Recently JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) published the results of a long, extensive, and expensive study conducted by a team of researchers at Stanford University. A New York Times article that was entitled, “The Key to Weight Loss Is Diet Quality, Not Quantity, a New Study Finds” had this to say about the study:
It found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods — without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes — lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.
The strategy worked for people whether they followed diets that were mostly low in fat or mostly low in carbohydrates. And their success did not appear to be influenced by their genetics or their insulin-response to carbohydrates, a finding that casts doubt on the increasingly popular idea that different diets should be recommended to people based on their DNA makeup or on their tolerance for carbs or fat.
The research lends strong support to the notion that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run. It also suggests that health authorities should shift away from telling the public to obsess over calories and instead encourage Americans to avoid processed foods that are made with refined starches and added sugar, like bagels, white bread, refined flour and sugary snacks and beverages, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
So basically it’s saying: back to basics. Profuse research went into determining that the proliferation of complex diet plans to deal with the myriad ways we have complicated simple food is not really helpful. We can unravel the entire mess by just eating the nutritious and delicious food available on our planet in as close to its natural form as possible.
There is such a great variety of natural food to nourish our bodies and to provide us with pleasure. Manipulating these natural gifts extensively often makes them unrecognizable so it tends to decrease our appreciation of them. And it also seems to distance us somehow from the Source of all this goodness.
Not only that, but it’s kind of hard to overeat lima beans or oranges. They fill a person up. The things that people usually overeat are the food items that are more far removed from their original state. Another myth that this study is debunking is that it is arduous for people who are overweight to lose weight. The simple truth that this study is helping to reveal is that it can be a very joyful process, getting back to basics and recognizing the bounty with which we have been abundantly gifted.
When considering the next item to overeat, we can ask ourselves the clarifying question, “Is it my body that is hungry or my soul?” If it is the body, a bright and juicy apple could hit the spot. But if it is the soul that is actually hungry, then spiritual nourishment can fill that empty hole. The sense of scarcity dissolves as the abundance of spiritual possibilities becomes clear. And one of the greatest and most pleasurable choices, always available on the spiritual menu is counting our blessings, starting
with our eyes, our breath, our arms, our brains. How ‘bout our turnips? As we eat more healthfully, our bodies and our souls gradually become more in sync. Then we can more readily appreciate again the greatness of the many blessings in each of our lives.
I guess sometimes new and sophisticated “cutting edge” studies have to be conducted to help us return to the simple pleasures we once knew long ago.
Meet Our Contributor
Bracha Goetz is a Harvard-educated wellness expert and the author of 41 children’s books plus a candid memoir for adults about overcoming overeating joyfully, Nourish the Soul. Her books can be found on Amazon and at www.goetzbookshop.com.