What is nutrition extremism? Here are a few nutritional absolutes that need to somewhat be taken with a pinch of salt:
You can’t eat ANYTHING packaged because it will contain preservatives.
You can’t have diet fizzy drinks because they contain artificial sweeteners which (apparently) cause cancer.
You can’t eat white rice (grains) because it turns straight to sugar.
You can’t eat brown rice (whole grains) because of the lectins which could cause leaky gut.
Oh and you know those healthy foods your nutritionist told you to eat like sweet potato and spinach … You can’t eat them because they contain oxalates.
You can’t eat potatoes because they’re a white carb.
You can’t eat fruit because it contains fructose which can cause metabolic syndrome… and they’re probably all sprayed with pesticides.
You can’t eat nuts because they’re very high in fat and contain phytates.
On the subject of phytates (which block absorption of nutrients), all legumes, beans and soy contain phytates. So you can’t eat them either.
You can’t drink milk or have dairy because you’re probably lactose intolerant, sensitive to casein (milk protein) or because it contains chemicals from the unhealthy cows that were milked for the dairy.
You can’t eat gluten because it’s gluten. Everyone knows that.
You can’t eat eggs / steak because they contain cholesterol
You can’t eat meat because of the xenobiotics and saturated fat.
Whilst we’re on that note, you can’t drink tap water because of the xenoestrogens and other environmental toxins.
But you can’t drink bottled water either because of the BPA from the plastic.
You can’t eat chicken or other poultry because of the arsenic.
You can’t eat seafood and fish because of the mercury and dioxins.
Oh and you can’t eat anything that’s not organic, and not sourced from a farm whose farmer is your best friend.
So what the hell is left?!
You can find a reason to demonise any food if you want to. And depending on which guru you’re talking to, they could tell you any of these nutritional absolutes. And if they’re charismatic and convincing and give you a cool statistic, you’ll probably listen.
83% of people will listen to a statistic without questioning where it’s sourced from.……….
On a serious note, the fact is that any food can be good or bad for us, depending on the context.
Call out these gurus who think that nutrition is black and white. Most functional medicine practitioners realise that there is every shade of grey in between the two, and that clear cut rules rarely exist.
Fire your nutritionist if they’re being really extreme without sufficient reason.
And question people when they tell you that this food or that diet is THE ONLY WAY to accomplish you goals…
You see, when I first started out as a personal trainer, I very much fell into this trap. And I feel now that because of it, there were a few people who I really feel like I failed! I also now realise that the more you learn, the less you ‘know’. The reason I say this is that people who think everything is very cut and dry usually don’t know as much as they claim. And I now realise that the world is not simple, and nor is bio-individualized nutrition.
I am not for a second saying that the nutritional absolutes I’ve listed above don’t have any truth in them … But everything needs to be applied in context. One man’s food is another man’s poison. And most importantly, implementing fear of all sorts of different foods / health issues in the heart of people like you is the last thing someone like me should be doing. My goal is to HELP you eat well, and live a healthy lifestyle – not scare the shit out of you every time you approach breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This is why I run the 90 Day Health and 90 Day Body Transformation programmes – so I can help people work out how to eat and live best for their own lives, their own goals, and their own biological individuality. And this requires a scientific approach, completely devoid of emotional attachment to the paleo diet or veganism or whatever else.
Final words on “Nutrition Extremism” and finding a happy medium
There are some foods which are more or less universally unhealthy (such as trans fats and sugar). But it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you eat them from time to time – provided it’s infrequent, and provided you don’t have an overwhelming reason not to eat them. For instance, if you have celiac disease and you have a binge on wheat, well it’s going to take every ounce of my professionalism to not say you’re being an idiot. But if you have no evidence of poor health or gluten intolerance, the odd bowl of pasta from time to time won’t kill you. I just wouldn’t recommend it too much, as it’s not going to exactly HELP you get lean, strong and healthy.
Forever writing these posts in your best interests… because I love health, I love fitness, and I love people.
BOOK A FREE APPOINTMENT WITH JACK to discuss your own health concerns / goals.
If you would like my help with your nutrition, in implementing a results-based lifestyle approach to your long-term health and physical well-being, give me a shout and we can organise a FREE Transformation Session for you.