Thursday, January 10, 2008

Former College of Dietitians Director Admits Following the Food Guide Causes Weight Gain

Though she might not realize she did.

Yesterday Samara Felesky Hunt, registered dietitian and former Director of the College of Dietitians, wrote a column in the Calgary Herald talking about dieting and weight loss.

In one breath she states,

"Following the guide will help meet your needs for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, but also assist in weight loss."
But it was her next few breaths that I found revealing,
"For weight loss, focus each day on eating at least four servings of vegetables and at least three fruits. Eat whole grain carbohydrates and limit them to four to six servings for women and five to seven servings for men."
So really what she's doing is instructing her readers that if they want to lose weight they should in fact not follow the Food Guide.

She instructs women to consume up to 33% less grains than recommended by the Guide and men up to 40% less. She also qualifies which type of grain and does what the Food Guide does not - she recommends the exclusive consumption of whole grains.

Gee, wouldn't eating markedly less food than the Food Guide recommends suggest that actually following the Food Guide would not cause weight loss? Wouldn't it also suggest that in fact actually following the Food Guide would therefore likely lead to weight gain?

Lastly, if the Food Guide is such an evidence-based vehicle, why is it that this registered dietitian is qualifying its grain recommendations to steer folks directly and exclusively to whole grains when the Food Guide only steers you to make half your grains whole?

Simple.

It's a crappy Guide.

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3 comments:

  1. While I may not agree with the food guide as a whole, and completely agree that it should advocate the exclusive consumption of complex carbohydrates, I'm pretty sure that the current food guide was designed for weight maintenance, and not weight loss.

    I am a dietetics student and this is how it is taught to us, as a tool for healthy weight individuals. It makes sense that either underweight, or overweight, people would need to modify it to best suit their needs. (Admittedly, I did not read the article in question so I could be misinterpreting her/your statements)

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  2. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for reading the blog and for the comments.

    Regarding my take on the Food Guide and weight, have a peek at two of my posts from over a year ago:

    http://bmimedical.blogspot.com/2006/11/match-not-made-in-heaven.html

    and

    http://bmimedical.blogspot.com/2006/11/oh-and-you-cant-have-ketchup.html

    Hopefully they will give you an understanding of why in fact the Food Guide, if followed explicitly, will likely in fact lead to weight gain.

    Regards,
    Yoni

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  3. You have me wondering about the USDA food guide. I realize that you are mainly concerned with Canada. Here is the link to the website, I really like the tools available there. http://www.mypyramid.gov/
    regards,
    Theresa

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