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  • Writer's pictureLotus Chiropractic

Dieting vs Healthy Eating

by Dr. Troy Miles

There are a lot of different diets these days; the Atkins, lemon-

detox, weight watchers, lite and easy.. the list could keep going!

People may often lose weight whilst on a diet, but research has

shown that the majority will not only put the weight back on

afterwards, they often gain additional weight.

Poor food choices and a lack of getting up and moving is leading

to obesity becoming (if it hasn’t already!) one of the greatest health

issues in modern society. In 2007-08 the National Health Survey

found 61% of Australian adults were either overweight or

obese. They also found that 1 in 4 (25%) of children aged 5-17

were overweight or obese.

The problem with any diet, is that they do not teach people the

difference between goiod and bad eating habits. This is why diets

fail to help people make long-term changes to their eating habits

and lifestyle. Food is simply fuel for your body- if you put the

right food in, you will be rewarded with energy, good health and a

great life. Putting crap fuel (bad food, bad drinks and bad air) into

your body will cause you to struggle and you’ll never be able to

perform to you full potential.

A balanced diet

A healthy, balanced diet consists of a variety of different foods that

give your body all the nutrients it needs to function at its best. A

great diet is not about eliminating delicious foods  and eating

boring stuff. Instead, a healthy diet is based on eating really fresh,

unprocessed foods. Your diet should include:

- a wide variety of fruits and vegies (fresh and seasonal. Different

colours provide different nutrients)

- good protein sources (our bodies are mostly made from protein)

- good fats- omegas 3 and 6 found in oils from fish, nuts and


- limited bad fats (saturated and trans- fats)

- limited carbohydrates (this includes sugars)

If you are looking to improve your diet, it is more important to add

great foods rather than just eliminate bad foods. If you want to

make a lasting change in your life, (be it food or anything else) you

must replace bad habits with good ones. Simply stopping or

eliminating a bad habit leads to a void that will most often be filled

again by the same things you are trying to eliminate.

“If diet is WRONG, medicine is of no use

if diet is CORRECT, medicine is of no need” – Ancient

Ayurvedic proverb

the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule can be applied to many things in life.  In relation to

food it refers to  80% of food consumed being highly nutritious,

fuelling your body well. The other 20% allows for indulgences: a

few things that taste great, but may not be great for us.  The 80/20

rule includes all the food that we consume, all the snacks and

desserts that we might eat.  Eating by this rule, 80% means that 4

out of 5 meals need to nutritious and healthy.  Over a week, if we

have 3 meals a day, then we can only have 4 meals that do not

meet a high standard.

The 80/20 rule is a valuable tool for a healthy,balanced diet.  It

provides a means to allow us enjoy things that we may not

usually.  It helps to give us balance in our lives, so as not to

become a slave to food.  Don’t forget, 80/20 also applies to what

we drink as well.  Drinking lots of water (at least 80% of fluid

intake) is an important component of a healthy diet.

Replacing the food pyramid – with the plate

The food pyramid is dead!!  The traditional food pyramid, based on

high carbohydrate consumption, that we were taught in school has

very little to do with a healthy balanced diet.  This model was first

designed over 100 years ago and has barely changed since.  The

high portion of grain-based carbs in the pyramid have been linked

to some of most common modern health issues such as obesity

and diabetes. 

Carbohydrates are indeed  important for proper body function, in

particular as a source of fibre  for good gut health.   However, it is

a little known fact that we can we can get most of our carbohydrate

and fibre needs from fruits and vegies instead of grains. 

It’s time to rethink the use of the Food Pyramid and instead use

something like the ‘plate’ model.  

(Pic of plate)

The plate shows us the composition of each food group we need in

a meal.  (There are a few differences in opinion about the details of

what is exactly the best make up) but basically your plate should

be 50% fruit and veg, 30% protein source and 20% starch.  Don’t

forget that it also needs to include some good fats as well!


Portion Sizes

Over recent years in modern society, portion sizes of foods have

blown out.  Everything these days , (especially fast food portions),

seems to be larger, super-sized or upgraded.  Obviously if we are

eating more food and exercising less, this will be detrimental to our

health.he same things all the time!

 (pic of portion sizes)



Made by nature or made by man?

There are many different ways we can classify and group foods;

 high/low in calories, sugar or fat content , the food pyramid, fresh

or packaged.  I myself, use and have recommended for many

years,  Cyndi O’Meara’s  very simple approach.  In her book

“Changing Habits, Changing lives” she simplifies foods into two

groups – those made by Nature and those made by man


Natural foods Man made (Processed) foods

-          Fruits

-          Veggies

-          Meats / fish

-          Nuts

-           Eggs

-          Good oils

-          Canned foods

-          Breads and pasta’s

-          Breakfast cereals

-          Most sugars

-          Soft drink / high

-          Instant coffee

-          Anything with a long shelf life


Natural foods are those that we recognise straight away, looking

much the same as they did when they were growing. Fresh is

always best!  The more you know about where your produce

comes from and when it was picked/butchered the more confident

you can be about whether it is good for you. 

The more processed a food is, the further from its natural state it

becomes. The greater the length of time since it was in that state,

the greater its depletion in nutritional value.  Most processed foods

tend to be high in preservatives and other additives; salt, sugar etc

which have been shown to be detrimental to our health.  The

longer the shelf life of a food or the longer it takes to go off, the

less likely it is good for your health.


Good food – part of a healthy lifestyle

A well balanced diet is an essential part of living a healthy and

happy life.  The food we eat is the fuel for our body, so it pays to

choose wisely and invest in yours and your family’s health.  Quality

counts. Where you can, choose fresh, organic and GMO free

produce.   To do this you often need to source your food

differently.  Getting away from the big supermarkets and instead

visiting farmers markets, your local butcher and green grocer you,

will find it much easier to find healthier food choices.

Along with regular exercise, adequate sleep and water, a healthy,

fully functioning nervous system  and a good mental state, the food

we choose to fuel our body with has a huge effect on our ability to

express health and reach full potential throughout life.

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