Learning about Nutrition

Hi everybody!  Happy Tuesday!  It’s been snowing here in D.C. again today… When will spring make up its mind to be spring and not winter?

Today, I wanted to share two articles on nutrition that I came across recently.

Since I started diligently watching my intake about a month ago, I’ve made some great changes to my eating habits. I used to chronically overeat for no real reason, and my food choices were never very good. (I even used to eat cake and cookies for breakfast until my husband caught me a few years ago!)

But even more than a new consciousness about portion sizes and watching my intake of fried foods and sweets, I’ve started to become conscious of the particular nutrients that are in foods. This is what Weight Watchers always tried to encourage, but for some reason, it is easier for me to be aware of it now — even while knowing that calorie count is the bottom line when it comes to weight gain or loss.

Last week, I found an article from Self magazine on “20 Superfoods for Weight Loss.” Here are some of the nutritional powerhouses recommended for health and satiety — which I’ve actually eaten in the last seven days:

  • Salmon: “Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns.”
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Avocado: “Don’t let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you—that’s what makes it a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety. And it’s terrific party food.”
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Olive Oil
  • Lentils: “Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. Eating them helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.”
  • Parmesan

There are also some new-to-me foods on the list that I’d like to try, including almond butter and goji berries.

I also found another great article on nutrition yesterday from the Atlantic: “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food.” From the article:

Scientific publisher “Annual Reviews” asked [Dr. David] Katz [of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center] to compare the medical evidence for and against every mainstream diet. He says they came to him because of his penchant for dispassionate appraisals. “I don’t have a dog in the fight,” he told me. “I don’t care which diet is best. I care about the truth.”

Katz and Yale colleague Stephanie Meller published their findings in the current issue of the journal in a paper titled, “Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?” In it, they compare the major diets of the day: Low carb, low fat, low glycemic, Mediterranean, mixed/balanced (DASH), Paleolithic, vegan, and elements of other diets. . . .  They conclude that no diet is clearly best, but there are common elements across eating patterns that are proven to be beneficial to health. “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

The article also gives a shout out to Michael Pollan, a whole-foods advocate:

A nod to the fact that popular media is not totally lost, Katz borrows from the writer Michael Pollan, citing a seminal 2007 “New York Times Magazine” article on “nutritionism” in concluding that the mantra, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” is sound. “That’s an excellent idea, and yet somehow it turns out to be extremely radical.”

Though Katz also says it isn’t nearly enough. “That doesn’t help you pick the most nutritious bread, or the best pasta sauce. A member of the foodie elite might say you shouldn’t eat anything from a bag, box, bottle, jar, or can.” That’s admittedly impractical. “We do need to look at all the details that populate the space between where we are and where we want to be.”

Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food is basically an expanded version of the New York Times Magazine article.  I have it and need to re-read it.

I have a long way to go on this subject, especially in the processed foods department, but I’m happy that I’m learning! Somehow, I made it past high school and college without really digesting (pardon the pun) much of this information.

Do you have any favorite nutrition resources?  I’d love to hear about them!

Have you always been conscious of your eating habits, or is it something you’ve had to work on?

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2 thoughts on “Learning about Nutrition

  1. Being more conscious of my eating habits is something I am constantly working on and it can definitely be a struggle. I feel pretty good about knowing what I should be eating, but knowing this information and applying it are two very different things!

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