Good nutrition is one of the keys to great health, according to many health care providers.
Indeed this advice is unanimous and accepted by all age groups, including senior citizens who have their own specific health challenges. The question is, however, what are the best foods for me to include in my diet? Indeed, many nutrition experts make a point to not demonize any particular type of food.
But let’s be honest — if you’re eating for health, there’s less room on your plate for some foods rather than others. With evolving nutrition science and conflicting messages about what’s healthy and what’s not, it can be confusing to figure out which foods you should skip.
Below, we list some foods that are controversial. Do you add them or avoid them in your daily diet regimen?
Good Nutrition: Meat
You’ve probably heard that too much meat — especially red meat — is not good for your heart. On the other hand, the high popularity of meat-heavy paleo and keto diets have people piling their plates high with burgers and bacon in the name of good health.
Does this make any sense?
Current research indicates the need for caution. In fact, those adults that increased their red meat consumption by just a half serving per day, had a 10% greater risk of dying prematurely. Cutting back on processed meats such as bacon and sausage has been shown to lower mortality risk.
This risk also includes white meat. That’s surprising, right? It’s true. A recent study shows that eating a steady diet of white meat can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol. The increase was similar to that seen by participants who ate red meat. In other words, there was no cholesterol-lowering benefit to white meat over red.
The message is that while protein, as provided by white meat, is important, but should be eaten in moderation. Keep in mind, that three ounces — is one serving. That is enough to give you the amount of protein you need.
Good Nutrition: Sugar
Sugar, as with any other food, is okay when consumed in moderation. The problem is, that Americans are addicted to sugar and excessively consume foods and drinks that have high sugar content.
Fasten your seat belts! The average American eats the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of added sugar every day, according to U.S. government data. This is double the limit suggested by the American Heart Association (AHA). They recommend no more than 9 teaspoons per day. You don’t believe that you eat that much sugar every day? Of course you don’t, and that’s because much of the added sugar is hidden in foods like cereals, yogurt, bread and ketchup.
The health ramifications of eating too much sugar are alarming. For example, people who ate 25 percent or more of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die of heart disease, compared to people who ate less than 10 percent. That’s really scary.
Indeed just about all foods contain sugar in one form or another. Rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, even honey, molasses and agave nectar have high sugar levels. Read the labels and look at the sugar content. Anything over 3 grams is too much. To satisfy your sweet tooth, eat fruit, which will also give you fiber and other valuable nutrients.
Good Nutrition: Wheat
Wheat, the unbleached, refined kind, is actually healthy for you, unless you suffer from celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten.
Otherwise, grains can be an important part of your diet. Whole grains are a valuable source of fiber, which about 95 percent of Americans don’t get enough of. Indeed, eating around three servings of whole grains per day was linked with lower risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
You should also consider adding other whole grains, including brown rice, barley and quinoa, for a bigger variety of nutrients.
Contrary to some research, eggs are actually very healthy for you. Eating them for breakfast, for instance, was associated with improved blood sugar response and consuming fewer calories later in the day, compared to a cereal breakfast.
Some experts even recommend that senior citizens add eggs to their diet as an inexpensive protein that is a good source of leucine. Leucine is an amino acid that can help prevent muscle loss that is common as we age.
The bottom line is, that most foods can be healthy if eaten in moderation. Several foods that have gotten a bad rap, is no doubt due to eating them excessively.
Moderation is the key. To your health!