Nutrition Guidelines: Why so Freakin’ Confusing

January 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

By Alex Beckis, 11 Jan 2016


How far have we really come in pursuit of scientific dietary guidelines?

Secondly, why do weight and fat loss programs have such an abysmal failure rate? After all, there are hundreds of them, and Amazon sells more than a thousand different books about diet, nutrition, fat and weight loss. Still, available statistics about effective weight loss are dreadful to say the least.

  • The obesity epidemic marches on and, with a few national exceptions, now affects 30-40% of people worldwide. Researchers have found that only 0.5% of obese men and 0.8% of women have been able to attain a normal body weight. Once overweight, it is very difficult to return to a normal body weight, they concluded.
  • The most common outcome with weight loss programs is that people give up and regain whatever weight they managed to lose. The vast majority of diet programs do not give you the knowledge you need to lose weight and keep if off.
  • The Internet is full of misleading, incomplete and conflicting information. In the words of Dr. S. Sisskind, in a special report, makes the claim that “The misinformation is staggering.”

To make matters worse, a new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science  in Israel, recently published, has concluded that there is no one diet program that fits everybody. They claim that people have different glycemic responses to the same food. Dr. Elan Elinav, a co-author of the published research, stated as follows in an interview: “If my and yours response to the same food are opposite, then by definition a similar diet cannot be effective for both of us.

The study claims that  two people who follow the same weight-loss diet may end up with diametrically different results. Because of their different  responses to the same foods, one may lose weight while the other fails. The difference is supposedly the extent to which each person’s blood sugar level peaks after eating a particular food.

Where does this leave common diet programs?

Just how are people going to figure out what diet program might suit their particular metabolism? How would you accomplish this? Who would you consult and to what extent could you rely on whatever “microbione analysis” you might receive?

If conflicting information has caused people to fail with their weight loss programs and given up, the need for an individual diet routine it is simply going to add more confusion.

It has not taken fortune-seekers and spin-doctors long to profit from this research. The program I examined argued that I would need to determine my metabolic type. Fine, no problem with this. I was asked to complete a 30-second online interview in which I answered a few basic question about my eating habits. The test determined that my metabolic type was that of a muscle burner, and I was told to add snacks in between regular meals. Needless to say, the recommendation was accompanied with a paid offer that would explain the need to also change my exercise routine.

I have successfully lost 10 kg of body weight in less than one month and stabilised my weight at this level. Based on my own research and success in losing weight, my classification as a muscle burner could not be further from the truth. Beware of these scammers who attempt to profit from new research.

A healthy eating plan

Listening to the experts would be a good start. We also need to recognise that a healthy dietary plan and the pursuit of weight loss are two separate issues.

The most current news comes from the recent Finding Common Ground summit in Boston, attended by 75 nutritional experts and scientists from the U.S., Canada and Europe. The objective of this summit, organised by Oldways, a non-profit food and nutrition organisation, was to find common ground about healthy eating. Apart from scientists from leading universities and research organisations, speakers included proponents of major diet programs like the Paleolithic, Mediterranean, vegan, and low-fat diets.

The consensus to which the summit agreed was that healthy diets consist of abundant fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes and minimal amounts of refined starch, sugar, and red meat, especially processed red meats.

The thing to remember is that this was the consensus from 75 nutritional experts. Like any communique produced by a convention, committee, or an assembly of experts, the end result will be a compromise of different opinions. There will inevitably be generalisations.

Controversy still surrounds issues like saturated fats, read meat and whole grains and your convictions will depend on which particular diet program you may support.

The recent release of the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines has more serious problems and has been the subject of negative critique by prominent scientists. If you are interested in what expert scientists has to say about these dietary guidelines, read the TIME article titled “Here’s What 10 Experts Think Of the Government’s New Diet Advice“.

In the main, controversy still surrounds issues like saturated fats, red meat and grains, especially whole grains vs. refined grains.

What we have to accept is that scientific conclusions are very demanding and require evidence-based research and trials. Such trials and surveys are extremely difficult to organise and control. Disagreements and controversy exist because such evidence has yet to be produced.

Also, a lot of research is funded by the food industry with predictable results.

You are welcome to peruse this blog for nutritional issues that are supported by current research.

How do you make intelligent decisions about your food choices? Let’s address that question next.

What is real food?

To maintain good health, we are supposed to eat real food. But what is real food?

Real food is natural food. The soil in which the food is grown should be rich in nutrients which become absorbed into the vegetables and into our bodies.

  • Animals including poultry should be pasture-raised, organic, and contain no hormones or antibiotics.
  • Fish and seafood should be wild and not raised in fish farms.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be grown in protein rich soils and free from pesticides. This means organic produce.
  • Cooking oils should not have an excess level of Omega-6 fats which is common with hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Beyond this, we should lower or eliminate the consumption of packaged foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, colourings as well as sugar-laden soft drinks.

The inevitable compromises

With some exceptions, depending on where you live, it is almost impossible to procure and prepare real food in our modern, industralised society.

So compromise is inevitable. However, you cannot compromise unless you first know what it is your are compromising, can you?

The Adulteration of our food supplies

The sad truth is that commercial industry controls a substantial part of our food production.

  • Livestock raised in “concentrated animal feeding lots” (CAFOs) and fed corn and soy, very likely GMO varieties, to which are added antibiotic supplements.
  • Fruit orchards and agricultural fields sprayed with pesticides, Unless banned in your country, these pesticides could well contain glyphosate, a known carcinogen.
  • High fructose corn syrup is used in almost every conceivable food and drink and it is not a healthy sweetener.

Add to this sugary beverages, sodium, chemicals, preservatives, and colourings added to package food products.

The next issue is the fast-food restaurants and takeaways. What ingredients and cooking oils do they use?

The bottom line is that chemicals, preservatives, sugar and incomplete carbohydrates cause havoc with our immune system. It produces anti-bodies which destroy the good gut bacteria. Sugar and sweets proliferate, destroy good bacteria and produce bad bacteria which thrive in the environment of a destructive digestive system. The end result is excessive body inflammation which gradually gives rise to our modern-day diseases.

A depressing picture, isn’t it?

With some exceptions, depending on where you live, it is almost impossible to procure and prepare real food in our modern, industralised society.

So compromise is inevitable.