The Essence of Diets - Part One

- POSTED ON: Mar 02, 2011



I’ve been thinking a great deal about the essence of Diets.
The term “diet” is defined as Habitual Nourishment.

The term “calorie” is the term used to measure the energy value inside food, i.e. the unit equivalent to the energy-producing amount of food when oxidized in the body.

In order for the human body to become a smaller size by losing bodyfat, that body must take in less energy than it uses.

 I have read hundreds of diet books, and been on many, many weight-loss diets.
Each of them appears to be some variation of a way to “EAT LESS and MOVE MORE”.

One of the things I find fascinating about Gary Taubes’ books, one of which is now featured here in the section BOOKTALK. is that in one way his concept seems to break that mold……and yet in another way…the concept seems to fit into it.

I’m going to share some thoughts about this here. Then at some future time, I plan to share some further personal insights on this matter.

It seems clear to me that there are essentially 3 issues involved in all Diets,
One main food issue, AMOUNT,
and two sub-issues, KIND and FREQUENCY.

AMOUNT -- of food eaten –

KIND – fundamental nature (micronutrients) of food eaten .

FREQUENCY of eating food.

All Diets involving weight-loss or maintenance of weight-loss place restrictions on one or more of those 3 food issues.

This can involve either DIRECT or INDIRECT restriction.

DIRECT restriction involving AMOUNT, some Examples include:

  • Counting food calories with the goal of staying near a certain number.

  • Counting food points.

  • Portion control – eating a specific size of a food substance

  • Counting bites

  • 1 plate, no seconds  -as in The No S Diet.

  • Meal size restrictions – i.e. large Lunch, other meals smaller, etc.

  • Variation of Amounts on alternating days - QOD, JUDDD, Calorie Cycling, Fast-5 
    .............are actually Blends of the Amount and Frequency categories.

INDIRECT restriction involving AMOUNT
This involves restricting the KIND of food eaten, and/or the FREQUENCY of eating food.

This involves a DIRECT restriction of KIND, resulting in an INDIRECT restriction on the total AMOUNT of food calories. DIRECT restriction of KIND usually involves a shift in the balance of the intake of various  food micronutrients. Reduction of KIND frequently involves a flavor/taste reduction or satiation factor that results in less overall food intake.

Some Examples of restriction involving KIND include:

  • Sweets Restriction – reduction of the intake of sugar, resulting in an additional
    reduction in fat and other carbs such as flour etc

  • Fried Foods Restriction – restriction of cooking method resulting in a reduction
    of the intake of fat miconutrients.

  • Low-fat –overall reduction of the intake of fat miconutrients.

  • Low-carb – overall reduction of the intake of carbohydrate miconutrients.

  • High-Protein – increase in protein along with reduction in carbohydrates.

  • Food Exchanges – Divisions of foods restricting intake of specific food
    containing specific miconutrients, resulting in a reduction in total intake.
    One example: Dividing food portions on one’s plate such as:
    ¼ protein, ¼ starch, ½ complex veggies and fruit.

  • Food Combinations – Divisions of food intake involving specific combinations
    of micronutrients at specific times (includes a frequency factor) resulting
    in a reduction of overall amount.

  • High-fiber – reduction of the intake of miconutrients with low-fiber.

  • Vegetarian – restricting animal proteins

  • Liquid – restricting solid foods.

  • Organic or No Processed Foods – restricting foods containing various chemicals

  • Raw – restricting cooked and processed foods

  • Low-sodium – reduction of foods containing salt, less flavor resulting in less overall intake.  

This involves a DIRECT Restriction on eating FREQUENCY,
resulting in an INDIRECT restriction on the total AMOUNT of total food calories.

Some Examples of restriction involving FREQUENCY include:

  • 3 meals each day, with no snacks (The No S Diet)

  • 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks per day.

  • 6 small meals per day ( or 4 small meals per day)

  • All snacks, no meals

  • Zero food – i.e. water fasting

  • No eating after dinner.

  • Eat only before sunrise, and after sunset

  • All eating to be within a certain time period a 5 hr daily window (Fast -5)

  • 24 hr fast – No food after 5 p.m. until 5 p.m. following day (EatStopEat)

  • Alternate day eating – (QOD, JUDDD)

  • Intuitive Eating - Eat when hungry stop when satisfied/before full.

I'll be writing more about this concept in the future.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Mar 02, 2011 wrote:
Dr Collins, the view of how all diets are alike in certain ways got my attention. I hadn't thought of it before.

On Mar 02, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Josh, I hope you find many new ideas here, and that you will share your own ideas with me and with the others who visit here.

On Dec 05, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
Yes, there are almost as many 'diets'as there are people. One of them will work for you. The trick is to find the one you can live with, produces results, and does not make you feel 'deprived'.

On Dec 05, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             John, very true.

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