01/28/2014 12:26 EST | Updated 03/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Is There A 'Best' Way of Eating and Dieting?

A one-size fits all conventional diet is not for everyone which is just one of the flaws in Canada's Food Guide (or any other country's). We're all so different, so why would we all eat the same way? I am seeing an increase in "food segmentation." These are not weight loss diets per say, but a style of eating that suits the individual that answers their personal health issues and goals. The latest include: Paleo, Primal, Vegan,Vegetarian,Gluten-free or Wheat-free.

I get a lot of questions about which way of eating is the best, people want a magic bullet. But the answer isn't that simple. That said, all healthy eating plans contain one common item: reducing or eliminating refined sugar. If you want a bullet, there it is.

I personally can't imagine living a life that contains absolutely no sweetness; joy and pleasure are a key part of living. Anyone who suggests that total abstinence is the only way is living half a life. We also know that we stick to a healthy eating way of life longer if we can have the odd treat and enjoy our food.

Here is what I do; I use Medjool dates to satisfy my sugar cravings in a healthy way. On a recent trip hosted by Natural Delights, I learned that they grow naturally, without pesticides and that there is no additional drying or processing to the fresh but shelf stable fruit. But, the best part is that they are low to medium on the glycemic index -- rare for something that tastes so sweet. The trick to eating sugar is to be sure it is coming with other nutrients and fibre which slows down the uptake of the glucose. Ideal for anyone -- especially those with diabetes or pre-diabetes -- who want to avoid unhealthy blood sugar spikes and crashes. I eat 2 before a workout and it gives me the energy sustenance I need. But I also use them in baking to add potassium, magnesium and antioxidants instead of empty calories.

Given that research is suggesting that, if current trends continue, 100 per cent of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2050, that means diabetes rates will also be out of control. Controlling sugar intake will become even more critical as time goes on.

The bottom line is that you get to choose at least three times per day, every day of your life, which dining style is right for you. Paleo is great as long as you get enough fibre, primal is fine if you are very disciplined and informed, vegan works if you keep protein, iron and vitamin B12 in your sights, vegetarian has lots of good science behind it, 10 per cent of us may have a need to be gluten free, Wheat free can mean you stop eating junk... but do yourself a favour: dump the sugar.


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