Instead of Subtracting, Try Adding!

Regarding nutrition, we, humans, tend to simplify what is an incredible complex problem, that of obesity.
As a result, it seems to me, we are now in dire straights (an elegant way to say we are in deep…. shhhhht.  🙂

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A lot too many scientific studies in nutrition are in a way “fake”.
I distrust statistics, particularly those based on questionnaires. I’ve completed myself such questionnaires, thinking I’m honest and then, after keeping a journal for a while, I’ve discovered that I’ve been honest only in my mind.
Many studies are based on small sets of people, with a limited number of parameters and on a very short time. They usually end with an honest “we’ve noticed this and that but more research is needed”. Only problem, is that media or commercial diets or other interested parties present these observations as super scientific results.

Most recommendations nowadays seem to me to be so simplistic!
“Eat less” mantra has been replaced by all kind of restrictions, like “eat low carb”, “eat high fat, low carb”, “fast for 2 days a week”, “eat only veggies”, “give up  sugar”,”eat only low fat dairy” and so on.

Been there, seen that. Along the last 20 years, I’ve given up sugar, limited saturated fats, been for 2 weeks on a “no carb diet”, been fasting, been on a 1600 kcal diet for some time, been on a diet high in protein, with less carbs, more veggies for months, ate no bread for more than a month, been exercising a.s.o.
I’ve got ridden of more than 20 pounds, put back half of them and now I’m on a plateau and struggling not to put on. And honestly, I’m getting tired of all this nutrition bruhahaha.

However, some research, even if limited,  is worth taking a second look at and some results are good food for thought.
And I do trust chemistry and biology established facts, like what you see in chemical reactions and with a microscope. Scientific facts, not mere statistics.

I’m fond of an idea (someone smarter than me got it, I’m sorry I don’t remember who, maybe Mike Polan). Instead of subtracting, try adding!
Add more good food in your life, like organic food, vegetables, fruits but also fish, quality diary and cheese, eggs, home cooked recipes. Add more interesting activities, physical but not only.

You can do some science yourself. Keep a journal, note the essential at least. Calories, portions, carbs, protein and fat, energy density, your exercises and from time to time your weight, waist, glicemia and blood pressure. Right now, online tools, like that MyFitnessPal, a good wi-fi scale and a pedometer make it so easy!
Review this journal, from time to time. Try to know yourself better.



  • Don’t accept easily scientific studies results, check any result from more studies and for a longer time.
  • Distrust media, always review the original study.
  • Avoid the simplistic solutions, especially those that “subtract” a food group from your diet.
  • Do some science yourself. Keep a journal, note the essential at least. Review from time to time your journal, looking for “patterns”, trying to understand better the relation between your lifestyle and your body.
  • Instead of subtracting, try adding!
    Add more goodies in your life, like organic food, vegetables, fruits but also fish, quality dairy and cheese, eggs, home cooked recipes. Add more interesting  activities, physical but not only.

Some  interesting studies
They might give you some ideas, worth to try, while keeping a journal.

Slow eating speed may be linked to weight loss

Slowing down the speed at which you eat, along with cutting out after dinner snacks and not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep may all help to shed the pounds, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Eating less not the best way to lose weight, study shows

By Ana Sandoiu, 1918, Medical News Today

“The results show that choosing healthy, lower-calorie-dense foods was more effective and more sustainable than just trying to resist large portions of higher calorie options. If you choose high-calorie-dense foods but restrict the amount that you’re eating, portions will be too small, and you’re likely to get hungry,” Zuraikat goes on.

Barbara Rolls, a professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State and a co-author on the study, also  chimes in.
“The study supports the idea that eating less of the higher-calorie-dense foods and more of the nutritious, lower-calorie-dense foods can help to manage hunger while consuming fewer calories. You still have a full plate,” she adds, “but you’re changing the proportions of the different types of foods.”


The PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea) multicenter, randomized, primary prevention trial assessed the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) on clinical events of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Polyphenol Levels Are Inversely Correlated with Body Weight and Obesity in an Elderly Population after 5 Years of Follow Up (The Randomised PREDIMED Study)

A greater polyphenol intake may thus contribute to reducing body weight in elderly people at high cardiovascular risk.

Note.  The most important food sources are fruit and vegetables, green tea, black tea, red wine, coffee, chocolate, olives, and extra virgin olive oil. Herbs and spices, nuts and algae are also potentially significant for supplying certain polyphenols. Some polyphenols are specific to particular food (flavanones in citrus fruit, isoflavones in soya, phloridzin in apples); whereas others, such as quercetin, are found in all plant products such as fruit, vegetables, cereals, leguminous plants, tea, and wine.

Yogurt consumption and abdominal obesity reversion in the PREDIMED study.

Total yogurt consumption was not significantly associated with reversion of abdominal obesity status and a lower waist circumference. However, consumption of whole-fat yogurt was associated with changes in waist circumference and higher probability for reversion of abdominal obesity. Therefore, it seems that whole-fat yogurt has more beneficial effects in management of abdominal obesity in elderly population at high cardiovascular risk.



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