12 Jul 2013

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

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As a dietitian, I usually steer well clear of popular diet books, the latest diet fads or celebrity weight-loss plans. You might think this is akin to burying my head in the sand – but I really dislike spending any time thinking about diet crazes and worry about how certain foods or nutrients are the flavour of the moment one minute…then blacklisted the next. Carbs were once good, then they were out and protein was in, then superfoods found a place, now calorie counting is back – it really is all pretty ridiculous.

Finally though, I’ve found a book (and let’s not call it a ‘diet book’) that almost exactly outlines my own diet and nutrition thinking. Michael Pollan is an American journalist and has written a neat little book called “Food Rules”. (I’m not going to put any links in here, as I really and truly am not trying to sell it). His wisdom is summarised by the three sentence rule: eat food (as in real food – no imitations, chemical-laden, processed crap), mostly plants (yes of course fruit, veg and wholegrains get the thumbs up) and not too much (easier said than done, but some helpful reminders all the same). Expanding on this – in 64 ‘rules’ he forms the basis for every eaters’ life-long dietary guidelines for surviving the Western diet. Examples include: “avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the food pantry”, “avoid foods you see advertised on television”, and “treat treats and treats”. The advice is written in a light-hearted way; yet following it is a simple way to navigate the labyrinth of diet programmes, advertising, government policies etc and just have a sensible healthy diet.

If there’s one food book to have handy for your supermarket shop – I certainly recommend “Food Rules”. I can’t say following it will be easy, but then diets aren’t supposed to be easy are they?!


Hayley Kuter – paediatric dietitian



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