The more you know about nutrition, the better you eat. People well-versed in accurate nutrition information consume fewer calories, less fat, and more fruits and vegetables. The catch is that many of us know less than we think. According to a Gallup Poll conducted by Weight Watchers International and the American Dietetic Association, 90% of women surveyed said their diets were healthy; yet, only 1% of us really meet even minimum standards for a healthful diet.
Part of the problem is that we’re painfully confused about even basic nutrition facts,and access to the internet has only made things worse, since so many sites are heresay and gossip, not credible research. For example, according to a US Food and Drug Administration survey of people’s knowledge about fat, only one out of every five people knew that all fats – be it olive oil, butter, or lard – provide the same number of calories; seven out of ten had not heard of mono-unsaturated fats, and almost 40% were unsure or wrong about what foods supply saturated fats. We also down play the fat in foods, underestimate portion sizes, and down right lie about how much we eat. Consequently, we think we have cut back on fat or grains, but actually have increased our calories.
Knowledge also backfires. Tell us we’re eating low-fat, and we eat more. In one study, women ate more for lunch when they thought they were snacking on low-fat yogurt than they did when they were told the yogurt was full-fat, regardless of the actual fat and calorie contents. This mind-over-calories phenomenon might explain why obesity rates continue to rise despite increasing use of fake sugars.
In short, unless your friend is able to sift through the mix of good vs junk on the internet, it is likely her information is confused at best. Common sense tells you that eating real foods, not the latest fad berry or bottled beverage, gluten-free or food combination, is what works for healthy eating. load the plate with colorful fresh vegetables and accent it with a little lean protein, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and omega-3-rich fish and you’re on your way to better health! Photo credit: Mark Walley via Compfight
You’re referring to the first commandment in nutrition that states “Thou shalt meet all your nutritional needs from a balanced diet.” That means, all you have to do is consume daily 5 to 9 fresh fruits and vegetables, 6 to 11 whole grains, 3 glasses of low-fat milk, and 2 servings of extra-lean meat, chicken, fish, or legumes. Sounds reasonable, but there’s a catch – most people aren’t doing it. In fact, the just-published findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), show that only a measly one out of every 100 people meet even minimum standards for dietary adequacy. So, in answer to your question, yes, many people would benefit from a well-chosen supplement. Photo credit: Clean Wal-Mart via Compfight
You’re right. An avocado is anything but a low-fat food. In fact, 88% of its calories come from fat (but that’s primarily mono-unsaturated, which helps lower your risk for developing heart disease and shows no association with cancer). On the other hand, one avocado supplies one-fourth of your daily need for magnesium and more than half the folic acid, one-fourth the vitamin A, and lots of B vitamins, iron, and trace minerals. While you should limit fats in general, a few slices of avocado on a burrito, salad, or fruit salad adds a rich flavor, creamy texture, and an extra dose of nutrients. Photo credit: Andrea.Pacheco via Compfight
Yeah, yeah, there are only good and bad diets, right? In general, that could be considered true, but come on! In a country faced with epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and a population where indulgence is a daily routine, what is good about a fried pork rind? Nutrition-wise a can of cheese whiz doesn’t hold a candle to a mango! We usually don’t have a problem treating ourselves to those tasty foods, so to say there are no ‘bad’ foods might be a license for some people to eat anything whenever they want. It’s possible some foods really are not good for some people. For example, if having cookies in the house triggers a person to binge, then that food could be a problem simply because it results in unhealthy behaviors. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake, chocolate, or chips, but only once in a while and in reasonable portions, such as a can of soda once every other week, not every day. Instead, stock the kitchen with ‘good’ foods, which means “real” foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grain bread, canned tomatoes and beans, nuts, and low-fat yogurt or soymilk.n Photo credit: Marshall Astor via Compfight
Water does curb appetite, but only if it is incorporated into food, not drunk from a glass. Several studies from Pennsylvania State University found that only water in soups, thick beverages like V8 juice or a smoothie, and other liquid foods fills us up. In one study, women were given a snack of chicken rice casserole with a glass of water or a chicken rice soup that contained the same amount of water as broth. Results showed that the soup was more filling even though it contained 27% fewer calories than the casserole. The reason why water bound to food is filling, while a glass of water is not, is unclear, but it could be that the bound water slows digestion, whereas a glass of water just passes right through. Photo credit: Michael Le Roi via Compfight