Save your cash and jump OFF the food fad bandwagon

I’m just so amazed at the current trend of food fear mongering. Don’t eat carbs, don’t eat nuts, don’t eat grains, don’t eat white food, don’t eat dairy, don’t eat meat, slather yourself in coconut oil, lose weight with Isagenix (another multi level marketing giant), the 5:2 diet, the Paleo diet, if you are going to eat chocolate make sure its organic and cacao not cocoa and for gods sake don’t go near sugar! IT WILL KILL YOU!!!

Make it all stop!

This is all just so unnecessary and clearly generating a state of fear, uncertainty, yo yo dieting and frustration not to mention a great deal of pressure on the wallet.

What’s wrong with good old fashioned food?

My facebook feed is jammed with endless weight loss themes, diets, powders and pills that make outrageous claims to weight loss, everlasting youth, or beauty. I’m not a nutritionist but I don’t need to be to say this: the only way to successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy body is to control the quantity (and quality) of food that you put in your mouth. That’s it – end of story. It isn’t a miracle. Its very basic metabolic science.

I’m fond of the low or no sugar movement but I find myself pondering: should I really be desiring so much sweet food to the point where I need to search for sugar alternatives? And in many cases these sugar alternatives are just sugar under a different name – Agave would be an example which was hailed as an excellent sugar alternative but now it is widely accepted as being no different than cane sugar.

So for me, I’m reverting to my normal habits, which were pretty good to begin with! I’m not afraid to have my comfort food from time to time, I do believe there is a lovely, cosy place in the diet for occasional treats. For me, life wouldn’t be worth living without it. I just make sure its every now and then and not every day!

Which brings me to the Paleo Diet – yes or no? Think about this, a cafe has opened up near me that is solely “Paleo” and charges a bomb for a basic lunch of some braised cabbage and pork strips. Paleo is a high-profile diet with lots of very attractive celebrity endorsement. But in reality it’s mostly meat-based, very low in carbohydrates, extreme and unbalanced.

Avoiding healthy carbohydrates, whole grains and legumes is not a good idea (our bodies need the fibre, fuel and energy provided by carbs!. Yes, many people will feel better and even lose weight on this diet. But, that will happen to anyone that cuts out junk, refined sugar and processed food!

Our ancestors didn’t breed animals, mass-produce their food, buy food in supermarkets, sit in an office all day or live to be 80 years old. Conversely, we don’t spend our days foraging for nuts and berries, hunting mammals and digging up roots and tubers.

My advice to my family and loved ones is to have a diet rich in lots of fruit and vegies, stay away from chemicals and highly processed diet products, love your complex carbs, stay well clear of sugary drinks and junk food and drink lots of water. You really can’t go wrong. So go and have that beautiful grainy bread sandwich and enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to eat what is right for you.

Just. Eat. Good. Food.

Dianne Ward
Written in consultation with Clinical Pharmacologist Sivan Kohn.