Every day we hear something new about nutrition. with information coming at us from every direction, it often seems like something is good for one day but reported as unhealthy the next. It’s easy to get confused about what is nutrition and what is not. One thing that’s important to keep straight is that whole foods are much better for you then processed foods, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up processed food altoghether.
Not everything that is permitted is also harmless to health. In fast food, for example, there is more fat hidden than can be seen.
Eating healthy does NOT have to be boring. There is a massive amount of foods out there that are both healthy and tasty.
5 servings of fruit and vegetables, but only 6 grams of salt daily? Is that still true? Constantly new tips on the subject of nutrition – who is still looking through them? Listening summarizes the latest studies in six simple formulas.
Who eats, wants to become full. Sure, but we should still be aware that eating is much more than just stopping hunger. It is the fuel of our body. Carbohydrates supply muscles, nerves and brain with energy. Protein forms the basic building blocks for organs and hormones. Vitamins and minerals are essential for growth, bones and the immune system.
Too little, but also too many nutrients can unbalance the body. This can sometimes be seen quickly – on the scales, for example. Often, however, the consequences are noticed much later. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you eat. On the contrary, it is important to eat consciously. Easier said than done, because you often hear contradictory recommendations. First it is said that fat is unhealthy, then it is relativized, it depends on the type of fat. Some recommend several portions of fruit and vegetables a day, others warn against too much of the good.
HÖRZU has summarized the latest scientific findings in six simple nutrition formulas:
1. Sugar: Attention, Danger of Addiction!
This is how it works in the body: sugar is the most important source of energy for body cells. However, if you take in more of it than you consume, it is converted into fat – resulting in weight gain. And not only that: too much sugar also makes you ill. “It reduces life expectancy, (Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.) and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (When you eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries, part of your body’s circulatory system. It causes their walls to grow faster than normal and get tense, which adds stress to your heart and damages it over time. This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Research also suggests that eating less sugar can help lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Plus, people who eat a lot of added sugar (where at least 25% of their calories comes from added sugar) are twice as likely to die of heart disease as those whose diets include less than 10% of total calories from added sugar.) Liver diseases (An abundance of added sugar may cause your liver to become resistant to insulin, an important hormone that helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy. This means your body isn’t able to control your blood sugar levels as well, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.), type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer and a whole range of other difficult-to-treat complaints.”
Chances are you already know that eating too much sugar isn’t good for you. Yet you’re probably still overdoing it: Americans average about 20 teaspoons of added sugars per day, compared to the recommended 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. (That doesn’t include sugar found naturally in foods like fruits and milk.)
Unfortunately, it is not so easy to renounce sweet sin: people like sweet things from birth. As a child, you are often rewarded with sweetness and therefore associate positive feelings with taste – and want more and more. Numerous studies suggest that sugar in the brain addresses the addiction centre, so that the body demands larger amounts over time. Eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot. Because whole foods like fruits and veggies don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure. This causes those “gotta-have-it” feelings for your after-dinner ice cream that are so hard to tame.
In any case, we absorb more sugar than we suspect: It also hides in foods such as ketchup or gherkins. In packaging information, it is hidden behind around 70 different names, such as sweet whey powder or maltodextrin. Special care should be taken with fructose. US researcher Robert Lustig warns that fructose can cause similar damage to alcohol and damage the liver.
2. Fruit and Vegetables: “5 a Day” is Often too Much
This is how they work in the body: “Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day!” Since the year 2000, this phrase, devised by the German Nutrition Society, among others, has been regarded as a formula for good food. It is intended to prevent cardiovascular diseases, strokes, high blood pressure and several types of cancer. It is indeed undisputed that fruit and vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals, dietary fibres and secondary plant substances that are beneficial to health.
However, more and more experts, such as the well-known food chemist Udo Pollmer, see a connection between the increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and the increased number of gastrointestinal diseases in recent years. Also with the specialized company for nourishing therapy and prevention it says: Particularly the advice of an increased ballaststoffzufuhr could be jointly responsible for the increase of gastrointestinal disturbances.
The explanation is simple: dietary fibres from raw vegetables or whole grains are difficult to digest for the very short colon of humans. It can come to fermentations, possibly settle mushrooms, an irritable bowel develops.
Nutrition tip: Continue to eat fruit and vegetables – but instead of five, three portions per day are enough. Do not choose raw vegetables too often, especially if you tend to have digestive problems. Cooked foods such as beans, peas or lentils are better tolerated by most people. It also helps many people to remove the peel or skin from vegetables such as tomatoes or peppers.
