Forget everything you think you know about health and pay attention!
You’ve tried over and over again to “get your sh*t together,” “eat healthy,” and “lose weight.”
Yet despite your best intentions, you keep ending up stuck in the same place, if not worse off than when you started.
You’ve scoured the internet trying to educate yourself on all the different aspects of health, but Dr. Google only left you more confused.
Of course it does. That’s because the internet has been steam-rolled by a tsunami of half-baked health information that should never have seen the light of day.
You know what I mean. Yesterday’s headlines said that coffee was good for you. Today’s headlines say it causes cancer. And tomorrow coffee will be ordained as a so-called “superfood“… again.
You see, that’s what happens when you have too many social media influencers, celebrity TV chefs, morning show hosts, and health marketers pumping out rubbish, out-of-context health information.
If you’ve finally reached your tipping point and you’re sick of “fake health news” and “alternative health facts,” then you’ve come to the right place.
Super simple, zero bullshit health
I’m Dr Bill Sukala and I’ve worked in the health field for three decades.
An addition to my clinical work, I maintained a parallel career as a consumer health advocate and I have tracked and debunked virtually every snake oil supplement, “miracle diet,” infomercial ab blaster, and viral health hoax by way of my writing, speaking, and media appearances.
The primary purpose of this website is to translate the science of physical and mental health into simple, understandable terms while exposing the pseudoscience, “alternative facts,” “fake news,” and deceptive marketing behind the latest health fads, trends, and gimmicks.
I bring a critical and skeptical eye to everything I write about, with my views honed by decades of hands-on clinical and research experience, as well as advanced university qualifications in nutrition and exercise physiology.
I often inject humour and brutally blunt take-no-prisoners satire into my writing for both educational effect and to call out and highlight the absurdity and foolishness of many time- and money-wasting health fads (🙈language warning: beware the occasional F or S bomb!).
I am self-employed, independent, and beholden to NO EXTERNAL INTERESTS whatsoever (i.e., no big corporations), so I am completely free to speak my mind and call things exactly as they are: legit or bullshit.
Full disclosure: ads appearing on this site are what keeps the information free to you. I do NOT have direct control over every individual ad that appears and their appearance is influenced by the article topic and your personal web browsing habits. Please let me know if you see an ad that goes contrary to the aim of this website and I will block it from appearing again.
Are we a good fit for each other?
Ok, before we go any further, it’s time for my tough love speech.
The internet, social media in particular, has become extremely divisive in separating people into their rabid factions and echo chambers that promote unsound health advice and conspiracy theories. While it all might sound convincing, it still doesn’t make it any less wrong or misleading.
It’s the Wild West out there, so if we’re going to hang out together on my website or on my social media channels, then we have to have each other’s backs.
I’ll be there for you but you have to meet me half way.
If you’re the type who clings onto every new “revolutionary” quick weight loss pill, “miracle” diet, “detox,” or you think Dr Oz is a trustworthy source of information, then I’m afraid it’s not going to work out between us.
Sorry, it’s not me. It’s you. No hard feelings.
Come back when you’re ready to give up the magical thinking and listen to brutally honest unvarnished facts, logic, and reason.
On the other hand, if you are on the fence and genuinely interested in learning legitimate, evidence-based foundational underpinnings of long-term physical and mental health, then let’s get to know each other.
What would you like help with?
Many new readers of DrBillSukala.com arrive on this site with a piecemeal understanding of health which can leave them vulnerable to predatory marketing tactics for fad health products.
As a result, I’ve organised this site into different content areas to help you find the content that best meets your needs.
My health principles are based on the best available scientific evidence, as well as practical considerations that promote long-term adherence.
The following is an overview of my take on key aspects of health:
- Nutrition/healthy eating
- Healthy lifestyle habits
- Protection against deceptive marketing
1. Nutrition / healthy eating
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re low in calories and packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and they promote the proliferation of health-promoting bacteria in your gut (which help improve physical and mental health).
- Eat healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds, known to be high in health-promoting monounsaturated fat.
- Eat lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, legumes, eggs, and limit red meat. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease and stroke.
- Eat only high-fibre grains such as whole-grain bread, brown rice (with husk), quinoa, bulgur, barley, farro, or couscous.
- Minimise intake of refined, fatty, sugary drinks and foods. They’re packed with lots of calories but offer little nutritional value.
- Minimise alcohol intake, with no more than two 5-ounce (~150ml) glasses of red wine per day for men and one glass per day for women.
- “Diets” don’t work. It’s about adopting sustainable, health-promoting eating patterns. Any trendy, popular diet with the naming syntax “The <<Fill in the Blank>> Diet” is usually bullshit and, while it might cause “weight loss” on the scale in the short-term, it’s not sustainable over the long-term.
- It doesn’t matter if it “fits your macros.” There are no magical or special macronutrient combinations, just magical marketing and wishful thinking.
- Superfoods are a myth. It’s just super marketing hyperbole.
2. Exercise / movement
Human movement has numerous documented mental and physical health benefits that protect our health and improve quality of life.
- Human movement: good. No human movement: not so good.
- Just move. Move often. Waste energy at all times of the day.
