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The KISS Theory: Healthy Diet Edition

Cindel Gwyn, MS,RD,LDN

Growing up, my father taught me a theory that could be applied to almost every situation. It’s the KISS Theory, which stands for Keep It Simple, Silly. So, with everything going on in the world, why make something as easy as eating, difficult? The media has done an excellent job selling
consumers on the idea of a quick fix diet, aka “fad” diets. What you should know is that diets such as detoxes, cleanses, gluten free, keto, and paleo all have one thing in common: they aren’t sustainable! The key to success is finding balance, which is something you can maintain during your busiest and slowest time of year.

A detox diet is not necessary because your body has a natural filtering system – your liver and kidneys! Therefore; if they are not working, we may have bigger fish to fry. “Cleanses” typically result in a caloric deficit, leaving you feeling weak, which can potentially have a negative
impact on your metabolism. Lack of guidance is also an issue with cleanses and detox diets. Many individuals go right back to eating how they were prior to the diet, gaining any weight that they lost, leaving them right where they started.

Another one of these fad diets, that may ring a bell for some people, is the keto diet. This diet was originally designed to treat epilepsy in children. The main objective is for your body to enter a metabolic state called Ketosis, where the body transitions from using glucose as its primary energy source to using ketones, which are derived from fat. Your body can function on this diet, but is it sustainable for the average person? Unfortunately, it is not. That being said, dietitians do not spend hours upon hours learning about how your body needs and uses carbs, to turn around and tell you not to eat
them. When carbs are consumed, they are broken down into glucose, which is your body’s main energy source. It’s the type, and quality, of carbohydrates that you consume that is important. You
want to choose carbs that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans and fruits.

Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering what to eat: Keep It Simple, Silly! Start by choosing lean meats, poultry and fish. Make your plate colorful, and try to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Choose high quality carbohydrates, versus those lacking in fiber and high in added sugar. Reduce your intake of packaged processed foods, as they have a lot of sodium and lack the nutritional composition needed to satisfy your hunger. If you’re the type of person that needs a guideline or reference, take a look at the American Heart Associations recommended serving sizes or the Mediterranean Diet.

Lastly, I have a piece of good news: you don’t have to make these changes all at once! Challenge yourself to make just one modification per week, or even one per month, and then add a new one next time. Healthy diet changes should not be uncomfortable. If you become uncomfortable, you will start to get overwhelmed, and then you may revert back to old habits. Prevent this by going slowly, and keeping your changes simple. Remember the KISS Theory – Keep it Simple, Silly!

Cindel Gwyn, MS, RD, LDN

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