By: Corey Howard, MD, FACP
We all want to live healthier. Eating the right kinds of foods is a great start. The problem is that there are too many “diets” and just too much information to make a decision. If that is not bad enough, the information is conflicting and confusing. Should I eat high protein, low carbohydrate, high fat, what is the right mix of food groups, how many calories and so on. Currently, there are over 65 listed “diets” and many have been ranked by US News under the title “Best Diets 2015”. Here is what those rankings say: The DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) and the TLC diet (therapeutic lifestyle change) are listed as the best overall. The top ten diets mainly consist of whole food type diets such as the Mediterranean diet, Mayo clinic diet, and Ornish diet. There are several in that top ten that are prepared foods diets such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. Of the 34 diets reviewed in that report the currently popular “Paleo diet” was ranked dead last at number 34.
Is everyone confused yet? The problem with all of these ranking, lists and information is that they are all “diets”. The truth is the best diet is the one you will follow. This simple statement was noted in the famous peer-reviewed journal, The New England Journal of Medicine in February 2009. Let’s take that one step further because most of us do not follow a diet long term. We follow our dietary habits. That is the most important aspect to consider, your habits. Would you run once a month and then expect that you could run a marathon? Would you put gas in your car once a year and expect you could use it every day? Obviously, the answers are no. However, we go on and off diets as fast as they come out expecting that something will change, namely our body shape, body fat or even our overall health. Diabetes and obesity are rampant in our society today with almost 1/3 of the entire US population having pre-diabetes and millions suffering from the multitudes of illnesses that diabetes causes.
Why do we keep doing the same thing expecting a different result? That was a great question and statement posed by Albert Einstein. He called it insanity. It is crazy to think that going on the next dietary fad, even if it has a high ranking, is going to work unless you change your habits for the rest of your life. That is the dirty little secret of the diet world. Businesses want you to buy their next book, DVD, podcast, or food product that makes the big fat claim to improve your life. If you want to improve your life you MUST change your habits.
How can we change our habits? In 2005 I was tipping the scales in the wrong direction. Between work and family I had little time to exercise and take care of myself. One day, while attempting to mountain bike in Utah, I was simply out of gas. It was at that moment that I made a decision that has shaped the rest of my life since that day. I said “no more”. I would hold myself accountable and improve myself. The effect has been dramatic. I went from being unable to run one mile to (within 4 years) become an Ironman triathlete and lost over 40 pounds in the process.
The decision to change is the first step in changing a habit. You must have compelling reasons to do so and if you write them down and read them outloud you will begin to make the changes you want. Make a decision that can change the course of your life and it will.
Let’s finish up on all of the diets out there because I want to leave you with a clear statement that can help you improve your life. When diets consisting of low carbohydrate, low fat/vegan/vegetarian, low-glycemic, Mediterranean, mixed or Paleolithic were compared the winner was:
That’s right not only is the best diet the one you will follow but, “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominately plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention” (Katz et al.). That my friends can be the start of a new life and a new you.
Send me an email:
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how you are doing. My best to you and your health.
Dr Corey Howard is board certfied in internal medicine, digestive diseases and nutrition and Anti-aging and regenerative medicine. He also has specialized training in Plant based cooking. His unique office setting includes a functional kitchen and zen-studio. Contact him directly at: email@example.com
Corey Howard, MD, FACP
Dr. Corey Howard, is a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist, board certified in internal medicine, Anti-aging, and Regenerative Medicine. He has done additional training and obtained professional certification in Plant Based cooking. His Lifestyle Medicine practice is in Naples. He has regular seminars on the importance of lifestyle in improving you health as well as cooking demonstrations.
Physician’s Life Center
1048 Goodlette Road, Suite 101, Naples, FL 34012