Apr 17 2014
During a conversation with a friend last week, it struck me that the press is doing little good when it comes to helping us know what we should (or shouldn’t be eating). As someone who has always been conscious of her food choices, exercised and maintained a healthy weight, my…
During a conversation with a friend last week, it struck me that the press is doing little good when it comes to helping us know what we should (or shouldn’t be eating). As someone who has always been conscious of her food choices, exercised and maintained a healthy weight, my friend said that the information out there was ‘confusing’ and ‘often contradictory’.
We regularly hear about the negative impacts of certain foods and food groups, but rarely does something make the headlines for it’s benefits. So if we went by everything we read, we’d be cutting food groups – dairy, red meat, carbs – out of our diet left, right and centre. But what are we supposed to replace them with? And how much of what we read is actually true?
Any article or diet plan that suggests you cut out whole food groups from your diet is both unhealthy and unsustainable. So here are a 3 foods that you may have been told you should not eat, but I’m going to tell you how you can still enjoy them, whilst staying healthy and losing weight!
Apparently eating red meat can cause cancer. A recent Telegraph article discussed the correlation between red meat and cancer, however correlation does not equal causation. For example vegans and vegetarian may generally live healthier lives (exercise, low stress jobs, live in areas with green space), decreasing their likelihood of cancer. Eating a lot of processed meat will cause cancer; that’s your cheap bacon, burgers and kebabs, not a juicy piece of rump steak.
Especially within The City people do not eat enough protein, and the health issues that arise from a diet that is too low in protein far outweigh any of the health issues that might arise from the consumption of red meat.
Red meat is loaded with nutrients like, carnitine, carnosine, CLA and creatine, as well as B12 that can not be found in plant foods. In fact, most adults in the UK are severely deficient in the mineral zinc and vitamin B12, and with just 100g of beef containing over 30% of the recommended daily allowance, it’s benefits are not to be sniffed at.
Solution – Favour good quality cuts of beef, veal, venison and pork over processed meats such as sausages. If you do eat burgers or sausages, go for the highest possible meat percentage you can get hold of and when buying red meat, opt for the grass fed, organic varieties.
Low carb diets have been all the rage for the last few years; cut out the bread, pastas, rice and you’ll drop 2 dress sizes in no time! But do they work because they are low carb? No! When you look at the facts, they don’t really work at all. When you cut carbs from your diet, you lose the water that the carbohydrates hold onto in your body – a perceived ‘weight’ loss to start. You take away the carbs, you take away your brain fuel. Your stress levels go up, and in turn your body holds onto fat – because when stress levels are high, your body is not able to divert it’s energy to fat burning and other ‘non essential’ functions.
Keeping some carbs in your diet is important, as it’ll stop your cravings and keep your energy levels up. The problem is that we over consume these carbs leading to an excess of energy needing to be stored as glycogen and fat.
Solution – Have a portion of protein (a serving the size of your palm for the ladies, twice this for the men) alongside your rice. Ensure that the carbs take up less space on your plate than the protein and go for a wild rice.
Perhaps the most controversial of all – there is no limit to how many eggs you can eat in a week, eggs do not raise cholesterol and will not cause heart disease! This is pretty simple – eggs are the most digestible and complete protein on the planet and are the perfect food for anyone trying to watch their weight.
Eggs are particularly rich in the two antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine; these antioxidants gather in the retina of the eye and protect against the eye diseases macular degeneration and cataracts. The latest research also shows that eggs benefit cholesterol levels, raising your good (HDL) cholesterol, and contain all the 9 essential amino acids our body needs.
Solution – Start your day well with eggs for breakfast; opt for organic or omega-3 enriched eggs where you can as these are far more nutritious than those from factory raised chickens. Always eat the yolks because that’s the bit that contains almost all the nutrients!
So there you have it. Don’t believe everything you read (unless it comes from us of course!) Food is about enjoyment as well as good health, and its important to keep a healthy relationship with your food. Unless you have a particular intolerance or you react badly to a particular food, then you will feel better the more varied your diet is.