Healthy Eating: Is It Safe?

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Food bloggers, social media influencers, and magazines commonly used to get nutrition information often promote so-called clean eating.

Many proponents of this concept promise benefits such as weight loss, radiant skin, and improved energy.

The fundamentals of healthy eating are to choose natural foods that are rich in nutrients and to avoid processed and refined foods.

Taking a “clean” approach to eating can lead to a healthy lifestyle and weight management. However, some interpretations of healthy eating can have unhealthy consequences.

In this article on honest nutrition, we explain what healthy eating is, its potential benefits and risks. We’ll also look at the latest research on healthy eating.

Healthy eating is a movement that has grown rapidly in popularity over the past decade. While many people have made a commitment to healthy eating for better health and weight loss, there are no clear definition of healthy eating.

In fgeneral, “eat cleanCould be described as choosing natural and healthy foods. This includes foods that are free from additives, preservatives, and refined and processed ingredients.

While the term probably appeared with good intentions, the lack of clarity surrounding it leaves room for interpretation, which may mean that some buy-in could go too far.

For example, some may choose a less restrictive approach and follow a healthy diet similar to those described in the Diet guidelines for Americans. This can include consuming whole fruits and vegetables, beans and high quality protein while limiting processed foods.

However, others may be more restrictive and eliminate foods such as dairy, gluten, and sugar. They can also limit the number of food ingredients and avoid foods treated with antibiotics, pesticides, and growth hormones.

A study published in the journal Nutrients examined perceptions of healthy eating among a large and diverse sample of emerging adolescents and adults in the United States.

Although definitions vary among respondents, most respondents classified healthy eating as consuming whole or unprocessed foods, including raw foods, natural foods, and foods without artificial flavors or additives.

Of those surveyed, 70.8% identified healthy eating as healthy. In contrast, 18% identified both beneficial and harmful elements, which means that it could cause messy eating habits.

Another study published in Nutrientsexamined 762 Australian women aged 17 to 55. They completed a self-report questionnaire on eating behaviors and beliefs about healthy eating based on websites.

The study found that women who followed dietary advice from clean eating sites were more likely to adhere to dietary guidelines for fruits, meat, and meat alternatives – such as legumes, eggs, and nuts. the seeds – compared to women who did not follow the advice of the locations.

There was no statistical difference in vegetables, dairy products, grains, or discretionary foods between the groups.

However, the study also found more dietary restrictions among those who followed the sites’ dietary advice, suggesting a potential for obsessive eating behaviors. It is also not clear whether the advice given came from a credible source or followed evidence-based guidelines.

In addition, a study published in the Eating Disorders Journal found that healthy eating is viewed favorably by American college students, even when linked to emotional distress.

All of the above studies suggest the need for more research to clarify the potential risks and benefits of a healthy diet.

Focusing on healthy eating can be beneficial because it cuts down on sodium, sugary drinks, and ultra-processed foods.

A version of a healthy diet that includes a nutrient-dense diet containing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy proteins can adequately nourish the body while supporting overall health and weight management. ‘an individual.

Although there are no scientific studies linking healthy eating to health benefits, research has been conducted to link the difficulties of a balanced diet, generally avoided by healthy eaters, to chronic diseases.

For example, a large study published in BMJ found that consuming 10% more ultra-processed foods increased the risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cardiovascular disease by at least 10%.

Ultra-processed foods in the study included reconstituted meat products, savory snacks, and frozen dinners.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that overall difficulties in following a balanced diet, including excessive consumption of sugary drinks, sodium, and processed foods, may increase the risk of chronic disease.

Research suggests that a healthy diet can lead to excessive dietary restriction, leading to nutrient deficiencies and loss of social relationships. It can also lead to mental distress.

The lack of clarity in the healthy eating movement regarding dietary recommendations can lead people to categorize some foods as “bad” and others as “good” without strong evidence to support this labeling.

This puts pressure on people to eat a certain way and can lead to a harmful obsession with healthy eating.

According to National Association of Eating Disorders, a healthy diet, similar to dieting, increases the risk of orthorexia nervosa (ON), the strict avoidance of foods that a person perceives as unhealthy. This can include additives, non-organic foods, and processed foods.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, does not recognize orthorexia as a separate eating disorder. However, many researchers believe that the ON should be within the Avoiding / restricting food intake disorder umbrella.

It is important to note that there is a difference between orthorexia and dietary restrictions. While some people may avoid certain foods for ethical, religious, or health-related reasons, people with orthorexia have obsessive thoughts about their eating habits.

Plus, choosing grilled chicken over fried chicken or spaghetti squash over pasta doesn’t mean healthy eating has gone too far.

As long as a person’s diet includes foods from all food groups, there might not be any cause for concern. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the best approach, regardless of the diet followed by an individual.

While an obsession with healthy eating is not healthy for the mind or body, it is important to eat a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients. There are ways to find a healthy balance between eating healthy and eating healthy without fear or restriction.

For example, a nutritious diet can include frozen and canned products. However, when choosing canned or frozen foods, avoid the addition of sodium, sugar, and syrups.

Not all processed foods are necessarily bad, nor should they be completely eliminated. In fact, most of the foods sold in stores today are treated to some extent.

To ensure nutrient requirements are met, follow evidence-based recommendations for foods and beverages, such as those outlined in 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans, which states that a nutritious diet for adults includes:

  • vegetables of all kinds and colors
  • fruit, with an emphasis on whole fruit
  • grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • diary, including skimmed or skimmed milk and cheese or lactose-free versions
  • protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, soy products, beans, peas, and lentils
  • oils, including vegetable oils and oils in foods such as nuts

The guidelines also suggest limiting added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and alcoholic beverages.

Since the definition of healthy eating varies greatly from person to person, there is no research to prove that it has more benefits than other eating habits.

While some may follow a clean eating pattern and allow moderation leading to great success, others vulnerable to disorderly eating may be at risk.

A harmful obsession with restricting certain foods or food groups can put a person at risk for malnutrition, social isolation, and overall mental distress.

It appears that the existence of unqualified individuals giving the wrong advice on healthy eating may put individuals at greater risk of developing disorderly eating habits.

With this in mind, it is important to always speak with a registered dietitian or qualified nutrition professional whenever questions arise about healthy eating.


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