Diet versus Lifestyle for Health

June 19, 2014

These days, it’s known that butter and red meat aren’t killing you (if you disagree, you aren’t doing your research.) But does that mean sugar the enemy? Kevin Cann writes for Robb Wolf’s blog, preaching a slightly different philosophy: diet is only part of the equation. It’s your lifestyle that will keep you alive:

We can make these positive dietary changes, but if we do not address our other lifestyle choices the health implications will not be as astounding as they could be.  So eat less processed foods, but also sleep better, get some sunlight, actively manage your stress, and have strong social relationships.  This is how we will convince our genome to express the genes that will lead us to living long and happy lives.

Back in 1961, Time magazine ran a cover story featuring the infamous dietary scientist Ancel Keys, who labeled fat and serum cholesterol as the principal predictors of heart disease. Throughout the decades, and even before Keys, science has overwhelmingly stated that this was in fact not the case. Now, Time has come full circle with its newest cover story that proclaims that the  war on fat is over.

We vilified fat for decades. Will vilifying sugar (“swinging to the opposite side of the pendulum,” as Cann says) solve the problem? Probably not. As always, the answer is usually somewhere in the middle, and never as simple as we want it to be.