Eating fruit makes you fat or skinny ?
If you searched healthy diet on the internet, I’m sure this happened to you – same food in one place is super healthy and in other place is unhealthy. Some people say that alcohol is good for the heart and other say that alcohol kills nerve cells. Why is it like that?
Nutrition researches are filled with problems like this. Here’s a rough consensus about healthy eating:
In the first place, a healthy diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy products, fish and seafood, legumes and nuts. A healthy diet has reduced use of alcohol and unprocessed red meat and rarely allows using processed sugars, grains and sugary drinks.
This is it, and because there are no definite answers to specific questions is the reason why some studies should be taken with a grain of doubt.
Different problems = different recommendations
In the beginning of nutrition, the first problem was in nutrient deficit and was treated with the same supplementation. Nowadays, modern humans around the world have problems with obesity. The everyday misery is always transferred into science.
So the main topics that interest the investigators are fats, cholesterol, protein diet, alcohol influence and caffeine effects.
We don’t have a perfect experiment – we have a long term observation
Here’s a simple example: when you’re investigating scurvy, you take the rats shoving symptoms, feed them the same food. You add vitamin C to the first group of rats, but the second group doesn’t have vitamin C treatment. And you see the results. It’s that simple.
But, researches about obesity aren’t that simple. You cannot isolate a single factor and follow it over a period of time. You can’t make an experiment like this: isolate 1,000 babies, in 10 years to the first 500 give them fruit, and to the second 500 give them other food, for example meat.
Studies have shown that similar things had a different approach – instructions were given to participants on what to eat for a few years and the results are not like the expected ones. Majority of the participants don’t follow the diet, on the other hand, you don’t have control over their habits – whether they exercise, how much they are walking through the day etc. Short term studies have been successfully performed, but they always give us just one part of the puzzle.
For example, studies have shown that people in America who declare themselves as vegans live longer lives. But the studies can’t answer the question why? Maybe it’s because vegans have another amount of healthy habits: they don’t smoke, they don’t drink alcohol, they are more physically active and so on.
People have no idea what they’re eating
If we rely only on the questionnaire, we expect an ordinary human to give us a definite display of ingredients. If a man says he eats salad, and forgets to point out that the salad was with parmesan is already a big mistake because the ingredients are changing.
We don’t have a same reaction to the identical food
Here’s a simple example: Feed 10 people 10 days the same food and measure their blood sugar. Someone’s blood sugar will remain stable, and other’s will be higher than the normal.
Finally: What is healthy and what is not?
There isn’t a healthy food, there is a healthy diet. You can’t consume one ingredient in unlimited amounts. It means higher percentage of one ingredient and minimized use of another.
When nutritionists say that the key is lowering the amount does not mean that you should lower you salad amounts, but your NUTELLA amounts. It’s okay if you consume sugars now and then… your body is incredibly intelligent machine and will find a way to overcome most of your unhealthy habits.
One thing is for sure and nutritionists agree with this statement:
A healthy diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy products, fish and seafood, legumes and nuts. A healthy diet has reduced use of alcohol and unprocessed red meat and rarely allows using processed sugars, grains and sugary drinks.