Special diets may make you crazy, but, it’s not that bad

September 1, 2009

“Bread is bad!” “Fat is bad!”  “Fruit has too much sugar!” These messages make figuring out what to eat each day and each meal a daunting task. Even as a nutrition professional, I have my moments of bewilderment! But, then, I remember what has been known for decades: A healthy diet consists of a variety of foods (emphasis on plant foods), low in saturated fats, added sugar, and salt.

But, even despite this very general principle, it is important to remember that we are all different and have different dietary needs.  Some people, for example, must follow a restrictive diet for a specific health condition.  Yesterday, CM, my 24-year old client needed help with a special diet for his high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Initially, he felt extremely overwhelmed- as a young, twenty-something, the thought of  knowing how to shop and prepare his own meals alone left him dazed.  But, now, he has to think about how much salt, cholesterol, and saturated fats he takes in! Many people like CM, feel defeated and often ask “What’s the point in eating?”   

Obviously, not eating is not the answer.  Instead, it may be helpful to take a gentler approach, which includes: understanding which foods may be harmful for your specific condition; reducing intake of these foods and/or replacing or adding foods that will enhance your health; paying attention to how this eating pattern makes you feel and/or understanding the benefit it has on your health; and most importantly, realizing that one specific food or one meal will not predict or guarantee health, but, it’s your overall choices that have the greatest impact.

For help with a special diet, it is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian.


One Response to “Special diets may make you crazy, but, it’s not that bad”

  1. I have Crohn’s Disease, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has worked wonders for me, Praise the Lord! I know what I can and can’t eat, and once I got used to all the restrictions, I hardly remembered that I was even on a special diet!

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