We all know the basic of weight loss and nutrition: Eat less calories and expend more equals weight loss.
Okay. We got that. Now what? Some people advocate 3 squares a day for weight loss, some people say you HAVE to eat every few hours or your metabolism kills itself. You should consume more soy...no, you shouldn't. There are foods with negative calories, no, there is no such thing as negative calorie foods. Eat to your blood type, eat only raw food, don't eat hydrogenate corn starch or whatever and there are more and more things like that floating around.
I've been listening to a few different podcasts throughout the day at work (Jillian M, Fat2Fit, and Nutrition Diva). Almost all of them contradict each other (except eat clean...sorry, I need my fiber one bar at my first break to hold me to lunch. Just a banana does not work for MY body). I'm so completely sick of this. Why don't we understand more about weight loss and nutrition? We have all this technology and we seem to know zip about our bodies. UGH!
06-24-2009, 08:16 PM
We live in a time when what we know about nutrition is rapidly growing. The idea that different styles of eating may work for different people is new. Unfortunately a lot of people think that what is perfect and revolutionary for them must be the best thing for everyone. I'm glad that's not true, because much of what is widely accepted in dieting circles isn't true for me :D But I agree, it can be so confusing and frustrating sometimes.
06-24-2009, 08:29 PM
I also think that everyone these days wants to make their mark as an "expert". And they act like to be an expert, you have to make these definitive, all or nothing statements to prove their expertness: DO this, DON'T do that. Then to set each other apart from one another, they contradict each other. Drives me nuts too!
06-24-2009, 08:46 PM
At the end of the day, these diets are promoted because they offer HOPE -- HOPE of a "new" undiscovered secret that only they know so you should pay them for it...
HOPE that instead of hard work, it comes down to your overriding "uniqueness" and that you are doomed to fatness unless you "understand" the secret that they are selling -- eat 3 meals, no 2, no every 3 hours, no carbs, no protein, no fat, lots of protein, lots of fat, no bananas, all bananas, no carbs after 5 pm, pre-bed carb snack, box it in, box it out, ARGHHHH...
HOPE that this time, they have the key to your problem and that the extra weight really isn't your fault, it is the fault of your metabolism or someone or something else and they will SOLVE it for you...
Whereas in REALITY, it has less to do with the "right diet for your BODY" and has EVERYTHING to do with the "right diet for your LIFESTYLE" and to personal responsibility and to deciding HOW you are going to do this and then just DOING it.
There are no solid answers, OTHER than if you eat too much, the excess is stored as fat. And if you limit your calories and burn more than you consume, your body takes the stored fat as fuel. (of course, barring specific medical conditions and VLCD which uses muscle as fuel too...). We all pretty much know that. And I'm personally not convinced that there really is more to know.
I've decided to NOT patronize those podcasts, and to NOT buy the diet books that offer so much with so little substantiation, and to NOT buy the diet magazines. It justs gets confusing to me and wastes my energy and money. It frees up more time for me to plan my meals and focus on exercise.
I DO go with a structured balanced plan that works for me and limit myself to that PLUS the confidence that I am, well, pretty AVERAGE and because of this, ANY diet will work because the way I metabolize fats, carbs, and proteins is just like the human species was "designed to" if you will. I just have to have a plan that I can work...
06-24-2009, 08:55 PM
Keep in mind that all these so called "experts" are actually trying to sell you something. You might benefit from a consult with a Registered Dietician (not a Nutritionist, in some states anyone call call themselves that but the term RD is licensed). He/she will give it to you straight and has no agenda other than helping you get healthier.
FWIW, some of the latest studies I have seen say it does not really matter which plan you choose (low fat, low card, etc), as long as it is a nutritionally sound plan that provides the essential nutrients and reduces calories. I wish I had the links to those studies but they are saved on my work computer. Will try to remember to email them to myself so I can post here.
06-24-2009, 09:18 PM
I think you have to consider the goals of the different people you are listening to - the Nutrition Diva show is about general nutrition questions, which may or may not relate to weight loss...oftentimes she's talking about general nutrition questions that have nothing to do with weight. Jillian's show is geared to answering questions about general fitness, wellness, and training, which again, may include weight loss, weight gain, maintaining weight but gaining muscle, etc, and toward presenting weight loss/health information she finds interesting. And I haven't listened to Fat2Fit, but based on the name, I'm going to assume it's primarily weight loss based. So with different goals, advice will differ somewhat from host to host.
Also, what seems likely to be true can shift over time based on new evidence, often coming in the form of a study conducted to test one or another weight loss variable. This information is presented as received, and may contradict previous information. Contradictions like this are, I think, a fault of the host...it should be clear that prior research indicated X but a new study found Y, so further investigation is needed...not to mention that if you're serving as a resource, you need to stay up to date on current research, and some hosts fail to do that.
FWIW on the podcasts you've mentioned, I think Nutrition Diva is much better at looking at current research and giving well-thought-out and scientifically supported ideas. Jillian sticks with supported ideas for the fitness advice, but recently has gone into different areas that, I think, she supports more anecdotally (contestants on BL, personal experiences, and the experiences of endocrinologists). But again, Nutrition Diva isn't necessarily weight loss focused, and Jillian is a bit more focused in that direction.
I actually really LIKE having a multitude of different voices out there in the weight loss sphere, so long as what they are promoting is a weight loss plan that a) in some way reduces calorie intake and b) isn't medically harmful to participants. While it can be confusing to pick a plan, I find it a remarkably empowering message that there are all of these options, and they all work, and there just has to be -one- that works for you. It's not that these people are all charlatans and none of their plans work. It's that ALL of the plans work, and so we all get to choose what works best FOR US. And to me, that's a positive thing.
06-24-2009, 10:13 PM
I guess it all comes down to one thing. Trial and error. If you find that you are doing a "no carb" diet, and you don't end up with great results, then your body just isn't as responsive to such a diet as others might be. What works for some may not work for all. That's why there is lots of diversity amongst opinions of fitness experts.
06-25-2009, 08:01 AM
Agreed, it would be nice if there were one answer! I can think of a few reasons that there are so many different outcomes - poor experiment design, "confounding" from having a moneyed sponsor who's expecting a certain result, and because life has such a coolly complex design! I'm keeping my eye on the field of nutrigenomics, where the studies focus on genetic blueprinting and how nutrients tell certain genes to turn on or off. There are some very good studies under way - big ones - that are addressing whether certain sugars influence shortening of the telomeres in your DNA.
That being said ... the goal of most of that research is maximizing life span, not necessarily weight loss. I'd have to say that I think the huge variety of successful diet techniques is actually a bit comforting, and honestly, I think Kiramira says it best: "Whereas in REALITY, it has less to do with the "right diet for your BODY" and has EVERYTHING to do with the "right diet for your LIFESTYLE" and to personal responsibility and to deciding HOW you are going to do this and then just DOING it." I think she's nailed it for 99.9% - you could find the absolute perfect method of eating for your biology and genetics, and if you hate it, it doesn't matter how well it works, you won't follow it. :)
06-25-2009, 04:32 PM
Dieting is a very competitive and lucrative business. There are so many things around, so in order to be heard (and bought) you really have to offer something different! Going with the flow does not do, because people will switch off, feeling they`ve heard it all before.
So I wonder how much of all this is competition, differing and also slagging the competition,e.g. if people are tired of Atkins, the next diet will naturally involve carb galore...