Even as a nutritionist it's sometimes hard to follow up with all the new studies proclaiming they've finally found the reason for obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. How can a "normal" person find its way through the abundance of nutrition information out there without getting confused? To be honest, he or she can't!
- One day we should all ditch the egg yolks because of the fat, now we should ditch the egg white because of the protein (check Dr. Steven Gundry if you don't believe me)
- Coconut oil is good because of the MCTs but it's also bad because it only contains saturated fats
- Fruits give you fiber, vitamins and minerals but they are also full of fructose which will lead to weight gain
- Vegan is the way to eat if you want to reduce cardiovascular diseases and diabetes but at the same time grains and beans are damaging your gut because of their lectin content.
- The lectins are now also the reason why you should eat white rice instead of brown rice (wtf...). But what about the fiber? What about diabetes caused by white rice?
- One day red meat is bad because it causes cancer, the next day you should eat grass fed beef because it fits into the high fat diet
- Eat only wild caught fish because only then you'll get the nutrients vs doesn't matter whether your fish is wild or farmed, main point is how clean and fresh is the water they swim in
- One persons recommends to eat more than 1g protein per kg body weight and another person says we have enough protein with 20g per day
You see my point. Everyday someone else is contradicting the thing someone else said yesterday. How, as a consumer, can I know what to eat? Low carb, High fat, Vegan, Paleo, Ketogenic, Raw; you name it. How can I still enjoy my food without fearing that I might eat the wrong thing?
My advice - don't jump on the latest diet train, or you'll end up jumping between trains the rest of your life.
How to find your way in the jungle
Let's see what all diet recommendations have in common.
This is one point where everyone, whether it's a doctor, a health coach or a nutritionist agree, you can never eat enough vegetables. Always make sure your plate is half filled with veggies, lots of green ones but also mix up the colors.
Another point where scientists agree
We all know it but I can't highlight this enough. Processed food has nothing to do with real food anymore. Our body does not know how to work with processed food and thus can't run properly. Buy fresh ingredients and cook yourself - at least 80% of the time. There are always times where we don't find the time to cook a fresh meal and it's ok.
Fats, Carbs and Proteins
Should I eat high fat and reduce carbohydrates? Should I increase my proteins? My advice is to listen to your body and see how your body works best. Maybe you are a person who functions best with high fat foods and get tired if you eat too many grains. Or maybe you have a fast burning metabolism so you'll need more carbs to actually work. Or maybe you are a breastfeeding mum burning calories like crazy - get some extra carbohydrates.
There is no diet which works for everyone. Nutrition is very individual and only you can figure out how you function best.
In terms of animal food, there are two things to consider - the environmental impact and the way animals are kept/treated. If you want to keep animal foods in your diet (which is fine btw) make sure you know the source it's coming from and that it's not pumped with antibiotics and hormones. But also keep in mind that we are consuming much more animal food than we were 50 years ago. Our planet is suffering (and I know, this is not only because of our meat consumption) so when deciding how much meat you want to eat, keep that in mind. Maybe reduce your animal food consumption step by step and incorporate more vegetables instead!
One of the most important points
With all the recommendations given by specialist, experts and scientist, one point always gets forgotten. Enjoyment. Food brings people together at one table, it creates memories. Enjoy it. It's good to have a basic understanding of healthy food and how we should nourish our body, but don't become too obsessive about it.
We will never have the best nutrition for everyone, but you can find the best nutrition for yourself - with which you feel your best and can enjoy your life 100%!
Nurture your happiness