22 January 2011

Diets – When Healthy is Unhealthy

I must thank David Mendosa for getting me back to this topic. His blog at Health Central on December 6, 2010 about the downfall of the Mediterranean diet was excellent and reminded me of what I had started back in October, but was not sure I was ready to finish it.

This is a good time to remind everyone that in general if someone says the word diet, chances are you will probably want to avoid it. Most diets are not set up for being adhered to for the long-term. They are generally maximized for the short-term to give the greatest benefit and most people will not adhere to one for the long-term.

If you want or need to lose weight, the key is to stop being sedentary and develop an exercise routine that fits you and your desires. Remember that the trips to and from the refrigerator don't count. To lose weight and maintain the weight loss, a lifestyle change is necessary. This change has to be flexible and something that can be acceptable in the months and years ahead.

WebMD has an excellent discussion about diets and while I agree with most of what is said, I must warn you that I grew up on a dairy farm and will probably never remove all dairy products from my menu. I have removed much of it because of the growth hormones added to feeds and the genetically modified grains used as feed. The discussion in WebMD is good because it does urge moderation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein and does not push one over the other. Their emphasis is on balanced nutrition which is as it should be.

I would also have problems with the Paleo (Paleolithic) diet which many are learning to follow. It is one of the better diets. I admit that I do not like diets for the reason that they are not sustainable, not always the most healthy, and many times are less nutritious. I have tried the South Beach diet, but after four months, found it unsustainable.

I am attempting to put together a combination of eating habits that are nutritious and may incorporate parts of the Paleo and South Beach diets that are realistic for me. This is one reason that I advise everyone to consult with a nutritionist and dietitian to arrive at something that is sustainable for you. It will include what works for you and is a sound and sustainable lifestyle change. I urge you to be careful of letting mantras influence you. The current mantra about whole wheat/grains is not healthy in the long run and needs to be modified to minimize these.

I also do not advise going to extremes on nutrition either. I have seen too many of these people on the internet and what they advise is not sustainable in the long-term and often not as nutritious in the long-term either. Until we learn moderation, most of us may never eat as healthy as we should.

Read David's blog here, and the WebMd article here. Another interesting WebMD article is here and two of my previous related blogs are here and here.

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