Why I don’t support exclusion diets.

My 6 week challenge group is already making great progress and I couldn’t be more proud. Everybody is involved, asking questions and encouraging one another. This morning they brought a challenge to my attention – J-Lo has announced a 10 day no sugar, no carbs challenge and my first thought was: “Oh no!” 😳

My very first diet was a “no starchy carb” diet back in 2010. I had no idea what I was doing at the time so I followed it religiously and didn’t touch anything that even resembled a carbohydrate. Due to lack of explanation from anyone and lack of knowledge on nutrition and nutrients, it got out of hand. It got to the point where I was scared to even eat yogurt (just to bring one example) without feeling guilty. But yoghurt is dairy and dairy contains naturally occurring milk sugars (yes, even Total 0%; it just doesn’t have any fats). It also contains valuable calcium. So you can imagine what removing such a valuable food group would do to one’s body and health. That is just one example as I know at the time my list of foods I would eat was shorter than the list with things I couldn’t/didn’t dare eat. My cravings started getting out of control as I was becoming deficient in minerals and vitamins that I was no longer receiving from the banned food sources. 

As soon as I stopped the diet I went on a mad sugar binge and started eating cakes and chocolate bars and incredible amounts of fruit because I had forbidden it so long that I could no longer stop myself. It took me about 6 months or more afterwards to turn around the mental damage and to learn to “trust” carbs and sugars again. 

You might think “oh relax Rahel, it’s just a challenge” – but I can’t support diets like this as my motto is “everything in moderation”. I am a Nutritionist and I know that there is no reason for any individual to seclude certain food groups unless they have a medical condition that would require this. I’d like to hope J-Lo is encouraging the 10 day challenge to get people to be more healthy and lose a bit of weight while they’re at it. However, a sufficient calorie deficit can be created by simply eating fewer calories across the board without completely excluding any macronutrient groups. If you are already eating for optimal health, you don’t need to worry about a bit of sugar in your tea or in a yoghurt like I did. 

My goal is to leave everyone better than I left them so please be careful if you still wish to try this. If you feel that, like me back in 2010, you currently don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to dieting, please get in touch and I’ll point you in the right direction! 😊

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