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What Is A Healthy Diet?

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More Videos from Dr. Peter Vash 9 videos in this series

Dr. Vash describes a healthy diet, one that prevents disease and promotes health.

Dr. Vash:
When many of my patients first meet with me they ask me, “Well doctor, what’s a healthy diet?” And I try to ask them what do they mean and they don’t have an understanding. So I say in my perspective, from a medical point of view, a healthy diet is one which prevents disease and promotes health.

It should be a logical, should be a rational, cost effective and one that does not promise a quick, easy, magical cure. So it’s something that’s tangible like “Gee, I don’t have to buy certain specific foods. I don’t have to spend a lot of money,” and if it’s logical, meaning that I don’t have to go through many steps to get something, I understand that I can do this myself. That’s the first important point – yes, you can get on a healthy diet. One, that’s going to promote your health; it’s going to help you prevent chronic disease and one which is readily doable by your own hand.

This question about the healthy diet reminds me of the patient who has asked me about this and she was using a food combining technique where she couldn’t eat certain foods without the foods carbohydrates and proteins because it would somehow not be absorbed, and I told her that the stomach really absorbs all foods very quickly and very efficiently, that they didn’t need to go out of their way to have a special type of eating plan and that the healthy diet is one that you can use everyday foods in everyday manner but following certain guidelines.

So other patients ask me about some of their specific diets and I find that many of my patients wind up spending a lot of money for diets based on some magical, non-medical concept that really doesn’t pan out. I try to have them not spend a lot of money, go back to some basics, work with a medical professional who knows how the body works and just accept that responsibility and have a hope that they can make those necessary behavioral changes should cause them to lose weight.

I don’t think I have ever met a patient who couldn’t lose weight because the dynamics are very easy; it’s calories in and calories out. Many patients don’t want to hear it because it’s so obvious and they have been promulgated with that so many times that they get offensive. “Don’t tell me it’s just calories in and calories out. I have had it all my life. It doesn’t work for me.”

One day they have almost a Zen moment where they understand that “If I can do this I can control my life.” I tell my patients, when you control your caloric intake you control your weight. When you control your weight you have a sense of controlling your body weight. As that goes down you have a sense of enlightenment which leads to empowerment. When they understand that you have a totally different patient.

About Dr. Peter Vash, M.D., M.P.H.:
Dr. Vash is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Center for Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a Board Certified Internist specializing in Endocrinology and Metabolism, with an emphasis in obesity and eating disorders.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Very good advice. A healthy diet doesn't need to be complicated.

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October 28, 2011 - 8:56am
EmpowHER Guest

Not only do I agree with the doctor on this, but I can vouch for whatever he is saying because I have seen it work for me in real. Switching to a healthy diet can take you very far and save you from a lot of trouble in the later part of life.

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October 13, 2011 - 9:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

It is a nice information provided by Dr. Vash. He is describes a healthy diet, one that prevents disease and promotes health. I also prefer healthy diet. It is good for long life and better health.

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October 27, 2010 - 8:58am
EmpowHER Guest

You're so right that it's simpler than most people think it is or even want to know it is. We're bombarded with ads that say THIS diet works or THAT diet works, but only because the seller has discovered a secret that makes it work better than any other. Yet those secrets are a modern day snake-oil. Avoiding food groups, taking "lose weight while you sleep" pills and other ridiculous approaches will never replace the reality of eating healthy, reducing calories and sensible exercise.

October 13, 2010 - 7:00am
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