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Fad Diets

Michael Pollan, in his book The Omnivores Dilemma, states that as a society we have moved away from an innate wisdom of eating from a place of tradition and pleasure to a place of confusion and anxiety. A media storm of diet books, scientific studies and government initiatives paved the road for our nation’s new diet revolution, leading to some of our most basic nutritional components (red meat and most recently breads and other carbohydrates) disappearing from the American dinner table.

In 1977, the Senate issued a set of “dietary goals” that encouraged Americans to limit their intake of red meat. This set the tone for the adoption of the new health term “low-fat” that is still very much in usage and practice today. Meaning that eating “low-fat” would protect us from becoming physically fat. More recently in 2002, one of our most basic nutritional components disappeared from the American dinner table. This of course was bread and later extended to all forms of carbohydrates. The collective demonization of carbohydrates brought about new terms such as Low-Carb, Good-Carb, Bad-Carb and even Net Carb that are now incorporated into our daily vocabulary.

This aggressive change in our cultures eating habits clearly demonstrated signs of a national eating disorder—the same culture that denies its intuitive wisdom to eat for energy or enjoyment and recognizes itself as collectively unhealthy people obsessed with the idea of eating healthy.

Consequently, it comes as no surprise that our culture annually supports the discovery of new nutrients while demonization others, and the adoption of fad diets. This is also exacerbated by the notion of “weight loss” as a major concern for the US population.

Despite the apparent low success rate of fad diets and their efficacy for short term weight loss, these reduced eating plans continue to grow in popularity with the steady rise in obesity. Americans desiring to lose weight becomes a lifelong struggle that drives individuals who are looking for a quick fix that many diet books promise. This desire has strongly contributed to the proliferation of top-selling diet books published in the past seven years.

Unfortunately, the most significant commonality that popular diet books share is that they seldom promote sound weight loss or encourage dieters to learn some very basic weight management strategies like portion control and serving sizes, let alone develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of balanced nutrition.

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December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkimolee

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