It can be really confusing trying to figure out the truth about healthy eating. It seems as though the media is telling us certain foods are good for us one day, and the next day we hear reports that say the same foods will kill us. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Now, that wouldn’t matter all that much if we were talking about something inconsequential, but we are talking about our well-being.
However, there are some things that most researchers agree on and new studies have proven them to be the case. For example, taking in a high level of saturated fat is bad for you. You may not see the negative results right away if you’re otherwise healthy. But you can be sure that it will take its toll on your health if you make a habit of it. And it doesn’t matter if you eat 1500 calories each day or 2000, sedentary or active; bad fats aren’t good for you.
Most people are familiar with saturated fat, but the other bad kind is trans fat. Or, to be more specific, man-made trans fats. There are some foods that naturally contain trans fats, and they are less harmful. But man-made trans fats alter the chemical composition of natural fats and it’s this tinkering with nature that the body seems to not like. Most trans fats are used to make liquid fats stay solid at room temperature, or to prolong shelf life. This is done by adding hydrogen to natural fats. The process is known as hydrogenation, so if you see the word “hydrogenated” in the list ingredients, then the food contains trans fats–even if the nutrition label says there are 0 grams per serving.
What you may not know is that trans fats have not been around for all that long, at least not when compared with other foods and food additives. Shortening and margarine were some of the first hydrogenated products to come to market in 1911. But once they caught on, they started catching on in a big way. The benefit of trans fats is they keep the oil in some foods from going rancid. The downside is that there seems to be no safe amount of man-made trans fats. So, removing all trans fats is one of the healthy eating facts you can count on.
Soft drinks are another thing that don’t do your body any good. Most people understand that a can of soda is going to contain sugar, however, what they don’t know is that 9 teaspoons is not unheard of. Can you imagine adding that much sugar to a bowl of cereal? There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with sugar, but soft drinks are nothing but sugar and flavoring. That means they have no nutritional value at all, but they do contain plenty of calories.
What it comes down to is this: there is still a lot of conflicting information about healthy eating facts, but the experts agree that trans fats and soft drinks can safely be eliminated from our collective diet.