The Best Advice for Healthy Eating in 2012

Salad plate

Over the years, many types of diet and healthy eating advice has competed for our attention. We’ve been told to cut calories, go “no carb,” eat like our ancestors, or add/subtract a variety of foods from our diet based on the opinion of the person giving the advice. It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new recommendation, a new super food, a new food villain that we have to worry about. For people that want to eat as healthy as possible, all the conflicting advice can be frustrating and confusing.

According to information from Harvard Medical School, relying on advice about the risks or benefits of individual nutrients is no longer the best advice for healthy eating. Rather than focusing on just reducing fat, or increasing fiber, or reducing cholesterol, the new way of thinking is all about synergy. In other words, the way the nutrients you eat interact with each other may be more important that just trying to focus on one piece of advice about the correct foods to eat or fads to follow.

This is great news for many people who are tired of trying to wade through all the conflicting advice out there, about carbs being bad (they’re not, as long as its the right kind), about salt being the enemy (some sodium is beneficial for muscle and nerve function), or about cutting out fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from plants and fish are good). In fact, this newest way of looking at healthy eating may just allow you to relax and not put so much pressure on yourself to make sure you are sticking to the “right” diet or cutting out the “wrong” foods.

They say variety is the spice of life, and nowhere is this more true than eating healthy. As long as you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and good fats, your body will do most of the work of using those beneficial nutrients for you. In addition to choosing a wide range of healthy, colorful foods, the importance of limiting certain items can’t be overlooked. Choosing less red meats, processed meats, highly refined carbs, and liquid calories will provide great benefits to your health and your waistline. In fact, in a 2011 Harvard study, sugar sweetened drinks were most strongly linked to weight gain in healthy men and women. So it seems that the newest healthy eating advice is to relax and not get caught up in trying to eat “right,” but to instead focus on making the best choices for your own individual health, which is advice that just makes sense, when you think about it!

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