Confused about dietary advice? Why?

235695-food-food-on-a-stickWe are not confused about what makes a good diet: moderate nutritious carbs, a fair portion of protein, minimal sugar, plentiful fruit and vegetables, limited alcohol and not too much salt. Our consumption of fat might still be one source of uncertainty; perhaps best to moderate that too for the time being. But, ultimately, prepare a little of what you fancy to accompany a meal of vegetables, and you can’t go far wrong. Simple.

However, it is a plain fact that many of us eat and drink too much of what we fancy. And that is the source of our confusion, We cannot agree on whether too much of one thing is worse than too much of the other. Is it worse to eat too many carbs or to consume too much fat? Will we have a higher risk of obesity because of sugar consumption rather than fat? Which source of fat is better than another? These are useful questions to answer, though biology and behaviour make it hard to conduct convincing research. Our politicians, media and scientific establishment regularly debate these secondary questions. Nevertheless, the primary question has already been answered: adopt a balanced diet.

Allowing us to settle the main question is one thing. Following its discipline is another. Consider the food producers, the marketeers, cultural patterns and individual habits. None of these tend towards balance. The interests of each tend towards particular preferences, thus leaving us with competing health claims.

It is very difficult to bring moderation to life and culture. In the face of our desires, tastes and passion, we need a compelling motivation and strong personal, relational and spiritual means to counter what comes naturally. Dietary confusions may be distracting us from this deeper task.

The market is flooded with dietary advice. Much of it is skewed in one direction or another. I have found this book to be well balanced:

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