June 01, 2007
When people think about "diet," they almost always think of losing weight. Pritikin, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, SlimFast, Nutrisystem, Learn, Paleolithic, Zone--diets galore and hype galore. All touted to provide you the means to a "healthy" weight, what do all these diets have in common... besides costing you money if you buy the books, supplements, or the prepackaged special foods that go with them? They all do three basic things: (1) modify the composition of your diet (limit your food selection), (2) either directly or indirectly limit your caloric intake, and (3) expect you to exercise as part of your diet. So they all are all basically variations on the same theme but there is a tremendous amount of controversy about which diet is superior.
Currently, the biggest debate in the media and among health academics is low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Who would have ever guessed that a simple manipulation of a couple of macronutrients would be such a point of contention with fitness professionals, physicians, the media, and the public in general? Who would have thought that the tremendous amount of federal and private funds expended on nutrition and obesity research would create such a wealth of wrong thinking? Wrong thinking? How could I even suggest that some of the best minds in obesity research aren't producing useful information? They are forgetting basic physics, and they are also forgetting to consider the basic reasons why we eat. We'll come back to this latter consideration in a bit as it is particularly relevant to eating for CrossFit.