It appears that Americans are returning to whole fat foods – meat, butter, cheese, whole milk. Perhaps that may be due to the recent demonizing of foods high in carbohydrates – primarily refined sugars. The recommendations to restrict either fats or carbohydrates has led to unprecedented confusion on just what we should eat and many consumers are just giving up in utter frustration. However, the return may not be the best idea until we examine what other choices we may have. In my opinion, the jury is still out among the “experts” on just how much saturated fat is heart healthy or if carbohydrate restriction can help prevent heart disease. Recent evidence suggests that carbohydrate restriction does affect some cardiovascular risk factors and may help prevent diabetes type 2.
I cannot help but to return to the lessons learned from the recent books by Dan Beuttner, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the people who’ve lived the longest and The Blue Zone Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. One cannot ignore what they reveal which mimics the advice from food writer, Michael Pollan who says: Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants. This advice says it simply – Try to practice mindful eating including portion control, eat whole, real foods, and include plant-based foods like beans, legumes, whole grains, leafy vegetables, fruits. (He doesn’t mean french fries). It becomes obvious the often used mantra of “all things in moderation” can mean that our beloved meats, butter, and full-fat cheeses can be included using some common sense.
Everyone must decide for themselves what foods they are going to eat. As the Blue Zone books show us, genetics, diet and other lifestyle factors can determine how we will age and how well we live out our lives with either disabilities or good health. The choice is up to us.
The next two articles illustrate what is really going on with our latest diet dilemma and offer some common sense on how to deal with the current American diet debate.