believe in a miracle diet which will solve all your worries than to realize it is hard work and balanced eating that will get you to your goal. Secondly – marketing. Companies selling miracle diet books, meal replacements such as bars shakes and soups and other gimmicks want you to believe them!
According to Alan Aragon, a hugely experienced nutrition and fitness expert:
‘You should completely ignore fad diets. All of them falsely scapegoat a single nutrient or food group. This is missing the forest for the trees.’
He goes on to explain that by demonizing a single food we give it too much power over our emotions, we crave it even more and we ignore the main problem which is the lack of balance. Nobody is overweight because of sugar or fat. People are obese because they adapt a certain lifestyle. In the western society people have minimum physical activity, they consume huge portions of calorie dense foods and they eat too much sugar and fats. All that, combined with jobs becoming more and more sedentary (technology now enables you to work from your couch – you don’t even have to get out of you pajamas) is what makes us fat and sick.
Alan discredits fads such as keto or paleo by pointing out that cutting out a food group simply tricks you into reducing calories – hence they produce results. It is important to see that many followers of such diets, which frankly often remind cults, base their convictions on limited and biased evidence. For example, there is no evidence that the Paleo diet is anything but a fad. Firstly, how can we put all our ancestors into one bag? As Alan points out their diet depended on where they lived and what they had available.
We all know it is hard to accept the thought that in weight loss, cancer and other disease prevention there is no miracle cure! No secret. No hidden answer. You have to make a conscious effort to learn about healthy nutrition and then implement small but sustainable changes. Exercise regularly (no, I don’t mean a walk in the park on a Saturday) and eat 80-90% whole, unprocessed healthy foods (yes, have that donut once in a while) and you will, truly, see improvements.
Remember, fads are dangerous and research shows that in the long term they lead to obesity, health and psychological issues such as eating disorders. Just a reminder: check our Rule 1 Proteins