There’s an interesting (to me, at least) debate going on at the FoodNetwork.com Healthy Eats blog (http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/06/22/14-foods-experts-do-not-eat/). Toby Amidor RD interviewed several registered dietitians (RDs) and then wrote a blog about what foods dietitians do NOT eat. The blog has generated a lot of responses: fake foods, high fructose corn syrup, margarine, frozen dinners, fried chicken....
While some RDs stay clear of, let’s say, artificial sweeteners, others respond the American Dietetic Association’s Position Stand says they are well tested, safe and a fine alternative to sugar….even professionals disagree on many topics! For me, the debate points out food is like a religion. You want to believe in the healthfulness and/or healing powers of what you put into your body. The placebo effect can also comes into play. That is, if you believe a food is good for you, it will (hopefully) conjure up positive health benefits.
My message to you, the confused consumer, is to take all the nutrition information that comes your way, digest it thoughtfully, and decide which foods fit into your value system—and which “nutrition religion” you want to follow. FYI, all the conflicting information also confuses me! I struggle to separate out the political leanings of the “food conservatives” vs. the “food extremists.” You know: “the commercial food supply is safe” vs. “eat only organically grown foods.” I do know we will unlikely go wrong with “home cooked, locally grown.” On that parting note, I encourage you to support your local Farmer’s Market this summer!
All too often, clients come to me whining they have failed to lose weight, even though they have stopped eating "junk foods." Now, they are eating only "healthy foods." They thought hamburgers, fries, and ice cream were making them fat, so they deleted those foods and replaced them with salads (with lots of dressing), trail mix, and protein shakes. Make that, lots of salad, bags of trail mix, and super-sized protein shakes. Little do they realize, excess calories from "healthy foods" can be just as fattening as calories from "junk foods."
If you want to trim some undesired body fat, your best bet is, indeed, to knock off the excess calories of soft drinks, fried foods, and sweets. Theoretically, eating just 100 fewer calories at the end of the day can contribute to loss of 10 pounds of fat per year. But be sure to count the calories in "healthy foods." .... they can contribute to fat-gain, too. You can gain weight by eating too much fruit, just as you can gain weight by eating too many cookies.
Try to enjoy a food plan that is 85-90% "healthy" foods and 10-15% "whatever". Some days "whatever" might be berries; other days, "whatever" might be blueberry pie. Enjoy the balance.
For more information on how to choose a balanced sports diet that will support your goals: