Home & Lifestyle, Wellness, Food

Follow Food Rules, Not Diets

Michael Pollan

Lesson time 12:51 min

Set yourself up for success, and good health. Michael teaches you why diets don’t work and offers his own simple food rules as a more sustainable option.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Don't Diet • Keep It Simple • My Mantra


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So in this lesson, we're going to confront one of the hardest issues for most people, which is diets. Are diets a good idea? And if not, what's the alternative to diets if I'm worried about my health, or my weight? And I'm going to provide some really simple, straightforward rules for eating that will help you navigate the food landscape, the treacherous food landscape, without having to resort to fad diets. [MUSIC PLAYING] My advice on diets is, stay away. When I hear about a new fad diet, my gut reaction is, yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll see. We have been through so many fad diets, and all of them flounder eventually. They don't work. And they're just not the way to approach eating, because the changes that you make are not sustainable. I grew up and the big diet was low-fat. Everything had to be low-fat. Fat was the great evil nutrient. And this lasted until the early 2000's. And suddenly, we had this giant swing of the pendulum, and it was low carb, and carbs were the evil nutrient. Now, it's keto, eat a lot of protein. It's basically the three macronutrients, fat, protein, carbohydrates. They each have their supporters. They each have their detractors, and they fight it out. And we are left confused. So each of these fad diets make certain claims. The low-fat diet basically said that we're getting too much animal fat, saturated fat. And saturated fat was for many years the evil nutrient. It was linked to heart disease and cholesterol. And the supermarkets bloomed with these low-fat, no-fat products. I remember this really well, because it was such a fad. And you could get a no-fat version of anything, especially junk foods. You could get no-fat crackers, and cookies, and cakes. And people assumed that if you ate that way you would lose weight, but they didn't. All those low-fat products had to have something in it. So they substituted carbohydrates and sugar. And so we started eating much more sugar than we had before. And guess what? Sugar can make you fat. And so we got off of fat. We got on to carbs. And really, the modern epidemic of obesity begins at this point. Now, there's a lot of concern around too many carbohydrates, and that carbohydrates lead to inflammation, and lead to type-2 diabetes. Will it be dethroned in a few years? Probably. It seems to be the pattern. Most important thing to know about diets, they don't work. People don't lose weight on diets, or they don't keep the weight off. We shouldn't sugarcoat the fact-- well, bad example, bad metaphor-- but we shouldn't sugarcoat the fact that it's very hard to lose weight, that your body has a set point, a homeostatic set point. And so if you exercise a lot, your body will demand more food. So that doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose weight, especially in the short-term. Same with diets, if you get off carbohydrates or fat, when you get back on, you'll probably eat more of them. So it's not as susta...

About the Instructor

For more than 30 years, award-winning journalist Michael Pollan has explored the intersection of humans and nature—including groundbreaking probes of the food we eat. Now the NYT bestselling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” teaches you how to ditch fad diets and eat with intention. From following the food chain to fixing dinner, learn to make choices that reflect what’s important to you.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Michael Pollan

Acclaimed author Michael Pollan teaches you what he’s spent decades researching: how to eat more ethically, healthfully, and sustainably.

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