Good weight loss programs avoid knee-jerk responses to the latest study published in the media.
As a Certified Nutritionist I keep up on all the latest studies about health and healthy diets. I’ve seen enough sensationalist headlines not to be led astray. I always to go back to the original research before I reach any conclusions.
Since dieters are always looking for good weight loss programs, it’s easy to read a headline and decide that avoiding or adding certain foods will melt off the fat.
Even if you’re just looking to eat a healthy diet, you can get led down the wrong path by looking at the latest research on nutrition.
Why It’s Difficult to Find Good Weight Loss Programs
It is very difficult to find good weight loss programs. If all you’re looking for is calorie deprivation, then any fad diet will do because they will all lead to short term weight loss. But, to keep the weight off in the long run, only lifestyle changes work. You have to find a way to eat a healthier diet and to exercise portion control. That’s not an easy thing to do with restaurant dining and little time to exercise. This requires developing new dietary skills and planning meals in advance.
Almost every day a new gimmicky diet is touted as the latest, greatest weight loss program. Some are based on studies of people’s eating habits and dietary patterns. But, I have found from years of study that nutrition research can be quite unreliable.
Nutrition research is very difficult and lead to misleading results for a number of reasons:
• First, many scientists use mice and rats for research and often the results do not translate to humans.
• Many dietary studies are biased because they are funded by food manufacturers.
• Another failing is that most food studies rely on self-reporting of food intake, which is often quite inaccurate.
• Many studies are short-term and don’t follow up with participants for extended periods of time to discover the long-term effects of certain diets.
• Many studies involve very small numbers of participants or draw subjects from a skewed group of people.
• It’s very difficult to isolate eating a single food from every other lifestyle variation.
Good Weight Loss Programs Avoid Knee-Jerk Responses
Bryant Stamford, a professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology at Hanover College, recently wrote a cautionary article in which he argued that blindly following the latest nutrition claims is leading to more obesity:
Low Fat Diets Are Not Good Weight Loss Programs
For more than 40 years, USDA advised us to limit our intake of fat so we wouldn’t get heart disease. As it turns out, the research was erroneous and this advice didn’t lead to good weight loss programs.
It all started with studies on saturated fat and how it promotes heart disease. This prompted us to avoid foods high in saturated fat. Butter is a good example. But, we needed an alternative, so we started substituting margarine, which is made with partially hydrogenated vegetable fat.
But then an overwhelming number of studies showed that partially hydrogenated fat is the main source of harmful trans fats that greatly increase the risk of heart disease. It does this by raising LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, which increases the tendency of blood to clot and promote inflammation.
In response to that discovery, USDA decreed that all fats were bad and should be severely limited. But, fat adds a lot of taste so it needed to be replaced with another ingredient. Food manufacturers responded by loading up their products with sugar and salt to compensate for the loss of taste from fat. This led to the low-fat craze, which caused most people to eat more carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, the carbohydrates of choice were refined carbs high in sugar and white flour. High fructose corn syrup was also added to many foods. The result? Americans got fatter and Type-2 diabetes increased.
The next weight loss fad was a return to eating high-fat diets. Many people also avoided all carbohydrates, believing that eating them would cause weight gain. All carbs were branded as bad, which meant avoiding good carbs such as those in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Predictably, high-fat diets failed us badly, especially as people began to gradually add carbs back into their daily diet. This high fat, high sugar diet caused more people to become overweight and to develop chronic diseases.
Gluten-Free Diets Are Not Good Weight Loss Programs
The current trend is to go gluten-free as a way to lose weight. But, gluten-free diets are not good weight loss programs either.
In a very small percentage of people gluten can trigger an immune response to attack the small intestine. This causes inflammation and pain and can be debilitating. This is known as celiac disease, and it affects only about 1 percent of the population. Even so, a whopping two-thirds of Americans surveyed believe that going gluten-free will improve their physical or mental health. This has led to the latest gluten-free trend. Health food stores and even some grocers devote an entire aisle to gluten-free food products.
Most packaged gluten-free products are not healthy. They are often high in sugar, fat, and salt, making them a much less healthy alternative to whole grain foods containing gluten.
Recent research indicates that cutting out gluten comes with a big reduction in the consumption of whole grain foods. The problem is that whole grains, fruits and vegetables are healthy and should be the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables and now because of the anti- gluten trend, they are also eliminating healthy whole grains from their diets.
Good Weight Loss Programs Are Well-Balanced Diets
Our knee-jerk responses to dietary choices promote obesity and poor health. Avoid the latest foolish fads and instead learn the basics of a healthy diet and stick to it.
Click here to read the full article that warns that knee-jerk responses are leading to obesity and are not good weight loss programs.