I don’t know if any of you are old enough (or young enough!?) to remember the late 1980s. I mean really remember (and not from the photos taken at your 1st birthday party!). If you are old enough, then you remember when carbs were king and fat was the ugly, gruesome subject banished from the kingdom? Sugar, on the other hand, was sort of ignored and allowed to roam the kingdom freely and at will. Protein was often lumped into the fat category because many proteins contain fat. The late 1980s was the beginning of the lowfat diet craze (and, thankfully, the end of the leg warmers, spandex tights, unitard craze). Remember all those fat free cookies and chips?
Olestra fat free oil hit the market with a bang and a bump as consumers enjoyed the taste of fat free potato chips while experiencing painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea? Fun times. It was hip to be a fat free product. Even bananas were labeled with “fat free” stickers!
Seems fat was making us fat.
At the time, I was a newbie just entering the fitness/wellness industry, so I took lowfat very seriously. For the better part of 1989 and into the early 1990s, fat did not pass my lips. Unfortunately that meant all I ate was brown rice, chick peas and bagels! Absurd, right?!
Fast forward to the late 1990s. Carbs are now the enemy! Protein is king, and fat and sugar are roaming about aimlessly. Turns out it’s not fat that’s making us fat. It’s carbs!!
By this time, I was a seasoned fitness professional. I knew the difference between spandex and lycra and I sensed that bulky, scrunchy socks were uncool. The lowcarb thing raised red flags (and cholesterol levels). As tempting as it was to guiltlessly gorge on steak, bacon, eggs, and triple cheeseburgers without buns, I continued to eat whole grains, veggies and fruits (all of which are carbs).
The very definition of craze: “an enthusiasm for a particular activity or object that typically achieves widespread but short-lived popularity”, indicates that it cannot be sustained throughout a healthy life. Nor should it. My father’s advice to me when I was in my brown rice, chick pea and bagel phase was “everything in moderation”. In other words, what the heck is wrong with you child, did I raise you in a cave? Eat and enjoy everything. Keep the indulgences to a minimum, but enjoy them. Eat variety. Eat well. Manga! It was very good advice then, and now.
Fast forward one more time. 2011. Guess what? Sugar is making us fat. Hmmm…