Got my ass handed to me by the Naval Academy cycling team today.
Got my ass handed to me by the Naval Academy cycling team today.
Anonymous said: The other day you responded to a question about recovering as a fruitarian (80/10/10, high carb low fat) and I was just wondering why that wouldn't be possible. I've heard it really works for a lot of people because it's not (or not meant to be) restrictive, as you eat as many calories as you want (recommend 2500+, just like you). Is it because it's easily made restrictive?
This is a very interesting question that I have previously written about here (veganism and eating disorders) and here, (orthorexia and healthy eating) but I’ll do it again, now in a more professional, objective and informative way. I have decided not to talk too much about specific diets because in that way I ”spread the word” - people might be like ”oh, HCLF diet? *google*”. But as I know many has heard of it already, and very likely will in the future, I decided to put this topic up once for all. I am very interested in this topic, and without sounding over-confident I think I have something reasonable to say. This will be LONG, but if you ever think about turning to this diet, or any other, please read.
The arguments for this diet, or any other diet such as paleo and low carb, are convincing. There will always be experiments, people, doctors, pages and studies who say high carb is good for you, and there will always be experiments, people, doctors, pages and studies who say low carb is good for you. Discussing whether a specific diet is ”good” or ”bad” is like discussing religion or a conflict such as Israel-Palestine; you just dont come any way, there will always be some sort of valid argumentation from both sides and both sides have decided they are right, and tend to ignore the facts and proof from the other side. Most of us tend to take a side, for example I have a personal view on the Israel-Palestine conflict and who I think is the ”big bad wolf”, it is a part of being human. We are not always neutral and impressionable, even though we like to believe we are. Imagine Robert Atkins and Douglas N. Graham discussing. Both educated, both with valid arguments for their diets and both with arguments against the other diet. Both can refer to some science to prove themselves right, and prove the other one wrong. That would be a hell of a discussion.
Another reason why I have been cautious about brining up this topic (and when I say ”this topic”, I dont only mean HCLF, but also low carb, paleo and any other diet philosophy) is because some of the people who follow these diets love to discuss it and hate on those who disagree or ask questions. This is a page where we aim to help people to get free of their eating disorders (which involves a food obsession and fear of eating ”wrong”, and an attraction against any diet that includes rules and control over food), not a place to end up in an everlasting discussion about whether eggs, bananas and nuts are healthy or not. Some of the people who follow these diets spend hours daily reading and focusing on their diets, to the point where it gets almost like a cult. Spending hours daily on these forums, instagrams etc. instead of hanging out with real friends is wrong. I dont want to argue, discuss and get called nasty things, I want to help people with recovery, and to get their lives back.
I want people to bake cookies with their siblings and eat raw dough, I want people to go to the cinema and eat popcorn, grill marshmellows, drink wine, laugh, cry, love, feel, dance. I want people to go to the beach and eat half melted chocolate ice cream, not stay home and eat frozen banana ice cream. I want people to fantasize about their crush, not about finding the perfect watermelon or the ripest banana. It is easy to say that ”you can do an feel these things on a 801010 diet too!”, but lets face it - a diet like that takes up a lot of time and brain capasity, it makes you obsessed with food and it inhibit your social life. You can come up with all kinds of arguments that the diet is healthy or not, you have to realize that the people with eating disorders who go on these diets are in most cases not doing it for health reasons and ethics, even though they all say and believe so. There is a reason why a BIG amount of the people on these diets have a past (or have?) an eating disorder. We just cant ignore that. We have a mental health too.
Fair enough, I have now explained briefly that these diets are not mentally healthy. Now to the physical part. Like mentioned there will always be valid arguments to and from. For example, the 801010-ers claim that their diet will never give you cancer - one of the pioners even tell people they can cut out their health insuance (!). Ashton Cutcher ended up on hospital after trying this diet with pancreatic trouble. He tried it because we got the role as Steve Jobs in a movie. Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer. The 801010ers dont talk about this, or when they do they suddenly come up with all kinds of reasons why Steve Jobs got cancer, such as breathing in toxins. Like the other 801010ers dont do that. Now imagine if Steve Jobs and Ashton Cutcher were on paleo diets (the ”enemy” of 801010). Then the 801010ers would have talked about this and blamed the paleo diet. The 801010ers is a little group of people who get most, if not all, their sources and facts from other people within the group. They pick out the studies they want to, and dont listen to the other studies because they are ”not valid”.
But what about the health benefits people experience on 801010, such as weight loss, better skin, more energy and all of that? The thing is, people experience these health benefits on the other diets too. The people who go on these diets often do it for a reason. Many go from one extreme to another. A normal, healthy person will usually not randomly start a drastic diet. It is usually people with a past of eating disorders, health issues such as depression, drug/alcohol abuse etc. Imagine if a person goes from only eating junk food or restricting, drinking alcohol every day, having irregular sleep and this causes acne, and then quits alcohol and get regular and sufficient sleep (which this 801010 diet is very clear about), AND starts eating healthier, this will improve health. But do you know what? I can guarantee you that if the person cut down on alcohol (without giving up the occational glass of wine and night out on town), started getting more regular sleep and changes their diet, they will get the same results. For instance, I got all sorts of physical health benefits with recovery. Not because I ate x and x, but because I ate. Here you have me and my precious candy bowl.
