Another post in honor of National Nutrition Month – this one examining the confusion about what’s healthy to eat and what’s not. This intro from the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) in Oxford, England, tells it all:
It seems that everyday we are faced with new advice on what we should or should not eat. Sometimes this advice comes from government departments and agencies. On other occasions it is provided by charitable bodies, consumer groups or individuals whose credentials range from substantial to very dubious. At worst the guidance comes from those who have no qualifications at all but simply pursue untested and often quite dangerous medical and nutritional philosophies.
The result of this daily diet of conflicting ‘advice’ is confusion and anxiety. If we were to follow even a fraction of the guidance we are given we would swing from one faddist eating pattern to another, and end up both unhealthy and quite miserable.
They go on to provide a ‘timeline’ of dietary advice beginning as far back as prehistoric times where they recount how our earliest ancestors, through a process of trial and error (personally discovering which foods made you sick and which didn’t), learned how to eat to best survive. The timeline goes through to 2003, and according to SIRC, is being updated constantly to provide insight into the vagaries of nutrition advice through the ages. Definitely a remarkable read for the nutrition-interested among us.
Here’s how they close their introductory page:
Perhaps the only consistent strand that emerges from the Timeline is that ‘healthy’ eating involves a variety of foods. If we set aside the idea that there is such a thing as a ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ food, and instead eat a wide range of foods, then we might just end up with a diet that is not only balanced and reasonably healthy but also enjoyable. It could also be that deriving pleasure from food, rather than living in fear of it, might soon be shown to be a critical factor in a truly healthy lifestyle.
Hmmmm….now there’s some healthy eating advice that sounds familiar.