Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how wrong for our bodies the current recommendations from our most respected medical institutions are. Well-known diet gurus and nutritional researchers have stepped up to the plate to declare that the high carbohydrate, low fat diet regimens recommended by such institutions as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the United States Department of Agriculture are misinformed, and frankly unhealthy.
Instead, they charge, our diets should include lots of high quality protein, fat should not concern us, and carbohydrates are the enemy. This has set the stage for battles between the weight loss industry and the health industry – with the only agreement between them seeming to be the need to lose weight.
The problem is – they’re both wrong. And they’re both right. The most regularly leveled criticisms of each seem legitimate – until you examine the recommended diets in depth. Sit down and look at the recommended menus. Take them to the calorie calculators and compare ingredients and nutrients. I did, and what I found was a revelation.
In the most practical sense, they’re all talking about the same diet.
Oh, there are minor variations that have been grossly blown out of proportion by the advertising hype. There are misinterpretations that have been stated as fact. The bottom line of each and every one of the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, the American Diabetes Association diet, and the American Heart Association’s Heart Healthy Diet — all of them – is to derive the greatest portion of your caloric intake for the day from low carbohydrate vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, cabbage – leafy green. Carrots, summer squash, deep rich orange vegetables. Fruits with high calorie and antioxidant counts. Whole grains – and this is where the controversy seems to arise.
Almost without exception, proponents of the low carb diets for weight loss and maintenance have condemned the recommended diets for suggesting that adults should derive the greater portion of their diets from carbohydrates. What they fail to note is that also without exception, each of those ‘healthy’ diets strongly suggest avoiding white breads, starchy, processed foods, sweet snacks high in sugar and preservatives, and white rice.
On the other hand, the medical community has roundly condemned the low carb diets for encouraging the consumption of a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol. But there is also a strong suggestion in each of those diets along the lines of “eat only until you are no longer hungry”. .. and a minimum consumption of vegetables. Dinner’s minimum suggested amount of vegetables is 2 1/2 cups. How hungry will you be after consuming two and a half cups of vegetable?
In the end, the bottom line of every weight loss program advertised is the same:
* Eat a well-balanced diet where most of the calories are derived from whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
* Eat fewer calories than you expend.
* Exercise moderately every day.
* Learn to eat that way as a lifestyle and you will lose weight—and keep it off!