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The Strategic Advantage Of Flexible Dieting

How a human body will respond to effective training and appropriate nutrition is pretty easy to predict, most of the time.

You wanna know what’s tricky though?

Brains. Brains are tricky. Our minds are what make us truly unique individuals, all seeing the world a little differently to each other. All with a unique perspective, unique experiences that have shaped us, different tastes and preferences, and different sets of circumstances. We will excel under a certain set of conditions, and struggle with another. The next person along may prefer the opposite conditions entirely.

There is no “right or wrong” and no “better or worse” in any of this.

In training for a goal of changing your body condition, you require an effective training program first and foremost. To enable performance and a positive adaptation to training, you require appropriate total energy and macronutrient intake. In other words, “enough, but not too much” food.

Everything else is merely a means to achieving that end of training regularly and effectively, and habitually consuming a suitable amount of energy and nutritional resources that encourages your body to preserve lean mass at the expense of adipose. Muscle and bone at the expense of body fat.

Now… there are a bunch of ways a lot of people think you are supposed to do this. Especially when people get into the business and set up shop as a PT, there’s a certain mold we tend to think we need to fit into. The same goes for people who are influenced by guilt or shame driven marketing approaches, we’re given a certain standard we’re expected to measure up to, and that’s what it takes to earn results and make a physical transformation as per your goal.

So… think for a moment of all the habits and behaviours you might associate with a person who has successfully gotten into (or perhaps just always been in) great athletic shape. Some you might consider extreme and obsessive, and be thinking to yourself “hey I do want to get into shape, but I don’t want to turn into one of those people”. Others you might consider admirable qualities that you feel you should aspire to being more like yourself, because that’s what it takes to achieve your goal, right?

Well, not necessarily.

As we discussed; to achieve your goal body condition requires two things. An effective training program, and appropriate total intake. All other factors are only important in that they may offer a strategic advantage in maintaining enthusiasm and consistent adherence to your training program and intake targets.

We’re all different. We’re all wired a little differently in the brain, and what might be advantageous in maintaining enthusiasm to one person might be a pain in the arse to another. What might be the most convenient time to train or to eat for one person, might be entirely undoable for someone else. The foods that I like to eat and find easy to fit into a plan to meet my requirements might be entirely unappealing to you, not to mention that my requirements are likely to be very different to yours in the first place.

The Strategic Advantage Of Flexible Dieting

I’m a Flexible Dieting coach and advocate as you know. Obviously, I believe that actually knowing what your total energy & macronutrient requirements are likely to be is enormously advantageous. Knowing what those targets are, you can plan to meet them with the choice of foods that best suits you, without fearing that any particular choice is going to spoil your chances of progress due to some inherent “badness” it supposedly has.

There is more to Flexible Dieting, however, than just flexibility in your choices of foods. The flexible nature also extends to the timing of meals as well. Research has shown that the frequency and number of meals consumed is of no significant importance so long as total intake is appropriate and training is effective. All of the “6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism running” and “no carbs in the evening” type of myths are just that, myths. While they may offer some people a strategic advantage in maintaining an appropriate total intake, there is no scientific credibility to any claim that any particular meal schedule is “the best” much less “only” way of doing things.

What is important is that total intake is appropriate, and you can set the meal schedule that offers you the best strategic advantage as an individual, taking your own circumstances and preferences into account.

Leave the “supposed to” and “moral judgement” type stuff out of it.

What is necessary is effective training and appropriate total intake. What is advantageous is a strategy that is conducive to consistent enthusiasm and adherence.

If that means training first thing in the morning, then that’s great. But training in the evening or the middle of the day is just as good. If it means a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea for breakfast, or a veggie omelet and a glass of fruit juice, those are both fine choices and there are probably a hundred more you could also consider. If you prefer 3 meals a day, do that. If you prefer 6 meals a day, that’s perfect too. If it means meticulous meal planning and preparation, that’s awesome. But if you prefer to wing it a little and still stay on track, that’s fantastic as well.

There is no sense in knowing what will suit you best, but choosing something else on the grounds that it’s what we’re “supposed to” do. Other people may insist or try to persuade you that there’s one “right” or “morally superior” choice than another… but that is just down to their own ego. Make no mistake, they are doing what best suits their personality… it doesn’t mean anyone is less deserving, or less likely to succeed for preferring a different approach.

So what does it really take to make a physical transformation?

