Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Google Alerts and being your own guru

Every week I receive a 'Google Alerts' email in my inbox with links to various news items containing the words 'diet' and 'dieting'. I  always make sure I give it a cursory glance - you never know, I might be missing out on a groundbreaking discovery or some genuinely interesting piece of news and that would be a shame. Mostly though, it's the same stuff each week: a seemingly random, often conflicting collection of reports on the findings from the latest 'studies' which will leave most readers even more confused and baffled as to what exactly is good for our health and effective for weight loss.

This week is a case in point. Here are some of the headlines that appeared in the SAME email:

"Study shows calories key to weight-loss"
"Low calorie/diet drink consumers put on more weight"
"Food type, not calorie content matters more in weight gain"
"Reducing salt in diet fails to lower death rate"
"Low calorie diet could reverse diabetes"

I don't know about you but if I were to base my decisions on the information published in these news items, I wouldn't know what to believe! And this is just a small example of what is going on out there. Over the years I have been told that fat is good, then that is was evil, then that it was good again. I've been told to cut down on calories but now I'm was told that it's food type not calorie content that matters and that drinking low calorie drinks will actually make me fat. But what food type?? I've been told that I should stick to a high protein diet...then no, to a low fat diet... then no again, it's low GI, no make that GL...

No wonder there is so much confusion. No wonder every meal is a struggle for so many women anxiously trying to follow the latest guidelines, desperately trying to make them all fit, even when they contradict each other.

So. Here's how I make up my mind about what to believe.

I go with first hand experience, with what I know about how a food makes me feel and affects my weight. If that doesn't clinch it, I do more research, find other people who are talking about the subject and see what they are saying. If they sound like they are making sense and mostly agree with each other and I like their credentials (i.e. they are independent thinkers NOT sponsored by a multi billion dollar food or pharmaceutical corporation) then I may choose to take the findings on board. Otherwise I press 'delete' and get on with my life.

How do you choose what to believe? Where do you get your information about what is healthy? Who do you listen to?


  1. Love this - I was talking today to someone about all these so called "safe" additives in food. They're often safe cos the companies with vested interests have paid for research which shows that to be the case.

    I decide that safe food is what people have been eating for centuries - simple, plain food without additives. Yes it means learning to cook but a diet of ready made meals isn't good for anyone.

  2. Hear hear! I like Michael pollan's, 'eat food, not too much, mostly plants.' My Granny used to say 'everything in moderation, including moderation' and 'Jesus didn't change wine into water but water into wine.'

    It's still easier said than done and I want someone to write a fruity puddings coookbook that'll include at least a portion of fruit as dessert. I think it would be a very worthy public health campaign. Yum!


  3. Being Our Own Guru is essential to finally letting go of the false hope that dieting offers - it may be the last of the BC principles, but it's a very powerful one!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.