Why Nutrition Information is SO Confusing

One week eggs are bad, the next week eggs are good.  Coffee is good!  No, it’s bad! There is a lot of contradiction out there when it comes to nutrition advice, often resulting in confusion and mistrust.  I will attempt to explain why there is so much mixed-messages and how we can sift through it all to find the truth.

The Media

Most of us get our information from one or more media sources.  Whether you watch the news or Dr. Oz or read articles posted on Facebook, remember, their goal is to get more views and clicks.  Sensationalizing the headlines sells, but is not always accurate.  The media will take one small study and hype it up as if it is absolute fact.  It is best to find the research article and read it yourself, the authors are usually more reserved in their analysis than the media.

The Research

Nutrition research is actually fairly new, it started at the end of the 19th century.  Many foods, such as trans fats and artificial sweeteners, have only been studied for a few decades.  Good evidenced-based advice takes time and numerous studies.  No one study is the end-all, be-all, so be wary of “new evidence”.

Here are some red flags to look for with health claims in the media or even on products: “fast” results, eliminating whole food groups, or claims one nutrient is the answer to your health problems. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

The Truth

Americans spend billions on health and diet products every year.  We are attracted to the promise of big results with little effort.  Often we are tricked by marketing and half-truth statements.

Recognize that nutritional science is constantly evolving.  Evidence over time will sometimes mean information will need to be clarified, modified or changed.  However, this will not happen over night, and certainly not from one study.

Although the media makes it seem like there is a huge debate among experts there is significant agreement on diet and health.  There are tried and true nutritional advice that has been unchanged for decades, the basic principles of healthful eating – eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit sugar as much as possible, prioritize whole foods over packaged and processed foods, and cook your own food.

Conclusion

It is our responsibility to be informed consumers.  Here is a summary of tips on how to make healthy food and nutrition choices:

  • Remain curious and open-minded to new ideas, but use common sense and read the study when possible.
  • Realize there is no “quick fix” to health – this is just a marketing ploy to sell you something.
  • Focus on whole foods rather than individual nutrients.
  • Don’t rely on supplements to “save you” from a bad diet.
  • Every body is different, our needs vary, so what might be good or “work” for one person, does not necessarily mean it is for everyone.

As we approach the new year and start thinking about what changes or improvements we want to make, try to keep it simple – simple diet with simple ingredients – don’t overthink it – it’s just food!

Here’s a simple and healthy recipe that shouldn’t create any controversy:

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup diced red potato
  • 1/4 cup diced peeled sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Spread quinoa in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until browned, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add oil.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper.  Cover and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garlic, rosemary and cumin, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in stock, potatoes and toasted quinoa.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes.  Stir in zucchini and cabbage; cook until vegetables and quinoa are tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in parsley and salt.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

144 Calories      7g Protein     5g Fat

19g Carbohydrates      3g Fiber

For more great health tips, visit our website at http://figureweightloss.com/category/weight-loss

 

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