Most of us live in a society of abundant food, yet eating well has never been more difficult or more confusing! Our food delivery system has become consolidated to only a few massive companies and they don't have your health as a priority in their board rooms. These companies are competing with each other with one goal in mind, profit. Our grocery stores and their advertising funnels are filled with attempts to distract you with new flavors, combinations and designs. They will appeal to you no matter your eating philosophy and goals, low carb, plant based, organic, gluten free, local, pasture raised, grass fed and more. With multi-billion dollar marketing budgets you can bet that whatever you are searching for you will find. What we have to remember though is that new, shiny and easy is not likely to help us optimize our health. I see a few common trends in patients that I'd like to share.
Nailing the macros but feeling terrible?
The PRIMARY goal in eating an optimized diet is to eliminate highly processed food. However, we can get lost in the weeds when we start dialing in nutrition around any target. Frequently I see those pursuing a low carb diet or a plant based diet deviate toward fancy new packaged items that meet the secondary goal of macros or ingredients but fail the primary goal of eliminating processed foods. Don't succumb to the marketing ploys of highly processed fat bombs made with artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols and things you can't pronounce! If you need to eat something sweet while eating low carb, eat an appropriate amount of fruit and stay within your carbohydrate tolerance level. A small honey crisp apple has 15g of carbohydrates and when eaten with adequate dietary fat or after a workout will have minimal impact on blood glucose. If this isn't sweet enough for you? You need to stop consuming artificial sweeteners. If you are eating synthetic "meat substitutes" you have bypassed the logic and potential benefit of a plant based diet. These highly processed protein sources are poorly absorbed and will leave you grossly inflamed.
If it's gluten free it MUST be healthy!
Big food marketers are very smart. They know that many people are looking for key words like gluten free, organic etc. While there may be value in consuming a product that is gluten free you have to consider what else is in the package. A gluten free cereal made with GMO oats, seed oils and a ton of sugar is still a bad choice. Gluten free Cheetos, still Cheetos. Organic Oreos, still Oreos! You have to consider the whole product, not just one aspect!
Ultimately, weaving your way through food options is a blessing and a curse. We are incredibly fortunate to not have to wonder where our next meal is coming from but with this gift comes the responsibility to educate ourselves enough to read through the marketing propaganda. A few simple big picture rules to live by:
If you have struggling with your current dietary needs reach out to your team for guidance! We want to make this as easy as possible for you! If you aren't currently working with Breta Alstrom MS, RD*** LInk to bio*** and would like expert guidance on the topic of nutrition and food choices reach out to your team and inquire how we can make that happen for you.
If you would like to work with a physician led team that understands the power of nutrition and food as medicine you can set up a free consultation to speak with a member of OHH to see if we are the answer you are looking for.