Is the 80/20 Rule Enough?
The idea of transitioning your entire diet over to all real foods is beyond daunting for most people. But are we really doing ourselves any favors by allowing the occasional store-bought cookie or snack cracker to sneak in to our day?
Stanley Fishman wonders if the commonly held “80/20” rule is really enough when it comes to eating real food versus processed, chemical-laden junk.
JERF, which stands for Just Eat Real Food, is the best nutritional advice I have ever seen. And in only four words. This terrific phrase was coined by Sean Croxton, of the Underground Wellness Show. I try to live up to it, and the results have been amazing in every way. If you just eat real food, you will avoid many toxins, and get the nutrition your body so desperately needs. But to get these benefits, it is important that you just eat real food, and nothing else, to the best of your reasonable ability.
Yet there are those who are claiming it is okay to eat any junk food you want, as long as you do it no more than twenty percent of the time. While that would be so convenient and make things so much easier, it is just not true. While eating real food eighty percent of the time is much better than eating junk food most of the time, shooting for eighty percent is just not good enough, in my opinion. If you want to enjoy the full range of benefits that comes from a real food diet, it is important to do your best to just eat real food. If you are eating twenty percent junk, you are still eating a significant amount of junk, which will affect your body, and maintain your addictions to various factory ingredients, like processed sugar. After all, junk is junk, and should be avoided to the best extent possible.
We did an experiment last week, dropping off the real food wagon and allowing ourselves to eat the junk food we wanted for one major meal. It was a mistake, as is described below.
But the bottom line is this—if you want the full benefit of real food—JERF. Just Eat Real Food.
The Real 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 concept in terms of diet was created by Mark Sisson, one of the most influential people in the Primal/Paleo movement. It was created to help people make the significant diet and lifestyle changes advocated by his program, the Primal Blueprint, without feeling bad if they could not do it all of the time. The concept was that if you do eighty percent of the program, you will receive substantial benefits. Yet some people have taken the 80/20 rule to mean that you only have to eat real food eighty percent of the time, and it is fine to eat any junk you want for the other twenty percent of the time.
Not only is real food a distinct concept from The Primal Blueprint, the eighty/twenty rule was never meant to be a license to eat junk twenty percent of the time. Mark Sisson himself made that very clear. Here is a link to an article by him that explains what he meant: 80/20 Revisited.
If you read the article, you will see that he advocates trying for 100 percent compliance with the program, but not kicking yourself if you can only reach eighty percent. That is not a license to eat factory junk twenty percent of the time.
This article originally appeared on TenderGrassfedMeat.com. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.
Do you think eating 80% real food is enough?
Photo Credit: Tomiko Peirano
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