One of my favourite components of being a dietitian is educating group diet courses, whether or not at workplaces, hospital wellness clinics or group facilities. I take pleasure in answering widespread meals and well being questions, and I typically shock folks with info that run counter to their long-held beliefs. Some diet questions are asked so frequently that I believed it will be useful to share them and the answers right here.
1. Is vegetarian (or keto, or …) the easiest way to eat?
In any given class, the topic could also be “keto” or “the Mediterranean diet” or “vegetarian,” and the reply is at all times the identical: There’s not one finest solution to eat. We are all completely different, and it will be unimaginable to decide on one plan that may be proper for everybody. The finest plan for you is the one which meets your medical and dietary wants whereas additionally being reasonably priced, accessible, pleasurable and one thing you possibly can follow for the long run. Sometimes that will not be clear, however seeing a dietitian may also help you work it out.
2. Is sugar (or salt, or fats) the most important drawback in our diets?
No single nutrient or ingredient is the reason for poor diets. We reside in an surroundings the place extremely palatable and low cost meals is out there all over the place. Pizza, chips, pastries and soda are dietary staples, and the common American will get virtually 60% of their day by day energy from such ultra-processed meals. What’s most problematic is consuming an excessive amount of of these ultra-processed meals and never sufficient complete meals (similar to greens, fish and nuts) over a protracted time frame.
three. Do microwaves trigger most cancers?
Many have asked concerning the security of utilizing these home equipment to heat up final evening’s lasagna. They fear after they hear the phrase “radiation.” Although radiation could also be linked to broken cells and an elevated most cancers danger when it’s excessive frequency and there’s extended publicity (assume gamma rays and a few ultraviolet radiation), microwaves use low-frequency radiation for brief durations. Microwaves function solely when the oven is on and the door is shut — so they aren’t consistently emitting radiation. Well-functioning microwaves are deemed protected by the World Health Organization and the World Cancer Research Fund, so long as the door closes correctly and the microwave has no dents or leaks.
four. Do I must drink eight glasses of water day by day?
Drinking water is important as a result of we lose fluid day-after-day by sweating, urinating and respiratory. But how can it’s potential that every one in all us — no matter age, gender, measurement, exercise stage and weight loss program — requires eight glasses per day? The reply: It’s not. That quantity comes from a 1945 U.S. Food and Nutrition Board suggestion, which was not primarily based on analysis. And it didn’t suggest ingesting solely water for hydration; it famous that fluid can come from different drinks and meals, too. So, there’s no scientific foundation for the “eight glasses” quantity. In most circumstances, thirst is your finest indicator that you just want a drink. If that sense is compromised, hold drinks seen so that you keep in mind to sip all through the day. Exactly how a lot to drink isn’t a static quantity for everybody.
5. Is meals labeled “organic” extra nutritious?
Organic refers to a way of farming, however it’s not a well being declare. An natural brand tells you nothing concerning the energy, fats, salt, sugar or vitamin content material of meals. A cake made with natural white flour, natural sugar and natural butter remains to be cake — it’s not out of the blue “healthy cake” as a result of the elements had been grown utilizing natural farming strategies. Nutritious meals — whether or not conventionally or organically grown — are those who present the physique with fiber, nutritional vitamins, minerals, protein and different key vitamins.
6. Should I keep away from fruit as a result of it has an excessive amount of sugar?
The No. 1 supply of added sugar for Americans, offering 47% of the sugar of their weight loss program, is sweetened drinks — objects similar to soda, lemonade, fruit punch and vitality drinks. Fruit supplies 1% of the added sugars Americans devour. (Note: Health recommendation to restrict “added sugar” doesn’t apply to the pure sugar in fruit.) Even if Americans met their day by day fruit consumption — and 88% don’t — it wouldn’t come near the amount of sugar we get from ultra-processed meals and drinks. If it is advisable to in the reduction of on sugar, swap sweetened drinks for water. Keep having fun with fruit, and purpose for one or two cups per day.
7. Do I’ve to drink milk to get calcium?
Dairy merchandise similar to milk, cheese and yogurt are an important supply of calcium, with about 250 to 350 milligrams per serving. (Adults require 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, relying on age and gender.) Dairy merchandise are definitely a straightforward and handy solution to get sufficient calcium, however they’re not the one manner. Fortified plant-based drinks (similar to these constructed from almonds, oats, cashews, and many others.) even have 300 milligrams of calcium per cup, as does a serving of canned salmon or sardines, so long as you eat the bones. Foods similar to kale, almonds, white beans and tofu have about 100 milligrams of calcium per serving, and broccoli clocks in at 40 milligrams per cup. The backside line: Milk isn’t important, however calcium is. With some aware planning, you may get sufficient calcium whether or not your weight loss program contains dairy or not.
eight. Are contemporary greens higher than frozen?
The dietary variations between contemporary, frozen and canned greens is minuscule. Only 9% of Americans get sufficient greens day by day, so it’s far more necessary to devour any greens, in any state. Vegetables are crammed with nutritional vitamins, minerals and fiber, which assist cut back the danger of growing coronary heart illness, Type 2 diabetes and a few sorts of most cancers. The finest recommendation is to purchase no matter greens you possibly can supply and afford, after which put together them in methods you take pleasure in most.
9. Is discarding the salt shaker sufficient to chop sodium consumption?
People could also be instructed to slash sodium consumption when battling coronary heart or kidney issues, however skipping a sprinkle of salt isn’t sufficient. Only 11% of the sodium we devour comes from salt that’s added on the desk or when cooking. A whopping 71% of sodium comes from processed, packaged and restaurant meals. (The relaxation is of course occurring in objects similar to milk, water and greens.) If it is advisable to minimize salt, select contemporary and complete meals over packaged merchandise and quick meals. When that’s not potential, examine meals labels on comparable merchandise, and select the choice with decrease sodium.
10. Will consuming soy give males “man boobs”?
Soy comprises an estrogen-like compound that weakly mimics human estrogen, which makes some males involved that consuming soy will trigger enlarged breasts. We can hint this again to a 2008 case examine in a medical journal, which described a person who did develop breasts after ingesting soy, however he was consuming upward of 12 servings of soy meals day by day. Once he decreased his consumption, his breasts disappeared. Guidelines counsel that one or two servings of soy meals per day is ok, so be happy to take pleasure in some edamame or a tofu stir-fry, so long as the serving measurement stays average.
Rosenbloom is a registered dietitian and co-author of “Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans.”