Health Fads?


These health fads may not be all that healthy! According to an article by Dennis Thompson, from HealthDay Reporter, there are actually some popular health fads that suggest they could be detrimental to a good diet. Juicing may be one of these as well as coconut oil, which is loaded with saturated fat but has emerged as another dietary craze in the United States.

One diet that likely has little positive health benefit for people who do not have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is the gluten-free diet. This all comes from the conclusions of a new review of the latest scientific evidence on food and nutrition that was conducted to shed some light on the latest diet fads.

Nutrition has become a widespread confusion. Lead author Dr. Andrew Freeman, co-chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Lifestyle and Nutrition Work Group says that one day you hear how good something is, and the next it’s bad for you. The review purpose was to give clinicians the tools needed to help their patients. Dr. Freeman is also director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver. Dr. Freeman, along with his colleagues, reviewed medical evidence that related to overall healthy eating patterns and specific dietary fads that are now popular in the United States.

This is what they concluded:

  • Juicing might improve absorption of some plant nutrients, but according to Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, it also leaves out a lot of fiber and nutrients contained in whole fruits and vegetables as juicing removes the juice and produces liquid that contains most of the vitamins, minerals and chemicals that are found in whole fruit and vegetables.
  • High-dose antioxidant dietary supplements are not benefiting people any more than just eating those foods rich in antioxidants. We don’t get the same benefit every time we extract things from plants.
  • The recent health food fad of coconut oil is another one, but it is naturally loaded with unhealthy saturated fats. We would do better to use olive and vegetable oils in our cooking as they contain healthy unsaturated fats.
  • If you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, a gluten-free diet can help, but it does no good for healthy people who can digest grains without any side effects. People can be healthier with whole grains than those using gluten-free alternatives that are higher in processed carbs.
  • Earlier it was thought that eggs can increase a person’s cholesterol levels, but Lichtenstein says not as much as previously believed. Having one or two eggs per day would likely have a small effect in most people that are not at high risk for heart problems or high cholesterol. Above that limit, it could be problematic. Meat and dairy products that contain saturated fats pose a larger hazard to cholesterol levels.

In conclusion of this study, most people would be better off with a predominantly plant-based diet that emphasizes eating whole unprocessed foods.

Dr. Freeman usually recommends eating a white variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits to obtain antioxidants and other important nutrients.

Here again, we have yet another view on what is and what isn’t healthy for us. It makes it a little difficult to know how we should eat, doesn’t it?

Dr Fredda Branyon