• Peter Turnbull

Why moderation is not the answer !!

How a little bit of this, and a little bit of that can sabotage your efforts


We all like to have a peck here and there..... like mindless chickens

As a nutritionist I hear it all the time, “oh a little bit of, what have you is fine!” or “everything in moderation won’t hurt you!” or “moderation is the key” “little bit of cake here and there won’t kill you “ “everything in moderation” and so on ......yawn.


Maybe in the olden days when food was not so over processed!


Why's it so bad !? the short answer .... your digestive system never gets a break, and it gets bogged down, this can put a drain on your other bodily functions such as your immune system and healing processes, your brain power even.


If you just think about the digestive process simply for a second, how can you burn body fat if you are continually stocking up on calories every minute of the day?


If your blood sugar is constantly being spiked, and you are never allowing your body to process what you have already eaten. your pancreas and insulin production never gets recharged, this can lead to insulin resistance.


Ask yourself, why would your body start burning its fat stores if its constantly being topped up ?



As shown in these studies into grazing, shown here


As these studies show, mindless eating, AKA grazing is inferior for body composition results; compared to mindful eating and self-compassion, what is meant by self-compassion is acknowledging that you are actually taking care of yourself by eating nutritious food in the right amounts and contrary to the first reaction to the word “diet” of torturing yourself.



This can also be similar to any other comfort zone busting technique that may seem uncomfortable at first but yield fantastic results. It's all about the right coaching to train you towards better habits that get to your goals.


Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard Medical School nutrition and obesity expert, in his book, "Always Hungry?" he outlines an evidence-based eating plan that focuses on what you eat — not just how much.


Ludwig called the moderation mantra "useless."

He said:


“There [are] some things you [should] eat a lot of, and I would put things like olive oil, avocado, nuts in that category. There are other things you [should] really minimise, especially if you're dealing with pre-diabetes or some other metabolic problem. You don't want to go moderate with sugar — whatever that means. You want to get rid of as much of it as you can.”



There is a higher availability of unhealthy foods.

When it comes to the idea of grazing, you have to be realistic about what you’re more likely to find in your quest for calories.


It’s more than likely that you will be grazing on junk food or C.R.A.P, that is carbonated, refined, artificial, processed foods;


Because let’s be honest, they are always around, laying on the side on the desk, in a work bag, offered around the office, this junk never goes off, and doesn’t need a second thought in terms of preparation.


Just open the wrapper and stick it in your mouth, chew it a few times and swallow, uh oh there goes 200+ empty calories of pure fat and sugar, that could’ve been some actual nutrition there!


A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a "high variety of sweets, snacks, condiments, entrées, and carbohydrates" but a low variety of vegetables made people fatter.


Another study found that type 2 diabetes risk decreased when people ate a high variety of fruits or vegetables, especially when they ate a lot of the latter. So eating plenty of vegetables — not just a moderate amount — seems to be the best idea.


And a study published in PLOS ONE last year analysed the diets and relative risks of obesity and diabetes for a diverse group of about 5,000 American adults. The results were a pretty strong argument against one of nutrition's most persistent axioms.


So what’s the bottom line here then, Pete?

The bottom line simply put is to set yourself rules and boundaries, don't rely on the grey area of a little bit of this and a little of that, that's a recipe for disaster and is like flying a plane with a blind fold on, gets some great advice from someone experienced in getting their body-fat down or helping others to.


A nutrition coach will help you set reasonable and maintainable rules and boundaries that will get you where you want to be.

Whether it’s a Mediterranean diet or a paleo diet or a vegetarian diet, whatever you choose, you need to have have a clear set and structured plan of moderation set in place, you need controls, even if the main control is satiety from nutrition density in the first place. Its a start.


Pete Turnbull Coaching his course participants on Nutrition as part of the Turnbull Transformation Program that takes place in Hastings UK every six weeks


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