Sunday, 22 November 2009

Superdiets

Diet. The very word is loaded with debilitating baggage. Of all the burdened terms, none goes as heavily laden as Atkins. Sadly for the paleo crowd, we get lumped in with Atkins.

Today's Observer has an interesting article titled "Superdiets? They're just a fairytale, says top doctor". Now believe that paleo eating is deemed faddish by the wider population but check out what our 'top doctor' (Professor Chris Hawkey, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology), has to say about the Atkins diet which he concedes '...is one of the few that carries at least a small amount of evidence':
  • "It is not terribly healthy in the sense that you are going to have a lot of fat, but if you lose weight then it is a good thing," he said. "The theory is that it resets the metabolic rate and there is some science to back that up."
So although he makes recourse to mainstream fat phobia, and although he implies that eating fat does not make us fat, he can at least see the benefit of this approach. It would be nice to ask him why eating a lot of fat is 'not terribly healthy'.

He does favour the 'balanced diet' developed by nutritionist Esther Blum, who '...advocates eating full-fat foods in moderation to help metabolise cholesterol and to improve sex drive'.

So clearly when Esther Blum recommends eating full-fat foods, it is good. But Atkins' endorsement of fat is bad. Blum suggests that the fitness industry is premised on failure (I blogged about this same idea over a year ago), and suggests we should not look at foods as good and bad, and to accepts some fat in our lives.

Reading between the line I still think she sees fat as bad, but reckons we can have success by allowing ourselves to enjoy it.

Personally I think any success comes from the fact that 'animal fat' is NOT bad and that as it is pleasurable and satiating, allowing people to eat it is the REASON Blum's diet works for some - rather than her idea that “A little self-acceptance goes a long way to softening our own critical voice, which can serve as a barrier to helping us reach our goals.” She does nail it on the exercise front though, viewing it as “an opportunity, not a punishment.”

Amen to that!

So now we have growing acceptance that eating fat can make us thinner. All we need do now is tackle the notion that eating fat will NOT clog up our arteries.

Round two. Ding! Ding!

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