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Food and Diet Fads

By Move Well Founder,

Phil Jones.

Superfoods and the perfect diet or just clever
marketing?

Nutritional fads have been around since the dawn of time. Marketeers have long recognised that people will pay a premium for a product viewed as healthy, or at least less-unhealthy (enter low calorie flavoured water and “light” beers). In the late 90’s there was a surge in the performance-nutrition sector.

Nowadays it is the norm to see men and women alike, regardless of their sporting discipline, slurping back a protein shake or adding supplements to their diet. Other products that have grown in popularity include diet pills, energy drinks, and recovery shakes.

Over the last few years there has been some truly worrying facts released about
diet pills. Many contain dangerous blends of ingredients and on occasion, death
from their ingestion. Let me stop myself in my tracks here. I wanted to write an article on faddy foods, so why am I talking about diet pills? Well, as I see it, the supplements and foods we ingest seem to follow fashion trends.

Let us look at some examples.

Coconut Oil:

The blurb: It is a MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, they help you burn fat
and help with blood glucose regulation.

Move Well Top Tip: There are no doubts that MCT oils can be used in healthy eating. If you are on a Ketogenic diet (high healthy fats) this is especially true.

However, the number one stressor in the UK is financial health! Is it healthy to spend £10 on a small jar of oil, at the expense of, say, buying better quality protein sources and veg? We’d say no. And one thing that cannot be argued: you cannot go wrong with a good quality olive oil!

Manuka Honey:

The blurb: It turns you into a superhero.

Move Well Top Tip: Yes it certainly has got some “good stuff” in it, but you’d
probably benefit equally from some locally sourced honey. Especially if you
suffer from pollen allergies. Factor in that just like coconut oil, this product is very pricey. There is a nutritional-economical equation that needs to be
addressed before deciding on fancy honey, and that is: how do the health
benefits (tiny amounts of active ingredients) compare to the very high sugar
content? Also, can that money be better spent elsewhere? Perhaps not and that’s absolutely okay and personal to you but we just want to highlight the bigger picture.

 

Faddy aesthetic trends over the decades include; super skinny (females), mega bulky (men and more recently women), curvy (what does that actually mean?) strong, ripped, lean, toned (and what does this actually mean?!). Current nutritional fads include the Keto diet and intermittent fasting, but before
these were the paleo diet, Atkins diet, the Zone diet, the Cabbage Soup diet etc,
etc.

At Move Well we believe in cutting the fads and finding what works for you. That might mean upping your protein, it (likely!) means adding more varity of vegetables and micronutrients, it might mean drinking more water (very likely) it might mean substituting processed foods for whole foods and learning how to prepare more (Instagram has some great videos and posts for food inspiration). No, you don’t need to cut carbs, no bread is not the devil incarnate, calorie content is entirely separate to nutritional value (and it works both ways: a low cal processed snack bar may be low calorie but may offer little nutrition and mess up your ability to absorb. Equally avocado and nut butter are filled to the brim with nutrients but they are more dense and so more calorie laden). We’ll cover this in a separate blog as it is confusing.

One of the joys and benefits of joining a fitness club is becoming part of a generally healthy community, one that is positive, fun and realistic. Humans were designed to thrive in groups and as the saying goes: you are who you surround yourself with. The 80:20 rule where you allow yourself to be human every now and then works perfectly and is so much easier to stick to. (In truth, based on everyones penchant for exaggerating, it’s more a 75:25 rule!). That implies that 3 out of 4 meals/snacks you consume, fit in with your lifestyle choices and calorie requirements for staying healthy.

So, in conclusion: rather than talking of spelt, millet, spirulina, linseed (all great by the way) and whatever else springs to mind, I wanted to end with some
simple points:

  • Don’t eat something you don’t like!
  • Don’t compromise more important food items for ultra-expensive honey  and oils.
  • To reverse the above, don’t cook your free-range chicken breast or good quality Tofu in nasty cheap trans-fats-oil!
  • Get your vitamins and minerals from fresh fruit and veg as much as possible.
  • Don’t be too strict.
  • Try out new things but don’t get obsessive. There is never a miracle diet.
  • Do what serves you best and doesn’t make you unhappy.

Phil Jones
Reference Duane Mellor, article from The Guardian 15.2.15

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