Moderation should be considered an art and skill that everyone should learn to master. Moderation may be viewed as something similar to average and many people striving to be better may completely jump over middle ground and land at the extreme.
The question becomes why go to extremes, when middle ground will get you anywhere you want to be?
When reading nutrition information the internet is a breeding ground for incorrect information. It truly is amazing how much information is on the web, but sorting through the wrong information and getting the right information is a very difficult and time consuming task.
Many times people showing that certain things are harmful TAKE THINGS TO EXTREMES. For example, coffee in moderation is good for you, but 20 cups a day is not. Moderate drinkers (2-3 drinks a day) live longer than nondrinkers and alcoholics. A 20% calorie deficit is healthy, but some seem to think that eating zero calories will bring better results (not exactly). It seems that every time someone says something is bad or good for you, they take an extreme example that is completely out of context.
Even gluten, which might as well be called the devil, is fine for most people without celiac disease in moderate amounts. Yes it can cause bloating and GI distress, but a little bit is unlikely to affect most people. The same goes for sugar, salt and almost everything. A lot will cause trouble, but in moderation these are healthy to eat and are actually healthier for someone than going to extremes and cutting out all sources.
There is one example online of an underweight man that went on a variety of elimination diets. Elimination diets are diets that try to exclude certain foods from being eaten for health reasons. This man jumped from diet to diet and eliminated almost all sources of foods until he was eating grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes and green beans at every meal (that’s it). Eventually his health got so bad he gave up entirely and went on a diet of pizza and beer and basically ate whatever he desired with no restrictions. 2 months later his health was completely restored. When the doctor asked him what magical elimination diet he tried to achieve this health, the man replied the pizza and beer diet. The doctor was of course dumbfounded, but the point is this man ate like a normal human being and trying to be EXTREMELY HEALTHY actually harmed his health.
Examples like this can be applied to many more cases in almost every scenario, not just nutrition. As I stated with alcohol all the research showing the negatives of alcohol are on binge drinking. Most people I know don’t binge drink every night, yet someone reading the research might fear one drink a night might harm their health because they were reading incorrectly applied information.
Missing middle ground and jumping to extremes can bring some pretty serious OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This OCD comes from trying to be too perfect to maintain the extreme protocol and many go to extensive to measures to make sure nothing interferes it.
Moderation truly is an ART, that many need to learn to master. There is such a place called middle ground and many people frequently miss it. I’d argue some of the happiest people on Earth have found middle ground and learned to embrace moderation. These people usually are sociable, non-stressed, don’t worry about every little detail and are generally enjoyable to be around. They know the world isn’t perfect and neither are they so why try to be if you don’t need to be. Moderation tends to reduce stress and chronic elevations of cortisol as well. Chronic elevations of cortisol are one of the worst things a person can experience, because of the profound amount of stress it brings both psychologically and physiologically.
Bottom Line – Be a Moderate.