Thursday, October 28, 2021

Let’s cut through the bad eating advice | Tanya van Auken

For the millions of Americans that can’t or don’t want to eat healthy, anything that involves a food labelling, high calorie count, calorie counter, calorie counting, counting calories or trying to time the day in order to go grocery shopping with the intention of purchasing healthier foods is positive. You are following the diet. For those of us who can’t or don’t want to eat healthy, we can’t tell by looking at a big plastic number on a 100-calorie pack or a square of plastic that we’re eating a little or a lot wrong.

Now, this is why people give up their exercise and whatnot – to eat healthy is hard work. Unfortunately, it takes a tremendous amount of time to be fit, training (means eating less and moving more) and cook and shop.

A whole new series of conversations about the health and happiness of our nation’s citizens has just started. We’ve been hearing about Americans’ eating habits and fitness for so long that I think many of us think that this is what we need to change. But let’s be honest: It isn’t. The findings of the current modern weight loss programs in the US and around the world are the same as many others in previous decades – people give up physical activity when they think they can’t lose weight; people cut out sugar and avoid carbs but lose weight; and people give up food all together when they don’t believe they can achieve their goals. If we are going to change the dieting and weight loss perspectives, we need to change our thinking about healthy foods – and how we see them.

Before you get in a tizzy and assume that we have to stop eating pizzas and sausage and chocolate milk and heart attack-inducing fried chicken in order to be healthier, we need to understand that most of these foodstuffs are just food, and not necessarily not satisfying. Most foods that are high in fat and sugars don’t make you feel very satisfying either. So let’s focus on how much and the types of food are and why we think they’re good for us.

While many believe that healthy foods are always good for you, or really any foods for that matter, we really have to start to understand that there is no right or wrong kind of food. A really great cream puff is as satisfying as a cheese curd and isn’t bad for you either. Even better – sometimes eating richer and richer food can make you feel really nice, relaxing, satiated, and happy. What people forget is that there are a lot of things in food that are good for us.

If we cut out sugar and avoid carbs, we will reduce our blood glucose level levels, which in turn will decrease our blood pressure and insulin levels, decrease heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers and more. There is plenty of evidence that eating a lot of healthy foods (like more vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, plant-based protein, healthy fats, fruits and nuts) will make you feel happier and thus hopefully improve your mood, energy levels and overall well-being.

Dr Ruth Goldhaber-Fiebert

The theory is that eating more healthy foods and less junk is more important than counting calories or things like avoiding sweet drinks. We need to spend more time recognizing that every single food tastes good and nourishes us. When eating healthy foods, we should be focused on how much we eat and what we eat and not on what the food is. Research says: put a little chocolate in your cup. You will feel sad for a while. Eat a piece of cinnamon-raisin cake, and you will be a glutton.

We are smart animals – we eat at times when we are hungry, and we use distractions to be relaxed, satisfied and happy – and that is exactly what we should keep doing. As long as you are eating real food and with real food (no junk, plenty of fruits and vegetables), you will be ok.

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