Eat whatever you want, but in moderation

(versión en español: pinchar aquí)

I am an addict, can’t you see?

It doesn’t make any sense. Don’t they say I am overweight because I can’t stop eating (and being lazy, sure)? If I have no willpower and can’t control myself, how come I am told to eat whatever I want, including the foods I can’t stop eating? Do you tell a smoker to smoke whatever he/she wants, but in moderation? Do you tell a drunk to drink whatever he/she wants but in moderation? What would you tell a junkie?!

I can’t stop eating! Don’t you get it?

Moderation is not an option when willpower fails

If I am overweight because of my lack of willpower, what kind of recommendation is that?

But it is false that obesity is caused by a lack of willpower. You can only say that if you suffer from a superiority complex, one as big as groundless. Some medical doctors should have it checked out.

But when you talk with your friends you can see they do have a lack of willpower. No, I am not contradicting myself: they have a lack of willpower, but it is not their fault, some foods are to blame, bread ahead of them. Foods they can’t stop eating even when they know for sure they are harmful for their health.

If the same foods are always implicated in food addiction, then you can fairly say the food was the cause, and not the person (see)

The foods are always the same: those with carbs (sodas, chips, bread, pasta, cakes, etc.) are the ones that make us eat an excess amount and after a couple of hours we need to eat again. Blaming the person without realizing those foods are addictive is nonsense and patronizing.

Eat everything, why?

Let’s forget for a minute about food addiction. What is the scientific evidence that supports the idea that we should eat whatever we want, but in moderation? Very often, popular nutritional wisdom is simple ignorance turned into dogma.

Let’s take into consideration the following five macronutrient groups:

  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Grean/leafy vegetables
  • Other carbs
  • Alcohol

What is the meaning of «eat whatever you want, but in moderation»? Should I drink alcohol to be healthy? I don’t think so because alcohol is not essential for human health. So, «everything, but alcohol» is ok? I assume I can ignore one of those macronutrient groups if I know it is harmful for me: you don’t have to eat from all of the groups.

«The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.» (here).

Carbs are not essential for our health. Why should I include them in my diet if they don’t give me anything I can’t get from healthier sources? Why should I eat bread, grain, pasta or potatoes if they have so much sugar my body is unable to handle it and I get overweight and health problems start?

Would you tell a diabetic to eat candies, but in moderation? Moderation? What is the meaning of «moderation» when we talk about foods that attack my body and force me to eat an excess of calories?

What do you know about my problem?

At every gathering of friends you can find one person that eats everything he/she wants, but is always thin. He/she has not more willpower and he/she is not more active than others: these people have a «privileged» metabolism, one that processes all the carbs they eat better than the rest of us. Those people can «eat whatever they want, but in moderation«. The rest of us just can’t.

They were born on the finish line, but they think they won the race

I will not argue that the naturally skinny people should shut up when talking about nutrition, but they should try to be humble and assume that they are not better than overweight people, and accept that probably they don’t have a clue about what is best for us. They were not able to win the race: they were never in the start line and probably their only ability is to stay motionless on stupid and harmful diet guidelines (at least for a few of us). They can eat bread and pasta and control their appetite and stay skinny, but that doesn’t give them the answers to what others must/can eat.

NOTE: this last thought is not addressed to my friends (no, not to you either). Nobody says «eat whatever you want, but in moderation» knowing it is so wrong. It is just a common part of friends’ discussions. No one has all the answers.

Farther reading:


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