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how do I know what is and is not advisable from a nutrition standpoint? How do I know which "expert" knows what the heck they're talking about?

You're right that the field of nutrition is rife with barely-educated charlatans and hidden agendas - financial, political (e.g. USDA food pyramid), philosophical, religious etc.

The best way may be to try a few different diets and see how your own body reacts to them. Which make you feel better, look better etc.? Get blood tests before starting and after some time to compare how your health indicators are faring. Equally imoportant is what can you live with for the longer term? An effective diet is useless if you can't stay on it.

For me, low carb worked wonders. But I like the food choices. I know many others don't like the idea of eating fat, butter, meat, cream, cheese, oil etc. I think they're heavenly when prepared right, and then I don't crave the pizzas, donuts, sugar drinks and so on nearly as much as in the old days. Getting back to my high school weight has been a dream come true.
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