General Health Wednesday September 30, 2015

Nutrition Trends: Healthy or Harmful?

There's always a food trend underway. Whether inspired by a celeb or by some doom-mongering report we're forever pulled in one diet direction or another.

Food fads, super-foods, free-radicals, Paleo, I'm not even sure what these mean, but surely the key to eating well is to eat non-processed foods, fruit, veggies, low fat meats and fish plus eggs and cheese. No? Perhaps I just accidently created a food fad there. I must be missing something, so let's take a look.

Grazing?

Is eating all the time a good thing? Grazing is fine for cows, but not for us. We overeat when we don't pay attention to our food, so don't eat in front of the TV and computer. Make mealtimes a proper sit down and enjoy your food occasion.

Don't Eat After 7?

If you are hungry and it's healthy, then why not? We all have different routines, fitness and activity levels. No one time suits us all. OK, eating crisps at 9pm when you are not hungry is pointless and a sure route to obesity, but it's just as bad at 9am.

Slimming Smoothies?

Or the 'Buy Our Expensive Processed Milkshake' fad, as it should be called. If you want a smoothie make one with a processor, skimmed milk and some fresh fruit.

Extreme Flavours?

Since when did sun-warmed tomatoes stop tasting good? Since Pringles brought out a cheeseburger flavoured version, and Pizza Hut overwhelmed us with bacon, pepperoni, parmesan and pretzel pizzas, that's when. Those foods are fine on occasion, but it does make the humble tomato taste, well, a bit boring doesn't it? And what a Cronut is, I don't want to know.

Bare Food?

This fad sounds OK, until you realise that there's not much pleasure going on. Healthy eating is taking off in a big way, especially the foodie scene in London, which is going gluten free, sugar free, dairy free. Gwyneth Paltrow must be cackling with glee. But shouldn't eating be fun? An occasional treat to keep us happy is healthy surely? Life is supposed to have fun bits.

Carbohydrate Free?

If you have food intolerances maybe it's the way to go, but no diet should miss out any particular food group. Experts say the brain alone uses 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. Where's that coming from if you don't eat any?

Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is eating what Palaeolithic man ate; that's hunted, fished and gathered foods. It's good because it cuts out sweet stuff and processed foods, but it also cuts out dairy, grains and beans. Eating like Palaeolithic man is fine if you are Palaeolithic man. Remember they chased down organic healthy deer with a club. Have you ever done that?


Food fads are here to stay. A bit like the British rain, occasionally they make us panic and buy a canoe, but what we need to do is hold a steady line. Eat a bit of everything in moderation. Make fruit and veggies your largest intake - and don't make some corporation rich by following their latest food craze.

I don't understand why we can't do it without celebrity endorsement. Maybe we're morphing into sheep. Next thing we'll be eating grass because an overpaid actor told us to.

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