Will common sense ever prevail? We’ve all seen stories on the news about a new miracle food. “Eat more carrots and your eyesight will improve,” or “Eating raspberries reduces heart disease, cancer, etc…” and what about the reports on wine and alcohol consumption? Is a glass of wine good for your health or bad? It is easy for physicians and the news media to describe foods as good or bad, but most nutritionists realize there are no such things – only good diets and bad diets. Regardless of whether the news reports are based on fact or fiction, what’s important to realize is that no single food will bring you good health or destroy your health.
Unfortunately people persist in classifying foods as healthy or unhealthy. Relying on various media and advertising adds to the confusion as terminology used implies that a food is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on which term is used to describe the food. For example, ‘starch is bad because it makes you fat’, but ‘complex carbohydrates are good because they contain fiber and take longer to digest’. Look up starch in a nutrition textbook and you’ll find out that it is defined as a complex carbohydrate. Here’s another one, ‘calories are bad because they make you fat’; ‘energy is good because it gives you stamina to finish your activities’. The reality is that a calorie is a unit used to measure energy; the same way inches or miles measure distance.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Classifying a food or nutrient as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and reducing concepts in nutrition to the most simple terms is usually not going to give you a correct answer. These oversimplifications are not only incorrect, but in the long run detract from achieving balanced nutrition.
Although nutrition and diet shouldn’t be oversimplified, it also doesn’t need to be rocket science either. A good diet is about sensible choices and choosing foods that are nutrient dense. The more nutrients you can include in your diet the more balanced your nutrition will be. You can achieve balanced nutrition most easily by including a wide variety of foods in your diet and choosing appropriate, high-quality nutritional supplements.