There’s a lot of information out there. Over 600,000 scientific articles and books published last year about nutrition. I stayed up late last night to make sure I had read them all.
And that’s just the stuff that has science to back it up. Millions of articles, YouTube videos and books are written based on the opinions of people from all training and lack of training backgrounds.
So how are we supposed to figure out how much protein and how much carbohydrate and how much fat we need?
The healthiest people in the world do not count carbs or even calories. They get up in the morning and they eat what they are used to eating, mostly whole plants.
Now, if that were really true, why would there be so many people so passionately advocating their diets and their programs. There are two answers to that question:
- In order for nutrition gurus to gain wealth or influence, they need to have a secret (preferably a complicated one that takes constant and even lifelong guidance).
- In order for consumers like you and me to get a pass on our lifestyle, we need to believe there is a secret and that we haven’t found it yet.
This is not to say that nutrition science should stop looking for more knowledge about how different foods affect our bodies. There will always be more to learn. But for most of us, we don’t need to know how many grams of carbohydrate are in an orange. Oranges are really good for you. So are all the other plants you can buy in the produce section. If we all shifted to eating mostly plants, obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease would likely be a rarity instead of the rule.
I welcome all comments and concerns because I certainly don’t have all the answers. No I didn’t really read all 600,000 publications last year. Even if I did, I would have interpreted them based on my bias. I have read as much as I could get my hands on in the last 15 years and I’ve changed my mind more than once, but I have never seen any article showing that a mostly whole foods, plant-based diet is bad for you.
You may have lost weight on Atkins, Keto, LCHF, South Beach, or Weight Watchers, or by going vegan, gluten free, or on any other diet and I’m not trying to say that can’t work for weight loss. But as a doctor, I’m more concerned about people being healthy than about them losing weight and there is plenty of evidence for me to recommend whole plant foods to my patients.