Hi, I’m Edith Clogg and I am a Registered Dietitian with Guckenheimer. Welcome to Food Myths Exposed where Guckenheimer’s dietitians are debunking myths surrounding food, nutrition and health.
There are a lot of people telling us how we should be eating. Bloggers, friends or family, magazines, and health experts all have something to say.
Some will say that being a vegetarian or vegan is best for our bodies, others promote Paleo, intermittent fasting, a ketogenic diet, not eating after a certain time of day… just when we think we’ve heard it all, there is another strategy someone recommends. When nutrition and eating advice seems conflicting who should we be listening to? Does one way of eating have a clear edge over another?
No, there isn’t one best way to eat for everyone. Those who are on a medically prescribed diet by a medical professional have clear ways to eat to benefit their bodies. For those who are able to eat more liberally, there may be a best way for you to eat, and you are the only one who can decide that for you. Some find they feel better with more carbohydrates in the morning. Some find that weight management is easier with slightly higher protein. Some feel better limiting dairy or gluten; others wouldn’t give up bread for the world.
But there are many things we all can agree on.
First, Eat Real Food. Skip overly processed, chemically engineered foods and go straight to the source. Even if it looks “healthy”, if the ingredient list has a lot of things that don’t look like food, look for something else. I’d rather have someone eat slightly more calories with a lot of nutrients than something lower in calories with a zero on the nutrition scale.
Next up: Eat more Veggies & Fruit. We’re to eat about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups or cup equivalents of vegetables each day. Do we need to measure all of our produce every day? No. A few small produce additions to your day will be more beneficial over the long-term than a drastic way of eating for 90 days. Try to have at least 1 meal a day focused around produce or make sure you get a fruit or vegetable in your breakfast.
Avoid excess sugar. Does that mean you can never have dessert? Definitely not. But save it for a special occasion, which likely doesn’t happen every day. While all carbohydrates turn to glucose in our bloodstream which is our primary energy source, added sugars can spike our blood sugar levels, promoting fat storage and lethargy.
The Dietary Guidelines recommend for no more than about 200 calories in our day to come from added sugar; other professional organizations recommend less. Most of us get well more added sugar than we need. almost half of the added sugars in our diets come from sugar sweetened beverages. Even if the sugar appears to be a better sugar, any added sugar like honey, brown sugar, white sugar or agave will add calories without nutrients. Choosing lower-sugar beverages is an easy way to reduce added sugar. For those who love after-meal sweet treats, fruit is a great natural sweet bite filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
And last but not least…
Eat when you’re hungry! What a relief that we can do that. For many of us that means regular meals throughout the day and a snack or 2. Snacking isn’t off limits and can be helpful for some, especially those who are really active. The alternative is also true; When you’re not hungry… don’t eat. Listen to your fullness cues. Do you often eat until you are overstuffed? If so, at the next meal stop 5 bites sooner and see how you feel. If you are someone who snacks when you aren’t hungry, that probably means you don’t need to eat then. Listen to your body and your stomach.
And remember, it’s okay to not eat perfectly. Because there isn’t really a “perfect” way of eating anyways.
Nourish your body and enjoy what you eat with those you love when you can. Try new-to-you foods when you can and follow the key pointers we just reviewed and you’ll be well on your way to a body and brain fueled well.
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