A tale of two diets – Part one: The story about quality vs. quantity

I'm making a list of things I have discovered which are either unexpected, or actually the complete opposite of what I believed before. 

For now I'm expressing them as "old story" and "new story" and avoiding charged labels like "myth" and "fact".  The old story may work for some people… the new story works better for me.

Here's one:  The story about quality vs. quantity.
Old story: A great diet plan means eating whatever I want, in moderation.  
New story: If I find the right set of foods, I can eat whenever I am hungry, and not stress about it other times.

Most of us believe that "calories" is the most important measurement of a diet.  Eat a 2000 calorie diet and gain weight, or eat a 1200 calorie diet and lose weight.  "A calorie is a calorie" or "Calories in, calories out" are common expressions of this story. 

I have thought long and hard about why I'm uncomfortable with this story.  "Calories in, calories out" is both true and unhelpful.  It says that our natural "hunger" signals are there to betray us and they must be wrong.  Some lucky people get to eat whenever they are hungry, and others don't.  If you have eaten more than enough calories and you're still hungry, you must be a defective person or have crappy willpower.  We're told to pay no attention to the type of food we're eating, just the amount.

Where else in our life is quantity the most important thing?  When I go buy a T.V. I don't want half of the best model, and I don't want three crappy models.

Anyone want to help add to the list?  Tell me if you have had other "revelations" on your own path.

3 thoughts on “A tale of two diets – Part one: The story about quality vs. quantity

  1. ladymeag

    Old Story: All fats are bad! Fats make you fat!
    New Story: Fats have a purpose but you’re best off sticking to natural, easily-obtainable fats (nuts, seeds, animal fats.)
    Fats in my diet help me feel full, keep my brain functioning, my skin less dry, my hair and nails less brittle. All of that can’t be wrong.

    Old Story: If you cut the sugar by any means necessary you’ll be better off – a Diet Coke is better for you than a regular one.
    New Story: You’re better off if you reduce sugar and keep whatever sweet things you do eat natural and relatively limited – over time, you’ll adjust to things being less sweet.
    We’re told that it’s okay to use artificial sweeteners, Stevia, and a number of other “tricks” to let us have the sweet stuff without the “guilt” of bad food. The thing is, we’re slowly learning that there’s a whole process that starts with your sense of taste (not merely for pleasure, it turns out!) that primes the body to expect sugars to come and that artificial sweeteners promote insulin resistance and obesity more than having a moderate amount of cane or beet sugars.

    There are more, I’m sure but these are the first ones that came to mind.

    1. gconnor

      I love those, both are really true for me too. I didn’t give up artificial sweetener until this month, but I had been reducing. Now after a couple weeks without splenda/stevia/Trident my sense of taste changed again, even some baby broccoli tasted kind of sweet.

      1. ladymeag

        Wait until about a month in when all of the mayonnaise on the planet tastes sweet. It’s kind of gross and I can’t put the stuff in my tuna salad anymore – I just chop stuff up really finely and skip it.

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