Most of us may think that we know what healthy foods are, what to eat, what not to eat, and so on. For example, pay attention to calorie intake, choose healthy carbonated drinks, eat less chocolate or take vitamin supplements.
But is this a waste of effort? British genetic epidemiologist, Professor Tim Specter, will reveal seven myths about healthy food in the BBC program The Spark:
Myth 1: If you want to lose weight, you must pay attention to calorie intake
Many people tend to pay attention to the calories of the food on the label when shopping in the supermarket. If the calories are too high, it is best not to buy it. But Tim believes that just considering calorie intake will form “a big disadvantage.”
For example, if men and women burn calories at different rates, they will have a difference when they eat the same food together with their twins. Tim said that a quarter of people experience a drop in blood sugar after eating high-carbohydrate foods, making them even more hungry after a few hours. The other three-quarters will not.
Not only that, Tim explained that calories are not the same, for example, 200 calories of fat and the same calorie of carbohydrates may not have the same effect on your body.
At the same time, although the number of calories is the same, there is a clear difference between super processed foods and unprocessed foods. Super processed foods can make you hungrier after eating, resulting in eating more later.
Myth 2: Diet drinks can help lose weight
Many people like to drink Diet Coke or drinks, thinking that as long as the word “diet” is used, it is healthier. Some so-called diet drinks also advertise “zero-calorie” or low-calorie. But Tim said that the chemicals used to achieve zero and low calorie effects come from paraffin wax and a variety of weird man-made compounds.
Tim explained that these strange ingredients allow our gut microbes to produce certain chemicals that disrupt metabolism. In other words, all the benefits of these zero-calorie diet or weight loss drinks will be offset, and in the end there will be no difference: whether you want to lose weight or control diabetes. Therefore, it is best to keep a distance from weight loss drinks.
Myth 3: All bacteria are bad
People are increasingly aware that the more diverse the gut microbes that live in our digestive system, the better.
When it comes to bacteria, people often associate it with dirt or pollution. But in fact, some types of bacteria are vital to our health.
Fermented food is good for health
There are trillions of microflora living in our gut-unique to us. This is why twins react differently to the same calorie food.
Tim said that about half of the human body is the microbiota. They are not only important for maintaining human cells, but also essential for the bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites in our body. 99% of microorganisms live in our intestines, but also in our noses, mouths and stomachs.
Tim said that these microorganisms are absolutely critical to the human immune system, and they even help fight viral infections like the new crown.
How can we make our microbiota more diverse? The easiest is to eat fermented foods, such as Korean kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir (also known as kefir) and kefir.
Among them, Kimchi and kraut are both fermented cabbage and cabbage, and kefir is a beverage made from fermented milk.
Myth 4: We should take vitamin supplements
Tim said that almost half of people take vitamins regularly, but are they really good?
Tim explained that some randomized trials have shown that most have no evidence base. However, studies have shown that people who regularly take vitamin pills are healthier, Tim said, this is because their lifestyle itself is healthy.
Even vitamin C, which is good for colds, requires a large dose to work. But this does not mean that we should not eat foods rich in vitamins, but supplementing vitamin pills alone may not be beneficial.
Myth 5: Eat fish to replenish your brain
Many people, including children, take fish oil to replenish their brains and improve their intelligence. But is Omega-3 really that amazing?
Tim believes that including fish in the diet is not harmful to us, however, the habit of human fish-eating is not good for the planet. Moreover, 70% of fish are currently cultivated artificially, which has a huge impact on the environment.
Are the benefits of fish for the brain so magical?
Eat more plant varieties
Myth 6: Wine and chocolate are bad for you
Tim said that sometimes the more you ban certain foods, the more people want to eat them. Therefore, he tried his best to avoid saying which foods should not be eaten. On the contrary, Tim believes that wine and chocolate are two foods that people are often told that bad foods are good for our gut microbes, especially red wine and dark chocolate.
Because these foods contain a lot of polyphenols, they are the natural defense chemicals of plants and provide nourishment for the human intestinal microbes.
Myth 7: One apple a day does not get sick
First of all, there is definitely nothing wrong with eating an apple a day. But Tim suggests that if we want to diversify our microbiota, we need to eat 30 different plants every week. There are 30,000 edible plants in the world, and there are many types for us to choose from.
We all know that we should eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and some people suggest that it should actually be 7 servings. But even if we can eat 5 servings, most people repeat the same fruits and vegetables every week. Some people eat only 5 plant varieties every week.
In fact, every week 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables do not have to be enough for 80 grams, so it may not be so difficult to think about it. In addition to fruits and vegetables, it can also include different nuts, seeds, salad leaves, spices, beans, whole grains, and so on.
Why are there so many myths?
People have many misunderstandings about food, one of the reasons is that medical professionals know little about nutrition. For example, Tim explained that most doctors understand scurvy better than obesity, but most of us have never seen scurvy.
Therefore, Tim suggested that education in this area should be strengthened. Not only medical personnel, but everyone should learn this knowledge in school to know how to take care of themselves.
In addition, the media also bear certain responsibilities when reporting this information. In addition, processed food companies are more responsible. They often sponsor nutrition research projects, and it is inevitable that there will be some “impure motives”.
Therefore, if we want to make the next generation healthier, we must change our understanding of food, and we cannot continue the same nutritional guidelines. At the same time, we must also understand the dangers of processed foods to the planet.