Tuesday, January 29, 2013

So, you think you know everything about which foods are good and bad?

Do you think you know what's healthy and what isn't?  We get mixed messages every day, so do you really think you know what you should and shouldn't eat?  I mean, last year Doctor Oz was all about coconut oil, and already this year he seems to be obsessed with red palm oil instead.  Another example; when I was growing up margarine was the better alternative to butter, but now if I do a demo with margarine at work people give me the evil eye (no joke).
Source: iStock Photo

Should food cause anxiety? No, but for many of us it does.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just eat food because we enjoy it, and not have to have a million messages coming at us from every angle about why we should or shouldn't be eating it?  My goal has always been to keep nutrition simple.  I don't like to give foods titles like "good" and "bad", instead I like to say certain foods are just better.

I digress....The point of this post is to share with you some information about food that you may have thought you knew, but really didn't.  The point isn't to confuse you more but instead to teach you that if you hear one thing is "true", it doesn't always mean it is!  You are allowed to make your own decisions as to why you do or do not eat certain foods, but you need to make sure those reasons are valid, and you didn't just make up your mind based on one article or one rumor or what one doctor told you on TV.  I've been guilty of being fooled by "one small rumor" myself, but when it comes to the dynamic field of nutrition you can never take one person's word for it, you have to look at the whole picture and make sure you remind yourself that just like we shouldn't judge people based on one thing we've heard about them, we shouldn't judge food either.  Similarly, just because a person has one "flaw" doesn't mean they are a bad person, they might also have some great qualities.  It's the same case with food! One "bad" nutrition quality doesn't always make the food a bad choice (ahem...tilapia!).

Want some examples?  Read this article, titled "What you Think You Know, But Don't, About Wise Eating".  A few points from the article;




  • Cured Meats:  Avoiding nitrates and nitrates in your processed meats?  Good, you should. But did you know the labels aren't always the best way to find out if your meats are free of these possible carcinogens?  Yeah, even your "Organic and uncured" processed meats may still contain them, and in high amounts!  Read the article to see how.  The bottom line is, not matter what, processed meats are best consumed in moderation (and I know, I know, "moderation" is an ambiguous word, but in this case I would say once a week, at most) because of their high sodium content.


  • Trans Fat: Did you know that there are some forms of trans fat that actually aren't harmful?  Yeah, I didn't either.  Some of these forms can be added to things like dairy products and fruit juices, without causing the harm that "partially or hydrogenated oils" can cause.  Who knew?!  In fact, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which may possibly help with weight control and cancer prevention (according to some studies) is a trans fat.  So if you see trans fat on your food label, be sure to make sure it isn't coming from hydrogenated oils.
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Source: iStock Photo
     
  • Farmed Salmon:  Worried about how your farm-raised salmon got so pink?  I've heard customers at work tell me they refuse to buy farm-raised salmon because "they are fed dye that turns them pink".  Well it's true they are fed something that helps give them their color, but it's not dye, it's typically a commercially made antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is found in algae.  This same antioxidant is what gives wild salmon its color too!
  • Nuts:  They are SO high in FAT!  So they must make us fat, right?! Wrong, actually. According to the article, there is research to support that people who eat nuts and nut butter (in normal amounts, not tons and tons!) each day typically weigh less than those who don't eat them.   Not only are nuts full of heart-healthy fats, but they also contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  And if you like almonds, you may be pleased to find out that they were recently found to contain less calories than originally thought.  Wahoo!



Another great way to get confused really fast is to only "skim" an article.  I saw this article the other day, titled "The Best and the Worst Seafood Choices"  I made sure to read every word, rather than just skim their list of "6 fish to put on the table and 6 to pass up".  One of the six fish to pass up was a farm-raised salmon, but I noticed that the words "most" and "often" were used throughout, meaning they were making generalizations.  I buy my seafood from reputable suppliers, who follow strict rules when it comes to who and where they buy their fish.  They only purchase from suppliers who use sustainable practices, and I know this because I've done the research.  You can too.  This way you will feel better about what you are buying.

