Stop focusing so much on the “type” of food you’re eating

Posted on December 19, 2012

(Last Updated On: April 11, 2016)
This man is a moron.

This man is a moron.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with people who are trying to make significant changes to their bodyweight is too much focus on the type of food they’re eating. This really might be the biggest hurdle initially.

For some reason people seem to believe they can eat however much they want, but as long as it’s “good” food they’re in the clear. This is literally an exchange, verbatim, I’ve had many, many times with people:

New Person “I just don’t get it. No matter what I do I can’t lose the weight.”

Me “Well, what have you changed recently?”

Person “I’m eating tons of vegetables and fruits! I’m even juicing things in the morning to get more in.”

Me “So, in the last two weeks you’ve added more fruits and vegetables. That’s great. What else have you changed? Do you know how much you’re eating each day?”

Person  “Uhhh”

Me “Would it be fair to say in the last couple of weeks all you’ve done is add more food to what you were currently eating before?”

Person “But I’m eating really good food!”

Me “Ok, but you can’t eat MORE…in order to LOSE weight.”

Person [Bewildered]

Then this transitions into the importance of calories, etc.

While my cynicism can border on becoming misanthropic at times, it’s hard for me to believe so many people can consistently be this ignorant when it comes to eating. I’ve had this discussion with many very intelligent, very successful people. It goes just like above, often with the person looking at me as if they’ve never heard what I’m saying before.

Thus, I believe there are definitely other factors at work here. Things such as commercials promising massive results by the addition of not just one food to their diet, but only one ingredient. Or news programs consistently misrepresenting research and doing whatever they can to produce a headline.

Or Dr. Oz and his ability to discover a medical miracle every . fucking . week . Or the fact somehow Oprah has become an authority on weight-loss, which makes me seriously question the evolution of eyesight as people going blind is the only credible explanation I can come up with for taking weight-loss advice from a woman who has weight-loss trouble, and is overweight, herself.

(Cynicism is underrated.)

Rather than post a plethora of research to dispute focusing on the type of food you’re eating, I’m going to do what most proponents of any method do: Post 1 or 2 examples to “prove” a point. (See below for why this is in quotes.)

Twinkie diet helps professor lose 27 pounds. 

Some quotes from this article to provide a quick recap:

Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food.

The premise held up: On his “convenience store diet,” he shed 27 pounds in two months.


Haub’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

The only thing amazing about the above is a nutrition professor had 27 pounds to lose, and needed to do this to himself to understand things. Note to self: Don’t let my kids attend Kansas State.


Bowling for Morgan

This is a short documentary detailing a man who only eats McDonald’s for 30 days, and dramatically improves his health and loses weight.

On an unrelated note: I remember back in the day when Super Size Me came out. I had just started dating this girl in college. Being the naive, idiot of a 19 year old I was at the time, I put a lot of weight into the movie. I didn’t think it was revelatory, but I certainly thought it was worth talking about and considering.

I brought this up to the girl I was dating at the time. Her response, “Really? I saw the movie and immediately went to McDonald’s. I was sooo hungry after watching that thing.”

Me “Wait, you did what???”

Her “I went to McDonald’s. It was probably the best its ever tasted. Some friends even went with me.”

At the time I was truly flabbergasted at her response. How could anyone see this movie and want to eat afterwards? Not only that, but specifically want McDonald’s?!?

However, I now know what people mean by “Age gives wisdom.” My feelings now? This is clearly “the one who got away.”


Finishing up: Certain people, *Cough* Paleo and Gary Taubes circle jerkers *Cough* are going to respond to something like this with “You can’t base anything off only one or two examples,” why, they’re exactly right! Hence why I wrote this, which is ironically aimed at these very people: Beware of n=1. 

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