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Which diet advice is to be believed?

(405 Posts)
TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:09:16

I've started reading John Briffa's Escape the Diet Trap. It makes for very interesting reading, but has made me question the usual run of the mill low fat type diet advice.
If Briffa is to be believed, low fat diets are unsustainable and can contribute to ongoing obesity issues and increasing the risk of diabetes.

I've also recently heard that if milk is to be drunk, full fat milk is better, as the majority of vitamins and minerals are in the fat.

I'm also hearing varying reports on cholesterol, and how it maybe isn't playing the dangerous role that many drs are telling us.

So, after DH's stroke (which wasn't in any way a lifestyle issue) he has been advised to be cautious and cut down on fat and use benecol spread and yoghurt drink (I have read that these aren't good for you, but can't remember where, could have been on here)

So when there is so much conflicting advice, who do you trust? What do you believe?

John Briffa's book is really convincing, quotes trials, uses scientific charts etc, and makes sense.
I myself have struggled with low fat diets, and failed more times than I care to admit.
I am in no way qualified to interpret scientific trial data (along with the majority of the population) and am growing more and more confused about the conflicting advice that is out there.

I'm not really sure what I'm expecting from this thread, but I'm interested to see what others think about this, and who you trust when it comes to diet advice?

Kyedecmy Sat 25-May-13 06:50:05

Losing weight is never just plain sailing is it .. I v like 99 % women have tried every fad, diet, plan, even worked for a very well known weight loss company , but you never know what lies beneath..
With just turning 40 last year , I couldn't drop a pound - ( 2 stone overweight btw) and I really had to investigate ...I found food intolerances , insulin resistance the lot ... I know it's not every body's cup of tea but I completely changed the way I eat , I dropped ll the rubbish carbs , ate quite low carb but ate GOOD carbs, ( veg , salad, etc , ) loads of water , lean meat, half fat cheese, nice dairy, it's so lovely ...
I have energy , skins awesome, and most of all I m already 16 lbs down , I not do sugar and high carbs anymore , ( the insulin kick in roller coaster stopped me losing weight ) ..
Frustrating really after years of calorie counting. Points, green red days, starvation, 5:2, ,,, it truly is WHAT u eat , sugar and bad carbs wreak havoc on the body ....

HumphreyCobbler Sat 25-May-13 07:24:00

I do find it very dismissive to have the way I eat dismissed as a fad. I eat healthily, without touching processed carbs or refined sugar. It is not a fad.

Kyedecmy Sat 25-May-13 07:29:09

It's definitely the best way to live humphreycobbler , I think people panic and think what no carbs without seeing what healthy , unprocessed carbohydrates actually are ... I have never felt better ....

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 07:44:20

I love the idea of low carbing, and be quite irritating evangelical about it, but I can't get my head round not having a bowl of porridge in the morning, and no potatoes or rice.

I've had a quick read of the 5:2 diet, and might give it a go.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:00:08

I lost 2 1/2 stone on slimming world - I think it is a good and healthy diet and quite easy to stick to. However - once I got to target I stopped doing it and have started rebelling and eating all sorts of rubbish and am gaining again.

I have read Dr Briffa's book and think some of the things he says make sense but it is still a diet despite what he says.

I have also read Alan Carr's easy way to lose weight and think he makes sense too (although he does say some unfounded and outlandish things) but the basic point is to eat food that we like that humans have been eating for thousands of years.

Recently I have read beyond temptation which is more like the Paul Mckenna approach and I think this is probably what makes the most sense. Eat what you fancy when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Sadly I struggle with maintaining the focus to do this also.

All these things work if you are highly motivated and stick to them. The problem is (for me anyway) how you behave when you are not focussed on losing weight. I think we need to change our mindsets completely and not put food on such a pedestal. Eat all things in moderation and lots of real food as part of that mix.

Exercise is also good but in relation to weight loss it does not have very much effect.

juneau Sat 25-May-13 08:00:41

I think the main problem is that we've forgotten how to eat and how much we really need. Overeating is the main reason why so many of us are overweight as, for most people who don't have some underlying issue, it's a very simple sum of calories in minus calories out. We eat calorie dense foods that simply didn't exist before and we eat far more sugar than we need. In addition, most of us live really sedentary lives. We don't work in fields or chase down our dinner any more - we drive to work, sit in a chair, drive home again and sit in front of the TV. It's not coincidence that during WWII, when rationing was in place, the population was much, much healthier than it is now. People didn't overeat, because they weren't able to, they dug their own gardens, walked everywhere, etc and they were much healthier for it.

