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The Most Boring Click-bait You’ll Ever Read

The Most Boring Click-bait You’ll Ever Read

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Keto, Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Atkins, Carnivore, and Whole30 are all common “fad diets” that cycle in and out of popularity based on any number of factors, none of which are scientific consensus, unfortunately.

On the other hand, an “eating pattern” comprised mostly of eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of some fish, most of the time, is something that lacks the ebb and flow in popularity of the “fad diets”.

What is the primary difference between any of the named “fad diets” listed above and the “eating pattern” when it comes to prevalence and popularity in the media? It comes down to the fact that the “eating pattern” can’t be packaged and sold. Eating patterns can’t be boiled down to search engine optimized, hyperbolic, and polarizing one or two word labels. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind here, just pointing out the flaws in how these two concepts are conveyed to the general public.  

Eating patterns are boring.

Eating patterns aren’t sexy.

It is for these reasons, though, that you know you can count on it to produce the best health outcomes, on average, for most people, most of the time, and be subject to the least amount of exaggerated claims, salesmanship, and the like.  Even as I write that last sentence, it all sounds “wishy-washy”, almost like trying to grab an eel, but that’s unfortunately the hand we’re dealt when trying to discern which “diet is best”. There are just too many variables in play, not to mention human research ethics, for any research body to determine with relative certainty exactly which things to avoid, which things give us cancer, or which things predispose us to metabolic disease development, in regards to healthy eating. 

You might find a study (or maybe even a meta-analysis) that compares incidence of heart disease in people adhering to plant based eating patterns with those on an iteration of a Paleo/Keto/Atkins diet, over a good amount of time, with a decent number of participants. Maybe the results come back in favor of one versus the other (although I doubt the heavy meat eaters would come out on top), but what about genetics, exercise, sleep patterns, chronic stress, illness, and/or inaccurate reporting of consumption patterns? Either way you argue it, whichever side you’re on, the bottom line is that the perfect, double-blind, 40 year long, perfectly controlled nutrition study doesn’t exist, nor will it ever. What we are left with is an always evolving “healthiest eating pattern”, that sometimes contradicts small segments of itself over the years. An eating pattern that organically shifts with every new study that comes out, but overall trends in a certain direction with substantial inertia. In that way, our understanding of a healthy eating pattern evolves much like the stock market. Sure, there are days, sometimes even weeks or years of downward regression, but if you zoom out far enough, our understanding of healthy eating grows just like a mutual fund.

Wow, mutual funds, eating patterns, “it depends” instead of “yes or no”, all are sure to produce more yawns than “yee-haws” but that’s exactly the point. Truly healthy eating, especially how it is reported and/or sold to consumers, should be boring. It shouldn’t be hyperbolic or attention grabbing. Imagine a headline flashing across the screen on any news outlet in dramatic fashion reading-

“Scientific consensus on healthy eating patterns determines that eating mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of some fish, most of the time, on average provides better health outcomes for most people, most of the time.”

Yawn! Not only would that not fit in the designated graphics box, but it’s sure to drive viewership away, since none of the million talking heads can pontificate nonsense back and forth to each other to fill the 24 hour news cycle. Shock value and polarization are used against us as consumers, and if a company relies on viewership to create revenue from advertising dollars (NBC, FOX, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.) then we should probably take what we see from them with a grain a salt. Scientific consensus shouldn’t be viewed as deceptive. However, organizations/individuals pulling a few sentences from a well conducted study out of context to bolster there click rate or viewership, while simultaneously generating mistrust in the scientific community, is extremely deceptive and outright irresponsible. I get it, people creating the headlines have jobs to do, and they do it well. I would just like to point out that maybe the business model is flawed. I always like to point out that If you have to rely on pseudoscience, hyperbole, and/or misinforming the consumer in order to sell your product/service, you have an inferior product/service. Be transparent and let the market speak.

Circling back around to the initial point of this post, which is to try my best to answer the question that I get most often. “Which diet is best?” 

Unfortunately, my most succinct answer is this-  Our modern interpretation of a “diet” is that it is temporary, so I would instead recommend a habitual, lifelong “eating pattern” comprised mostly of eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of some fish, most of the time. Instead of thinking in terms of “yes or no”, start thinking in terms like “it depends” or “compared to what”. I am more than willing to change my mind if you can provide scientific consensus that proves otherwise. 

If you can combine this answer with a steady amount of varied but regular exercise, drinking mostly water and/or black coffee, sleeping 7-8 hours every night, managing chronic distress, and living in a prosocial environment, then you’re in good shape!

Now THAT’S sexy!

Yours in Wellness,


Prevention over Treatment