The latest diet craze assumes the worst about you

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The Sirtfood Diet is so last week. The latest restrictive eating trend making headlines is the no-label diet, which is essentially only eating food that doesn’t have a label on it. (So basically the majority of grocery store aisles are suddenly irrelevant.)

A time-saver? Totally. But is it actually good for you? Let’s discuss.

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The intention

While no one is raising her hand claiming the concept, the idea behind the no-label diet (advocated recently by LiveScience columnist Christopher Wajek) is to gravitate toward things like fruits and vegetables, and eliminate anything with preservatives, added sugar, sodium, and generally everything else that isn’t necessary or good for you. After all, food and beverage manufacturers can be sneaky.

And it actually does leave a lot left to eat. Besides fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs are in the clear, too.

The problem

The downside of the no-label diet is that it assumes you are too dumb to read a nutrition label and ingredients list. While yes, the back of a bag of veggie chips can get confusing, it mostly comes down to one big question: Would you be able to make it at home if you wanted to? If the ingredients list is full of things you don’t recognize, or includes a bunch of sugar alcohols and additives you wouldn’t be able to find easily, put it back. Now is that really so hard?

Besides, it is possible to eat too many foods that would be “no-label approved,” tipping the diet from healthy to unhealthy. (See: the woman who eats 51 bananas a day.)

Want a refresher on how exactly to read a label? This cheat sheet has you covered. And while you’re studying up, it’s a good idea to learn how to read a beauty label, too. 

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