5 Nuggets of Nutritional Wisdom You Need To Start Ignoring

Nutritional dogma is ever changing. Many experts advocate different approaches that only work for certain people. There seems to be no nutritional consensus, because we are all so incredibly unique. That being said, there are in nutritional circles, certain ideas being tossed around  which we might be better without. Here are 5 of them gleaned from the article, 8 Things Nutrition Experts Wish You Would Stop Saying About Food, by Sarah Klein at the Huffington Post. Read the full article here.

1. Good and Bad Foods

"I don't like saying there are good foods and bad foods -- it's so judgmental! I'm not saying French fries aren't loaded with calories, fat and sodium, or ice cream isn't rich in calories, fat and sugar, but saying they're 'bad' foods invokes guilt on those who enjoy these comfort foods. Eating and enjoying food -- even foods that aren't the most nutritious -- shouldn't ever be done with guilt or shame. Eating should be one of the great pleasures of life! And if you learn to eat with pleasure, you may even feel more satisfied with less food.”

--Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week

2. Low-Carb

"The one that gets to me the most is when people tell me they eat 'low-carb', or [say] 'I don't eat sugar.' I always ask, 'What does that mean for you?' I constantly find myself explaining that carbs are in multiple food groups. There are grams of carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar) in bread and bread products and fruits, but also in other foods that you may not think of as having grams of carbs, like unsweetened yogurt and vegetables. Once I explain the basics of food science, the 'low-carb' proclamation that so many claim to adhere to is not accurate."

--Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and author of Belly Fat Fix

3. Fruit Has Too Much Sugar

"While fruit does indeed contain natural sugar, it comes along with great nutrition, such as vitamin C and fiber. One of my favorite fruits is grapes. They are [around 100] calories for a cup and are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin K. It's natural to enjoy sweet foods -- so getting a natural sugar fix from fruit rather than candy is smart. Aim for two cups or two pieces of fruit per day.”

-Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN, HuffPost blogger and author of The Flexitarian Diet

4. Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal of the Day

"NOT! All meals are important for different reasons. Each one plays a role in keeping you energized and at the top of your game."

--Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, health and nutrition expert for the "Today" show and founder of Nourish Snacks

5. Made With Simple Ingredients

"This is popular with brands that say things like 'made with ingredients you can see and pronounce.' We all know what simple means, but 'simple' is now a marketing buzzword showing up on supermarket shelves. The 'simple' foods have a more wholesome look and may make you believe that you're buying something that's better for you and your family.

I'm all for foods with a single ingredient, like apples, bananas, broccoli, nuts, eggs, lean meats and fish, to name a few. They're all as simple as foods can come and are loaded with nutrition and provide major health benefits. We'd all be healthier and live longer if we ate single-ingredient foods most of the time.

The new 'simple' foods I'm talking about are things like gourmet ice cream, cookies, candy, butter and other foods that may contain just a few ingredients. The problem is, those simple, all-natural ingredients don't provide a nutritional punch. I'm talking about sugar, cream, salt and oil. There is no shortfall of these 'simple' ingredients in the typical American diet, so positioning them as a health bonus is just, well, bogus."


My take on this:

I want to begin by saying that I love the 5 points in this article. However, the full article contains 2 additional points with which I disagree. For instance, I wholeheartedly advocate detox and have witnessed how a gluten-free diet worked miracles for those who do not have Celiac Disease (CD). In fact, a recent study entitled, An Italian Prospective Multi Center Survey on Patients Suspected of Having Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)  included over 17,000 participants and concluded that for certain individuals without CD, a gluten-free diet can be beneficial. In fact, 95% of patients with suspected NCGS without CD noted specific symptoms every time or often after the ingestion of gluten-containing foods. But, I digress.

As for the 5 points above…

#1. I think it’s incredibly important to take the feeling of shame out of eating. Brenee Brown, a “shame” researcher and author of Daring Greatly, has discovered that using shame will only increase the behavior which we are trying to eradicate. Research has also shown that our thoughts can lead to physiologic changes in our bodies that can incite the stress response. When we eat while stressed, our body allocates calories quite differently.  They are far more likely to be stored as fat. Yikes! While I do think it’s important to know the difference between health-promoting foods (whole foods) and health-degrading ones (processed foods), I don’t think we should label them as “good” or “bad”, or be hard on ourselves if we slip up. That’s when the “90/10 Rule of Healthy Eating” should be employed. Essentially, eat health supportive, whole foods 90% of the time, and eat what you want the other 10%.  In this way,  you stay healthy and enjoy life simultaneously.

#2. I do think far too many people focus on counting carbs, rather than eating high quality carbs. Carbs like fruits and vegetables should be staples in a healthy diet. The only low-carb approach I advocate for everyone is a low-processed carb diet.

#3. I believe this one is spot on! Too many people focus too narrowly on tracking their “sugar” intake without differentiating between refined and natural sugar. As stated in this article, fruit sugar comes with a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber which makes its effects in our bodies far different than refined sugar. I tested this myself using my glucometer.  A candy bar and a piece of fruit had very different effects on my blood sugar, energy levels and mood. Up to 2 pieces of organic fruit each day is recommended for most people without blood sugar issues.

#4. Well said!  Although I do think it’s important for people to make a point to eat breakfast, I also think every other meal should be given equal consideration and weight. Every dietary decision you make matters. Period.

#5. Food manufacturing is a business. “Simple Ingredients,” just like “natural” mean nothing. In fact, the more a manufacturer has to use them, the more suspect the product probably is.

Hopefully, this list helps you to avoid nutritional pitfalls so that you can improve your health today!