A new week, a new fad diet. Most of them have been recycled; a diet that’s been reinvented or tweaked to look brand new and a whole lot better than it used to be. Occasionally a new one will appear and will join the ‘fad diet cycle’. It will be the ‘it diet’ for a couple of months then it will banish until it rears its ugly head again in a few years time. However, there is one diet that is always hovering in the background, it doesn’t get the spotlight, the publicity or the fame, yet it has years of scientific evidence backing its health benefits; Eat plenty of wholesome, plant based, minimally processed foods and lots of fruit and vegetables.
Scientific studies have suggested that following this dietary approach can lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and metabolic diseases. So why are we continuing to search for the next best diet when there is already one that we know works, and it works well. We know we should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, we know we should limit processed foods, we know we should limit our intake of high calorie, nutrient poor foods but for some reason (and there are many reasons) we don’t. What we need is to put this into action, not a new fad diet. Data that came out last week from the National Nutrition Survey revealed that Australians are:
* Eating 30% less fruit and vegetables than 15 years ago.
* 1 in 4 adults eat NO vegetables in an average day.
* Only 6.8% of adults are eating the recommended 5 servings of vegetables each day.
* 1/3 of calories eaten in the day come from foods high in saturated fat and sugar such as biscuits, alcohol, soft drink and chips.
More effort needs to be put into getting people to take the dietary advice we already know works rather than creating new diets that don’t. How can we put this knowledge of healthy eating into action? Why aren’t we doing it already? For these changes to occur the whole of society will need to get on board. Federal, state and local governments, non-government organizations, schools, communities, health and food industries, sporting clubs and the media all have the potential to make some changes for the better, to promote a healthy environments, lifestyles, and eating habits. We as individuals need to take personal responsibility too. We need to stock the fridge with plenty of vegetables, refill the fruit bowl, throw out the chocolate, chips and biscuits that are in the cupboard for ‘special occasions’ and stop making occasional foods everyday foods.
We need to stop spending our time looking for the latest fad diet or counting carbs, fats and protein, instead we need to spend that time to prepare tomorrows lunch, to plan meals for the week, to write a shopping list (with fruit and vegetables at the top) and to be physically active.
So let’s put our efforts into following a diet that we know works rather than wasting our time, chasing our tail and reinventing diets that fail time and time again.