Recently a friend showed me the annual ranking by U.S. News and World Report of what they consider the “Best Diets” in America. Taking a quick glance at their rankings, I knew that something wasn’t right. Why are they promoting diets that rely almost solely on unhealthy processed food full of additives linked to cancer and heart disease? Why did they rank diets that advocate for giving up processed food in favor of fresh, whole foods AS THE WORST on their lists? They’ve gotta be kidding, right?!?
Who is benefiting from rankings like this? Will this help Americans become less obese? Will this make us healthier? I’d argue that many of the “diets” in America are outrageously unhealthy and diet rankings like this are seriously misleading people about what it means to eat healthy.
Just take a look at what you’d be eating on some of these popular diets…
This diet relies almost 100% on processed food. With a diet like this, you are sure to be eating insane amounts of preservatives and added sugar, which are both linked to major health risks. Jenny Craig uses some of the worst additives in their food, like carrageenan (linked to cancer and intestinal inflammation), cellulose (linked to inflammation and weight gain), and the artificial sweetener sucralose (linked to leukemia and weight gain). How could anyone call this diet healthy?
This diet isn’t supposed to rely on processed foods, but Weight Watchers sells a huge line of majorly processed foods and officially endorses processed food brands like Jolly Time Popcorn and Progresso Light Soups. You’ve probably seen the new commercials that chant “Bring on the food!” while they talk about how NOTHING is off limits on Weight Watchers…. bacon, pizza, chips… “You can have whatever you want”. So, it sure sounds like they are advocating for the continued use of processed junk food full of additives, instead of creating healthier habits that will teach your body to crave fruits and vegetables instead. Some of the recipes on their website call for processed foods like reduced fat vanilla wafers and even chocolate cake mix! Say Whaaaah?
It blows my mind that this is considered an acceptable diet by ANYONE. On this diet you essentially drink chemical-filled processed drinks for two of your meals, along with three of their processed snacks every day – and then you get just one homemade meal per day. You’ll basically be gulping down tons of artificially thickened sugary drinks every day. Gross.
On this diet you eat five of their “100 calorie” products every single day and then one home cooked meal. So, the majority of the time you are eating food full of heavily processed proteins, excitotoxins, artificial thickeners and sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and amino acids (instead of naturally-occurring ones). This is nowhere near real food! Medifast products are LOADED with hidden MSG additives like textured proteins, sodium caseinate, yeast extract.
On this diet you’ll be eating boxed up and processed Nutrisystem food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all filled with of dozens of chemical additives (some of which are addicting) blended together with the “correct” ratios of protein, carbs and fats, with some synthetic vitamins and fiber mixed in to make them look healthy on the “Nutrition Facts” label. Unfortunately, the “Nutrition Facts” label doesn’t tell the real story, and you’ll get a whole lot more than you bargained for when you choose to eat fake food like this.
Most diets put ZERO focus on the quality of the food itself and no emphasis on whether the food is unprocessed or free of chemical additives.
For instance – on the Mayo Clinic Diet, you can spread your toast with a “margarine-like spread” full of chemicals. On the DASH Diet you can start your day with a bowl of Shredded Wheat preserved with BHT or “light” yogurt sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. On the TLC Diet you can snack on low-fat microwave popcorn with TBHQ. On the Biggest Loser Diet, you can make a sandwich with processed deli meat and sprinkle your plate with fat-free cheese coated in cellulose. On the Volumetrics Diet, you can eat sugar-free pudding every day for dessert. This is not real food!
More than 80 million of us are dieting, yet without a lot of success. What is it about diets that don’t work?
Any diet book will tell you to eat right and exercise, but what does that really mean? I’ve seen people “eat right” by eating unlimited amounts of red meat and fat, and I’ve seen people “work out” daily for more than four hours, exhausting their body and pushing themselves too far.
I decided to search for some answers. My search was inspired not by any diet book, but rather by an eye-opening article, “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Real Winner is Real Food.” The article summarized an independent study, published in Annual Reviews in 2014, that reviewed every major diet and concluded that, “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with healthy promotion and disease prevention.”
I was pumped by reading this! It supported and validated what I had been doing and preaching for years: a natural, whole food, and predominately plant-based diet is the secret to staying in shape, feeling vital, and being healthy. Other diets just don’t cut it, and one reason is that they induce you to eat a lot of chemical calories and lock you into habits that kill your ability to maintain your weight. The old motto, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, is so true! There is no doubt about it – you feel horrible when you feed your body fast and processed food.
The way to create lasting change in your body is to eat food as close to nature as possible – the least amount of processed food, the better!!! After I began eating this way, I have never had to diet again, despite the challenging environment we live in with an abundance of tricky marketing and addictive food additives.
We can’t control what they are doing to our food, but we can control what we put in our mouths every day.
I’ve learned that the only way to feel great is to stop outsourcing my food to corporations and spend more time preparing meals at home. When I began cooking and eating whole foods, my health soared as a result – and now I never look back.
After I spent years juggling meal planning, food shopping and cooking, I consulted with a nutritionist and worked with my team to create an Food Babe Meal Plans for Health program – not only for myself, but for all of you. This is more than a meal planning service, it will keep you on track, and help you develop HEALTHY HABITS so you can finally shed unwanted pounds or have an easier time maintaining the healthy lifestyle you may have already built. This program makes eating healthy food and losing weight practically mindless (and delicious)!
If you want my team and I to personally help you with your goals, this is the program for you!
When you sign up, you’ll get recipes for new Food Babe meals every month (easy to make green drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners), a meal schedule, and a shopping list. These are brand new recipes that the Food Babe Team cooks up every month just for you that are absolutely delicious! You will actually LOVE the food you are eating, which makes creating new habits so easy.
You’ll also get my Starter Guide full of budget tips, diet strategies, and a list of the “Terrible 20” ingredients that keep you from losing weight, where to spot them, and what to eat instead. You can download these guides and recipes to your computer and keep them forever. Dozens of pages of knowledge at your fingertips INSTANTLY.
You’ll gain control your eating habits, while this program shows you how to eat wisely and well. As you continue eating this way, which will quickly become second nature, you’ll naturally start losing weight and keeping it off. You won’t have to count anything or obsess over calories or carbs, either. You just have to read labels, change some food-buying and food-prep practices, and enjoy food the way it was meant to be – natural and whole.
The only reason I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight for over 10 years now and feel amazing is because of my habits, food choices, and routine, which is outlined in this program. If you haven’t already heard my personal story about what happened when I started eating this way and how much my health improved, read my story and see my before/after photo here. When I took a hard look at what I was really eating and changed my eating habits and food choices, things dramatically shifted in my life. I went from someone overweight and sick to a new being of vibrant health, and I want everyone to feel this way.
I have helped thousands of people develop new eating habits, lose weight, and feel their best. You can read a few of their stories here, here, and here. YOU can do this too and I can’t wait to hear your success story.
Share this post with a friend or family member who you can team up with. It’s always easier to develop new eating habits and tackle obstacles when you work together.
I hope you get on board!