Why Is Weight Loss Never "One Thing"?
By Joan Kent, PhD
People often tell me stories about how they lost weight. The stories begin with, "All I did was..." and end with something like: become vegetarian (or vegan); eliminate gluten; "go raw"; or cut out sugar.
A couple of these make sense, but others don't. Let's look at each one.
Becoming Vegetarian or Vegan
The two are different, but I'll cover them together because my observations are the same in both cases.
Depending on which animal products someone was eating before changing her/his diet – and how they were prepared – eliminating animal products might result in considerable weight loss.
But there may be more to this story. Maybe the new vegan/vegetarian has eliminated dairy products, for example – and given up that pint of Ben & Jerry's every night. Getting rid of all the fat and sugar in the ice cream could very well have had a profound effect on weight loss.
That change might even have helped by itself. So maybe it wasn't just about animal products.
My first question is always, "How much gluten was this person eating before?"
It's logical to blame gluten if the now-lean person was eating a stack of pancakes for breakfast, a large submarine-type sandwich for lunch, and a mountain of pasta with his dinner.
Cutting moderate gluten intake – say, a standard sandwich on 2 ordinary slices of bread per day – might not yield the same dramatic results.
But again, is there more to the story? The butter and syrup on the pancakes, high-fat sauce on the pasta, mayo and who-knows-what-else on the sub sandwich? Those changes would factor in just as much as the gluten.
Giving Up Sugar or "Going Raw"
Okay, in this case, I can definitely believe we may have found the "one thing" that helps someone lose weight – especially if the switch covers all sugar.
Giving up sugar would include giving up pastries, cookies, cakes, brownies, candy bars, ice cream, and more. Those so-called foods often contain fat, white flour, and yes, gluten – plus other junk, along with the sugar.
Someone switching to a raw diet would also eliminate most foods on the list above.
The drawback with a raw diet is that there are two "tracks." The healthful track emphasizes vegetables. The less healthful track emphasizes fruit, various concoctions that contain fruit or fruit juice, and even cookies that look like Oreos, with some sort of creamy fruit puree filling between 2 cookies made of crumbled nuts.
I recommend the veggie track, but that may be a topic for another post.
Of course I'm in favor of anything that helps someone make a change for better health. But it may take a few things, not just one. And that's not a bad thing.
That being said, the decision to eliminate sugar can, and often does, have far-reaching benefits: cardiovascular health, blood pressure, mood, appetite, focus.
So if you are still looking for the One Thing that helps you lose weight ... giving up sugar might be that thing.
If you're looking for help with eliminating sugar – for weight loss or other health issues – perfect! That's what I do. Just go here and grab your FREE copy of "3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying To Quit Sugar." Find out how you can make a big shift in your health with small changes that are easy and do-able.