Light beer and no Halo — better than fad dieting

Dieting has become the craze on campus. It may be from fear of “the freshman 15,” unidentifiable Sodexho food or just because mom’s not around to make you eat your veggies.

It seems like wherever you go, you hear people talking about counting carbs and fat intake. Even sitting in class, you are almost guaranteed to overhear a conversation about so-and-so who lost 20 pounds on the Atkins and her friend who dropped two sizes on Weight Watchers.

Everyone wants a perfect body and most people want to eat healthy, but all the different diets are enough to make your head spin. With so much different advice, it is almost impossible to determine what is good for you and what’s not.

There are people who have lost hundreds of pounds on the Atkins diet by eating bacon and eggs and greasy hamburgers every day, even though this would be a major no-no on any other diet. Atkins also avoids fat free foods, while most people would assume that they are a healthy choice.

Watching my roommates compare the nutrition facts of five different cereals the other day made me realize there are no set standards for eating healthy. One cereal has less carbs but more sugar and sodium than another. So which one is better? Is it better to have more fat grams or more calories? And wait – fiber is supposed to cancel out carbs, right? It seems like no one really knows.

The food pyramid was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992 to promote healthy eating habits. It promotes a diet with little fat and sugar intake and a broad base of carbohydrates.

However it began to change in January. This means that food you have always considered healthy might not be.

According to an article in the January 2003 edition of Scientific American, “research has shown that the (1992) USDA pyramid is grossly flawed and provides misleading guidance”. USDA said now that “some fats are healthy for the heart, and many carbohydrates clearly are not”.

The revised food pyramid is not expected to be completed until 2004. Until then, how do we know what to eat?

Moderation and exercise seems to be the key. I am not a health expert, but no one dispute that these two factors will work in your favor.

Unfortunately, our society makes it almost impossible to follow these rules. Restaurant dining portions are bigger than ever, and far exceed those of most other countries.

When you’re not preparing your own food (like most college kids) you’re almost tricked into overeating.

Exercise also seems to be a thing of the past. We live in a fast-paced world where convenience is the main goal.

We expect our lives to be quick and easy, and are willing to pay for this luxury. It’s no wonder that we live in the fattest country in the world.

Companies and celebrities are making millions off fad diets. They must know that most people are lost these days when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight.

Some people will jump on the bandwagon as soon as they hear of the latest plan that works faster and is easier than the others.

When I asked my doctor what diet she would suggest, she told me to find one that works for me. Needless to say, she was no help either.

In the midst of all this nutritional confusion, there are two bits of advice that I have found helpful in my four years at the College: skip the late-night trips to Halo Farms for its $1.65 ice cream quarts and switch to light beer.