Another topic is the whole protein and fats thing. Every valid science, doctor and just everything proves that we need a fair amount of proteins and fats. Proteins are necessary to built up our bodies and muscles. Fats are necessary to make out brain and hormones function. The 801010ers think they, as a little internet forum with a doctor who agrees and some picked out science, have the whole truth and that the whole medical industry and nutriton education is one big evil propaganda that are wrong and wants to kill us all. That our life expectancy increases year by year is ignored. Some of the things certain members of the community say are so radical, dangerous, wrong and utterly disgusting that it makes even the most disordered person react. Examples are that thigh gaps are natural (though the tag ‘thigh gap’ is BANNED on tumblr, and it is anatomically proven that it is about genetics), saying ”they should have known better” to the parents/doctors of a girl who DIED of cancer, that depression is because of your diet, that loosing your period for a while is ok and that having it is because it flushes out toxins. Yeah, fuck science, right? Some go against doctors even though they has no valid proof of saying these things - here even Dr. Graham backs out.
Another dangerous thing that this diet promotes is drinking a LOT of water. This flushes out salts and electrolytes and can cause water posioning and even death, no matter what a forum on the internet says. It also encourages having a day, week or month where you only eat one type of fruit, lets say watermelon or bananas. I dont even have to explain why this is not a good idea. Hint; lack of vitamins and nutrients, social problems and just… everything is wrong with it.
You also ask of the diet is restrictive, and yes, it is. I know they encourage you to eat 2500-3000+, but the truth is that you just dont most days. In a normal, everyday life you dont manage to eat 2500-3000+ calories on fruits. You just dont have time to eat kilos and kilos of food every day. Once again, if you do, you have a problem socially. Yes, you may eat dates and bananas, but lets face it, you need a lot of food to get to 2500-3000+ calories, and you often end up way below. This causes you eating less calories than you need, which causes weight loss. The diet also encourages exercise, which is a factor to weight loss. Other than that, I have to mention that many gains weight on the diet. These are the ones who actually have time to sit indoors and eat huge amounts of food. The laws of energy still exists, no matter what the internet gurus say. There is also something disordered about ”always” eating until your stomach is overly full, and ignoring the whole thing about portion sizes. Hunger cues are there for a reason, so are cravings. Ignoring your cravings for high protein-high fat foods is not good.
But what about the 801010 diet? Is it all just complete nonsense? Not all of it. I do not follow the 801010 diet, but some of whats said is valid, and these are things I do in my everyday life. I eat a lot of carbs, because that is what I crave. I enjoy fruits. I dont eat meat, but I eat some sea food now and them. The reason why is because I have a philosophy which is that if I would not kill it myself, I will not eat it. I am mentally capable of killing a fish, but not a pig. Meat is also very harmful for out environment. I just dont see the point in us eating a lot of meat. I dont encourage others to become vegetarians, simply because I know many becomes it for ED reasons, but I encourage all to eat less meat.
I’ll quote myself from the post about orthorexia; Human beings get sick if they drink a glass of gasoline, but we breathe in tiny particles of it in all the time. If we drank a glass of dyes and insecticides we’ll may get sick too, but the point is, the amount we get is to tiny that it is not proven to have any negative health effects. If you are terrified of eating tuna because you fear mercury, or drinking diet coke because of the tiny amounts of chemicals, you should be just as terrified when breathing in gasoline particles at the gas station. Thats why I say orthorexia is not about health. People who ”recover” from these diets simply goes from one eating disorder to another. The idea of eating as much as you want to, stuffing yourself and ignoring hunger cues, and having control, is very appealing to people with eating disorders.
But what about animal rights? I think this sums it up; I see so many recovered anorexics who have seen the ‘vegan light’, and the thing they have in common is that they spend hours and hours posting photos about food, talking about food and obsessing about food. Their diet becomes their lifestyle. They buy all kinds of weird food from weird stores. They rant about the evil milk drinking society, and then go on the bathroom to brush their teeth with animal tested tooth paste, and after that go to sleep under a blanket made of feathers. They focus on animal rights mostly when it is food related, and that is ED. Your goal in life is not to be a 100% perfect and ethical human being.
So yes, these are my thoughts. I’ll probably get some hate and angry asks from 801010ers wanting to start discussions and arguments, but I’ll say it now; I just said what I want to say, and now I am done with this topic. Now I want to help others with being free from their eating disorders. Orthorexia is a real eating disorder. Being on a diet like this is clinically orthorexia, therefore you will not fully recover if you turn to this diet.