Why Diets Shouldn’t Tell You What Not to Eat

Posted 03/31/2015 | By HealthCorps

We try to share recipes on Tasty Tuesdays that inspire healthy, tasty meal ideas.  A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that when we say no to food(s), it invariably inspires the very behavior we are trying to prevent.  Behavioral treatment for depression never suggests that you “not be sad,” but rather the focus of therapy is to encourage activities that the patient enjoys, so more time is filled with happy, uplifting experiences.

The co-author of the new study suggests that we need to stop telling people not to eat things, and focus instead on all the foods they can (and should) eat.  The focus of this study was fiber, since so many readily available and healthy foods contain fiber.  Participants were encouraged to fill up on fiber. The foods that made the list of options included beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and grains.  So people had loads of choices and possible combinations.  The study participants were never told what not to eat.  Half the study subjects following this high fiber plan were compared to another group told to follow the American Heart Association Diet, which includes a number of food restrictions, while emphasizing healthy proteins, healthy fat, and loads of fruits and vegetables.  This study did not incorporate exercise into the formula.

Both groups showed improvement in a number of parameters used to measure weight and disease risk (including BMI, cholesterol level).  The contention of the study authors is that you can get people to lose weight and improve their health profile on a high fiber diet that has few, if any restrictions.  In fact, the researchers noted that few participants on the high fiber diet chose unhealthy foods.  Overall, they observed significant reductions in saturated fat, sugar, dietary cholesterol, sugary beverage and sodium consumption among participants on the high fiber diet.

High Fiber Artichoke Dip

This yummy dip has 6 grams of fiber per serving.  Serve it with cut up vegetables and you bump up your fiber intake even higher!


-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

Join the conversation! Leave a comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.


Subscribe to the HealthCorps Newsletter