Effective training. Appropriate total intake, with a suitable balance of macronutrients, enough fiber, and plenty of fruit and veg. Everything else however best suits you. That’s all.

You can register for VIP Access and a bunch of information about my Flexible Fueling Program right here, or via my brand new website by following this link.

1200 Calories. Zero Results

Alright let's cut to it.

Last week I promised I'd write an article for all the people who are dieting on 1200 calories a day, minus however many they burn off doing "cardio" exercise... but STILL aren't seeing any progress.

Why not? What gives? And why was "cardio" in quotation marks like that?

Well, I will tell you.

First of all, if you're on 1200 calories a day and only eating healthy foods, but still not seeing results... your lack of progress isn't because of the odd isolated day when you inevitably end up going over your 1200 calorie limit, and it isn't because of that one day last week when you ate something not on the "clean eating" list you got from some fkn idiot's facebook or pinterest page. Some clueless fkn idiot barely capable of a thought who has woke up one morning and decided "hey I'm a health and wellness and nutrition expert now all of a sudden". No. No you fucking well are not.

There's cardio, and then there's “cardio”.

It might be helpful to draw a distinction between different ideas about cardio (or more correctly “cardiovascular exercise”) before we continue. Let's break it down roughly into three categories.

  1. Training with a specific aim of increasing cardiovascular health and fitness. I'll throw lung capacity in as well for good measure. These are good and sensible things.
  2. Training to improve fitness and performance to compete or participate in a particular event. For example to run a half marathon.
  3. What most people seem to be doing.

We'll come back to this in due course.

Actually, trying to work out exactly how to tackle this topic is tricky because there's just SO MUCH WRONG with a 1200 calorie recommendation that is is difficult to know where to start. To begin with, it is just a blanket, one size fits all recommendation that doesn't take individual characteristics into account. I had in mind that I would compare to the average recommended intake, which is about 2000 calories for an adult. That's problematic as again, it is an average amount which might not be suitable to you currently reading this entry. Taller people require more than shorter people, males typically more than females, and so on. So depending on your physical characteristics, 2000 might be too much for you, or it might not be enough.

1200 though? 1200 is not enough for anyone. Ever.

I did some work on a new plan for a new client this morning. The client is a younger female adult of average height and already within a historically normal weight range, who is looking for better results from more strategic training. Using the established mathematical equations I determine that her Basal Metabolic Rate is 1400 calories per day.

Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy you will burn through in a day, just in the process of being alive. Without taking any level of activity into account. Without so much as rolling over in bed all day, that's the amount of energy required just to maintain body temperature, run your organs, grow your fingernails and so forth. Yours is quite likely to be higher than the 1400 I'm taking about here, which in case you didn't notice, is already higher than 1200 calories as well.

Now let's back up. Those first two categories I broke “cardio” down into... you're either training for the health benefits, or to participate in sport or an event, or both. For some reason, you've been lead to believe that you should be able to do this and expect excellent results, on LESS fuel than a person who's not training for a specific goal would require just to go about their day? Forget that though, because on 1200 calories we're literally talking about expecting results from training while limiting to less energy intake than would be required to not even get out of bed all day.

How on Earth can this appear to make any sense?

Now... we're talking about people limiting to 1200 calories a day, doing “cardio” in inverted commas and being frustrated with a lack of results for all of their deprivation, discipline and physical effort. Above we talked about people training for a specific result or to be able to participate in a particular event, but I also pointed out that this isn't “what most people seem to be doing”.

What most people are doing when they talk about “cardio” isn't really cardio at all, in the true sense of having the goal of improving cardiovascular health and fitness. Usually these days, people are encouraged to participate in activity simply with the aim of “burning calories”.

This is problematic. We're not training to change our body composition, to reap the benefits of physical exercise, or to participate in sport. It is merely “to burn calories”, because we've been conditioned to associate “calories” with “getting fat”. We've been conditioned to associate “eating food” with “getting fat”, and so we are encouraged to “burn off” whatever energy we do take in, to make up for having eaten. “Burn off the guilt” is an even more problematic marketing angle I see a lot of, too.

It is horrendous.

Inactivity and consistently excessive intake will make you fat. This does not mean that getting fat is something we need to be afraid of at all times, and need to avoid with strict discipline in adhering to low calorie, low carb, or other restrictive forms of dieting. It will not, and simply can not happen to an active person who is not in the habit of consistent and dramatic over consumption.

