We’re So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies” is the title of an article in the New York Times, by Gina Kolata. Read here.
In summary, studies are flawed. Media inflates news from Heath studies and consistently over states diet and exercise findings so that it seems conflicting and confusing.
Have you heard that wine is healthy and alcohol is bad for you? How can both be true. Is it only red wine? Only in moderation? Is it just as healthy to eat nutritionally and skip the alcohol? Probably.
I do know that one habit like drinking one glass of wine or walking 10,000 steps everyday is not as effective as putting a few more pieces of the puzzle together. Add one piece of the puzzle at a time, but don’t stop there!
The problem is fad diets and outrageous claims make it hard to pick out the right pieces. For example: The first diet that has been popular for decades is vegetarian. Yet the second that comes to mind is the Adkins diet that is high in meat protein. A decade ago Adkins followers were in the news and widespread. The truth: both of these diets typically lack important nutrition and counter each other completely.
Each fad misses the mark if people try to be stuck with the religion of eating instead of choosing the healthiest food. Look out for these claims, be skeptical, and consult a dietary specialist if you have questions.
1. Claim: Meat and dairy is not good for you. It’s non digestible and messes with your gut. Truth: most people eat and digest meat and dairy fine. The problem is when you eat junk meats often like fatty burgers, sausages, bologna, high salt and preservative filled bacon and ready to eat meats or highly processed cheeses or too much cheese. Choose instead fresh meats like chicken breast, Turkey, fish, and leaner cuts of beef or even pork. Avoid meat where there are most calories from fat!
2. Genetically Modified Organisms known as GMO are not “clean.” Truth: Most GMO products are near identical nutritionally to the organic non-GMO variety. While, the technology to engineer food has an political side ethically, there is little evidence that GMO has anything at all to do with your weight. A GMO green bean is as good for you with the same low calories and high vitamin nutrients as a non GMO green bean and a non-GMO corn chip is as bad for you as a regular corn chip. Weight management is about nutrition and not politics.
2. Claim: Non “Organic” is bad for you, and all organic means healthy. Truth: Organic is better than non-organic, and buying from small farmers supports the local economy. While that is all well and good. It has less to do with weight loss than people think. Not having access to organic is not an excuse to be obese. Wash your veggies and read actual nutrition facts. A regular piece of grilled fast food chicken on a fast food side salad is better for you than a Gluten Free, organic, non-GMO cookie. Shocking isn’t it. Which kind of food you choose is more important than buying non-gmo, organic. “Clean” food can still be junk food.
3.”Fish is not clean” Fresh caught fish is high in Mercury. Farmed fish is worse for toxins and PCB’s. Truth: Try not to eat the exact same fish for 5-6 meals a day every day. Seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but as long as you vary your fish intake, a diet from a variety of fish and shellfish, from salt water and fresh water is completely worth the risk. Bottom line, chose a fish, any fish. It will be a healthier choice than the pizza. For more information try these links: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/13/salmon.farmed.fresh/index.html, or http://greenopedia.com/healthy-sustainable-fish/
4. Claim: Gluten is bad for you. Truth: Only if you have a sensitivity or actual disease like Celiac. Most people do not have this sensitivity. It is true that cutting gluten out of your diet as a way to reduce refined flours has the benefit of reducing calories from fast digesting carbs. However, If you switched your baked goods to a gluten free enriched flour your net result of any weightloss will be 0.
5. Claim: All grains are bad for you. Truth: Reducing refined flours and choosing whole grains instead of enriched wheat flour is beneficial. However, switching from a white bread to a wheat bread may not provide a measurable weight loss benefit if the calorie switch is the same, and the new bread still has sugar in its ingredients! The problem comes in understanding the whole of your nutrition requirements. Read ingredients and nutrition labels. Reduce sugars and refined carbs from all sources and reduce reliance on all forms of breads, while not entirely eliminating grains.
Your takeaway is that not all the claims in the effects of food have a significant result on weightloss! Stick to vegetables and LEAN proteins as your primary food sources. Add in a few whole grains like plain oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, fresh fruit or potatoes in small servings. Also get at least a daily small amount of healthy fats, 1-2 tablespoon serving sizes each day from two different sources from seeds, nuts, salmon, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, natural cheese, egg yolk, or hummus as examples. An overall reduction in processed foods and an increasing reliance on cooking healthy fresh foods improves weight and goes beyond weightloss into the fit life lifestyle that will have you losing weight and keeping it off. Final note eating ALL vegetables, or ALL meats, or ALL fats is not necessary. Eating the healthier choices in each food group is the ticket! Avoid fried, high sugar, processed carbs and processed meats!
Final Tip: Eggs are good for you, but a full serving of whole eggs may be too much fat. The whites are mostly protein while the yolks are mostly fat. Keeping in mind the serving size of fats, try using more whites and fewer yolks in your morning eggs. Eggs are good for you, but may be considered more of a healthy fat than a healthy protein. Or just go for the egg whites for a lean protein source!
Still confused? I can work with you one on one for a meal plan that will get you in the best shape of your life. I did it and so can you. My program is based on nutrition not superstition! email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for a program that fits you!