I’ve been seeing a lot of the popular lifestyle diets lately touting the benefits of eating healthy food (awesome!), and balanced meals (balance is good throughout the day the meal itself doesn’t have to be super-balanced, in fact certain types of food at certain times can be more beneficial when you’re ready to go there), but then I look at the meal plan and “healthy foods” in the eyes of the diet’s creator often do not include whole unprocessed foods, or omit “foods” that we know to be carcinogenic, and some are still leaving out or drastically limiting macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and– healthy–fats).
Let me point out that you can be on a vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan and still meet all of these major requirements; I am not judging an overall lifestyle choice (or in the case of some folks illness or digestibility issues).
I do wonder about questionable advice that stems from omitting all fats, including healthy fats naturally contained in foods such as nuts, seeds, and avocados for example. We know that processed fats aren’t good, but no fats at all? While we overeat processed fats in our society and many of us suffer from heart disease, fats are needed for cell building, vitamin assimilation (the breakdown and uptake of vitamins into our bodies), and proper hormone function. In case you don’t know hormones are also what controls our metabolism, appetite, and sex hormones (which is why very lean women often don’t menstruate) so if they are out of whack then you’re ability to regenerate cells, get the vitamins you need, your metabolism, appetite, and even reproductive systems might suffer too, making the diet seemingly unsustainable.
But this was less of a concern than a few recent diets I’ve looked at that included low-fat mayo and sour cream, “fruity” yogurts that contained no sugar, no fat, and other not-so-real “foods”. If you think that’s food just consider the confusing idea: products that are made of fat somehow made to be low-fat. Huh?! That’s not possible unless the food is not even what it says it is!
Engineered food doesn’t make sense, and isn’t good for you. It contains things that are not even food (like wood. Yes, actually!), and parts of food that have been broken down so they are no longer in any way nutritionally valuable and are just in it for flavour/texture/colour. Often they don’t breakdown well in our systems, or the chemical composition turns it into something completely different, once these foods are broken down into their various parts.
Fruity yogurts often contain little to no actual fruit, and if there’s no fruit and no sugar you’re eating artificially flavoured, coloured and sweetened yogurt, and most of them have fillers like corn starch and gelatin (both of those are broken down bits of whole foods) to help improve the texture. I think before they put all the other funny stuff in it the texture and taste of yogurt with fruit was just fine. That’s not just me right? Those are just a couple of examples.
If the overuse of non-organic soy/meat substitutes, heavy consumption of meat/fish/animal products, lots of supplements and replacement foods, or lots of foods your grandparents wouldn’t have understood the concept of (not never heard of like chia seeds, but wouldn’t understand, like low-free ice cream) are involved, then you should probably take a closer look at whether this diet is sustainable and healthy for long term consumption. Is the maintenance plan holistic? Most diets don’t offer good long term lifestyle choices. If you’re going to put in all that effort there should be long term potential for long lasting healthy results, changes that are actually good for your body, fulfill your nutritional needs, and leave you feeling awesome!