For best results, you need both a balanced training program and a balanced diet. The training program should be suited to your goal, whether that is a body condition goal or a sports participation goal. Best performance and results from training and at sport simply cannot occur via deprivation of energy and other nutritional resources on low calorie diets.

There is zero potential for getting fat while training effectively and fuelling appropriately for performance and results. It is simply physiologically impossible.

Ignore the fear mongers and the shame peddlers. You require energy to survive and to thrive. Even a less active person would require a certain amount of energy. As an active person training strategically towards your specific goal, you require MORE, not less.

Register for VIP Access To My Flexible Fueling Program, and say goodbye to restrictive low calorie dieting and hello to tremendous results from training.

If your flour comes from a windmill is it still an unhealthy processed food?

How cool are windmills though?

Apparently the history of windmills goes all the way back to sometime around AD 650 or so. They use 'em to mill grain, if you didn't know. Grind grain up between massive stones to make flour, which you could then make bread out of.

I've been noticing so much vilification of "processed grains" and their presence in the healthy eating guidelines. Since apparently being "processed" means all the nutritional value is removed.

Before modern times, we had been processing grains in windmills and waterwheels for hundreds of years, and grinding them by hand for thousands before that. In fact, there is a strong argument to be made that it was the development of grain agriculture that enabled civilisation as we know it. For that matter... if you've ever played the computer game "Civilisation" you'll know that building a granary was one of the first crucial achievements you needed to make, for the survival of your people.

Of course... something being in a computer game doesn't make it a fact, by any stretch of the imagination. Let's see what wikipedia says on the subject though:

Because grains are small, hard and dry, they can be stored, measured, and transported more readily than can other kinds of food crops such as fresh fruits, roots and tubers. The development of grain agriculture allowed excess food to be produced and stored easily which could have led to the creation of the first permanent settlements and the division of society into classes.
That's good enough for me.

Suddenly though, grains and processed grains in particular are supposed to be horrendously unhealthy for us. The claims that "historically" our ancestors would not have had a carbohydrate rich diet that included grains have long been debunked... depending on your ancestry of course. People do like to remind me of the Inuit people, for example.

So, I can only deduce that it must be something to do with modern, electric powered machinery in the process of turning grain into flour that must make it unhealthy. Since it was fine when the processing was wind or river powered.

It doesn't really make any sense though, does it? hmm.

Dieting: From One Extreme To Another

I had a bit of an idea the other day about comparing what is “recommended” vs what is “good enough to get the job done” in terms of approaches and adherence to dieting. What is recommended varies wildly from one source to another.

What probably should be recommended is something a bit better than simply “good enough to get the job done” in terms of weight loss or conditioning goals.

There should be some attention on good health, as well. With that said, what is often recommended by certain elements of the health and fitness is so extreme that you end up with the somewhat paradoxical situation of being unhealthy due to an unhealthy level of obsession with avoiding anything that is unhealthy, at all times and at all costs. When you lift the bar on what counts as “healthy” to an unrealistic level, well… it’s really not good, is it?

I had the idea to try to create a graphical representation of this, and here’s what I have come up with.

It isn’t so much a scale from “unhealthiest to healthiest”, so much as a scale of the level of attention to detail that someone might pay to their diet; from reckless indifference to extreme and unhealthy obsessiveness.

Now, anywhere within that black range towards the centre of the graphic is about what I would consider “good enough to get the job done” in terms of your body condition and composition goals. The range there is from “absolute bare minimum” to more fine tuned plans for the highly motivated and enthusiastic advanced level athletes who may require them. Anything in the red represents what is inappropriate through to what is actually unhealthy or destructive at the extreme ends of the scale.

Either extreme is unhealthy and not recommended, that’s the real take home point here.

Let’s take a look at all the points on the scale and I’ll give you my impression of each label. Cut me some slack if my interpretation is not precisely and exactly what you associate with each label, you can still get the point I’m trying to make, I am sure.

Actually Unhealthy

The obvious example would be just no attention to diet at all, vastly excessive over all intake, while still being low on important nutritional resources such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. One could arrive at this state of vastly excessive total intake either just through consistent over eating, or perhaps by “forgetting” to eat at some times and massively over eating later.

Just Inappropriate

This label probably applies to the majority of people. Their eating habits are not really so unhealthy as you’d actually expect serious health complications or reduced life expectancy, but they’re certainly not conducive to any weight management, sports performance or body composition goals, either.

