Press-Republican

Lifestyles

May 13, 2014

What should I eat? The evolving nature of diet, nutrition

Last month, an article was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that caused health professionals to question if saturated fats were as bad for our hearts as we had previously thought.

Recently, many studies have been leading us to question things we thought we knew about nutrition.

Though this does cause confusion in the short term, it shows we are deepening our understanding of the complex nature of nutrition and our bodies.

However, if you are hearing these headlines and wondering “What should I eat?” I think I have a solution. 

Though our understanding of each nutrient seems to be changing, like which types of fatty acids are good for us, it often revolves around what we thought or think is bad for us.

The foods we thought were good for us, whole foods, are proving to be more beneficial than we even knew. To clarify, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans are still associated with health benefits.

Foods that we thought of as bad, like high-fat foods, may not be worse than other unhealthy foods we replace them with, like refined carbohydrates.

So although the messages about which nutrients to avoid or how much of something we can get away with eating may be unclear, we can tell which types of diets are healthy diets for most people.

When scientists began studying nutrition, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits was associated with good health. Eating a lot of vegetables and fruit will naturally lead to a diet rich in many vitamins.

Unfortunately, taking a multivitamin produced little to no benefit for most people.

As we learned more about nutrition, we realized that vegetables and fruit also have antioxidants and are the proper food for healthy gut bacteria. There is a more holistic approach to how these foods benefit your health that cannot be boiled down to one component. 

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