You’ve gone high-carb, low-carb, high-fat, low-fat, all-banana, all-grapefruit, all-peanut butter (really?) to lose a few kilos. What’s next? We go back to basics to lead you out of diet despair.

Eating ABCs: Why we do it.

The most important reason we eat is to provide energy for our bodies to work – for our brain to function, our heart and lungs to keep us alive, our immune system to keep us healthy, our musculoskeletal system to keep us moving, our nervous system to keep us wired correctly. Our entire quality of life is affected by what we eat.

Your body needs a huge range of nutrients of the right type and combination to sustain it and keep it healthy, nutrients that you get by eating a varied diet. So, when you adopt an eating plan that focuses on one particular aspect of nutrition, say a low-carb diet, you’re denying your body minerals and other nutrients that are vital to its wellbeing. That’s why diets are short-lived solutions to a weight problem. You may lose a few kilos, but they can’t sustain you for a long time.

Confused about the best way to lose kilos? You’re not alone. The almost-daily diet rage is leaving overweight individuals perplexed as to the best way to lose weight and keep unwanted kilograms off. The public is being misled about proper weight management. And their insecurity feeds an immensely wealthy industry.

Finding the balance

Let’s ditch the word ‘diet’ from our weight maintenance vocabulary. Good nutrition is all about balance, advises Dr Werner Kerschbaumer, who recommends a return to a more wholesome diet, permanently. A wholesome diet ‘is an on-going necessity for your wellbeing,’ he says. ‘Keep at it and your overall health will improve, you’ll feel more energetic, you’ll think and focus better and manage your weight better.’ Nutrition researchers Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center, agree. In their report, ‘A call for an end to the diet debates,’ they argue the case that ‘lifestyle changes trump diet in fighting the battle of the bulge. The ongoing war of the diets has done little to clear the air but a lot to inflate the effectiveness of fad diets.’

The quality of food

What foods make up a wholesome diet? ‘There are wise or healthy ways to obtain energy from food and there are ways that are less healthy, or plain unhealthy,’ says Dr Kerschbaumer. ‘The wise way is to eat foods that release and sustain energy over a prolonged period – fresh and unprocessed foods.’ As for those foods that most of us consume way too many of – processed and refined foods, takeaways, ready-made meals, sweets, chocolates, pasta, fizzy drinks, coffee, etc. – they are, as you’ll have gathered, the less wise choice. These seductive culprits contain hidden ‘fast release’ sugars that play havoc with blood sugar and metabolic hormone levels, and lead to a build-up of fat. And down that road lies obesity and diseases like diabetes, and the risk of low-grade chronic inflammation – a well-known factor in chronic disease.

Read the ingredients on that energy bar you’re about to unwrap. Processed foods are filled with chemical and synthetic additives ranging from sweeteners, colourants and flavourants to texture modifiers and preservatives, none of which are good for your health. And many such foods contain unlabelled or undisclosed GMOs and GMO-derived ingredients. We are fed chemicals on a daily basis and are alarmed at the rise in disease globally. Yet the health-bar and diet-drink industries thrive!

What you should eat.

To feel and look the best you can, make better decisions about your food. Concentrate on organic (whenever possible) fruit and vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates, good-quality proteins, dairy products, grains, natural fats, herbs and spices. Eat fewer takeaways and ready-made meals in boxes and hunt down more of nature’s true bounty. Good and varied organic food is available. If you have a balcony and a couple of pots, grow your own. Don’t miss meals and, of course, factor some exercise into your day.

Want a simplified healthy eating plan?

Are you looking for a simple eating plan with the best kinds of foods to eat and when to eat them, plus other tips? Dr Kerschbaumer is refining his patient handout into a one page eating plan. You'll be able to print a copy and tape it to your kitchen cupboard door.

Enter your email below to get notified when the eating plan is ready and also receive his recommended list of nutrition and recipe books.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.


Photo credits

  1. Photo courtesy of mojzagrebinfo /