Diet reviews part one: Not-so-magical diet tricks
By Ari Snaevarsson, Features Editor
So because the amount of attention to detail I was able to give the supplement reviews I did was sub-par for breaking down their potential benefits and what those mean on a biological level, I have decided on a broader topic of reviews. That is, for this next series, I will be reviewing popular fad diets, making a point of examining in particular the core nutritional concepts they implement.
I want to strongly preface this by solidifying my view on “magic” diet tricks and really anything that makes the claim that you can do [so and so] to lose weight without worrying about calories. It is normally pretty frowned upon to dismiss anything or anyone in the nutrition field as absolutely wrong, but I honestly have no qualms doing it here.
Nutrition gurus, thumping their nonsensical diet methods and books for profit, constantly making trivial changes and labeling them as entirely new diets, have almost single-handedly perpetuated obesity and Type II diabetes trends in America. Go ask five people who are trying to lose weight how they are doing so, and you will immediately understand what I mean.
The concept of dieting becomes increasingly convoluted when you have so many different answers on how to lose weight or even to just improve your health. One authoritative voice will tell you to cut out any and all carbs; another will promote unlimited consumption of lean proteins and veggies, while yet another claims that eating like our ancestors is the way to go. It is not hard to see why this is such a foreign concept to so many.
And so I want to make my stance on the matter completely clear: except for some rare outliers, you will not lose weight unless you are in a caloric deficit (you take in less calories than you expend). This can be induced through exercise or a change in your diet, but the latter seems to be far more effective and sustainable. To further influence weight loss (especially when concerned with body composition), you would be well advised to also take your macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein, and alcohol) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) intakes into account.
I will take that a step further and say that anything beyond control of caloric, macronutrient, and micronutrient intake is bordering on majoring in the minors for the general population. Having a profound appreciation for nutrition and those “minors,” it admittedly pains me to run the risk of sounding so reductionist, but I believe further convolution is the absolute last thing a population with 13 million obese children, and climbing, needs.
So hopefully my views on the matter are clear now, before we proceed. Understand that diets themselves are not magic formulas concocted by nutrition experts, but rather pose as mere attempts to play with concepts proven to aid in weight loss (and sometimes even this is pushing it), packaged nicely into a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter meal plan. What I will, therefore, be doing in these reviews is examining the core concepts each diet is based on; for example, reduced caloric intake, higher fiber or protein intake, cutting out snacking and otherwise unhelpful dietary habits, etc.