Conventional dieting wisdom used to dictate that there were certain foodstuffs you should never eat under any circumstances when you were trying to lose weight.
That list will be familiar to just about everybody above a certain age – chocolate, ice cream, bread, cheese, sweeties, and potatoes etc. In some respects, intuitively, some of those things make some sort of sense but the problem is that different diets had very different lists of banned foodstuffs.
For example, some fruit-based diets majored on the benefits of eating bananas whereas low-carbohydrate diets listed them as something that should never be consumed.
Then there were the low-fat diets that banned most forms of fats, to an extent that was subsequently discovered to be potentially harmful to health.
So, what’s the reality?
In modern weight loss programs, there is much more emphasis on designing a diet to suit the individual and their particular body chemistry rather than the construction of extensive lists of totally banned foodstuffs. In practice, different people need different forms of diet to optimise their weight loss performance. Simply handing out a list of what can and cannot be eaten to everybody on the same basis is an approach that is unlikely to work.
There is, of course, some disagreement on the specifics of this philosophy but many dieting experts now believe in a varied but nevertheless managed diet that can potentially include almost anything providing everything that is consumed is taken into account in the global dietary design.
Of course, weight loss programs will still stress the benefits of healthy balanced eating and the elimination of or very significant reduction in, the consumption of certain products. Broadly speaking, it’s likely to be the case that strong advice will be given to eliminate entirely or to eat only very occasionally and then sparingly, those foodstuffs containing what are sometimes called ’empty calories’ with little direct nutritional benefit.
Such products are likely to include at least some of those old conventional favourites from the past such as:
• Full sugar fizzy drinks
• Cakes, pastries and biscuits
• Fried fast-snack type food
• Mass-produced take away meals
• Puddings other than those based around the use of fresh fruit and yoghurt etc.
Undoubtedly that looks rather tediously like all those old lists mentioned above but it is significantly different in several respects.
In most modern diets, gone is the absolute blanket ban on things such as bread, potatoes, eggs, cheese and so on. That’s because although certain products of that type can be something of a challenge for the body to efficiently process without putting on weight, they also bring with them health benefits in areas such as fibre and good cholesterol etc.
So, some modern diets may well include an allowance of certain traditionally banned foodstuffs but will stress the need for them to be consumed in moderation and as part of a tightly managed overall regime.
It’s worth noting that this is talking purely about the ‘diet’ as in the losing weight aspects of the equation. Many diets today though focus not simply on losing weight but also on improving your overall health and vitality. As such, they may well suggest that certain foodstuffs are included or excluded based upon your overall state of health rather than necessarily exclusively upon the fastest path to weight loss.
Do remember that it’s always advisable to base a diet upon professional and medical advice rather than simply constructing your own list of things that you have decided to either include or exclude from your daily food intake!