Michal Ofer

Fads Gone Bad

Michal Ofer

One of the many problems with the current diet and nutrition industry, and our perception of it, is that the latest food trend or diet fad is plastered, shared and promoted everywhere and is treated as this nutritional panacea, this cure-all, this magic bullet for all that ails us. Not all fads are bad, but we are each individuals, and often these fads and trends can leave one feeling less than optimal and in turn feeling broken and confused by the lack of positive response. The latest and greatest is perfect for you, until it’s not!

People often ask my opinion on the latest ‘it’ food, supplement or protocol. I get questions all the time, especially which of these are true and may be worth investing time, energy and/or money into and which are not worth a second look. This can be a real challenge for many of us. We do a lot of research and are aware of all the social media ‘buzz’ making it appear as if certain products or ideas are fantastic options.

I’m going to go through a few of the more recent concepts that you might want to look at a little more carefully before diving in and playing full-out with them. My top fads that may have gone bad – for you- are: 

Superfoods

This is a great term used by often as it guarantees at least a second look, a click, a purchase. What happened to just eating real food, the healthiest and best quality that you are able to? I’m willing to bet you would be largely better off than time, money and effort on some (possibly processed) liquid or powder  derived from special ‘superfood’ plants that only grow in the deepest parts of the Amazon or the furthest reaches of the Himalayas. I always emphasize to anyone who asks, get real food into your body first. When that is done, you can investigate supplements as just that – supplementing what you are not able to derive from your diet alone!

Intermittent Fasting

There are definitely huge merits to this practice and protocol involving not eating for anywhere from 12-24 hours at a time and many experience great benefits. If you are not well and your body is run down from excess stress, autoimmune, adrenal or thyroid conditions, chronic infections, or issues with food sensitivities or any other health issues, this is definitely not the protocol for you. Intermittent fasting will most likely make you feel worse and stimulate weight gain. This form of fasting is considered to be a positive, healthy stressor on the body, stimulating growth, repair, regeneration and fat loss in healthy individuals. It has been shown to be more effective in males than females. Be sure all body systems are in order before proceeding.

Kale

Kale is great – it’s a leafy green chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. My issue with kale is that it is not the be-all and end-all of the greens world, even though it is promoted as such! Many people compromised digestive systems, don't tolerate kale well. I watch them struggle with many leaves and shoots, especially when they are raw! Juicing kale can also be a problem for some as you end up consuming large amounts of the green, which can create vitamin and mineral imbalances. Eating a variety of vegetables is important and the very best ones for you are those YOU tolerate well. 

Bulletproof Coffee

Many people are swearing by their daily dose of this warm, frothy drink. They tout its energy giving abilities and brain stimulating properties. When it works, it seems to work well. However, those who love this concoction of coffee, grass-fed butter and MCT oil should also remember that they are consuming a very energy dense beverage.

Many experts and proponents of ketogenic (low carb, high fat) diets do not recommend drinking fat calories in this way. It becomes easy to go overboard and thus end up consuming too much. There are further concerns that the (high priced) MCT oil may actually be the waste from the production of lauric acid being extracted from coconut oil. Again I stress, eat real, whole foods -  just buy really good quality coconut oil rather than the latest and greatest (processed)  ‘superfood’. 

If you enjoy your ‘Bulletproof Coffee’ and it works for your body and your routine and lifestyle, go ahead and enjoy it – just be aware that it may not be the panacea nutritional panacea it is often made out to be!

I cannot stress enough that nutrition is a highly individualized process. If something works for you that’s GREAT. If something does not, no need to continue just because conventional wisdom and dietary dogma have decided on your behalf that you should.