It’s no big surprise that some processed foods, such as boxed macaroni and cheese, have been enjoying a renaissance lately. People are stressed. Grocery prices are rising. And given all the confusing nutrition advice coming at us, surely someone … somewhere … has done a study that says sugary snacks are good for you. Yeah, not so fast. Step away from the toaster pastries.
“Many high salt, high carb comfort foods are only going to make you gain weight, feel worse and could ultimately damage your health,” cautions Nutrition Myth Buster Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS. “You’ll actually start feeling better and have more energy once you begin eating more nutritious foods.”
But here’s the dilemma: When it comes to dietary advice, who do you believe?
Some dietary advice on mainstream websites is decades out of date
“The dietary advice issued by various organizations is often a mix of old and new data. It’s not in line with what those of us who study this continually are telling people today. It takes way too long for some of these big organizations to incorporate the current scientific thinking into the mantras that they’ve been repeating for sometimes decades,” says Bowden.
“Another reason why it’s so hard to get a straight answer about foods is that they don’t fall into perfect categories. For example, some saturated fats are very healthy for you. And some unsaturated fats should be avoided at all costs!”
He elaborates, “Saturated fats such as ghee, palm oil, butter and coconut oil have been absolved of being bad for your health. Meanwhile, canola, sunflower, corn and soy are now known to be highly inflammatory!”
Film exposes the misinformation and why we’re so confused!
In the new feature length documentary Fat Fiction, Bowden and other leading health experts examine the facts and myths of saturated fats in the human diet, and question why medical advice has remained the same for decades as health issues proliferate in America.
“In the film, we share more than a decade of published research confirming that fat, particularly saturated fat, was wrongly demonized. It is not a causative factor in heart disease. Worse, the low-fat dietary guides we’ve been following since the 1980s were never based on hard science,” says Bowden.
So what should we be eating?
Bowden, the best-selling author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” gives three tips for choosing what foods to include in your diet:
“Check your sources for all articles on health and nutrition. A single study should never be the basis of your nutritional decisions, because studies contradict each other all the time. And don’t buy into the infomercial stuff about “clinical studies” supporting the latest fat-burner. Those are usually done in someone’s office and not subject to any peer review.
“Wait for multiple studies, completed by reputable universities, confirming the same outcomes. And even then be aware of things like who funded the study and who benefits from the results. There may be no way to avoid commercial interests in scientific research, but at least it’s good to be aware of it.”
Be open to learning about ingredients you may want to add to your diet. “For example, some people are hyper-focused on palm oil. They’d have you believe that it’s bad for you and the environment. They also are stuck in the old 1950s notion that “saturated fat is bad for you.” Both beliefs are wrong. Some countries — notably Malaysia — are passionately committed to the environment. The palm oil from Malaysia is sustainably produced. Real Malaysian palm oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils I know of.
“Malaysian palm oil is also a rich source of vitamin E tocotrienols which support heart and brain health. And heart health is a huge concern in this country! It’s also a nutritious replacement for trans fats.”
Eat real food: food your great-grandmother would have recognized as food. “Eat from what I call the “Jonny Bowden Four Food Groups”: food you could hunt, fish, gather or pluck. Stay away from overly processed and get back to basics.”
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