While watching Today recently, this clip with Dr. Oz about why consuming full-fat dairy products may be better than low-fat products caught my attention, and I thought, “Wow, I may agree with Dr. Oz about something!”
I often find that his show cranks out ignorance and quackery to people who — unfortunately — trust him because of the title at the beginning of his name. But on this one I agree: Whole foods are best. Our species evolved to eat whole foods, not processed foods or foods with parts taken out of them. Although we don’t completely understand all of the factors that go into good nutrition and health, it just makes sense to me that we should eat food in its most natural form possible in order to attain our best health possible.
The Today spot with Dr. Oz and this article in Time magazine validated my belief in the importance of eating whole foods. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian wrote a comprehensive review that encourages both the science community and the public to focus on the benefits of the whole food instead of isolated nutrients. For instance, instead of making the distinction between low- and full-fat dairy consumption and weight loss, just report that dairy helps obese people lose weight.
A few years ago, after struggling with maintaining a healthy weight, joint pain and digestive upset, I changed my diet from the culturally acceptable low-fat, vegetarian diet to a whole-foods, omnivore diet. I have no regrets.
One of the hardest things for me to overcome was the belief that fat is bad. Still to this day when I tell people I eat whole-fat foods, they look at me with shock. By eating whole foods, including foods with full fat, I stay full longer, the food tastes better and there aren’t as many added sugars.
Eating a whole-foods diet means eating a lot of vegetables; minimally processed whole grains; local, grass-fed meats; fruits; beans, legumes, nuts and seeds; dairy; and minimally processed fats such as butter, olive oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil and avoiding added sugars.
I definitely get frustrated and annoyed by nutrition media blitz and talk shows that make grand statements based on one or two small studies or misrepresent research, which is often what we hear on the news and even in reputable print and online news venues. The Center for Science in the Public Interest does a great job of calling the media out on this in their April 2016 issue. This story sensationalizes by singling out dairy and advocating for full-fat dairy when previously low-fat dairy was the recommendation, but the overall message of eating whole foods is a scientifically accurate claim.
So if you have tried diet upon diet without getting the results you want, try the simplest diet out there that is backed by science: a whole-foods diet.