On February 20, 2018, JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) published the results of a long, extensive and expensive study on weight loss conducted by a team of researchers at Stanford University.

On the same day, an article in The New York Times entitled, “The Key to Weight Loss Is Diet Quality, Not Quantity, a New Study Finds” had this to say about the study:

It found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods—without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes—lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.

Quality, not quantity

salmon with fresh vegetablesAccording to the aforementioned article in the Times,

The [above] strategy worked for people whether they followed diets that were mostly low in fat or mostly low in carbohydrates. And their success did not appear to be influenced by their genetics or their insulin-response to carbohydrates, a finding that casts doubt on the increasingly popular idea that different diets should be recommended to people based on their DNA makeup or on their tolerance for carbs or fat.

The research lends strong support to the notion that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run. It also suggests that health authorities should shift away from telling the public to obsess over calories and instead encourage Americans to avoid processed foods that are made with refined starches and added sugar, like bagels, white bread, refined flour and sugary snacks and beverages, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Back to basics

sliced fruit on a boardSo basically, the study’s saying: back to basics.

Profuse research went into determining that the proliferation of complex diet plans to deal with the myriad ways we’ve complicated simple food isn’t really helpful. We can unravel the entire mess by just eating the nutritious and delicious food available on our planet in as close to its natural form as possible.

God gave us such a great variety of food to nourish our bodies and to provide us with pleasure. Manipulating these natural gifts extensively often makes them unrecognizable, so it tends to decrease our appreciation of them, and it also seems to distance us from the Source of all this goodness.

Not only that, but it’s kind of hard to overeat lima beans or oranges. They fill a person up. The things that people usually overeat are the food items that are most far removed from their original state.

A joyful process

apple iAnother myth this study debunks is that it’s arduous for people who are overweight to lose weight. The simple truth it helps reveal is that losing weight can be a very joyful process that involves getting back to basics and recognizing the bounty with which we’ve been abundantly gifted.

When considering the next item to overeat, we can ask ourselves the clarifying question, “Is it my body that’s hungry, or my soul?” If it’s the body, a bright and juicy apple could hit the spot. But if it’s the soul that is actually hungry, then spiritual nourishment can fill that empty hole.

The sense of scarcity dissolves as the abundance of spiritual possibilities becomes clear. And one of the greatest and most pleasurable choices that’s always available on the spiritual menu is counting our blessings, starting with our eyes, our breath, our arms and our brains. How ‘bout our turnips?

As we eat more healthfully, our bodies and our souls gradually become more in sync. Then we can more readily appreciate—again—the greatness of the many blessings in each of our lives.

It seems that sometimes new, sophisticated and “cutting-edge” studies need to be conducted in order to help us return to the simple pleasures we knew long ago!

«RELATED READ» THE SCIENCE BEHIND MINDFUL EATING: How to make healthy choices when internal cues lead you astray»

Bracha Goetz is the author of 36 picture books that help children grow spiritually by inspiring each uniquely beautiful soul to shine. Her new memoir about overcoming food addictions joyfully, Searching for God in the Garbage, can be found here.

image 1. Pixabay 2. Pixabay 3. Pixabay