Diet crazes come and go, but the science of how to eat healthy hasn’t actually changed that much in recent years.
We hear a lot of conflicting advice on whether the latest diet is better than the last, yet there’s at least one sentence that nutrition experts agree on.
A healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.
That’s it. Pretty simple, right?
A group of top nutritionists and doctors reaffirmed their unified support for this single sentence in an otherwise contentious meeting last week, STAT reported. The group added that steering people toward sustainable food was important, as well.
The point of the conference was to find some consensus on nutrition advice, particularly because what we hear in the media is so conflicting. Every day it seems another headline says butter is bad, and red wine and chocolate are good. Then the next day, there’s a story with the opposite conclusion.
It often appears as if nutrition experts, researchers, and scientific studies just can’t agree. But that’s mostly because dietary science can be difficult — studies can come to different conclusions if they don’t last long enough, or include enough people, or a wide enough variety of people, for example. And most large nutrition studies can only show dietary patterns that are associated with certain health effects; it’s much harder to say what’s actually causing the observed outcomes.
Another simple, common-sense statement researchers agreed on at the conference last week was this one:
Food can and should be:
• Good for human health
• Good for the planet (sustainability; ecosystem conservation; biodiversity)
• And simply … good — unapologetically delicious
So don’t apologise for eating delicious food. Just make sure it falls under the sweeping, and simple, recommendations that science actually supports.
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