So I don't follow fad diets. If I can see the needle on the scales creeping up, I cut down. I do have skim milk, rather than whole, but small amounts of good, nutritious food is much healthier IMO than lots of processed and artificial crap. Benecol? Yuk! I'd rather spread some honey straight onto the bread, or have a small scraping of real butter.

BsshBossh Sat 25-May-13 08:01:05

TheDeadlyDonkey I've lost 5 stones since last year, first of all doing bog-standard calorie restriction using MyFitnessPal and then doing 5:2. Throughout this time I've eaten full-fat everything; I hate the cardboardy taste of low-fat/diet products. But I don't have heart/stroke issues so I've not been worried about eating butter etc - so ref your DH I can't advise. But 5:2 is very easy for me - hunger is nothing to be feared - also on non-fast days I am trying my utmost not to snack between meals and this is helping. Good luck to you and yours.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:01:35

Oh yes and I have a very brief go at the 5:2 diet as it does sound great but I felt so ill and weak for about 48 hours that I am not planning to attempt it again.

BoffinMum Sat 25-May-13 08:13:39

The primary piece of evidence out there of universal relevance and usefulness is what Norks said. Stop eating refined sugar. It transforms anyone's eating.

There is another quote going around:

Eat food
Not too much
Mostly plants

Which is bound to help as well.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Sat 25-May-13 08:21:36

Has anyone mentioned this book yet?

Fat chance: the butter truth about sugar by Robert Lustig

I am only about half way through but am loving it. He's a paediatric endocrinologist with many years of experience treating obesity in children. It's very scientific but also very readable. He says that basically refined sugar (fructose) is as toxic as ethanol and that the low fat push of the past 30 years was a terrible mistake because people increased sugar consumption to compensate. Lots more in it too though about how insulin and leptin work and how hormones, addiction and environment drive behaviour.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:26:34

I am also quite convinced that artificial sweetners are to be avoided and sugar is better than aspartame. When I cut them out I find the taste of fruit improved significantly.

TreeLuLa Sat 25-May-13 08:26:52

I used tobthinkmi had a serious food addiction. Wasvconstantlybtrying to losevweightbwith low fat diets. Often succeeded with great effort, but always re gained the weight.always hungry.

Am now following Low carb, real food diet and am transformed. Have lost 18lbs since Jan, not hungry as my blood sugar is stable.

TreeLuLa Sat 25-May-13 08:27:22

Oops. Sorry for errors.

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 11:02:07

Thin people do not snack.
Thin people stop eating when they are full.
Thin people serve themselves smaller portions.
The vast majority of thin people skip meals.
I am now a thin person.
5:2 got me there last December and keeps me there very easily.
I will continue with 5:2 for the other health benefits for the rest of my life.
It is not a "diet" it is a different way of eating.

Beechview Sat 25-May-13 11:11:02

I think most people would lose weight if they just gave up snacking and had a normal portion of decent home cooked food

chocoluvva Sat 25-May-13 12:19:01

I can't see that virtually no carbs is a good idea - the argument about paleolithic diets having almost no carbs is doubtful IMO - what about tropical countries with the bountiful supply of fruit? Or in cooler climes - nuts?

Trills Sat 25-May-13 12:19:50

Thin people do not snack.

Not necessarily true.

Thin people stop eating when they are full.

Not every time.

Blanket statements of "this is true" are the thing that I object to most.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 25-May-13 12:26:07

paleo diets would not have been no carb. They would have been without processed grain, sugar and large amounts of fruit though.

chocoluvva Sat 25-May-13 12:41:39

Even the fruit thing is debatable though - would there not have been a glut of fruit while it was in season then virtually nothing for the rest of the year.

Studies have shown that thin people are much more likely to consume fewer calories than overweight people of the same height and build. But that is often/sometimes because they have higher levels of the hormones that tell you you're feeling full.

I don't think overweight people should be made to feel that they're weak-willed or greedy when they are surrounded by unfilling yet highly calorific food designed to be eaten instantly and make you crave more of it.

