Conventional Wisdom Diets

Other alternatives the world offers to the Slow Carb Diet:

For the past thirty years or so, conventional wisdom and many health professionals have determined that people gain weight because they eat too much fat and too many calories. Fat in your food, they say, means fat on your body. And when ‘calories in’ are more than ‘calories out,’ the pounds pile on. Thus, it was determined the healthiest diet, and best way to lose weight, is by eating foods low in fat and low in calories. The following diets are good examples of this ‘wisdom’ in practice.


Barbara Rolls, the creator of Volumetrics, promotes a diet that is low on fat and calories – the ultimate goal of the ‘conventional wisdom’ diet – but without the drawback of feeling hungry. She introduced the concept of ‘energy density’, that is, how many calories are in how much bulk of food. Volumetrics hypothesizes that people eat around the same ‘bulk’ of food every day – in other words, if you were to weigh all the food you eat, it would weigh about the same from day to day. To be effective on this diet, however, you need to eat only when you are hungry and to be able to stop eating when you are full. Eating from boredom or stress will skew your standard volume, and thus impact your chances of success. The key is to fill this standard bulk with foods that have low calories. The foods promoted by Volumetrics include foods with high water content, such as certain fruits and broth based soups, and foods with high fiber. No foods are banned, but foods with high calorie density, as well as foods high in fat and sodium, should be restricted.  Volumetrics is essentially a low-calorie diet, which echoes the conventional wisdom that limiting ‘calories in’ will result in weight loss.

Ornish Diet

The Ornish diet takes the conventional wisdom diet to the extreme. Dean Ornish created this diet for his high-risk cardiac patients – that is, patients on the verge of dying of a heart attack. This diet was designed for severe health cases but is now being taken ‘mainstream’ as a weight loss tool. However, its extreme roots show in many ways – for example, almost no fats of any kind are allowed on the Ornish Diet. Fats should only make up 10% of your daily calories, which is a very low amount considering that fat is essential for health and many diets put the fat percentage at 30%.  To stay under this low limit, all meats and fish are banned, except for egg whites, and only non-fat dairy is allowed. “Good” fats are also prohibited, eliminating nuts, seeds, oils and avocadoes.  Sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol aren’t allowed, and though carbs should make up 70-75% of your daily caloric intake, they need to be low on the glycemic index. Yet, you are able to eat as much of the allowed foods that you want, limited though the choices may be. In the world of conventional wisdom where that weight gain is linked to dietary fat intake, the fat-free Ornish diet takes the (egg-white, non-fat milk, whole grain flour, sugar- and oil-free) cake.

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