Editorial: No diet is superior!


Pick a diet that works for you and limits processed food!

Overwhelmed Choices: List of Weight Lost

Overwhelmed Choices: List of Weight Lost

Nutrition and medical experts have long debated what the most optimal diet is.  Some argue for moderation and portion control; others suggest that Keto or Adkin’s diets are superior, and a few even suggest that a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for there is an optimal diet that humans evolved to eat. But a study published this month adds a twist. It found that there is likely no single natural diet that is best for human health.

Humans are not herbivores or carnivores.  We are omnivores.  An omnivore is an animal that can eat and survive on either plant and animal matter.  They type of diet makes sense for humans if you look at our history.  We developed as a hunter‐gatherer society.  We tended to gather roots, nuts, and fruit from the wild when meat was less available.  The transition to an agrarian society was a later development but also fits with our developments.  There are very few ancient vegetarian societies.  We did not have the ability to grow foods year round and even less ability to store them.  

There have been many studies that looked at the diets, habits and physical activity levels that are associated with successful weight loss.  If you are looking for evidence that one diet or another work, you can search and find plenty of evidence to suggest that just about any weight loss diet will work.  Heck, you can find evidence that just about any type of diet is likely to fail.  The problem with much of the research is bias, and her studies are performed.  Don’t get me wrong; I do not think that most of the bias is intentional.  

We are very adaptable and generally exhibit excellent metabolic health while consuming a wide range of diets.  The key to weight loss is not dependent on the type of foods, but creating a calorie deficit.  Sure, you need essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and fatty acids and you cannot function without them.  Very few diets fail to deliver these necessary parts ask long as you eat a balanced and diverse diet from multiple sources of whole foods.  

The key to weight loss maintenance is in the term “weight loss maintenance”  is the word “maintenance.”  If you revert back to the old ways, you will gain weight.  It is not magic.  It is common sense.  Losing weight or using some new-fangled diet will not boost your metabolism and prevent weight gain forever.  If you revert back, you will return to the weight level you experienced before the weight loss.  

I personally think that the problem is not what you eat but the fact that we have converted our diets to processed foods that are readily digested and absorbed rapidly.  Fiber and less processed vegetables, grains, and starches are more slowly absorbed and keep us full longer.  The problem is not the types of foods that we eat per se, but the fact that our industrialized food manufacturers have removed the healthier parts of many of the foods that we should be eating.  

It makes sense that we would function at a healthier weight with a mixture and animal and plant matter in our diet also.  I am not arguing for meat eating or against vegans.  I think you need to personalize your diet to a diet you can maintain.  I am not talking about a diet full of ice cream or cookies.  You might be able to maintain it, but it would not be healthy.  I am talking about a diet with a moderate amount of lean meat and 40-60% whole food sources of carbohydrates.  

The bottom line:  Calorie deficits are what matters for weight loss.  As long as we limit processed foods, what we eat matter less than how many calories we consume. We have a remarkable history for their excellent metabolic and cardiovascular health that has worsened since we have transitioned to more processed foods.  I suggest that you find a diet that works for you and you can maintain for the rest of your life and still limits processed foods.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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