The Fat Vs Sugar debate is well documented so it's not worth going over it here. Rather than talking about the nutrition side of this war I'm going to discuss with you the society obsessed kind. It's no coincidence that we have the highest rate of obesity ever on record and that more people are dying from obesity related diseases rather than famine. 20 years ago you could not turn on the TV without seeing a story on poor starving kids in developing nations dying from malnutrition. How is it that in such a short amount of time the script has flipped?
We have more gyms, personal trainers, fitness magazines, health shows, and YouTube channels dedicated to diet and exercise than one could ever imagine. The information out there is infinite which may be a good thing but the misinformation that comes with it is just as proportionate.
So who's to blame? Fast-Food Companies? Government?
We are to blame. I'm sure there was a time when people actually ate foods that were healthy. Some time ago there were no labels to distinguish whether we ate plants, animals, or pesticide free. We just ate, either too much, too little, or just right. The outlandish claims by experts that a raw, organic, paleo, gluten free, grapefruit diet is the only way to go has led people to question their own judgement on food choices. They are in pursuit of the perfect diet in the hope of attaining the perfect body because apparently that's the "in" thing to have these days.
What's worse is the people making these claims seem to be at war with science or lack any real evidence to back their arguments. A sexy photo in a bikini at the beach with the hashtag clean eating is not real evidence. Sure it may be motivating for someone to make some changes to their diet but that's about as far as anyone should go.
When I look at the qualifications and credentials of these Google Doctors it seems that not many of them have any except “Ambassador for Fitness” or “ A Proponent of Clean Eating”. What does that actually mean? The ones I get extremely disappointed in are those who claim that this type of diet can cure cancer or other life threatening diseases.
There have been countless people over the years die of cancer while others take a relative in for chemotherapy and radiation treatment during their battles and I can only assume that that no amount of raw Kale and Quinoa did the trick. Furthermore, green smoothies in recyclable jam jars looked like medicine but in reality they are not.
You can have millions of followers on Instagram and post glowing healthy images of you and your food but I don't think this qualifies you as a nutritionist, dietitian, or Doctor. There is no denying your discipline and commitment. Yes you have great abs, legs, and arms which takes hours of exercise and food preparation but this can never replace the years of experience, study, and research that is genuinely required.
We are all different. We all have different needs. We all live different lives and we all earn different money. Not everyone can go to the gym but hopefully they find other forms of exercise. Not everyone can afford organic but for those who can then great. Not everyone can spend hours food prepping but for those who can - go for it. And for those who just want to be healthier, all you need to do is make some better food choices while trying to be more active.
The bottom line is that people are confused more than ever, stressed beyond belief, and trying desperately to be part of the "have's" rather than the "have nots" which also extends to body types. People then turn to motivation thinking that's all they need which gives rise to another billion dollar industry of shiny speakers, glossy posters, and fancy slogans which are repeatedly quoted by more experts. We don't need to motivate people. It's temporary fluff that doesn't work. We need to point them in the right direction to make up their own minds.
I lead my clients to the facts. Show them what works. Open up their opportunities, but more importantly give them their own self belief. But first, we must stop the nonsense!