Are Restrictive Diets Damaging our Relationship with Food? 

March 29, 2018

Are Restrictive Diets Damaging our Relationship with Food? 

Diet trends come and go, weight comes back, and one has to wonder if with every effort, a person’s relationship with food can be damaged a little more.

In the past, going on a diet usually meant counting calories or choosing low fat foods. Programs like Weight Watchers, Slim Fast and Jenny Craig were thriving during the 80s as popular solutions for people trying to manage their weight, and often celebrities were involved in campaigning for these programs. 

Then we saw a surge in low-carb diets (90s), particularly with the Atkins, South Beach diets or any kind of ketogenic diet, and many Americans were literally testing their urine daily for ketosis, which is basically a metabolic state the body goes into when starvation is at play.  

Then don’t forget in early 2000, the rise in popularity of a maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper Master Cleanse, the raw food diet, and juice cleanses. And it’s also worth mentioning that lap band surgery saw a big increase around 2011, but since then has plummeted.  

Obesity in America is not getting better. And Americans are still vulnerable to any diet, scam or real, that flashes on a webpage, pops up in their Facebook feed, lands in their email box, or is touted by celebrities with the promise to transform their bodies and change their lives. But diet trends come and go, weight comes back, and one has to wonder if with every effort, a person’s relationship with food can be damaged a little more. 

Here we are today, still with many people struggling with weight management, and while restrictive diets are still trendy as ever, mindful eating is yet another approach, that frankly, seems to make the most sense. (Here’s our report on the mindfulness trend for 2018.). Being conscious and aware of fullness, how food makes you feel, developing healthy eating environments, avoiding distracted eating and emotional eating - these are all concepts that logically have to potential to improve your relationship with food, rather than create hard to follow rules, guilt, and obsession.  

We aren't suggesting any diet as the ONE that really works, but here are some of the latest diet trends, what you can and can’t eat, and the goals behind them.  

True Paleo is the ultimate in unprocessed. All things that could be found in nature during Paleolithic times are good; before the agricultural revolution, before we started harvesting grains and legumes, keeping cows and eating from a can. Paleo eaters load up on a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and general nutrition and void of over processing, anything artificial and gluten. Basically if you can hunt or gather it, you can eat it.
What you can eat: vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, grass-fed chicken, wild caught fish
What to avoid: processed sugar, legumes, dairy, grains, any processed foods

Autoimmune Protocal (AIP)
This is a fairly new diet (in popularity) on the scene that aims to remove foods that irritate the gut and cause inflammation, the believed big offender in many diseases and conditions we experience. In particular, this diet is said to relieve autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthrittis, lupus, and psoriasis. 
What you can eat: vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, coconut milk, bone broth, fermented vegetables, green tea
What to avoid: processed sugar, legumes, dairy, grains, eggs, nightshade vegetables (potatoes, eggplant), coffee, alcohol, seeds, 

The idea behind this diet is that certain conditions like inconsistent energy levels, skin issues, aches and pains and such could be related to foods that you are eating. The only way to find out which ones are causing these issues are to eliminate everything and then reintroduce them. And you’ll lose weight probably, but more importantly you’ll have less cravings for those bad foods. If you decide to go on this diet, you’ll go 30 days without certain foods and then slowly bring them back, or the ultimate goal is to eliminate some forever. The main point is to eat real food.
What you can eat: vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, herbs and spices
What to avoid: added sugar (real or artificial), legumes (except green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas), dairy, grains, eggs, soy, carrageenan, sulfites, MSG, baked goods coffee, alcohol, seeds,  

Intermittent Fasting
This one is actually not a diet, but more of a diet pattern. While you’ll find on the Internet, there are many different ways to approach this one, it really doesn’t restrict any certain foods, it just restricts when you can eat. For example, in one method that people are saying results in significant weight loss, you eat within a six hour window, and then don’t eat for 18 hours. You could go from 8pm - 2pm without food, and then eat between 2pm - 8pm.
What you can eat: Eat like you normally would within a six hour window, and within the fasting window (18 hours) only water, coffee and non-caloric beverages.
What to avoid: Solid food during fasting period, alcohol

If you are on a special diet or have food intolerances or allergies, be sure to take advantage of our FREE Food Allergy Buddy card. You can print and keep in your wallet to share with servers/chefs when you dine out to let them know what ingredients you need to avoid. Click here to download