- A little bit of movement is better than a lot of nothing. Even if you don’t feel like doing anything, doing a little bit of something helps keep your head in the game and maintain the habit.
- Human movement can be purposeful structured exercise, play (sports or recreation), or incidental activity you get through your work or activities of daily living. All contribute to good health.
- Engineer activity into your life. Sit less. Stand more. (i.e., walk more, take the stairs, use standing workstations).
- The “perfect” exercise is the one you enjoy and will want to do regularly.
- There is no “good” vs “bad” exercise. If an exercise or movement causes you pain, find an alternative to allow you work around the discomfort.
- Both high- and low-intensity exercise are good for your health, but remember to ease into it. This will reduce the risk of injury and extreme soreness.
- Your body will adapt to whatever training stimulus is placed upon it. Lifting heavy weights will give you stronger, larger muscles. Running long distances will give you muscular endurance in your legs and cardiovascular fitness. Stretching will give you good flexibility.
- Physical activity induces important physiological and biochemical adaptations in your body that protect you against disease and help promote a healthy body weight.
3. Motivation and adherence
It’s common sense that healthy eating and activity are good for you, but starting and sticking with it can be daunting. Here are some foundational concepts that will help keep you on track.
- Identify a deep personal reason to become healthy and use that as your motivation (i.e., be a role model to your children, live long enough to see your kids graduate, get married, etc).
- Compare you to you, not to others. Playing the envy/jealousy game can lead to toxic thoughts that can derail you.
- Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. Meeting these criteria can help you track your progress over time.
- Make small, sustainable lifestyle changes you enjoy and can stick with long-term. If you try to make massive life changes in a single day, you will probably become overwhelmed and revert to your old ways.
- Repeat healthy behaviours daily. Repetition is the mother of forming good habits.
- Do not weigh yourself daily. While tracking changes in your body weight over time can be motivating, for some people, it can lead to an unhealthy obsession. More importantly, you should focus on healthy changes in body composition rather than absolute scale weight (see my articles on body composition and fat mass index).
- Celebrate your tiny victories, no matter how small. Appreciating your little victories along the way helps build your self-esteem and self-efficacy (the belief that you can be successful).
- Reward yourself when you accomplish a goal
- 100% self-responsibility, no victim, blamer mindset. You may not be able to control what others think and do, but you DO have control over your own thoughts. Owning every aspect of your life will give you more autonomy over your circumstances.
- Spend time with health-minded, positive people (i.e., exercise buddy with similar goals). The adage “birds of a feather flock together” rings true. If all your friends are lazy smokers and heavy drinkers, then chances are, you’ll fall into that rut too. But if you start building a new healthy social circle, then a healthy lifestyle will be a natural progression and become part of your every day routine.
- Fiercely protect the gates to your mind. Cut out or minimise TV, social media, and consumer magazines (i.e., women’s magazines, health and fitness magazines), all of which are polluted with toxic, unrealistic ideas and images of “health” (i.e., quackery, disordered eating, anorexic models, scientifically unsound health recommendations).
- Identify and minimise contact with negative/pessimistic people. People who are always negative and complaining will only drag you down with them.
- Find your supporters and saboteurs. Cut off the saboteurs.
- Stop dichotomous thinking (i.e., good food vs. bad food, good exercise vs. bad exercise).
4. Healthy lifestyle habits
- Stop smoking. It’s never too late to quit smoking. Quitting now greatly reduces your cancer and cardiovascular risk, not to mention will significantly improve your quality of life.
- Get adequate sleep. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night can help reduce your risk of getting sick, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and improve mood, think more clearly, and reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
- Reduce alcohol intake. While moderate alcohol intake may have some health benefits (i.e. reduced heart disease, stroke, diabetes risk), excessive intake can negate these benefits and increase your risk of certain types of cancers, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, as well as worsen your mental health.
- Reduce and control mental/emotional stress. Managing your stress levels on a regular basis contributes to better overall physical and mental/emotional health. You will feel more relaxed, less tense, in a better mood, less likely to get sick, sleep better, and be more likely to maintain a healthy body weight.
5. Health marketing: how to protect yourself
I’m not against selling to make an ethical buck, but after three decades in the health field, I can tell you that approximately 90% or more of the so-called “health” products on the market are rip-offs and exist only to make money for the promoter. They appear and reappear over and over again, with no net benefit to public health.
- Be skeptical of ALL health marketing. Proceed with extreme caution.
- Health marketing is meant to do one thing: sell you products, NOT educate you.
- Heath marketing sells you shit you don’t really need (i.e., detoxes, “fat burner” pills, “miracle” diets, etc).
- Health marketing highlights and hammers on your physical and emotional insecurities and then offers you “the cure” (which often does not work).
- Health marketing relies on testimonials, many of which are fake (not real) or deceptive (were influenced by a cash incentive).
- “Influencers” are usually paid to say a product works (spoiler alert: it doesn’t).
- Health marketing relies on bogus hyperbole and jargon such as “revolutionary” and “clinically proven.” Translation: neither revolutionary nor proven.
- Because a health fad is popular does not mean it “works.” Popularity should not be considered “evidence.”
- Avoid multi-level marketing health products. They have a long history of selling underwhelming, if not useless, products at exorbitantly high prices, using false, misleading, and deceptive marketing tactics.