Category Archives: what to eat what not to eat

Why you should ignore the forthcoming US Dietary Guidelines (and pretty much all other diet advice)

Full disclosure: I am a Rancher’s daughter and I love a good steak. I raise my own chickens so I can have fresh eggs. I am currently drinking my second cup of coffee while writing this.


Did you catch the sneak peak at the US Dietary Guidelines? All I can say is SIGH. It’s not that I don’t think what you eat matters. It matters. But it matters in more than just the sugar, salt, fat way. It matters in the: I like this/don’t like that, this reminds me of my grandmother’s cooking, this makes me feel energized way. It matters. But it is not the only thing related to your health. I don’t even think it matters as much as many experts try to tell you it matters.

Perhaps I have dietary guidelines fatigue after all this time. I gave up on prescribing diets (for otherwise healthy people) years ago. Because there isn’t enough good and conclusive research to say what a perfect diet is. Additionally, we cannot control for the myriad of different bodies and metabolisms.

It’s not that I don’t agree we should consume less added sugar. My concern is demonizing any certain nutrient. We did that with fat and everyone increased their sugar intake. So what will it be this time? From a public health perspective I would be in favor of most people decreasing the added sugar in their diet; specifically soda, sports drinks, fruit juice and desserts. I think this would be a good thing.

Though coffee has not been mentioned before it was a previously demonized food. Years ago many people switched to decaf and then switched back when concerns were raised about the decaf process. These were unfounded by the way. Perhaps they switched because they missed the pick me up or because of the awful caffeine withdrawal headache.

I strive to be an Intuitive Eater every day. To tune in to my internal hunger cues. To block out the external cues (when appropriate). To notice the moving from emptiness to fullness as I eat. To tune in to how food makes me feel. To enjoy the flavors and textures. To give thanks for the blessing of nourishment.

Tuning in may help you notice too. You may notice that the sweet drink pick-me-up is followed by an awful “crash.”. This type of introspection can help fine tune this aspect of the diet. Though it’s no substitute for restful sleep sometimes we just need a cup of coffee as a pick-me-up.

Do you really need Dietary Guidelines to tell you this?

Maybe you just need permission to be The Boss of You.