Belligerent IIFYM

You know. Think of the most ridiculous negative stereotype of some IIFYM gym bro deliberately making a point of choosing all the most highly processed, least wholesome, nutrient sparse foods, somehow managing to squeeze them into a plan that meets suitable total energy and macronutrient ratios, and in an obnoxious voice proclaims to anyone within ear shot “I don’t give a fuck bro! IIFYM bro! I’m getting shredded bro!”

I don’t think anyone in real life actually does that. It’s certainly not what anyone recommends, as far as I’m aware anyway.

You know what though? As much as I would not, can not, and do not recommend it, this approach actually is “good enough to get the job done” at least a good portion of the way.

Flexible Dieting

Flexible Dieting is something of an upgraded, more “responsible adult” version of what IIFYM was supposed to be. You need to hit your appropriate total energy intake and have a suitable balance of macronutrients, but not while neglecting other important nutritional resources such as … well… you know, vitamins and minerals and fibre.

Now, different people may have a different take on this but for the sake of differentiating from the next point, let’s assume here that we’re not terribly concerned about avoiding processed foods and so on… and it’s more like “appropriate macros + enough fruit and veg”.

That’s actually how I do it, anyway. “Do better if you can but appropriate macros + enough fruit and veg is more than enough to get the job done”.

What Real Dietitians Recommend

I happen to follow, be followed by, collaborate with, and try to learn from some highly qualified “real” dietitians via social media. My observation of their recommendations tends to quite similar to Flexible Dieting, but with less emphasis on the numbers (as in macronutrient percentages and so on, which is more of a “sports nutrition” thing), and more of an emphasis on “a variety of foods, less (but not a total avoidance of) processed foods, more fruit and veg, and to a total intake that is neither excessive nor insufficient”.

Quite sensible and not terribly unrealistic really, isn’t it?

So quite appropriately, those two previous classifications fall nicely into the middle of my graphic, and there’s a reason why those are the recommended approaches of responsible and qualified professionals. It’s what is suitable to promote good health within an appropriate weight range, while enabling performance and results from training (where applicable), while still being non restrictive, flexible, and relatively simple to adhere to so long as you are being mindful and paying a little attention.

Let’s continue though. I am building up to an important point here, believe it or not.

Advanced and Elite Level Athletes

Obviously, when you get to advanced levels of human physical ability, you need a more advanced fueling strategy. Greater total energy intake, perhaps more precise macronutrient percentages, you may find that a particular schedule and particular foods before or after training benefit your performance or recovery. Some athletes increased total energy requirements mean that they can indulge on more of the less nutrient dense foods, others perhaps not so much.

Exactly what is required varies from one athlete to the next. It is not unreasonable to say that what is required is a little (or a lot) more attention to detail than would be necessary for the rest of us.

Contest Prep

Contest prep is an interesting one! I do know there are at least a handful of a really good contest prep coaches who achieve tremendous results through healthy and flexible methods. Obviously though, the high level of attention to detail and adherence is still necessary.

More typically though, contest prep is strict and inflexible, and extremely demanding physically and psychologically. I read an excellent blog entry the other day giving people the heads up of what is really required in contest prep, and that really it is the ultimate in extreme and restrictive dieting, and people need to really be honest with themselves as to whether it would be a rewarding or disastrous experience.

What is important to note with contest preparation is that it is ultra fine tuned dieting for a period leading up to a specific date where the contestant wants to arrive in an unsustainable condition in terms of low body fat and high lean mass. This is not a level of dietary adherence OR physical condition that people are attempting to maintain permanently.

That is so important to realise.

As a side note, people are always suggesting or asking me why I don’t do a contest myself. Let me make this clear first, I have nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for the athletes who put in the work and pull that off. For me though? Screw that! You’d need to want it really badly to put enough pressure upon yourself to adhere to such a strict protocol with so much discipline, and I’m not even entertaining the notion of deluding myself about how well I would hold up under such pressure and how much discipline I would be able to maintain.

Backing up 3 or 4 levels on our scale here, that “Flexible Dieting” level along with some consistent and effective training is really all that is required to get into a shape you’ll be more than happy with. So that is all I ask of myself, and all I ask of my clients as well.

The Next Level

We talked about contest preparation being in many cases an extreme, restrictive and not particularly healthy process. We emphasised that this is a temporary situation, to come in on one particular, specific day in peak shape as far as the judging criteria goes. The well advised contestant will also have an exit strategy in order to recover physically and mentally from such a taxing experience.

