Diet is one of the most important aspects of health because what you eat influences how your body develops. The right foods can help you to feel energetic and build muscles while the wrong foods can result in obesity and other health problems. Unfortunately, it is difficult to figure out what the right foods are when there is so much conflicting information. Christopher Gardner, one of Stanford’s nutrition professors, shares his advice about common diets.
Stanford Nutrition Professor Challenges Common Food Myths
In his article, Gardner tackles the low-carb craze that first started a few years ago. He points out that this can lead to people avoiding healthy carbohydrates found in vegetables like butternut squash, bell peppers, leafy green vegetables, and tomatoes. According to Gardner, low carb diets just work because it prevents people from eating processed, sugary carbs like bread, cookies, cake, and crackers.
He encourages people to eat carbohydrates as long as the carbs do not come from refined flour. These low carb diets have lead to a focus on protein that is excessive. Gardner finds that most Americans end up eating at least double their daily recommended amount of protein each day. All of this excessive protein is unnecessary for anyone except extreme bodybuilders and athletes. Most people just need about 56 grams of protein per day which can easily be found from even a vegan diet.
Gardner also points out that Americans have a massive sugar problem. People should only be getting less than 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar, but most get at least 16 percent. Instead of limiting carbs and increasing protein intake, the nutrition professor says that people should focus on limiting sugar and increasing fiber intake. Fiber is indigestible carbs that pass through the gastrointestinal system without being broken down into energy. This encourages healthy probiotics to flourish in the gut and keeps people feeling full and satisfied after a meal.
The Future of Health Trends
Gardner is not the only nutritional expert who has been speaking out against the excessive protein and sugar in American diets lately. Some cardiologists are warning patients to avoid paleo and ketogenic diets unless they are very obese. Though these diets may help to lose weight, meals packed with saturated fat are also linked to heart issues. Sugar has long been criticized by nutritionists, but Americans are finally starting to realize that it is extremely problematic.
New regulations require manufacturers to post the recommended daily value of sugar on nutrition labels, so many people are realizing that even a can of soda contains far too much sugar. Vegetarianism and veganism seem to be gaining in momentum lately, so diets of nothing but animal protein may be a thing of the past soon. More people are starting to express concern over the way animals are treated, and these ethical worries are causing some to turn to veganism.
The new trend towards plant-based meals is also encouraged by environmentalists who have shown that raising animals for meat wastes water and increases greenhouse gas emissions. All of these shifting health trends may lead towards a new focus on less sugar and animal proteins.
Finding a Diet That Is Right for You
There is a lot of misinformation being spread through the internet, and it can be difficult to tell whether a diet is a fad or sound nutritional advice. When in doubt, remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is not accurate. Instead of crazily restricting or consuming a particular food group, try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of variety, fresh foods, and nutrition.