Everything in Moderation: The Balanced Diet Myth

Why eat a “balanced diet” when half your food is making you fat and sick?

“Leaving out an entire food group is bad for you. You really should be eating a balanced diet!”

A brief history of that lie:  

Back in 1977, Senator George McGovern set in motion the official dietary guidelines for the United States based on flawed research studies conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys. From this, the misguided and unsubstantiated “food pyramid” was born, and it stuck. In spite of the fact that hundreds of studies have been conducted since disproving it’s validity, this misinformation is still taught in schools today and regarded by most as fact. As a result, over the course of the past three decades, this junk science has lead our country into the midst of an obesity epidemic.  The Lie:

This unjustifiably revered “food pyramid” instructs the American people to eat between 6 and 11 servings of carbohydrates per day in the form of bread, cereal, rice, potatoes & pasta. Meanwhile also suggesting that we eat saturated fats only sparingly. Touting this to be what is known as a “balanced diet”.

 The Facts:

1. Refined carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, rice, potatoes & pasta are metabolized in the liver as glucose (sugar)

2. Insulin is the hormone that regulates fat storage.

3. The macronutrient most responsible for elevating insulin levels are sugars and refined carbohydrates.

4. Habitual and re-current patterns of elevated insulin levels over time can lead to insulin resistance and thus cause metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

5. Sugars and refined carbohydrates provide your body with no useful nutrients that can’t be received from healthier food sources.

So …

Have you already done the math for yourself?  Insulin is the hormone that stimulates fat storage, carbohydrates and sugars are the main stimulant of insulin production. So I ask you, why would you want to eat a “balanced diet” when one side of the scale is filled with foods that not only make you fat, but also make you sick?

The Truth:

I know what you’re thinking! But Tim, we need carbohydrates for cellular fuel. True. But not refined carbohydrates. The carbs we need are the ones surrounded by healthy fibers in vegetables. Besides, the nutrients we get from saturated & monounsaturated fats can provide our bodies with a much more efficient fuel.

So, if you must use a pyramid to understand a healthy diet, flip that damn thing on its end! Leave sugar right where it is …but eat refined carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, rice, potatoes & pasta only sparingly (if ever). Your true “balance” will come from daily meals filled with healthy green vegetables and the good fats and proteins from beef, fish & fowl and healthy oils.

Some might consider (myself included) this to be a “balanced” daily diet:
Balanced” just the way I like it!

*The contents of this blog post can be substantiated by reputable sources the likes of which are too numerous to mention. But here is the short list: “Always Hungry?” By Dr. David Ludwig, “Eat fat, get thin” by Dr. Mark Hyman, “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung just to name a few (all of which have been published within the past year)


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About

Tim Rice - I am an ex-paramedic turned fitness trainer, currently working like a mad man towards getting my credentials as a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Keiser University in Lakeland Florida. My story is not unique. Over the course of my lifetime I have lost and gained in upwards of 200lbs. I was a human yo-yo! Mostly because I, just like most of the American population, bought into the lies and faulty science that calorie restrictive/low-fat "diets" were the heart healthy way to control and maintain bodyweight. Well, after decades of frustration, our country is amidst an obesity epidemic of epic proportions. Armed with an Internet connection, a library card and the research skills that I honed in college, I've set out on a personal journey for truth. Thus far, I've returned to a healthy weight, reversed my high blood pressure, thrown out my Statins and reversed my sleep apnea. As I meticulously race thru the process of getting my credentials as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, I will share with you the truths (and the lies) that I discover on this path. The promise that I make to you: Any claims that I make will be backed up by REAL science. 

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5 comments on “Everything in Moderation: The Balanced Diet Myth
  1. Stephen McCallum says:

    Great Article Tim! Your persistence and research can do wonders for everybody that takes the time to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JCM1953 says:

    I have a friend who insists he’s pre-diabetic. He frequently keeps Special-K bars with him because he says he’s also at risk of hypoglycemia, go figure. He also thinks he knows lots of stuff about diabetes because he has a cousin who’s a kidney researcher, and “the guy knows his stuff.” He eats vegetarian, lots of soy, because he says that’s his only source of protein. He’s afraid of eggs because, you know, “cholesterol.” He says his doctor won’t be paid by insurance companies, possibly, if he doesn’t use statins if his cholesterol rises, and of course–the doctor knows best anyway. He has the classic fat torso and skinny arms and legs (in spite of working out a bit), lots of allergies, dental problems, fatigue, etc.–which of course is not about his diet, noooo sir. He’s VERY concerned about healthy eating. Drive me a little nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you, but technically now it’s Choose MyPlate, not the Food Pyramid. And, interestingly, Choose MyPlate is not even consistent with the changes from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to the 2015 Guidelines. Not that any of this matters. Fun fact: it is impossible to meet the Choose MyPlate guidelines without processed food (specifically fortified cereal and Vitamin D milk). You can try it by visiting Choose MyPlate.gov and visiting SuperTracker/FoodTracker. I added in my actual diet and found myself deficient in Vitamin D and multiple vitamins, while knocking it out of the park with respect to saturated fat and “empty calories” (all of which came from…saturated fat). Then I manipulated the meals to try and hit the “good” targets (including an insane requirement for vegetables/fruits/grains). Incredibly difficult. And futile, as your article points out.

    Liked by 1 person

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