What if people really did think such an extreme and restrictive approach was required at all times though, with 100% adherence? And not just to be in contest shape, either; but simply to avoid being obese and unhealthy?

Unfortunately… scandalously, really, that is the message and the recommendation of many aspects of the health and fitness community.

Certainly it is good advice to encourage people to include more healthy, nutrient dense and naturally produced foods on a regular basis. When people are told that their health, their results in weight loss or conditioning from training, and even their worth as a human being are all dependant on the strictest of adherence to the highest possible levels of “clean eating” according pretentious food snobs and dietary elitists, there is a big problem. When people are taught that even fruit, for example is “not healthy enough”, there is a huge problem.

Ironically in these situations, the diets actually become so restrictive that there can be issues with deficiencies in certain micronutrients, as the list of “allowable” foods because so short. Deficiency in total energy intake is also a potentially serious problem.

So. There is the “rough and dirty version” of what will get the job done, there is “what responsible professionals might recommend” as the most balanced, flexible and sensible way to get the job done, and then there is the extreme, restrictive, impractical and unhealthy bordering on the obsessive and disordered approaches that certain aspects of the health and fitness community endorse, and use scare mongering, guilt and shame to encourage.

Looking back at my chart, you can see there is a wide area there representing various approaches to diet and nutrition that will “get the job done”. Contrary to what many would try to scare you into believing, there is not just one acceptable or effective set of eating habits that will allow you to achieve good health and goal condition, with any even slight variance spelling doom.

You most certainly can achieve your goals, be healthy and happy with your physical condition through whatever approach best suits you, providing the focus is on appropriate total energy intake, adequate protein, and enough fruit and vegetables.

When fkn idiots tell you "there is no reason to consume carbohydrates"...

Let me tell you something else.

This "low carb high fat" nonsense is all over the news down here again. People who should know better, talking complete bollocks about there being "no requirement" or "no need" to consume carbohydrates, or that they are "not essential" or whatever.

This is such a half truth.

Your body requires things such as vitamins, minerals & fiber, which all tend to come packaged with carbohydrates in the form of fruit and vegetables, or grains, for example.

As to carbohydrates themselves as an energy source... it is technically correct that you do not "require" that source of energy. Technically correct in that so long as you provide sufficient other energy sources (protein or dietary fats) your body can adapt and use those instead. AKA "ketosis". If you fail to provide those alternative energy sources, your body will tear down muscle tissue, convert that to glycogen and use that instead. It's not what you want obviously, but your body is built for survival and will do what it has to do to survive under whatever conditions it is subjected to.

So your body CAN adapt and survive without its preferred energy source of carbohydrates.

The fact that it is POSSIBLE for this to happen in no way suggests, infers or implies that this is a beneficial or desirable condition. When talking about weight management or body conditioning, the suggestion that this adaptation is required and is the only effective strategy in either losing weight, much less the only way to avoid ending up obese, is such nonsense.

You would have to be starting off with the horrendously mistaken assumption that the human body does not require energy and has no use for it, that massive fat gain is an almost unavoidable outcome even for active people, and that the only way to not gain fat is by forcing the body to shed it via extreme restriction of energy and as a necessary adaptation to survive in unfavourable conditions. The suggestion is that to simply "not be fat" we need to force the body to move into survival mode. We need to withhold the energy resources it is used to, and force it to find some other way to continue functioning, and only then will fat stores be sacrificed.


This is dangerously close to pro-ana talk, as far as I am concerned. Think about it.

The reality is, and I have proven this more times than I can count with clients who have come to me unfortunately subjecting themselves to such restrictions on the advice of some scientifically illiterate hack, and who have gone on to vastly superior results without the restriction of energy sources or on the food choices those energy sources come from. Not to mention without the emotional stress of trying to adhere to such approaches.

The reality is that your body is designed or has evolved to function primarily on carbohydrates, and optimally on a suitable balance of all three macronutrients. That is, carbohydrates, dietary fats, and protein. This is not a "one or the other" proposition. Your body is designed to function best when given the appropriate physical stimulus (aka a good training program) and fueled appropriately with ALL of the nutritional resources.

Allow it to function as it is supposed to, and it will thrive. How can you expect better results by trying to force it into some sort of "fall back" emergency survival mechanism, and by withholding valuable energy resources? The very notion is entirely illogical.

