In our last article, we presented three possible approaches to finding a diet that is right for us. Here we take a closer look at approach number one – the “scientific way” – to see if there is one that deserves that title and can help us create a bespoke light fat diet for you and me.
To get a feel for the huge task we intend to master, let’s take a look at a site called “dietsinreview dot com” that shows in a very comprehensive way an impressive and at the same time scary number of diets which they categorize as follows (number of diets listed in parentheses):
- Calorie Counting (44)
- Lifestyle-based (165)
- Meal based (116)
- Dietary Supplements (340)
- Health related (43)
- Children’s Medium (13)
A total of 721 dietary variations that have been modified by interdisciplinary categories such as “Fitness Based”, “Meal Delivered”, “Food and Diet Products” and “eBooks”. We leave them out as their content partially overlaps with our list of items and they are not all food / supplement based.
In the same place we find a software tool with a bold and enticing statement: “Our new diet finder. Find the perfect diet for you”. When we use this tool, we quickly realize that the selection criteria used relate solely to our lifestyle and the tools we are comfortable using when committing to a specific diet in the next weeks or months to come.
But this is only part of the “perfect diet” we are looking for. More importantly, I ponder the question if our body is being “transformed” into a healthier and leaner state by this “perfect diet”. Here we stand on our own – note: 174 of the 721 diets mentioned receive a 100% approval rating of dietitians! – and without further help somewhere, your guess is as good as mine if your answer is “yes” or “no” for any diet chosen. In fact, we are forced to follow our intuition and preferences for particular foods or ingredients for a definitive selection.
To find a solution, as a former scientist, I would try to find the parameters that influence / determine the desired result and then create an empirical equation
Output (fat & weight loss) = f (input) = f (var1, var 2, … var n)
where was 1 = actual weight, was 2 = fat mass or%, was 3 = health problem # 1 … to was n = …
are all relevant body parameters that need to be changed / affected by the diet and daily amounts are recommended / prescribed.
If this looks confusing to you, it’s no wonder, since here we are dealing with the complexity of the human body with millions of interactions taking place every split second and where the effects of dietary ingredients are unknown at the molecular level. Therefore, even a layman understands that our system can never be described with a limited (limited) number of parameters from which the perfect diet can be formulated. The variety is simply large in size from individual to individual and is time dependent.
So where does that finally (not so surprising!) Insight leave us in terms of effective diets? Our list lists 43 diets that address specific health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, breast cancer, etc. These diets contain elements that are known to have a positive impact on these diseases and can therefore certainly be considered in these cases. On the other hand, if there is no specific disease, we are left with hundreds of diets to choose from, all of which promise easy fat loss in a short time. We can only list them for some extended according to our individual lifestyle preferences criteria.
This automatically brings us closer to two and three of our previous posts – success stories and diet recommendations, either heard from our family, friends and acquaintances, or from trusted reviews. Fair enough, trusting others’ experiences is good, but being in control is better, and control here means understanding the diet / fat more deeply.
Therefore, in my next article, I will summarize the available scientific knowledge on the acquisition and loss of fat in our bodies, so that you will have a fairly solid basis for making the best possible decision on the route to go – whichever light fat loss program you chose. Of course, physical training should be part of such a summary.