Dr. Mehmet Oz answered:
More often than you’d think, the problem is that a lot of folks just don’t know what a healthy diet looks like -- and why should they, since the rules keep changing? Time was, red meat was healthful, and pasta was bad; then pasta was great, and red meat was terrible, all of which lasted until the Atkins craze came along and the rules flipped again.
There were the Mediterranean diet and the South Beach diet and the low-fat diet and the grapefruit diet and, yes, the cabbage-soup diet, and all of them promised great things. Red wine is the newest route to health, unless of course it’s dark chocolate -- or unless it turns out to be neither. With every cure, it seems, comes a problem; every new truth somehow turns out to be part myth.
The good news is that we now know so much more than we ever did about how food reacts in our bodies -- how specific molecules affect specific functions of specific cells. And with that comes new insight into healthy eating that is more than just conventional wisdom or gimmickry.More often than you’d think, the problem is that a lot of folks just don’t know what a healthy diet looks like -- and why should they, since the rules keep changing? Time was, red meat was healthful, and pasta was bad; then pasta... More
RealAge answered:Most diets aren't about action; they're about thoughts. You spend so much time thinking about not having food, that you develop only two sets of standards when it comes to eating. Either you follow your diet or you don't. It's all or nothing.
And once you've blown it and deviated even an inch from the plan, that's it. You head back to the locker room, game over. Diet's dead.
What's worse, you point the finger squarely at yourself. Deep down in your gut, you blame yourself. Not the fast-food industry, not the unrealistic body images of magazine covers, not the 60-hour workweeks at a desk or the cloud-soft recliner and reality TV programs that keep you glued to the set—and sitting down—all night. You blame yourself. And you start to play the "if only" game.
If only you had the willpower to step away from the mayonnaise. If only you could stop after four Pringles. If only you had the power, the strength, the discipline, the chutzpah, the energy, the drive, the motivation to control your waist, then you'd finally have the body you want.
Ultimately, you blame your mind for not being strong enough to win over your waist. You've placed all the responsibility for dietary success or failure on your little 3-pound brain, and you're ashamed that it wasn't strong enough to go head-to-head with such formidable foes as deep-fried taco shells and fettuccine Alfredo.
But you can't outwit nature. The truth is, your body is built for eating. It's full of hormones and neurotransmitters whose jobs roughly translate into "pass the pound cake." Here are just a few examples:
- Overeating works a bit like drug addiction. Studies show that obese people have reward centers in their brain similar to the reward centers of drug addicts.
- Stress eating is cyclical. When you eat to reduce stress, you activate the reward centers of your brain. When the feel-good effects wear off, you reach again for the thing that made you feel relaxed: food.
- Heavy people respond differently to certain foods. For example, in heavy people, the parietal region of the brain—the control center for the tongue, lips, and mouth—is activated by sugar. In skinny people, it isn't.
- Some cravings are hardwired. When people on a rigid diet crave certain foods, the hippocampus lights up—triggering a willpower-busting memory of the food.
To expect that your will or your fortitude can override chemical messages like these is the equivalent of trying to stop a train with your pinkie.Most diets aren't about action; they're about thoughts. You spend so much time thinking about not having food, that you develop only two sets of standards when it comes to eating. Either you follow your diet or you don't. It's all or... More