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Is this a new diet strategy or just a bit of common sense?

By Mike Weber

We live in a world of immediate gratification. So, this short article seeks to give some quick perspective on eating. We will explore some ideas about how to enjoy eating without any real punishment – almost none!

I’m not an “expert dietitian”… not me. I look to my friend and colleague registered dietitian

Susan Burke March for scientific advice and information. My late-in-life gift seems to be the ability to recognize synergies and form strategies. I have been working at a non-profit foundation in efforts to implement nutrition education in local schools. This quest has caused me to come across some provocative works by others.

First, have you read Tim Ferriss Wall Street Journal bestseller. “The 4-Hour Workweek”? This is a really fun book that I wish I had read earlier in my career! Please don´t tell my boss that I read it recently! 

Mike Weber, director of special projects at the CEDEI International School

Ferriss’ book relates to diet in a rather distant manner in that Tim gives a good explanation of  Pareto´s Law. Tim´s explanation is as follows: “Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include: 80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes …”.

How does this relate to eating? My hypothesis is that certain, high-frequency-in-diet foods and drinks generate the majority of good nutrition effects and vice versa. This not-so-genius hypothesis is supported by Bob Greene´s New York Times Bestseller “The Best Life Diet”. (For the purposes of this article and guidance in general, it would have been better if the book had been called: “Eating Strategy for Your Best Life”. As Susan points out, the word diet implies an intervention rather than general operating conditions.)

Bob supports my hypothesis, or better said Pareto´s Law, by giving the following guidance in the first phase of his best life diet: “Eliminate six problem foods (or drinks) from your diet”. You probably know what these foods are! Bob suggests: “alcohol, soda, foods with trans fats (french fries), fried foods, white bread, high-fat milk, and yogurt”. He gives excellent alternative foods and drinks in his book … except for alcohol! (My go-to drink during the week is water with a bit of fresh lime – wow, those abundantly-juicy, little limes always seem to be available here!) 

So, what does all this really mean? Perhaps it means that the high-frequency foods are the ones to identify and really control. And, the rare decadent indulgence should not cause us “eater´s remorse”. 

P.S. If you are knowledgeable about children´s education or mental health education and would like to donate a little time, please look me up at CEDEI at Grand Columbia and General Torres.
Mike Weber is the Director of Special Projects at the CEDEI International School in Cuenca. Email him at 

10 thoughts on “Is this a new diet strategy or just a bit of common sense?

  1. My wise brother, who studied health and nutrition for close to 50 years and had a degree, once told me that if 80% of your daily diet is healthy then the other 20% can be emotional-health food. The trick is to not get too emotional.

  2. Even if we cut back on these problem foods, we are screwed, as a new study shows:

    Even if our diet and exercise levels remain the same, we’re still likely to gain weight as we age. A new study explains why. It’s no secret that as we age, it becomes harder to keep the weight off. … Those who didn’t compensate for that by eating less calories gained weight by an average of 20%, according to the study.

    1. I knew it. Darn it anyway. It is getting harder and harder to keep the pounds off and that dam scale just won’t go down and the clothes keep shrinking. I hate the fact that I have to eat less food….I am already eating like a bird. Them pounds are easy to add but hard to remove

  3. Yogurt? why is it a problem? Isn’t the probiotic healthy for us?
    The list should also include avoiding sugars

      1. Hi Charlie and Esmeralda,
        Natural yogurt is a wonderful food, a good source of protein and calcium and healthy carbohydrate, protein, and some fat. But the author is speaking about the plethora of sugared yogurts that pass for the real thing. Just like packaged cereals are horrible imitations of whole grains, so are sugary yogurts an unhealthy option when you are talking about natural yogurt. I was shopping at TIA recently (not my preferred market but needed some canned fish) and went to the yogurt aisle. Would you believe that I could not even buy unsugared yogurt? And all of the Toni yogurts they carried (and others) have the equivalent of 8-10 teaspoons of added sugar per serving (about 6 oz).

        1. Yes, I know all that, which is why I eat yogurt that has – according to the label – 1/2 gram of fat and 0 grams of sugar. Your friend should have included the word ” sugary” if that’s in fact what he meant. He just created a bit of head-scratching from those who try to eat healthy foods.

        2. We buy the no sugar added yogurt from AKI (Tia does not carry it) and the name on container is “ALI BABA”. It is the real yogurt. I add unsweetened coca (which I also buy at AKI – brown and orange bag) which helps with my chocolate fix.

          I get chocolate with no sugar, low fat and no starch when I combine the 2 and then put it on top of fruit

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