One study does not a conclusion make when it comes to foods, nutrition, and dieting. However, Elizabeth Somer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, says there are a few issues in nutrition that you can depend on to never change. After more than 30 years of studying the research, here are the 10 things she knows for sure about food, dieting, and nutrition.
Truth #1: People who eat tons of colorful produce also stack the deck in favor of being the healthiest and living the longest. We have thousands of studies spanning decades of research that repeatedly and consistently show that diets rich in colorful fruits and vegetables lower the risk for all age-related diseases, boost immunity, aid in weight loss, and even extend the healthy years. Aim for no less than 9 servings daily and make produce at least half of every plate, meal, and snack.
Truth #2: The more processed a food, the higher its salt, fat, sugar, and/or calories and the lower its vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and/or fiber. Humans have yet to best Mother Nature.
Truth #3: Eat real foods more often than you eat processed foods. Humans evolved as hunter gatherers, eating wild game, pounds of produce, wild grass seeds (now called whole grains), and other natural foods. Modern diets are as alien to our bodies as breathing in carbon monoxide. At least 75% of the diet should come from foods as untouched by human hands as possible.
Truth #4: Fad diets don’t work. People have fallen victim to hundreds, if not thousands, of diets in the past several decades and are fatter than ever. We know what works for permanent weight loss and it isn’t some ridiculous fad diet. It’s eating moderate amounts of low-fat, healthy foods and exercising daily.
Truth #5: You can’t maintain a slim figure by diet alone. Almost everyone over the age of 30 years-old who is trim is working at it. They monitor their food intake and exercise.
Truth #6: Being overweight is not good for you. We were not designed to be fat, so it is no surprise that a wealth of research shows that being over-fat, even if you are at your desirable weight but too much of that weight is fat weight, increases the risk for everything from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, and immune suppression to depression, memory loss, and even dementia.
Truth #7: There really are “bad” foods. No matter what someone says about there being no bad foods, only bad diets, there is absolutely no redeeming qualities in soft drinks or Cheez Whiz. On the other hand, no one super food can make up for a bad diet or fix a bad mood, boost energy, or improve your mind. Only an overall great diet can do that.
Truth #8: Foods should look good, taste good, and be good for you. If a food doesn’t meet all three of these requirements then it isn’t worthy of being a part of your diet. Settling for salty, greasy, fast or processed foods just because they taste good is like saying you don’t care enough about yourself and your health to choose foods that nourish you.
Truth #9: Don’t believe anything you read on the front of the box. Always turn the package over and read the Nutrition Facts label and the Ingredient List. For example, a cereal that says on the front of the box “made with whole grains,” may have “wheat flour” as the first ingredient, which is refined white flour.
Truth #10: Most people haven’t a clue what they are eating. Only one in every 100 people meet even the minimum standards of a balanced diet, yet most people, when asked, say they “eat pretty well.” Almost all of them are delusional.