Register now for unmatched results from effective training and optimal fueling. Right here, or on the new Flexible Fueling webportal.

Gabrielle Maston: I Quit Sugar – Book Review

Gabrielle Maston: I Quit Sugar – Book Review:

One fine sun shining morning a few weeks ago a client of mine, who works in the publishing business  handed
me over the new book by Sarah Wilson titled ‘I quit sugar’. My initial
reaction was: ‘what right does a popular journalist/editor have to write
about nutrition and diets? Clearly under qualified and trying to make
money out of pushing another ridiculous fad diet!’
Recommended review of this infamous book you may have heard of.

Cereal vs confectionary? Really?

Click for the readable (larger) version.
Suffice to say they elected not to approve my comment.
I'm going to show you a comment I posted on an article last night, talking about breakfast cereals.

Now, we're not talking the sort of cereals you might be thinking about here, either. The sort for kids, with cartoon animals on the box or whatever. The ones you tend to assume are a bit too high in sugar and not terribly nutritious. We're talking about the "adult" type cereals, marketed as healthy choices.

This particular article had the usual stuff about gluten, although gluten fearmongering is old hat by now. That fad is on the way out already. People are already laughing about it, like "oh, yeah... gluten free. What was that all about? How'd we get sucked into that one, eh?"

It was like mass hysteria. Just an unexplainable phenomenon that everyone got swept up in, in sheer defiance of all logic and common sense. Like when everyone stopped listening to hair metal and got into grunge instead back in the early 1990s. Bizarre.

The gluten thing has been done to death, and responding that nonsense has been done to death as well. Most of the people making their living from scaremongering and shaming people over their food choices have moved on from gluten bashing to sugar bashing. And this article I'm referring to gets on the act there too, in a manner I find most... distasteful.

Let's get something straight here. Your body does have a use for the energy that it gets from food. Even more so than merely "having a use" for a certain amount of energy, you actually require that energy to thrive. To get through your day at work, at study, training, chasing around after your kids or pets... all of that requires energy, and falling significantly short on energy intake with an active lifestyle is too your detriment. Even if you're entirely inactive, you still do have energy requirements  although obviously they will be greatly reduced from those of a more active person.

Here's the problem. The way many supposed "health" bloggers and authors talk about energy, it's as if it's a bad thing that we need to avoid. Whether they're singling out sugar, or just fructose, or all carbohydrates, or just "calories" in general... there's an inference that what we do want is the other nutritional resources such as vitamins and minerals from foods, but not the energy content.

This is an entirely incorrect and disordered notion. Certainly there is a limit to how much energy we require, and it is in our best interests not to be in the habit of exceeding that amount significantly. However this is not to suggest for a moment that energy intake is something that needs to be restricted or minimised. Ideally, we want to meet our total energy requirement while also providing sufficient amounts of all of the other nutritional resources that we require for good health.

That is; total energy, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Getting back to what was wrong in this article I'm talking about and I'm sure you'll understand why I don't want to actually link to the article in question.

Have a look at the image on the right though. There were several like this comparing different brands of cereals with the suggestion that it is literally "no better" than eating a serve of confectionary for breakfast, due to the comparable sugar content.

That is some utter pro-orthorexic rubbish talk, right there.

The reason confectionary and similar items aren't what you'd call a "healthy choice" is because they really JUST deliver that serve of energy, without any of the other nutritional resources. That is not to say that we have no use for the energy, or that it would treated differently by the body than energy sourced from a healthier choice. It does mean that you would be closer to reaching your total energy intake requirement, without being any closer to meeting your requirements for other nutritional resources. By no means though does it make it impossible or even implausible to arrive at a suitable and appropriate total intake of all nutritional resources, or what we might reasonably call an "overall healthy diet".

The suggestion I have seen in this article and elsewhere over the past couple of days is that even if a cereal does provide a high fiber content as well as vitamins and minerals, the benefits are rendered null by any sugar content. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is what is actually true.

Within a suitable total energy content, fiber is a valuable resource and we should aim for as high an intake as is reasonably possible. Vitamins and minerals as well, it should almost go without saying. We can attain these resources from grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and various other sources.

Within that suitable total energy range and while ensuring adequate supply of those other important nutritional resources, there is absolutely no reason to fear, avoid or shame others over the sugar or carbohydrate content of any individual food choice. Why would there be, so long as you are still within a suitable total energy intake? That's what the phrase "suitable total" means.


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