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 13:05:13

Deadly are you asking about healthy diets or diets for weight loss? Sadly these are not always the same thing. I mentioned the blood type upthread and if you go on their FB site there are many people who've been cured of many ills by it. I'm the only 62 yr old i know who's healthy and I've been on it for 14 years.

For weight loss though the Paul Mckenna Way of Eating is very good.It concentrates on HOW we eat rather than what so removing the stress which surrounds the calorie counting and weighing (as well as the shxx diet food) on more 'normal' diets.

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 13:12:11

I'm asking because everything I read or hear about either healthy diet or weight loss diet is conflicting.
I'm confused by drs telling us one thing (eg. low fat, less red meat) yet another dr writing a book tells us low fat is bad, red meat is fine and actually helps the body function better.

I have read stuff about cholesterol that makes me believe that GPs advice is outdated and in some cases could cause more harm than good (use benecol, take statins), but like I said, I'm no expert and in no position to interpret the latest medical data on the subject.

I do like the idea of a PMcK approach - how you eat rather than what you eat, and think it could result in a far healthier relationship with food.

Willowisp Sat 25-May-13 13:21:50

I followed a low fat, high carb vegetarian way of eating for years. I was always hungry & although fairly slim had high cholesterol (not sure what the Hdl/LDL ration was). I also craved sugar.

About 10 years ago I read the Zone book, which had a ratio of 30 fat/30 carb/30 protein & started eating chicken. I felt better, less hungry & stayed as slim without struggling. I didn't follow it religiously, but kept within the boundaries.

After a horrible time on AD's I messed up my eating & gained about 1/2 stone. Switching to lower carb, higher fat way of eating saw me drop the excess pounds & feel fab.

So, IMO low fat is crap, doesn't fill you up, you don't get the mouthfeel from foods, so always looking for other things to eat (usually sugar).
High carb raises your blood sugar, so again, always hungry, always poking around for nibbles.

I'm very conscious to ensure my DC eat healthily. They drink non homongenised full fat milk, eat foods that have homemade stock in them. Eat red meat, organic eggs, a couple of bits of fruit, nuts. I've just started adding organic liver to meatballs & they also eat salmon a couple of times a week. Everyone is slim, strong & healthy compared to me who lived on cocoa pops, white bread & turkey burgers & was <sigh> a chubby child.

The Diet Deluision by Gary Taubes is a very interesting read, as is the Weston A Price

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 13:29:22

The deadly the Blood Type answers your question about no one diet being correct for everyone because we are all different. So what suits me wouldn't nec. suit you because e.g. I'm an A type secretor and maybe you're an AB non secretor.

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 13:41:30

I am middle aged with BMI around 21. I snack all the time!! Terrible for my teeth, but no harm to my weight. My teeth are a bigger stress to me than my weight.

There are lots of Food gurus nowadays, it's bewildering. I try to shut most of it out.

Things I believe:

Fruit and veg are good, I try to bulk my diet out on them. I tend to think that if I bulk up on F+V the other things tend to fall into place by themselves.
Even dried fruit & fruit juice are good in moderation.

High sugar / high salt / high animal flesh / high wheat / high fat: need to be moderated.
Eg: full fat milk fine daily, shop fried chips daily not so good.
No fear of carbs as a group.
Hidden sugars are especially bad.
A lot of people eat wheat all day and don't seem to think that's weird. confused Wheat, especially bread, is so jolly convenient, I have to work harder to minimise that than anything else.
I don't like health-gimmick foods (vitamin fortified, probiotic type things) .

Artificial colours / flavours / weird ingredients like diglycerides are bad, but I am not going to stress if I ingest a little.

Transfats are very bad and I strongly avoid. Most veggie oils have solvent residues so am trying to cut down.

Milk production is horrible to cows and I would in my highest ideals like to go milk free.

Because I love my small portions, I can have whatever I want as long as I make the portions sensible.

My dad was diagnosed pre-diabetic and his official diet guidelines now look a lot like how I eat.

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 13:44:23

And one other thing, which increasingly I suspect is very important:
Food should be enjoyed, so you have to take your time and eat in a peaceful environment. Eating on the run all the time or maybe even more than occasionally, is a disaster for our relationship with food and our bodies. It's a bizarrely philosophical thing for me of all people to say, but I think peaceful eating might be key to heaving a healthy relationship with food, body size, etc.

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