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Nutritionists And Americans Have Different Views On The Nutritional Value Of Common Foods

Nutritionists And Americans Have Different Views On The Nutritional Value Of Common Foods

French fries, bacon, chips, soda and chocolate bars are all poor food choices. We all know this. However, being able to decipher what is good for you and what isn’t–isn’t always so obvious. In fact, the New York Times recently published an article in which both average Americans and nutrition experts were polled on which of the 52 foods presented were good for you and which you should avoid. The results were all over the place. The general public’s views on which foods were healthy and which were not varied greatly from that of the experts on some food choices, but even more surprising was the fact that even the experts could not come to a consensus on quite a few food choices.

The public’s view of nutrient rich foods

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    The largest disparity uncovered by the poll was with granola bars. Are they healthy or not? Seventy-one percent of the public placed granola bars in the ‘nutrient rich foods’ category while only 28% of nutritionists did. Regular people tend to consider the nutritional value and fat content only when sorting foods into the ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ categories while food experts tend to have a broader perspective and include things like sugar and sodium content in their decisions.  And for that reason, coconut oil, frozen yogurt, SlimFast shakes and orange juice topped the general public’s list of healthy but barely made it on the list of the experts.

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      Foods like sushi, humus, wine and shrimp were deemed healthy by the experts but the survey showed that while most of the Americans polled saw them as somewhat healthy, overall, they didn’t rank them quite as high. This fact leads the polling experts to believe that the media plays an enormous role in how the general public makes their food choices. Shrimp, for example, has received its fair share of bad press due to its high levels of cholesterol. Modern media shapes public opinion on many things–including healthy eating.

      Disparities among the experts concerning nutrient rich foods

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        Experts opinions diverged the most when it came to steak, cheddar cheese, whole milk and pork chops. These are nutrient rich foods but the are high in saturated fat. Previously, it was common knowledge that fat–particularly saturated fat should be avoided at all costs. More recent studies render mixed views on the subject and experts are still grappling with the question if these food should be avoided or if they are indeed healthy.

        Choosing foods that are good for you

        The Federal Drug Administration(FDA) is currently updating its standards on which foods it deems healthy in light of new research concerning what our bodies need. This move underscores the notion that finding foods that are truly healthy is, at best, a moving target. Here are 3 easy things you can do to simplify the process of making healthy food choices and remove some of the frustrating guess work:

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        • Know your body and your own health needs. Understanding your health needs and choosing foods that work well with your body’s chemistry is key. Even though shrimp made the experts’ list of nutrient rich foods, if you have problems with cholesterol you may want to think twice before adding significant amounts of it to your diet. Being aware of your genetic makeup, the health history of your family, any predispositions to certain illnesses and your blood type all are key factors in how your body responds to and interacts with the foods you eat.
        • KISS–“Keep it simple silly.” This saying definitely applies when it comes to your diet. Don’t overthink it. There are a few (and I do mean few) rules that you should follow when it comes to what you put in your body. The first is the less processed the better. Eating foods in their natural state with minimal additions of chemicals and manipulation is always a good idea. The second hard and fast rule is eat your greens. No matter who you talk to, the message is the same, leafy greens are the way to go. Adding leafy greens to your diet will have positive impacts on your overall health.
        • Moderation is key. Eliminating entire food groups from your diet is never a good idea. Protein, complex carbohydrates and fats all play a role in keeping our bodies operating optimally. The key to healthy eating for both the body and the mind is to use moderation.

        Food fads come and go, but the facts are clear: everyone does not have the same basic nutritional needs. We all know someone who is a strict vegetarian and their body thrives on that diet, while others swear by Atkins or similar low-carb plans however, those types of diets may not work for you. Get to know yourself and tailor your diet to your own individual needs.

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        Denise Hill

        Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

        If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

        1. Breathe

        The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

        • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
        • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
        • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

        Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

        2. Loosen up

        After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

        Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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        3. Chew slowly

        Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

        Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

        Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

        4. Let go

        Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

        The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

        It’s not. Promise.

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        Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

        Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

        21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

        5. Enjoy the journey

        Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

        Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

        6. Look at the big picture

        The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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        Will this matter to me…

        • Next week?
        • Next month?
        • Next year?
        • In 10 years?

        Hint: No, it won’t.

        I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

        Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

        7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

        You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

        Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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        8. Practice patience every day

        Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

        • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
        • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
        • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

        Final thoughts

        Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

        Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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