3. additives: often questionable
We don’t just want our food to taste good these days: It also has to look good. As a result, food producers use any of 14,000 laboratory-made additives to make our food appear fresher, more attractive or last longer on the shelf. 316 additives are approved in the EU, they make foods more spreadable, colour, thicken or preserve them. More than half of them are considered safe, while others can affect digestion, cause allergies or asthma. And some are even suspected of triggering diseases. The controversial flavour enhancer glutamate is most frequently added to foods. Although it has not been proven to cause illness, it is believed that the substance found in many potato chips and instant soups can cause dizziness, nausea and headaches.
Nutrition tip: Here too, the best advice is to cook fresh as often as possible and rarely use processed products. Already packaged bread, cheese or sausage contains additives, and many more are to be found in largely prepared or even ready-to-serve products such as baking mixes or canned soups. They should remain an exception. Just like low-calorie foods, brightly coloured sweets and foods with a delicate consistency (such as ready-made desserts).
4. Fats and Oils: Quality Instead of Quantity
This is how they work in the body: fat is an important nutrient that helps the body to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins. It protects certain organs, insulating them from heat and cold. While women typically store fat on their buttocks and thighs, men tend to store it on their upper body. However, excess fat can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Dietary fats and oils are found in virtually all foods. Butter and lard are fats from animals, while cooking and salad oils come from seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Fats and oils belong to a group of substances called lipids, which are biological chemicals that do not dissolve in water. The difference between fats and oils is that fats are solid at room temperature, while oils are liquid.”
Important: Not only the excessive consumption of fat-rich food leads in the long run to fattening, also surplus coal hydrates can be converted and stored as depot fat. Special danger: There are fat deposits which are not visible externally and which do not cause any discomfort. For example, 70 percent of all overweight people also have fatty liver. According to new findings, surprisingly 15 percent of slim people are also affected. In these people no fat cells are deposited in the subcutaneous tissue. “Then they end up as fat in the organs: liver, pancreas, skeletal and heart muscles – all fatty.
Nutrition tip: Pay attention to hidden fats, as they are to be found for example in Pommes, Pesto, Mascarpone, waffles, puff pastry as well as cheese (Camembert, double cream cheese) and sausage – there particularly in salami, Mortadella, liver sausage. Try not to consume too many carbohydrates (sugar, pasta, rice). This is especially true for dinner. The last meal before going to bed should be rich in protein (meat, fish, dairy products). And: It is better to eat rapeseed, soya or olive oil than butter or lard.
5. Organic Food: not Better per se!
Organic is primarily a labeling term that is used on a wide variety of foods that have been produced through methods and practices approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its National Organics Program (NOP). Organic is also one of the single best steps you can take to safeguard the quality of your food. In many cases, organic is also good step for the environment.
But organic fruit and vegetables must not contain any pesticide residues, their consumption is less harmful to health than conventional goods. The following applies to organic meat: the animals may only be fed natural feed, without the addition of hormones or antibiotics. Also a plus for the health! But organic is not always better: In finished products, the label suggests a particularly high-quality, healthy product – in reality, however, it may contain aromas or, according to the EU regulation, 47 additives, including the thickening agent carrageenan, which is suspected of causing stomach and intestinal ulcers. Organic is not at all associated with terms such as “natural” or “from sustainable cultivation”.
Nutrition tip: Organic is worthwhile for domestic vegetables, milk and bread. Demeter, Naturland and Bioland have the strictest guidelines. With potatoes it makes more sense to pay attention to regional cultivation than to organic quality, because organic potatoes from discounters often have an unnecessarily long way behind them, for example from Africa. When it comes to meat, you should know that organic animal husbandry does not necessarily have to be species-appropriate. The organic label also has no advantage when it comes to soft drinks: the proportion of organic ingredients is usually low, but the products are usually as sweet as others – in other words just as harmful. Organic does not mean healthy per se. This is especially true for packaged products. So: Always look critically at the list of ingredients!
6 Salt: All-clear
This is how it works in the body: 200 grams of salt are contained in the body of an adult on average. It is important for nerves, muscles and digestion. If the salt concentration is significantly higher, the cells lose their elasticity, the blood vessels narrow and blood pressure rises. For a long time it was thought that this also increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Several large studies have now come to the conclusion that salt consumption has only a minimal effect on blood pressure. In addition, it turned out that too little salt also poses a risk to the heart.
Nutritional tip: Continue to use table salt to season meat, vegetables or noodles (one teaspoon per litre of water). However, be aware that you also consume a lot of hidden salt in ready meals, dark breads and cheese. Six grams of salt a day is still a guideline.