Nutritional advice often changes

Foods once touted as healthful suddenly can gain unsavory reputations and vice versa. On closer inspection, some foods with bad reputations are ready for a little redemption. Here are some supposed dietary offenders that are more healthful than you might think.

Experts say some foods don’t deserve insults – Leader-Telegram: Food

With food as with fashion, tastes change. Today, bread cubes dipped in a Cheddar cheese fondue seems about as dated as bell bottoms.

Sometimes a single study – and the media reports that go with it – can make or break a food’s reputation, said Dr. David Heber, chief of clinical nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. Or sometimes all it takes is a few vocal experts with ulterior motives.

When you hear an expert raise alarms about a particular food, Heber recommends considering the source. “Foods get vilified because food is never politically neutral.”

At a time when everyone agrees the American diet could use a serious upgrade, certain foods make for easy scapegoats, said Melinda Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a nutritional lecturer at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Perhaps more than any other food, eggs have been caught in the revolving door of nutritional advice.

In 2012, a much-publicized Canadian study concluded eating a single egg yolk every day was almost as bad for the heart as smoking. That study drew sharp and immediate criticism from cardiologists and nutritionists alike.

Among other things, the researchers admitted they had only a vague idea of how many yolks subjects were eating. Eggs are now largely back in favor.

“Eggs are a lot healthier than people realize,” said Maria Luz Fernandez, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Egg yolks contain highly absorbable lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory), and the whites are loaded with high-quality protein. The often-maligned cholesterol in eggs seems to have little effect on a person’s levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, she said.

“There’s a lot of evidence that eating protein at breakfast is good for you,” he said. “It will satisfy hunger more than a cup of coffee and a bagel.”

When even Domino’s offers a gluten-free pizza crust, you know that gluten – protein found in wheat and some other grains – has a serious image problem. Many people believe gluten can sap their energy, cloud their thinking and, above all, mess with their digestive system.

Steaks, chops and even burgers can be a healthful diet choice, Johnson said. Reasonable portions of lean meat can provide protein, iron, zinc and other nutrients without much downside.

A 2013 study of nearly 450,000 European adults found no evidence that eating 6 ounces of red meat or more every day could shorten anyone’s life. That same study did suggest that large amounts of cured, processed meats could lead to an early death, another reminder that there is such a thing as too much bacon.

But Heber is reluctant to say much positive about red meat, mainly because it’s so easy to go overboard. He noted a slab of prime rib at a restaurant can contain more than 1,000 calories, enough to blow up just about anyone’s daily budget.

He recommended avoiding corn-fed beef because it’s loaded with omega 6 fatty acids that can promote inflammation. Lean, grass-fed beef is a much smarter choice, he said.

Experts say some foods don’t deserve insults – Leader-Telegram: Food

“For most people, those fears seem to be misplaced, Heber said.” – I couldn’t agree more.

Allow me to share my insight. The sad reality is, we believe whatever someone we trust tells us. Fact is, so many people love to watch Oprah and they probably believe whatever she says. If she tweets about a new diet she is trying out, everyone assumes it must be great diet because a celebrity is using it.

So I really can’t stress this enough. If you want a real diet with real results, go seek a professional. To be more specific – get help from a dietitian.

“Some nutritionists warn potatoes can cause a surge in blood sugar, but Johnson said that’s only likely to be a problem when potatoes are eaten by themselves.”

Exactly, “We eat meals.” In fact, if your diet suggests that you skip a meal you should stop that diet immediately. If you want to get slim, it is really all about small frequent feeding and eating the right food.

What really influences body weight?

A new book focuses on gut bacteria as the key to a healthy weight. Follow your gut has a whole new meaning. The impact of gut bacteria on our health is, by now, impossible to ignore.

Good Poop Diet Is the Next Big Thing – The Daily Beast

What really influences body weight

One of the most fascinating findings is that the microbiome influences body weight. Studies have shown that transplanting feces from obese mice into thin mice cause the mice to fatten up. Researchers have asserted that the “obese microbiome has an increased capacity to harvest energy from the diet.” Early findings suggested that the obese tended to have a lot of a certain type (“phylum”) of bacteria, called Firmicutes, and a low number of another phylum of bacteria, Bacteroidetes. At least one study showed that weight loss resulted in an increase in the number of “Bacters” and a decrease in the “Firms.”

Now a new book, The Skinny Gut Diet, by nutritionist Brenda Watson, tracks the progress of people who follow a diet specifically designed to alter the gut microbiome. Watson recommends a high fiber diet, since fiber isn’t just good for bulking up stool, it’s also the primary source of food for many “good” gut bacteria. The diet is also low carbohydrate, which prevents the feeding of the kinds of bacteria that have been implicated in weight gain and food cravings.

“My diet was designed to prevent carbohydrate cravings,” Watson told The Daily Beast. This means supplying proteins and fats because our bodies tend to need to eat less frequently when we consume them. But consider that when we eat, the bacteria are actually fed first. By starving out the carb-loving bacteria, over time the bacteria that thrive on low carb food would flourish, and we would no longer be controlled by inexplicable cupcake cravings. This is a significant shift in the way we think about nutrition. It’s also a useful way to change our own behaviors: Resisting the cake isn’t about denying ourselves, it’s about denying our bacteria. That might make walking away from dessert a bit easier.

We can’t really interpret these findings as proof that lowering the number of “Firms” or increasing the “Bacters” is causing weight loss. Watson has simply documented how bacterial populations change with weight reduction—something that has also been observed in the laboratory. Her findings are fascinating, but in a quick fix era, they beg the question—why not just transplant the stool from thin people into the obese?

Good Poop Diet Is the Next Big Thing – The Daily Beast

— This was nicely explicated in an Atlantic article whose title says it all: Your Gut Bacteria Want You To Eat A Cupcake.

If you aren’t schooled in dietetics or nutrition, the facts may or may not be convincing. So here are a few supporting articles on this topic:

blood pressure – The latest connection to be investigated between the microbiome and health is that of gut bacteria to blood pressure.

anxiety and depression – Mayer and others stress that a lot more work will be needed to know whether that probiotic — or any others — really could help people feel less anxious or help solve other problems involving the brain.

autoimmune diseases – A lot of immune-system cells live in the gut wall, where they have the unenviable task of distinguishing friendly bacteria from hostile ones.