Nutritional Fads or Facts?

Every year there’s a new fad, new research, and the latest trend for healthy eating or weight loss.  Some say it’s good, then others say it’s bad.  Which diet should I follow?  It’s confusing so let’s break it down.  My answer, however, is always moderation; enjoy it and nothing in the extreme.

Meatless Meats
I love the idea of eating less meat for our health, the environment, and reducing animal cruelty.  Please eat more plants!  As for our health, meatless meats are actually 4X higher in salt than regular beef and has the same amount of saturated fat.  It’s also highly processed food and requires chemicals to extract the protein.  Plus, they’ve extracted the fiber too so just stick to eating more plant-based whole foods.  (See next month’s newsletter for more ideas.)

Intermittent Fasting
The idea is to eat in an 8-hour period and fast the remainder 16 hours.  No solid evidence show this is the best weight loss method but my problem with these fads is that people don’t listen to their own bodies.  No one diet is perfect for everyone.   I met a guy who does this fast but doesn’t start eating until 4pm.  We don’t want our body digesting into the late hours because those organs are slowing down and getting our body ready for bed, not digestion.  Another woman I met is trying so hard to do this but she gets hungry so she skips breakfast and craves all sorts of food and resorts to sugary, fatty foods to compensate when she does eat. 

Many cultures have used fasting as a spiritual ritual and we can certainly use it to jump start our system.  I fear this is yet another calorie restriction for weight loss that doesn’t sustain and leads to more weight gain.  Learn to listen to your body. 

Eggs:  Good or Bad?
It seems like there’s dueling research on eggs.  I believe moderation is your answer.  Of course, if you smoke, don’t exercise, and eat lots of red meat, those eggs will put you on cholesterol overload.

Other Hyped Foods
Acai is claimed to have tons of antioxidants.  They are expensive.  Enjoy them but there isn’t conclusive data on their magic.  Well, I don’t believe in magical foods; just eat a nice variety.  Blueberries, kelp, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, etc. all have lots of antioxidants.

Coconut water is a great electrolyte high in potassium.  It can add a lot of calories if you drink too much of it in place of water and hurt the wallet too.  A banana is equally great.  I love coconut water.  What a treat, but I don’t consume it after every workout.  You get my point.  Enjoy it but don’t fall for the fad and overdo it while killing your pocket book unnecessarily.

Agave is very high in fructose.  Use small amounts and limit your daily added sweeteners in general.

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA