So many diets out there. Which is the best one? Are we more concerned about weight loss or overall health?

Disclosure: I have no medical training or liscencing of any kind. Information here is my opinion based on stuff I've read and heard about. Always consult your own medical practitioner.

Every body is different

So many different diets, so little agreement. Could it be there is such a difference in Human anatomy or is profit a big motivator? Maybe both?

We should all look for the Red flags in anything as important as the health of ourselves and our family. Red flags? When considering information from any source we should always look for the Red flags. Consider the motivation of the speaker. Is it profit oriented? Religious dogma or some ideology? political? Or is our our health the real concern? In any case we all need to ask ourselves if we want to consider our own health or those other things as more important.

SAD (Standard American Diet)

For many years we have looked to the food pyramid as the best diet. That seems to have changed over time. Has our needs changed over time or has some other influence taken control? The American government is not alone in being “the best government that money can buy”. What? That's outrageous! Well, consider that politicians are elected due to contributions from those that can contribute most. Who would that be? Mostly big business. Big oil, agribusiness, pharmaceutical, medical, insurance, religion, political, anyone else with an ax to grind and profit to be made.

This diet has a major Red flags. Mainly because it is controlled by those that will profit the most. This includes Agribusiness as a whole, drug producers who gain by our poor diets, the medical profession who also gain, the legal community who gains by everything good or bad, the politicians who are funded by these groups. The biggest problem may be the tremendous variation in different peoples biological makeup and dietary needs. Yes, SAD indeed.

Product Diets.

Don't know how else to describe this one. There are many.

Product sales in it's self is not a bad thing but the buyer needs to put it in perspective. A prepackaged meal may be a good choice for a quick lunch or even dinner if adequate nutrition is obtained from fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. A diet consisting only of these prepackaged meals will soon show it's deficiencies. Some of these product systems will disclose this fact to the buyer or suggest the consumer eat a big salad every day. Balance is extremely important. Some folks may respond better with this kind of diet than others. Some may be better off getting away from the unknown or questionable ingredients.

Low fat.

Beware of the low fat diet. When the low fat craze started obesity increased dramatically. The problem with low fat is the commercial “Let's get in on this mentality”. The first time I tried reduced fat peanut butter I could taste the added sugar. With sugar added to the peanut butter of course resulted in less fat. Which is worse, the sugar or the fat? A subject for much debate. The low fat diets ushered in an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and many other problems. The idea that eating fat causes the dieter to get fat has proven false. It's the sugars, grains and associated carbs that cause weight gain.

Sugar free.

The sugar free diet started around 1952 with sugar-free ginger ale as a soda for diabetics, not dieters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_soda. Probably a good idea for diabetics and anyone else abusing sugars. One problem may be extremism. The idea of avoiding any fruit or vegetable that has any sugar in it. Fruits and veggies has a balance of nutrients that may overcome the sugar problem. Balance is important. Eating all sweet fruits and no veggies would be off balance. Some artificial sweeteners may cause problems in some if used too much. Think about it. Would it be better to drink 100 diet sodas instead of 1 apple? The apple has some nutritional benefit. The soda has none. An occasional diet soda and a packet in your coffee may be OK if you don't overdo it.

Atkins low carb diet.

Atkins dieters have shown the most dramatic weight loss of the popular diets. What some don't realize is that Atkins recommends people re-institute the salads and vegetables after the initial induction period. Ya gotta eat your veggies! Some folks need more or less carbohydrates or protein than others. Find the balance thats right for you. The biggest carbohydrate load comes from sugar, fructose, grains, root crops and sweet fruits. Sorry, French fries are not a good vegetable.

Paleo diet.

Cave man diet? Whatever. This diet is distinguished by a total lack of grains, legumes, and dairy. That leaves vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and nuts. The theory is that the human body does not function well with grains, legumes, and dairy, but a combination of vegetables, fruits, meat and fish is a good balance of nutrition that we can thrive on. Some may need to watch out for allergies to eggs and tree nuts.

Raw vegan, totally vegetarian diet.

This may be one of the most strict and most liberating diets to be found. Vegan, meaning no meets or fish, Raw, meaning no cooking. Totally raw, uncooked food. No meat or fish at all. This means Fruits, vegetables, grasses, and nuts. Some recipes include semi processed foods that are dehydrated at a low temperature, and formed into familiar foods resembling things we are used to. This may be the ultimate for some but lacking for others. Is it right for you? Only you can tell. If all else fails try this one. Advantages include elimination of offending foods and substances. Red flags? possible lack of some nutrients such as protein and vitamin B12. Some recipes use too many nuts to mimic mainstream foods. You need to eat lots of green leafy vegetables. The nuts while providing much needed fats may be problematic if allergies exist, or if abused. OK, no food should be abused. This is about want versus need.

What to do?

Every body is different. Consult your doctor, but consider that he may be influenced by religious opinions or political or commercial bias. Malpractice suits, whether justified or not are rampant. Professionals need to conform to excepted practices and licensing requirements to stave off law suits. Are these things in our best interests? You need to decide for yourself. Some research may be needed. You need to do that yourself. Your physician has a business to run, a practice to maintain, a court room to stay out of. He may have good intentions but he is hobbled by the system or religious ideology. Not his fault. We all need to inform ourselves. Ignorance is bliss but could be deadly.

Some of us have food sensitivities that other don't. Our doctor may not check for this. It is easier and safer to subscribe a drug which may partially relieve symptoms. Is this really best for the patient? How would you react if your doctor told you to eliminate grains or some other foods from your diet? No breads, donuts, cereals, or eggs? Most people would rather take a pill to relieve the symptoms than deprive ourselves of the foods we are familiar with. Is this best for you? You have to decide. Your doctor will always take the easy and lower risk course of action which will usually include some drug prescription encouraged by the drug conglomerates. He will usually offer the option of lifestyle changes that include exercise and dietary changes which we summarily dismiss as something that requires too much effort on our part. It's much easier to swallow a pill than make and eat a salad. The long term cost may be much higher than imaginable. You decide.