by Adam Sayih, CSCS
While there’s always new fitness trends and patterns, the one that irks me the most lately is demonizing health food. One day spinach is bad, next day its almonds, then bananas, etc. What the hell are we supposed to eat then? It’s safe to say that most of the foods you identified as healthy your whole life are indeed healthy.
But I heard…
Whenever I do a diet assessment with a client, more often than not they lack fruits and vegetables. Once I prescribe a heavy dose of veggies and reintroduce fruits back into their life I usually get: “but aren’t fruits bad?” “Don’t fruits make you fat?” “Isn’t salad bad because of the dressing?” “Don’t vegetables give you kidney stones?” “Doesn’t protein give you cancer?” “Don’t blueberries have pesticides?” The problem is that a lot of information out there just doesn’t digest well with the general population.
“Don’t fruits make you fat?” Too much of anything will make you fat. Eat 100 apples a day, you might get fat. Eat an apple a day and you’ll get receive all those health benefits you forgot fruits had.
“Isn’t salad bad because of the dressing?” Salads have a bad rap these days. If a salad dressing has 500 calories, then you should probably choose another salad dressing, not throw out salads all together.
“Don’t blueberries have pesticides?” Pesticides and fruits are a hot topic right now, but does that mean you should avoid fruits entirely because ingesting a microscopic amount of pesticides will outweigh the health benefits and you should eat a cake instead? Probably not.
Health food, Junk food, which is worse?
With the amount of articles I see daily criticizing some component of a healthy food, we often forget that junk food is where the sights should be focused. It’s easy to write an article saying that deep fried donuts aren’t the best food choice, but people know this and would rather read about some phytochemical in strawberries that will make them fat overnight (I just made that up). It’s gotten to the point where gurus are trying to one up each other on who can make what previously-thought healthy food will give you the most cancer in the quickest time possible. When we’re so focused on where our bananas came from or how much gluten you ate last week (that you aren’t even allergic to), we don’t bat an eye when the weekend comes around and we load up on soda, fried everything, and alcohol.
Stop eating in fear
Usain Bolt reportedly eats 20 McNuggets before every race
Like I said earlier, nutrition can be very complex but for most of us, it doesn’t need to be. Just because people with Celiac Disease don’t eat gluten doesn’t mean you have to live in fear of that terrifying wheat protein. Just because your paleo friend is shredded doesn’t mean you can’t eat peanuts. Just because your bodybuilder friend avoids milk doesn’t mean it’ll make you fat. For every person that’s jacked and tan and avoids a certain food, you’ll find another jacked and tan person that uses that same food as a staple. Realize that every food has it’s role. Don’t fear food, instead pick the right foods best suited for your goals. Food is great.
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