Over the years we have tried many different diets. Most them excluded food that fundamentally tastes good. But now there is a suggestion that some of the foods that we were taught to shun could actually help us lose weight. We spoke to Oliver Selway is the author of Instinctive Fitness, a book that advocates a Paleo Diet and elements of a paleolithic lifestyle for health and longevity, to get to the bottom of this new way of thinking.
For decades now fat has been the demonised food element of choice.
“Whatever you do, avoid the fat!”
“It’s delicious but a bit fatty!”
“That fried breakfast is a heart attack on a plate!”
Most of us, having our own best interests at heart, do our best to stick to the advice about the stuff. We’ve all heard it before and most accept it unquestioningly. For the most part, we’re pretty good at following our own rules.
So what’s up? Why are so many of us unwell, overweight, tired and half-way to diabetes?
If the advice we are given is right and we generally, as a nation, follow it, surely we should expect to look around and see the results? We should spy crowds of sleek, slim figures living effortlessly to an old age and in good health.
With soaring obesity rates, growing rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer and diabetes everywhere you look, there seems no sign of that. There’s a simple reason for this. For the last 30 years we have been eating one giant whopper of a lie. In cutting the fat out of our diet we have had to get our calories from another source – processed carbohydrate. These are now the foundation of most meals eaten in the UK, with most of it coming from highly processed, industrialised products made of wheat and other grains. Cereal and pasta – like bread – is still considered the staff of life.
It is this trend, above any other, that is responsible for the decline of health in many western developed countries. Exceptions do exists: nations like France, who have never been persuaded of the evils of saturated fat, showcase some of the healthiest people in the world. In the UK, our avoidance of healthy fats like full fat milk, butter, eggs, meat, lard, dripping and cream have spawned in food industry organised around low-fat products which are higher in salt, sugar, trans-fats, additives and other unnatural ‘nasties’. In particular, the replacement of butter with margarine and cooking fats with processed vegetable oils has been especially damaging to our British metabolisms.
The explanation for this is simple: we did not evolve to eat modern processed foods like these and doing so, does us untold harm.
This line of logic taken to its furthest extent gives us the Paleo Diet. This trend towards eating only natural foods that can be found ready to eat in nature started in America, and has recently moved across here to the UK. It is growing in popularity enormously amongst those who prioritise their health, and those who want to find a simple way to lose weight without counting calories or exercising until they drop.
Does this radical approach really work? If your current way of eating isn’t working for you, then give it a try – eat more healthy fat and cut out some of those nutrient-free carbs. See what happens. Which direction do the scales move? Do you have more energy every day? The proof of the pudding is in the eating after all!
Try Oliver’s 30-Day Challenge and get his 31 page free e-Book to learn how to put the Paleo philosophy into practice. See www.instinctive-fitness.com for details.
[picture credits: Sanctu]