FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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A Brief Guide to a Healthy Diet

Having trouble deciding how to improve your diet?  No wonder with all the conflicting and confusing information and misinformation in the media. Relax and begin with this simple advice from Harvard. BTW, no need to try another detox approach.  Bon appétit!!!!

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Another Reason for Increasing Vegetables in Your Diet?

Dementia and cognitive decline are becoming more of a public health issue as our population ages. Recent data show adults continue to consume too few fruits and vegetables; overall, 12.2% met fruit intake recommendations and 9.3% met vegetable intake recommendations during 2015. Consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults with greater poverty. I may add that most of the favored choices of vegetables  in the U.S. are potatoes (starchy) followed by tomatoes (not exactly green or leafy). Scientifically speaking the tomato is a fruit. However, FYI, Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit.

A recent study published in Neurology reported that consuming more non-starchy  leafy greens and cruciferous (broccoli and cauliflower) vegetables had a preventive effect on mental decline in an older population (average age was 81).  However, any increase in any vegetable intake appears to be one of the smartest thing you can do for your heart and/or brain. It also helps to tailor your diet to a more plant-based approach.

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The Best Diet? The Debate Continues

 

The debate about the best diet for health (not weight loss) continues with the latest report from U S. News and World Report. Winning top awards are three diets: the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet and coming in third, the Flexitarian Diet. These diets are basically saturated fat restricted and recommend the conventional wisdom of a more plant-based approach of whole grains and fruits and vegetables in order to prevent heart disease and diabetes.

On the other hand, there are critics of the report that include the proponents of the low carbohydrate, high fat ketogenic (LCHF-keto) diet that is lately gaining some attention at least for weight loss and claims to reverse diabetes. Many of these claims appear to be anecdotal on the Internet. By the way, the LCHF-keto diet came in last in the report by the nutrition experts. See my previous post HERE.

It still remains to be seen conclusively if  any of these diets can be protective against heart disease.  There is a great deal of research on the Mediterranean Diet and the lower risks of many chronic diseases.  To be fair, research on low carb diets is increasing due to interest on the LCHF diet claims for weight loss, diabetes prevention and lowering some risk factors of heart disease.  At the heart of the conflict is whether saturated fat is an unhealthy or healthy fat. The LCHF diet recommends using saturated fat liberally.

Partisans of both sides may be right or wrong. One fact is that  both are very restrictive and are very hard to follow for long periods of time, especially in our current food environment. There is fat and /or sugar (carbs) in almost every brand and type of processed food products. Often the food industry intentionally puts them there to increase the palatability of the product and to increase profits.

In the meantime,  the best diet remains to be the food choices you make and can incorporate into your lifestyle whether it is vegan, low fat or low carb.  One diet is not for everyone. It is important to consider your genetic background and health history. If you change your diet please consult with your physician for his/her opinions.

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Best Diets?

It is time for the U.S. News and World Report diet issue again. Rated by nutrition “experts,” this year the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet hold honors as most popular.  There are couple of “new” diets on the list this year. Conventional wisdom? The best diet is one that can become part of your lifestyle rather than following some gimmicky or faddish approach.

Bon appétit

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Here’s to Health?

Everyone wants to eat “healthier.”  The hype is often promoted by the food industry with heath claims on all their products they can possibly get away with. But what is the truth? No one knows for sure, but there are some foods that have gained this reputation with some degree of respect. Here they are.

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What Foods Do Nutritionists Avoid?

Most of the time, dietitians/nutritionists say that all foods can fit into a healthy diet.  However, there are exceptions. I would have to add highly processed foods, though.  I never bought into the “all foods” thing.

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What is a Healthy Diet? An Update

The following post is an excellent source for links to the discussion of healthy diets.  It is a brief summary of what nutrition science “knows” at the present time.

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For the complete discussion found in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (March, 2017), click HERE. It is a long article; however, it provides a lot of details on the latest recommendations about “healthy” diets and the research behind them. It can be read as a PDF.