Someone asked me when exactly I became interested in nutrition and why I started researching about it. It was at that point that I realized that I didn’t actually ‘start’ it per se. I mean, I know when exactly I decided to not be a wuss and start getting fit, but, like a many others, nutritional research was really a slippery slope that I mistakenly led myself into.
Though my entry into nutrition was pretty typical, my stance is a little unique. Unique in that, I refuse to enroll in any one particular school of thought. I try to read everything about nutrition instead of reading only inside the circle agree with. This helps me come up with my own recommendation and ensures that my thoughts are not just a an average of the thoughts of people who I follow. In short – I’m never married to any nutritional ‘ism’ and I don’t buy into anything unless I am completely convinced!
But the draw back of such open-mindedness is confusion! The more you read, the more you learn and the more you learn, the less you know!
On one side you have low carb purists saying you totally need to keep your carb intake to under 50 g (or 100 g or 150 g), and on the other side you have lipid hypothesis lovers saying fat, and especially saturated fat, is bad and you need to keep your fat intake low by replacing fat with carbs from whole grains. On one side you have registered dieticians saying too much protein affects kidney function and on the other side you have well-seasoned fitness enthusiasts telling you to up the protein ‘cos it is invaluable. I can go on, but you get the idea.
Though I’m sure I’ll come across as a smartass, my response to all this is – Stop. The. Nonsense.
But why is this nonsense?
Ummm… let’s see…
What do you observe? No trend! None! Nada! You have arrows pointing in every direction there is!
So what’s your point Raj?
Clearly, no one knows anything definitively when it comes to nutrition! The truth is that there is enough scientific evidence to prove and disprove everything! Funny isnt it? Sure. But its scary too right? I mean, who do you trust?
- The low carb researcher who has stacks of evidence supporting his claim that carbs causes diabetes or your doctor who says eat whole grains and less fat else you’re going to end up with heart disease?
- The vegan Gods who say animal protein causes cancer or the paleo kings who say animal protein is paramount?
- This study that says cheese consumption increases risk of bladder cancer or this study that says cheese consumption protects against bowel diseases?
Honestly, the answer to the above questions is – none! You can’t trust either one or anyone! If you drop down dead tomorrow will Mr. Low Carb shed a tear or will Dr. Whole Grain give a crap? Does the fact that there are so many contradicting studies prove that the human body is capable of adapting to various types of foods or does it just prove that we are masters of designing studies with known outcomes? Does the one size fits all concept apply to nutrition alone because we are all basically humans or is it more like every size fits all? If it is the first case, what is that ‘one size’? If it is the second case, then why is the majority of the population diseased?
These are all questions that I kept asking myself over and over again during my path towards the ideal diet. But did I answer these questions? What dietary recommendations did I come up with? Why those dietary recommendations? Did my recommendations evolve over the years?
The answer to all these questions, I’ll share in the next post. In the meanwhile, you tell me what you think – low carb or low fat? paleo or vegan? pro or anti dairy? What has your experience been? How have you fared in one or more of these diets?