This blog was inspired by Zoe Nicholson’s recent article “Things to Consider When Giving Dietary Advice”. In the post, she emphasises the idea that we are constantly being advised to stop eating certain foods and food types, in order to manage weight (as if it’s as easy as that!). Sugar, bread or carbs in general are normally seen as the main culprits. What is overlooked here is that we are not machines and to be physically healthy, we also need to be mentally and emotionally healthy.
She points out that if you have been advised to simply stop eating carbohydrates, this is really what is being said:
- You can never eat out again freely or normally.
- You can never travel overseas and taste the local cuisine.
- You can’t celebrate special occasions that include certain foods like cake on birthdays and chocolate at Easter.
- You are being asked to not fully partake in your life, while forsaking two basic human needs – the need for food and human connection.
Zoe continues to discuss the vital importance of human connection and socialisation that takes place around world. She does end the post by acknowledging that there are individuals that suffer from true food allergies, Coeliac Disease and other conditions that do require complete avoidance of certain foods. This is not the same as being advised to cut out a certain food or food group for reasons of weight loss.
Carrying on from here I’d like to say that if you’ve been given this advice, approach it with some serious critical thinking and cautious scepticism. The reason for this is that we are constantly being exposed to marketing hype, exaggerations, half-truths, out-of-context information and even fabricated evidence, lies and complete bullshit! Attention-seeking, influential celebrities with ulterior motives and mixed agendas should not be taken as the definitive word on the subject either.
Fear mongering makes headlines and the media are always delighted to be able to write about how something or other is killing us or making us fat! Talking about eating less calories in order to lose weight is just not sensational enough. We need to recognise this when we watch food documentaries, read articles or seek out information, which holds true for any topic, not just nutrition.
In the past, I fell for every new fad, book and documentary, and convincing celebrity expert or doctor, promising an amazing new approach to weight- or fat-loss and muscle gain. Over the years I have excluded a variety of foods and food groups. I tried a number of restrictive diets and given up food that I love with the same outcome every time…I was more miserable, neurotic and paranoid about food, diet and nutrition than ever. Without getting the results i was looking for. Because as hard as I tried to get it “right” there was always someone coming up with new idea as to how I was going to gain weight, loss muscle, get sick and inevitably end up killing myself because of the food I was choosing to eat. And that is how I ended up in a restaurant eating cauliflower base pizza…
However, there is hope! There exists an objective, credible community of nutrition experts and scientists, that adhere to the rigors of scientific methodology. A place where claims and evidence are checked and cross-checked. A place where nothing is accepted at face value and everything about diet and nutrition is constantly being scrutinised in order to present solid, scientific information.
They are not attention-seeking dietary zealots who preach fanatical nutritional ideologies. They don’t endorse any single nutritional diet camp and could even be seen as nutritional agnostics, not preaching about the” miracles” of low carb, low GI, high protein, low fat, Atkins, Banting, Keto, etc. They are only interested in the evidence that is uncovered by scientific research, and are not swayed by personal anecdote or cherry-picked studies.
The science of nutrition can be extremely complicated and that’s why you need to rely on credible, objective sources that can filter the information for you. I have been exploring the research for many years, from reliable and respected industry leaders and experts such as Drs John Beradi and Christa Scott-Dixon (Precision Nutrition), Eric Helms, Alan Aragon, Georgie Fear and Martin McDonald (Mac Nutrition), amongst others. Here are a couple of links that are lists of the nutrition sources that you can trust and the ones that you should avoid!
As a result of this I am able to support and assist my clients through my coaching, nutrition education and training experience, to achieve sustainable fat loss and/or muscle gain without resorting to quick fixes, fads and empty promises.