There are so many myths surrounding food and nutrition. Since when did it all become so complicated? Food is not inherently bad or good. And there’s certainly no one food that is morally superior to another. Food should be enjoyed and not feared.
I often get asked, “What is the best diet?” My answer is: “Moderation”. It’s not a sexy sell, but moderation is the key. For some reason many people want to be told what not to eat, what food to fear and what rules will ensure they can achieve the perfect body or maximum health. But there’s no perfect solution. Heck, I recently had a patient who lost 10 kilos and improved his diabetes in just three months by eating pizza, lollies and chocolate, and washing it all down with soft drink. True story. The key to his success was that he practiced moderation. He reduced his portion sizing and the amount he was eating of all those foods; beefed up his vegetable intake; and switched from regular Coke to the diet stuff. He didn’t sweat it out at the gym, he didn’t take a South American herbal weight loss supplement, nor did he survive for days on just 500 calories. He just made some small changes and voila. The proof was in the pudding, so to speak.
The advice that I and my fellow dietitians impart is simple: eat when you’re hungry, really listen to your body, and nourish it when it needs sustenance. Enjoy your favourite foods, even if you think they fall into the ‘naughty’ category; just make them an ‘every-now-and-then’ thing. Enjoy a tipple, but don’t overdo it. Move more, and always include as many vegetables with your meals as you can.
Truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect diet. There are no foods to avoid like the plague. And there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. A healthy diet incorporates all foods from all the food groups – and the evidence overwhelmingly supports this. But if you’re not a fan of moderation, there are plenty of pseudo-scientists who would be happy to tell you what not to eat and give you any number of weird and half-baked food rules to follow. Especially like avoiding the foods that give you cellulite or make your limbs fall off.
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