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Diet Trends

Last weekend I attended a workshop on diet trends, and of course I couldn’t wait to share the information with you. The best place to start is with defining the term “diet”. Here are 4 definitions according to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

  1. food and drink regularly provided or consumed;
  2. habitual nourishment;
  3. the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason; or, 
  4. a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.

The biggest thing I learned is that we interchange the word “diet” with “protocol”. The third definition listed above is what we should be thinking of as a protocol. In other words, a type of therapy used to help calm the symptoms of other medical issues. Currently, the Keto Diet is incredibly popular. I’m not sure if people following it realize that it was originally a protocol developed to help in the reduction of epileptic seizures. The Whole30 is another popular diet that stems from a medical protocol. It is based on the practice of eliminating food consumed and then slowly adding them back in to determine sensitivities to foods that cause discomfort or illness. While both of these diets/protocols can result in weight loss the question is at what cost?

The preferred fuel source for the human body comes from carbohydrates. To be clear carbohydrates are in pretty much everything that we eat with the exception of meat, poultry and fish. When we think of carbs we think of pasta, bread, and potatoes. Reality is that there are carbs in vegetables and fruits. When we eliminate carbohydrates from our diet our bodies have to switch from the natural process to the back-up process for creating energy to keep us functioning and moving. When this happens organs, such as the kidneys, are stressed because they have to work harder than normal. That’s why certain “diets” should be not a regular or long term weight loss or management solution. Sure in some cases extreme measures need to be taken to start the weight loss process. These situations need to be supervised by a medical professional (doctor/dietician/certified nutritionist).

I believe that our bodies know what is best for us and we need to learn to listen to them. I love definition #2 – habitual nourishment. The best thing for us is to get in the habit of nourishing our bodies. When we’re sluggish we need to react by consuming something like an apple (packed with nutrients) and a glass of water instead of a cup of coffee and a doughnut. The pounds won’t fall off of us if we do that but we’ll get to where we need to be in a healthy manner.

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