Food Fight

Amongst a storm of controversy from many fronts the FDA has revised the food pyramid. The new version is somewhat of an improvement over the old one but considering the obesity epidemic in this country I look at it and wonder who could eat all that food and maintain or lose weight? Certainly a young athlete in training or a growing child might be able to eat two-three servings of dairy a day along with two-three servings of meat piled on top of several servings of white rice, pasta and potatoes but the rest of us, I don’t think so. If a food pyramid that touts a high carbohydrate, low fat diet is such a success why is it in spite of the fact that we eat a lot less fat than we did in the 1950s our fight against obesity is a dismal failure?

As a nation we are so confused about what to eat that many have just given up. There is so much information out there that is contradictory, biased or anecdotal why wouldn’t we be confused? Some people turn to their doctors for help only to find most have had little or no education in nutrition.

Bottom line, we are making things much too complicated. Want to lose weight with some fad diet go for it, just remember you should use them short term and only to kick start your weight loss. Long term overuse of high protein, no carbohydrate diets or other extreme diets will leave your body starved and out of balance.

Once you’ve gone through all the fads and want to get serious about your weight and health you’re going to have to choose a diet that brings more balance. The amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats (you need all three) you consume will vary some from person to person and day to day. A food journal is the only tool I’ve seen used to successfully determine one’s personal balance point.

Your food journal should consist of a listing of daily foods, the times they were consumed, your energy levels, mood and any other emotion you find related to your food consumption. Include a monthly weight and positive reinforcements noted about clothes feeling loose, better energy or mood.

If you are completely lost about what good food is and have no idea where to start, try using a diabetic exchange diet available through your hospital dietary department, diabetic associations or support groups. Diabetic diets work well because they are so simple. Keeping the blood sugar in check – diabetic or not – will reduce cravings and bring balance. The Weight Watchers original diet plan is very similar to a diabetic exchange and has given many an individual sustained weight loss and better health because of it.

On the horizon, a new group of diet pills focused on turning off the hungry switch. I look at the past track record of drugs like fen-phen and shudder. Current drugs aimed at weight loss, Xenical™ and Meridia™, both cause side effects of diarrhea and high blood pressure and neither have shown lasting positive results. The last thing we need is more reliance on drugs and drug companies. Drugs will not resolve years of poor eating habits nor make us take responsibility for ourselves and our health.

Food fights will no doubt continue. The argument is more about wanting to be right or selling something than about what will help you stay healthy. Let the powers at be continue to duke it just don’t get caught in their confusion.

Till next time, Rebecca