QUESTION: Have you ever read something about a certain food only to find out later that the information wasn't true or the truth was stretched?  Has food ever caused you anxiety??



On a personal note, I'm turning 30 tomorrow.  Yep, you read that right, the big 3-0.  Nick is making me dinner and I can't wait to see (and taste) what he makes!  Then Friday night we are having a party at our favorite local Irish Pub, followed by a weekend trip on Saturday 2 hours north for a stay in the same Bed and Breakfast where Prince Charles and Camilla stayed one time.  It should be fun.  Turning 30 is no biggie, I'm excited.  Bring it on thirties!



Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd
NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.



13 comments :

  1. GREAT POST GINA! I get so frustrated with this and I may have to follow you up with some thoughts of my own. I have a squirming baby in my lap though so for now, let's jsut say I'll respond on my own blog! Love it!

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  2. Great post! This makes me think of eggs. It seems they were on very good, very bad, and very good lists - as if there's no middle ground.

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  3. I agree that there is a lot of conflicting information out there and that it is important to educate yourself. Personally, I have found that if I stick to whole foods and eat things in moderation I feel best and I am not so worried when 5 years from now the big discovery is that some of the foods I have been eating aren't quite as healthy as was once thought...

    Happy, happy early Birthday! :) Have fun celebrating and enjoy that birthday meal Nick is cooking for you!

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  4. When I was a bit more into the thick of eating clean and stuff, there would be times that I would be hungry but wouldn't be able to talk myself into anything... plants are covered in pesticides, meats have hormones, won't eat anything synthetic like a protein shake, supplements or anything. Grains are full of glutens and terrible terrible carbs. That is according to everything I was reading.

    Starting over now... I'm going to do what I can to reduce that anxiety.

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  5. Happy Birthday!!! :D Great post!

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  6. Dr Oz is a shill who would happily promote paint thinner as a weight-loss aid if the industry lined his pockets to do. All we can do is use the best information available -- and our common sense -- to make the best food choices we can. Shop the perimeter of the market, buy local and fresh when and if you can, avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, ingredients that clearly are not food, soda, and anything Paula Deen ever made. Eat whole foods that you enjoy, simply prepared, in appropriate quantities. Drink a lot of water. Live by Pollan: Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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    1. lol. you're right, he WOULD promote paint thinner if it would help HIS bottom line. And i think the saddest part about it is that people would actually listen. Yikes.
      I love Michael Pollan.

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  7. The food industry IS confusing, I'm so glad I have you to explain things to me :) haha. What is considered "processed" meat? Is that like ground turkey? Or more like turkey burgers?

    HAPPY 30th Birthday!!!! It sounds like you have a LOT of fun stuff planned! I am glad you have such a great attitude about turning 30. I hate when people are like "woe is me I'm turning 30" haha 30 is NOT old!

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    1. Hey Kelly, ground turkey is generally not processed. Typically that's just turkey, that has been ground. They may add some other ingredients sometimes, but I don't consider it processed. Even turkey burgers are typically not highly processed. But this depends on the brand I guess. Now...turkey bacon and turkey sausage, those are different stories! They typically have nitrates added (and a lot more sodium!)

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  8. happy birthday Gina!!! welcome to the 30s club, it's a wonderful age to be!!! :D

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  9. I feel bad for consumers. So much leading information from the marketing campaigns,crazy off the wall food recommendations from media,conflicting 'evidence' from research. I'm confused and I'm a dietitian!! ;)
    Happy Bday to you Gina. WootWoot! 30...that was my best bday party ever!!! Have super fun!! xoxox

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  10. Well said! Those "Best and Worse" articles always drive me a little crazy-like you siad, you never get the big picture just by skimming the article. Ahh....to be 30 again :-) Sounds like you have a wonderful celebration planned-enjoy the big three oh!!!

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