Inside Scoop: Is Saturated Fat Bad? Are eggs healthy? What about grains?… We are answering the top 5 controversial nutrition questions.
This post was submitted by Lavera Stewart, yoga and nutrition expert, and regular writer at gym-expert.com.
Over the past years, we have become more aware of the impact of food on our health. We are trying to stay informed and eat the best way possible to stay healthy. Nevertheless, considering how many nutrition questions and controversies exist out there, it can be a challenging task to figure out how and what to eat to maintain good health.
Food is no longer just a source of energy. Surely, we eat to satisfy hunger but also to satisfy different senses. Moreover, the food is also kind of a means to socialize and meet people. Additionally, because we now have access to food from all over the world, it is also a means to learn about different cultures by learning about their cuisine.
The fact is that our ideas about food change continuously.
One aspect of this change is that we expand our knowledge about styles of cooking from different countries. The other is that we are becoming more focused and informed on how nutrition affects our physical health.
But, just about when you think that you found your perfect diet, someone tells you that it is not the right way to eat.
It’s clear by now, and medical professionals agree, that if we want to stay healthy, we need to have a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
However, we run into a bit of a problem when we start to discuss other foods, like meat, dairy, grains and so on. It seems that even experts can’t sometimes agree on the principles of what makes up a balanced and healthy diet.
Recent research, for example, questions many things concerning food that were regarded as absolute truth. The result is that in the end, we have lots of unanswered nutrition questions and subsequent myths. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between true and false nutrition claims.
There are ideas about certain groups of food that mainstream science developed over the last decades. On the other hand, lately, we are hearing more about emerging contradictions to these concepts. Newer scientific studies are attempting to debunk all these ideas, like for example, the one about the direct link between salt and heart attacks for the overall population.
It can be challenging to wrap your mind around all this information and figure out what is right for you. Therefore, at Gym Expert, we’re going to try and answer some of the most common questions related to nutrition.
Top 5 Nutrition Questions Answered
We discussed these topics with some of the best experts that we could reach. After all the conversations we had, we decided to share with you our findings regarding the top 10 nutrition questions answered by nutrition professionals.
What about Grains?
This can be a bit confusing, and here’s why. When nutritionists tell you to eat grains, they have whole grains in mind. However, refined grains, that the majority of people in the west eat like white flour don’t practically have much nutritional value, and should not be consumed habitually.
The bottom line with grains is that they have been consumed for thousands of years by some of the longest living populations. The difference is that those populations always consumed grains that are minimally processed using traditional methods such as soaking, sprouting, fermenting and so on. You can read more about the truth on avoiding gluten and the best breads to buy here.
That being said, if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) then you may need to avoid gluten and sometimes all grains. With celiac disease gluten needs to be avoided for life whereas with NCGS in may be for a period of time.
Are Eggs Unhealthy?
We remember growing up with a warning concerning how many eggs we eat per day. The main reason for this was the belief that eggs are not the healthiest breakfast option as they are full of cholesterol which is harmful to the cardiovascular system. Did you know that an egg contains enough nutrients that are necessary to create an entire animal from a single cell?
If you think about it, then it’s not surprising that people also think of them as one of the most nutritious foods in the world. And the cholesterol? Well, new research has shown that healthy people don’t have to worry about the rise in their blood cholesterol levels if they are eating eggs. They raise the good HDL cholesterol while total and bad LDL cholesterol levels stay unchanged.
The story with eggs won’t end as the way our bodies respond to eggs as well as other foods that contain cholesterol and higher saturated fat content is very individual.
Bottom line, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to consuming eggs as part of a balanced diet.
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Should or Shouldn’t People Eat a Lot of Protein?
There is this idea that consuming a lot of protein damages the bones and kidneys. However, on the other hand we remember our grandmother telling us that we should drink our glass of milk or yogurt to have strong bones. So, what is the truth?
While it is true that high protein intake can increase calcium excretion in the urine in the short term that’s not a great indicator of calcium loss from the bones. Studies have shown that the long terms effects are very different. Researchers found out that high protein intake promotes bone health and doesn’t cause osteoporosis as some people would like us to believe.
Furthermore, when it comes to kidney problems, it is important to note that there is no evidence of damage in otherwise healthy individuals.
That being said you want to eat a balanced amount of all macronutrients, and you can find more information on how much protein you need here.
Should You Eat Small Amounts of Food Frequently?
This is an old idea based on a belief that eating often but small meals will speed up your metabolism. There have been numerous studies made where one group of participants ate three times per day, and the other ate the same amount of food divided into more meals.
There doesn’t seem to be a difference as long as the calories and quality of meals consumed are the same.
Some people may need to eat smaller meals more often due to digestive issues or reflux whereas others may be able to control blood sugar levels better with fewer meals. It’s very individual.
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Are Carbs and Sugar Evil?
The short answer is no.
There is no one food or food group that is bad for you. A diet should be looked at as a whole. Studies have shown that both low carb and low fat diets can have the same weight loss effects.
Carbs, gluten and even sugar as part of a balanced and sustainable diet is what matters. It’s time for us to start looking at diets as a whole, and not at their individual parts or nutrients. And, it’s also time to start personalizing diets to individuals. Yes, someone with celiac disease must cut out gluten and may need to avoid all grains for a period of time, someone with diabetes or metabolic syndrome may need to monitor their sugar and saturated fat intake more closely.
That being said, an excessive intake of added and processed sugars can have detrimental effects on our health, but that is typically combined with other lifestyle factors and is seldom the only thing to blame.
Choose healthier sources of carbohydrates to include in your diet. Choose those that are rich in fiber and vitamins, like for example whole grains, sweet potatoes and squash. Choose natural forms of sugar found in fruits, and use small amounts of added sugar such as honey and maple syrup to sweeten desserts.
We’ve come to the end of our little journey about some of the top nutrition questions. As you can see, there are a lot of arguments and counterarguments regarding the same things. In the end, we can say that the most important thing is to have a well-balanced diet, eat in moderation, add more fruits and veggies to your diet, and exercise regularly to maintain good health.
After working as a yoga trainer for close to six years and completing her dietetic internship, Lavera took a detour on her career path to pursue a role as a Marketing Manager for GrainStain Market, where she worked for three years before starting her private practice. Today, Lavera uses her skills in nutrition and movement therapy and marketing to run her practice where she helps people improve their relationship with food and their bodies so they can show up for what matters most in their life. Lavera is focusing on intuitive eating and movement, and weight inclusive wellness.
Moreover, Lavera has been writing for 4 years as a yoga and nutrition expert, now she works with gym-expert.com a regular writer, where she imparts knowledge to people from the lessons she gained through her personal experience.