It’s important to understand how food interacts with your body, but too much information can do more harm than good. Common pieces of nutrition advice that you hear these days — “avoid carbohydrates,” “give up fat,” “stop snacking,” and such — should be taken with a grain of salt (and, no, you don’t have to stop eating salt, either).
For example, someone might be dissuaded from eating nuts because they see a high fat content on the label, but in reality this is healthy, unsaturated fat. The same can be said for the sugar content in fruit; eating an apple is not the same as popping a candy bar in your mouth.
The food industry is able to capitalize on distorted nutrition advice. Zero-calorie sodas, gluten-free beers, and low-fat cookies are popular among dieters following the latest health trends, but the foundations of a balanced diet haven’t changed much over the years.
Consuming mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with moderate quantities of meat, fish, and dairy is still the best way to eat. The nutritional breakthrough that will justify eating ice cream for breakfast is never going to come — sorry to let you down.
Stay committed to the tried and true principles of healthy eating, and ignore these pieces of popular nutrition advice.
“Adopt a Gluten-Free Diet”
A gluten-free diet is essential for people suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but for the average person, going gluten-free doesn’t make a lot of sense. Gluten-laden whole grains such as wheat, barley, and rye are linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; and gluten may also boost immune system functioning.
Research has disproved the theory that a low-carbohydrate is better for weight loss. Low-carb diets became popular in the 1970s after the release of Dr. Robert Atkin’s book, Dr. Atkin’s Diet Revolution. However, completely avoiding grains and starches makes it difficult to feel satiated, and many people who go on low-carb diets end up gaining the weight back.
“Cut Out Potatoes”
When not mashed or processed into chips and French fries, potatoes are quite nutritious. A medium-sized potato is only 163 calories, and it’s surprisingly high in vitamin C and potassium. The key to unlocking the benefits of this tuber is eating it with the skin on; the easiest way to do this is to make a simple and delicious baked potato. If you’re pressed for time, simply poke some holes in a raw potato with a fork and toss it in the microwave for six or seven minutes.
“Eggs Are Unhealthy”
The egg — yolk and all — is the true breakfast of champions. Even the oldest woman alive partly attributes her longevity to eating two raw eggs every morning. Eggs have been demonized in the past for their high-cholesterol yolk, but they’re rich in a variety of nutrients such as vitamins A and B12, phosphorus, and selenium. One egg is only 77 calories, and contains six grams of protein.
“Give Up Fats”
It’s unhealthy to try to eliminate all forms of fat from a diet. There are many types of “good fats” that help lower cholesterol, benefit heart health, and provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet, which has been praised as one of the world’s healthiest eating regimens, derives around 45 percent of its calories from fat.