Confusion and hype surrounding nutrition studies are often exacerbated by media. While it may not be as exciting, the simpler truths are often right in front of us.
BY: COURTNEY FERREIRA, MS, RD, LDN
A new nutrition study recently came out and garnered quite a lot of attention. The PURE study was a big one that included 18 countries, over 100,000 people across different socioeconomic levels over seven years. With such a large study, the media wants to be able to to show it in a groundbreaking light.
Guess what? Turns out there was nothing earth-shattering new discovered, and it supports the main consensus that nearly every qualified health expert agrees exists for optimal health:
A balanced variety of nutrient-dense foods.
This may sound boring, but it’s truly a great thing!
So what exactly did the study show? In summary, it indicated fat has a place in our diets, and can be harmful when we cut back too much. A primarily plant-based diet can help cut cardiovascular risks and mortality, with a focus on natural sources of carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains and limit refined processed choices. Essentially, it showed balance is the key.
Don’t let the related headlines fool you:
“Casts doubt on conventional wisdom”, “Shakes up nutritional field”, “Carbs are bad for you.“
These fear-mongering titles make any qualified nutrition professional cringe. We have known for a long time that fat won’t kill us, and both quality and quantity of the oh-so-demonized carbs make all the difference. The authors even call carbs “the real killer,” yet goes on to discuss how the study found that fruits, vegetables, and legumes were beneficial.
FYI, those are all carbohydrates.
Often times, many people avoid fruit because of the sugar content, or shy away from legumes and potatoes because of trendy low-carb, ketogenic, and lectin-free diets. Headlines like these can make them feel validated in avoiding these nutrient-dense foods when there really isn’t a reason to.
Thanks to all those antioxidants, vitamins, polyphenols, vitamins, and fiber, numerous studies before this article have already validated that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the lower the risk of death and disease.
One takeaway that can be appreciated from the authors in the study was their hope that it will help people stop feeling guilty about what they eat – especially fat. How refreshing to see that sentiment recognized in a scientific study!
So enjoy fat, and protein, and carbs. Focus on nutrient-dense sources whenever you can. Move your body in way that feels good. Get enough sleep. Cut back on binge drinking. Stress less. And please, stop obsessing over your food that makes you feel guilty!
You have better ways to use your time when you have a life to live.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: CAROLINE ATTWOOD
Courtney Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Baltimore, MD with a passion for helping individuals reach their health and wellness through flavorful whole foods and freedom from counting calories, fat, and minutes on a treadmill. For more insightful tips on living your healthiest life, visit Courtney at the RealFoodCourt.