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Four Letter Word

February 22, 2023 | Bilof's Corner

Four Letter Word

By Dr. Michael Bilof

If you’re a regular reader (I hope there are a few of you out there!), then you know that in December I introduced the concept of the pillars of good health and last month I did a little deeper dive on sleep, which I think is probably the most important, truth be told.

But, another truth be told, as a bariatric surgeon the pillar of good health that I spend most of my days talking about with patients is nutrition… the four letter version of which is ‘diet’.

Let’s start with the Standard American Diet (SAD)… it’s an unmitigated disaster. Most “foods” in the Standard American Diet are not actual food (hence the quotes) they are edible food-like substances. If you take the time to read the ingredient list you will see that most ‘foods’ are the same couple of ingredients (refined carbohydrates, seed oils, and added sugars) with a whole bunch of chemicals mixed in. ‘Seed oils’ are mostly sunflower, safflower and canola oils. Something else to be aware of: nutritional labels now must tell you how much added sugar there is—simple rule of thumb, only buy foods with zero ‘added sugar’.

The less of the Standard American Diet you consume and the more ‘real food’ you consume the better your health will be. I appreciate that it can be a little confusing reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. If you are shopping and you pick up something and you think “Is this ‘good’ for me and my family” I can give you a simple way to answer that question: How many ingredients are there in the ingredients list? If the answer is more than 5 ingredients you should probably put it back. If the answer is more than 10 you should definitely put it back! Trust me, if there are more than 10 ingredients it is NOT real food, not even close!

Real food doesn’t have an ingredient list… broccoli, carrots, beef, and salmon don’t have ingredient lists. Why is that? Because they are ‘real food’. Again, let me keep it simple, ‘real food’ is something a caveman would recognize as food… meat, fish, fruits, vegetables.

Next month, we’ll discuss the third pillar of good health: exercise. Since it seems most people would prefer video content rather than written content, I plan on starting a series of exercise videos… stay tuned!

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