OK, so this whole Nutrition Wars has gone on longer than I thought it would. Way longer than I wanted it to. But what war doesn’t go on longer than preferred?
All of those eating plans aside, one might say, “It’s really easy for you to sit there and criticize, criticize, criticize. What are you offering?” Fair question.
First, sticking with the analogy that this is a war, I want to stay in the engagement for a bit. When you meet someone who holds to one of the three previously mentioned views they come on hard. They
1. Firmly believe that the way they’re promoting is correct and
2. That rival ideas are incorrect.
The issue at hand that drove me to take on this whole Nutrition Wars venture was driven by the fact that they all can’t be right since they give contradictory information about what is true.
A moral relativistic approach won’t work for me because we’re not talking about people’s opinions of greatest movie ever produced. We’re talking about what is objectively true and what is false.
So here’s what almost all nutrition plans, including the three I’ve spent the last three posts beating up on, get right:
In the end, they all require their adherents to practice MODERATION.
Yup, that’s why I think there’s so much anecdotal evidence that competing nutrition plans work. One way or another, you’ve got to use some self restraint in the amount of calories you take in. Moderation is built into all of the programs. Think about it.
If you’re going to eat Paleo then you’re going to be eating a lot of meat, nuts, and vegetables and not a lot of grains. Grains tend to be the cheapest food items and meats the most expensive. So economically you’re probably going to have to cut back. Also, once you start cutting back on the carbs it’s hard to imagine that you’re caloric intake will be as high.
If you’re going with the Plant-based Only eating route then what happens to your grocery list once you cut out the meats? It get’s significantly smaller that’s what. So, ya, go ahead and load up on the veggies. Because that’s all you’re getting. The caloric intake has got to go down once you take meats off the plate.
If Organic eating is the way for you then like the Paleo plans you’re going to have economic and caloric intake incentives to moderate the amount of food you’re putting into your pie hole.
Another reason for all of the weight loss success of these competing programs is the vast majority of participants (I’d say 75% on the low side of my professional guess) also engage in some form of exercise program to go along with their new eating. Furthermore, 100% of the programs recommend exercise as an important part of the success of their programs.
So let’s get this straight.
1. We’ve got three competing, disagreeing eating styles that all report success with their programs.
2. They all have moderation of caloric intake built into the programs.
3. They all recommend exercise as key to the success of the programs and the majority of practitioners do, in fact, exercise.
4. The key to the success of the programs is MODERATION of caloric intake and EXERCISE.
What I’m promoting and do promote over and AGAINST Paleo-style eating, Plant-based Foods Only eating, and Organic lifestyles is
MODERATION of caloric intake and EXERCISE.
I know what you’re thinking, “Tim you’re so controversial (dripping with sarcasm).” Well, believe it or not, I am. Remember, this is a war. Trainers, nutritionists, and partisans from each of the three groups DO NOT LIKE IT when I say, “Ya you’re plan is OK but the only real reason it works is because you’re moderating your caloric intake and exercising.”
Fair is fair. I bashed all three of the other groups and I’ve received more than a handful of rebukes and critiques for my position. The strongest of the critiques goes something like this: “Tim, your plan is too simplistic. If it were that easy, then why doesn’t everyone just do it and lose weight?”
The short answer to that question is because they lack the organizational skills and will power to self discipline. Now can you imagine how well received that statement is in our politically correct culture. And you thought I wasn’t controversial.
That’s another reason why folks utilizing one of the three programs that I beat up on find that they work. Those programs are highly structured. Structure has moderation built into it.
People who MAKE UP THEIR MINDS that they want to start to control their nutrition:
Want to be told WHAT to eat
Want to be told WHEN to eat
Want to be told HOW MUCH to eat.
They DON’T WANT to have to figure it our for themselves.
So the real critique to my program – in my opinion – is not that it’s too simplistic, but that it’s too hard. Or I suppose I’ll take the critique as it stands and admit, “Just because it’s simplistic, doesn’t mean it’s easy.” Which means I’m guilty of not being structured enough for those who lack the organizational skills to do it themselves. Don’t feel bad if that’s you. You’re in the majority.
Next week: I’ll take a stab at bringing some organization to my Nutrition Plan.