Moderation beats food fads every time

Healthy Eating

Modern consumers are constantly bombarded by new food fads. For the most part, these trends get their fifteen minutes of fame before being set aside for the next big craze. However, a precious few take root in wider consciousnesses, revolutionizing the way people think about eating and drinking. “The difference between a passing fad and a wider change in eating habits, is the ability for the trend to be adapted to fit in with people’s everyday lives and circumstances. Fad diets tend to require that people make drastic changes like cutting out entire food groups or common ingredients like wheat, gluten, diary or sugar. These diets are often dropped because they are impractical, expensive or restrictive”, says PURA Soda CEO, Greig Jansen.

Jansen believes that moderation can be healthier than abstinence, citing the following examples.  

Plant based diets vs flexitarianism

Spurred on by reports of the meat industry’s contribution to climate change, loss of biodiversity and water pollution, people are increasingly turning to veganism. However, it’s important to recognize that a plant-based diet doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it has been linked to several negative side effects including an increased risk of leaky gut, hormone disruptions, anemia, depression and a vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, for some, a more moderate approach may be the best way forward. Enter the flexitarian who opts for a predominantly plant-based diet with moderate fish, poultry, dairy, eggs and small amounts of red meat. The good news is that flexitarianism can also help take some pressure off the environment and allow for consumption that is in sustainable limits.

Anti-sugar movement vs sugar in moderation

Numerous studies have shown that sugar has the same effect on the brain as addictive drugs. Cutting sugar out completely can result in withdrawal and side effects like depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nausea, fatigue and cognitive issues. The good news is that, in moderation, sugar can form part of a healthy diet. The World Health Organisation recommends a daily maximum of six spoons for women and nine for men. Therefore, as long as you stay within healthy limits, you can enjoy sugar in moderation without having to worry about your health. Jansen recommends selecting low sugar products rather than artificially sweetened products and keeping an eye out for hidden sugars commonly found in things like sauces, salad dressings, yogurts and smoothies.

Ketogenic diet vs no carbs after lunch

A ketogenic diet, which is extremely low in carbohydrates and high in fats, is supposed to help you burn fat more efficiently. However, it has a number of side effects including keto flu. This is a flu-like state that many dieters experience while their body is adapting to burning fat instead of glucose. Symptoms can include headaches, weakness, vomiting, constipation, irritability and increased urination. While the symptoms are usually temporary, in serious cases this can result in serious damage to the heart or kidneys. A less restrictive approach, such as simply cutting out carbohydrates after lunch, also offers a variety of benefits. Eating carbohydrates in the morning can keep blood sugar consistent throughout the day, while eating more protein and fat at night drives away hunger pangs, assisting with more consistent weight loss.  

So, the next time you’re considering a so-called ‘miracle’ diet, make sure that you understand bad impacts on health and lifestyle, along with the good. Sometimes a less drastic approach can have a more enduring change on your overall wellbeing.