At first glance, eliminating bread, chocolate, sugar, white carbs, or other sources of “empty” calories seems like a great way to lose weight. And in theory, it is. But in reality, elimination diets (where certain foods or food groups are not allowed) just don’t last.
Because they go against social norms, often remove the pleasure aspect of eating, and take huge amounts of effort to maintain. Significantly easier and more pleasurable are diets that include a wide variety of foods (mostly healthy ones) and allow you to practice culturally normal eating habits.
Should we all be tweaking our diets here and there to reduce sources of empty calories? Yes.
Should we all completely give up the foods we love in an attempt to lose weight or even improve overall health? If you ask me, no way. Because the odds that such a plan will stand the test of time are very, very low.
So tonight, and probably tomorrow night too, I’m going to do like the French do and enjoy a slice of warm homemade bread with butter and a little hunk of chocolate. And then eat some vegetables.
RichardJuly 15, 2012 at 10:03 am
OK, I have to ask the question. What do you consider a proper amount for a daily use of chocolate, or dark chocolate? The author whose books I like (Steven Pratt) says that “if” you use chocolate on a daily basis, he recommends a daily amount of 100 calories worth of chocolate, and also says that you should compensate by reducing sugars and fats in other areas. I know that there is no hard-and-fast number or answer here that would apply to everyone, but I’d be interested in your opinion on what “a little hunk of chocolate” should entail. I also completely agree with you that depriving yourself of things you truly love, is “not” a good long-term strategy.
AmeliaJuly 16, 2012 at 9:39 am
Good question, Richard. I think I’ll do a post focusing on this next! The amount of “discretionary calories” a person has depends on their age, activity level, and sex, but in general 100 kcals is a good guage since most of us don’t have much wiggle room.
Melanie @ Nutritious EatsJuly 16, 2012 at 9:51 am
Amen to that! I couldn’t agree more!