Diet Books Aren’t Completely Accurate

by Rachel Baker on October 24, 2013

This is an important read if you have any diet books on your bookshelf.

The strategy they use to steer us away from these processed foods is to vilify or reduce the consumption of key foods or food groups. These eating strategies may also either explicitly or implicitly make us eat less food overall (or, if you prefer, to eat fewer calories).

However, in vilifying single nutrients or foods, these weight-loss diets also increase the nutritional anxieties of a public already suffering from the fear of bad nutrients, or the fear of not getting enough of the functional nutrients we’re now told we need for optimal health. These nutritional anxieties in turn create a demand for nutritional supplements and nutrient-fortified processed foods, based on concerns that we just can’t source enough of these nutrients from everyday foods.

The vilification of certain macronutrients, foods or dietary patterns also lacks credibility when these foods have formed the basis of apparently healthy diets of so many communities, and across many cultures and generations. A focus on food quality is an alternative to such exaggerated scientific claims regarding the health effects of particular foods, and the claim that there is one optimal dietary pattern for good health and weight management.

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