Do You Understand How Your Diet Works?
It’s common for all of us to jump on fad and diet bandwagons without understanding how diets work – or at least what the science is supposed to be behind the diet we’re looking at starting.
Case in point – I saw a post on Instagram the other day about someone planning on doing a low-fat paleo diet, which on paper sounds great. It’s basically lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.
It kind of sounds like a very healthy way to live and eat.
Combining Different Diets
Low-fat paleo will also be very restrictive, you’ll be lacking in some key nutrients and you’ll probably be miserable the whole time you’re doing it.
I’m not a big fan of low-fat diets anyways, because it demonizes a very important macronutrient, which is fats, and your body does need that for optimal health.
But combining it with an eating plan that does actually rely on fat sources as an important component and a major source of nutrition kind of feels like a recipe for disaster.
Understanding How Diets Work
Seeing that post got me thinking about diets more generally.
A lot of the time we look at a diet and look at the results and say, “yes, that’s what we want to follow” without necessarily understanding how that diet works and without deciding whether it’s going to be optimal for us.
When you look at a diet, you can’t just look at the results. You also need to get at least some understanding of the science or theory behind why that diet is the way it is.
And for something like this, I always use Slimming World as an example.
My Experience With Slimming World
I’m not going to get too in depth into how Slimming World works but just understand this.
If you’re having whole fresh fruit you can have unlimited amounts. Whereas if you have pureed or mashed, it has, what’s called “syns” (because marketing). You have a certain syn allocation per day and you’re not meant to go over that number of syns.
I always the banana as an example.
You’ve got a mashed or pureed banana, which has two or three syns in it. I can’t remember.
Or you have a whole banana, which you can have as much as you want.
Nutritional value is identical, but for some reason, the mashed or pureed one has syns.
And pretty much every single fitness trainer or instructor or personal trainer with an Instagram account has decided to mock Slimming World for this at some point.
Because you’ve got one food, which is mashed or pureed, one food, which has an identical nutritional value, which is going to end up mashed by the time it reaches your stomach anyways. This thing called chewing exists.
The Psychological Impact Of Eating Whole Foods
Yes, in the above example, both bananas have the same nutritional value, but they don’t have the same psychological effect.
And that’s what most people miss.
The physical act of peeling, chewing and swallowing, so actually eating a whole banana is very different on your mindset to just say, adding a pureed banana to a smoothie or something, and drinking it.
The way Slimming World works, which most fitness trainers or personal trainers don’t seem to understand (or don’t seem to want to understand) is that it’s to help people who aren’t necessarily familiar with calorie counting, or don’t want to count calories or aren’t great with eating nutrient dense foods or maybe are struggling with portion control to actually focus their energy on getting foods that are rich in nutrition.
That’s not only going to help with weight. That’s also going to help with overall health.
And just understanding that it works by helping people make that shift it’s a big gap that a lot of trainers seem to miss.
So when you’re looking at like a whole banana someone actually eating that as a snack, compared to a pureed banana, which someone might add as an add on to something else so they might actually forget that they had it, there’s a very different effect there.
And I kind of wish more trainers would actually understand that little bit of subtlety, but here we are.
I’m not saying Slimming World is perfect. I am biased towards it because it is what started my health and fitness and weight loss journey. But there are still some gaps and some loopholes.
But having been through it, I understand how it’s meant to work as a diet and an eating plan.
And as a way of helping people who have struggled with eating well or eating nutritiously, or are struggling with portion control to actually eat in a way that’s going to be better for their health, that’s 100% a good thing.
Understand How A Diet Gets Results Instead Of Just Focusing On The Results
Sorry. I ended up on a bit of a tangent about Slimming World and bananas there, but it was kind of the best way to make my point.
Pretty much any diet can work for pretty much any health goal.
But rather than just looking at the results that other people get, you need to have some understanding of how or why that diet works the way it does.
And that’s going to help you understand how to make it fit in with your goal
Rather than just looking at it at surface level and deciding that it’s going to work for you.