70% of Americans have some sort of chronic disease and I’m not OK with this. Often diets contribute to illness, but people have a hard time making a change because they are attached to this fallacy called moderation. I see it all the time in my practice. People say just a little bit can’t hurt but in the same breath, they complain that they aren’t getting better, quicker. Are you one of the people who is justifying bad eating habits, unhealthy foods, and foods you are allergic to because you only do it in moderation?! Moderation is getting in the way of your health!
The people that abstain are the ones that are the great success stories. They have put a priority on their health and not just instant gratification. I want to see all my patients get their success story, but they are going to have to put aside this idea that everything in moderation is O.K. Let’s break down this myth of moderation.
Where Did This Myth of Moderation Come From?
The myth persists because we relate it back to grandma, grandpa and past generations. But people don’t realize moderation has changed in the past 40 years. Even in the past 20 or 30 years. Eating at a fast food restaurant used to be a big deal that didn’t happen on the regular. Back in the day, they might have gone once a month! And when they did out the portions were no-where near the size they are now.
A large soda 20 years ago now is what we get as a small. They didn’t even offer the buckets of soda you can now order with your giant burgers. Eating candy or ice cream was a rare occurrence. Kids were so excited if someone gave them a candy and now they get it at every turn. When people went out for the rare frosty treat, the serving of ice cream was half a cup. They weren’t eating the giant, triple-stacked waffle cones you can find people eating regularly.
You would also find different ingredients listed on those foods they ate in moderation. Not the health destroying ones that are grown with pesticides and GMOs. The ingredients on a scoop of old-fashion ice cream would be all ones you can pronounce like cream, eggs, and sugar. Now you find soy, wheat, and additives you won’t recognize. Our moderation isn’t the same as generations past. People still keep using it as an excuse.
Now people justify it because they think it’s moderation. It is amazing how people will scream to the hilltops “everything in moderation” so they can still have that piece of candy, ice cream, or alcohol all while living a very sedentary lifestyle. Why won’t they exercise in moderation, or even eat vegetables in moderation if moderation is important? Seems like its only important if they want to do something bad.
Along with this fallacy of moderation, research has found that the more someone likes a food, the bigger their portion of moderation is. (1) That’s probably why the portion sizes have gotten bigger. This idea of moderation is really hurting the health of millions of Americans.
How a Little Bit Hurts
If you were allergic to peanuts would you eat a little bit knowing it would send you into anaphylactic shock? Absolutely not. That would be silly. Your body doesn’t understand moderation. It only knows if what you are putting in your body is good for you or it isn’t. If it isn’t, it is going to lead to inflammation and destroy your long-term health. What we eat affects us on a cellular level and the cumulative effect of everything that we have eaten up to this point has led us to the health we currently have. So that processed sugar, soy, wheat, and other junk foods we eat are adding up to inflammation in your body that is causing very serious impacts.
Every day, people are eating foods that are bad for them or that they have a delayed allergic reaction to. 9 out of 10 people are regularly eating something that is toxic to their body because they don’t know they have a IgG allergic reaction or they don’t care. A delayed allergic reaction might not seem as threatening, but it adds up to big inflammation that turns into chronic illness.
According to the National Library of Medicine’s biomedical database, MEDLINE, has over 9,000 peer reviewed citations that wheat and more specifically, gluten, contribute to adverse health effects related to consumption of wheat and 205 different diseases. I would guess that the majority of the people that suffer from one of these 205 diseases have never been tested to see if they have a wheat or gluten allergy. These diseases include things that are well known to have a wheat component, like celiac disease, but other diseases like hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, infertility and so many more. (2)
Now that you know a little more about how foods impact, you you can look at moderation differently. Do you want to keep getting sicker or do you want to get healthy? I hope you answered healthy!
Health Has No Room for Moderation
There is no exact number for “moderation” it is a made up to the person’s discretion. If you are using the phrase “everything in moderation” you, most likely, are trying to justify eating something that you know you shouldn’t be eating but want to make it OK. I don’t like blanket statements when it comes to diets, but I can tell everyone to stay away from dairy, processed sugars, gluten, and soy. Stay completely away! There is no moderation with these foods. If you haven’t gotten your allergies tested, get your allergies tested! They cause hidden inflammation that could be sabotaging your health.
It might be hard to get the idea of giving up everything in moderation, but your success story is waiting. If our why is big enough, we can change our behaviors. Your “Why” is your health! There is no room for moderation in your healthy success story.
By Dr. Cody Senkyr