How many times have you seen foods divided into “good” and “bad,” with nothing in between? Nobody agrees on which foods go in which category (ask a vegan and a Paleo dieter to classify a slice of bread and a fried egg, and you’ll get opposite responses), but everyone seems very invested in the idea that some foods are “good” and other foods are “bad.”
But that’s silly. Different foods can be right or wrong for different people; there’s no one “good” or “bad.” This week, take a look at some intEresting perspectives on the way that the “good and evil” categories aren’t doing us any favor. Food isn’t a religion!
- A new study found that seeing negative and judgmental messages about “bad” food made dieters more likely to eat more of that food later on. Such a mystery why black-and-white “good”/”bad” messages don’t work…(Science Daily)
- It might sound like a nit-picky semantic distinction to say that “food is not healthy.” Technically, the food is nutritious, or maybe healthful (that is, it contributes to you being healthy). But Michael Ruhlman makes the case for the distinction – not all foods are right for everyone.
- Should kids avoid fish because their threshold for mercury toxicity is so much lower? It’s hard to tell, and it depends on the kid’s particular genetic background, health concerns, and other individual factors. Again, there are some foods that might be “good” for one child but “bad” for another; it’s very individual. (Chris Kresser)
Individual variation also means that all of the other recent news won’t be relevant to your interests, but at least some of it should be interesting!
- This is a really good explanation of why calorie-counting is not actually the best way to measure the total amount of energy that goes into and out of your body. It’s not about magically breaking the laws of thermodynamics; it’s about the fact that calories are a lot more complicated than “food minus exercise,” and that complexity has important consequences for weight. (The Atlantic)
- The food addiction explanation for obesity is interesting (we’ve covered it in three parts here, here, and here) but everyone acknowledges that there’s a lot of research missing. Why? (Dr. Sharma)
- Earlier this year, food policy researcher Marion Nestle published a “simple” set of recommendations for eating well…but are they
really simple, or even useful at all? Adele Hite is a little unfair about Nestle’s advice to “eat more plants” (it’s pretty obvious in context that “plants” means vegetables, not Pop-Tarts), but this piece is a good reminder that not everyone can “just” spend the time to shop for raw ingredients and then laboriously cook them into homemade meals, especially when their job (or jobs) are scheduled around the assumption that chicken nuggets exist. (Eathropology)
- In the spirit of today’s post, it’s true that vegetables might not be “good” or healthy for absolutely everyone, but many people do better with a lot of vegetables in their diet. Here are 5 suggestions for getting more of them. (Well Fed)
- Your gut bugs affect a lot more than just your digestion: here’s a look at how the gut biome can actually change the way your brain works. (Mark’s Daily Apple)
- The distinction between “moderators” and “abstainers” has been pretty well-known for a while, but here’s a look at how you might put it into practice with a focus on the Autoimmune protocol specifically. (Autoimmune Paleo)
- You might be eating the right food, but if you’re eating it for all the wrong reasons, your “healthy” diet might actually be damaging your health. 30-day challenges aren’t always the best option, especially not if they’re actually fueling an eating disorder. (Paleo Parents)
- A new study found a negative association between saturated fat from dairy sources and heart disease: the more dairy fat people ate, the lower their rate of heart disease. But before you get too excited: correlation doesn’t prove causation, not even when it agrees with what you already want to believe. Also, this found benefits primarily for dairy fat, so it doesn’t prove much about beef or bacon. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)