Every January, people making resolutions to lose weight are peppered with loads of free dieting advice. Most of it is absolutely terrible, or plain lies. Even worse, many weight loss hucksters overcomplicate the very simple truths we know about eating for health.
That's why I love this chart from the Swedish National Food Agency. Its succinct (and still impressively science-based) advice is summed up in this nice graphic:
While American guideline makers are reluctant to urge the public to eat less of anything (lest they offend powerful industry lobby groups), the Swedes are clear about what people really need to cut back on: red and processed meat, salt, and sugar.
Likewise, while fad diet peddlers often suggest people eat a certain "superfood," avoid some overly specific substance like gluten, or follow a fat-busting workout routine to stay fit, the Swedes keep it real: Just eat more plants and exercise. Instead of suggesting people do the impossible and banish fat from their diets, these Scandinavians are advised to seek out "fabulous fats" in vegetable oils and nuts. (Again, these findings jibe with what researchers have found.)
"In truth," the experts at the Swedish food agency write, "most people know perfectly well what they should eat. It's no secret that vegetables are good for you and sugar isn't."
So here's an idea for a 2016 resolution: Save your money, and tune out the fads you'll be inundated with this year. Ignore the unreasonable diet plans that time has shown will fail, and forget the punishing workouts. Instead, eat like a Swede.
More no-nonsense reading on food, health, and diet:
- Unless you're a heroin addict, you probably don't need to detox. Here's why.
- The anti-detox diet
- The truth about dietary fat
- The best and worst nutritional advice from around the world
- The Bulletproof Diet is everything wrong with eating in America
- We make exercise way too complicated. Here's how to get it right.
- The celebrity diet that bamboozled your state, according to Google
- I asked the experts how to eat healthy on a budget. Here’s what they told me.
- How America got so screwed up about food