Nutrition and Guidelines for Healthy Food Consumption

Above is a TV show that is hosted by Peggy Kotsopoulos who is a nutritionist that hosts a TV show about how to prepare healthy food that will make you feel good. The food also is based around people who have allergies to gluten, dairy and offers an alternative to everyday foods that we commonly use. Peggy is a bit of an extravert and quite annoying to watch at times but her recipes are good and the food is top quality. <http://www.peggyk.com/&gt;.

Most people understand what is bad for them in terms of food choices. Refined foods, excess sugars and saturated fats. All of the experts on nutrition come to a consensus on this fact. But what is good for us?

Eating healthy and making positive food choices is not always an easy thing to do. If you have had a bad day or are feeling a bit upset, nothing makes you feel better than a nice piece of chocolate and a good movie. But is it a choice that is easy to say no to?

Some reports have labelled sugar as addictive as heroin or cocaine. There are many hidden sugars in foods and this is some of the reasons why we keep going back to them.

There are six different types of sugars:

  1. Glucose: Simple sugar that can be carried in the blood.
  2. Fructose: Simple sugar that occurs naturally in fruit.
  3. Sucrose:  table sugar occurs naturally in sugar cane or beets
  4. Lactose: Milk sugar, less than 5% of cow’s milk
  5. Maltose: Two joined-up glucose molecules
  6. High Fructose corn syrup: Corn syrup 50% glucose, 50% fructose.

Sugar is so addictive due to its mood boosting effects on the brain by increasing serotonin. According to a study from Yale University, glucose suppresses a part in the brain that makes us want to eat, while fructose doesn’t (BBC 2013).

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After the last two posts, I feel like I should come up with an answer to the question of “What food is good for you?’. To be honest, there is a lot of silly information out there that is based on people wanting to make money from you and might not actually live up to it’s promises. Healthy eating is different for everyone because we are all individuals with our own deficiencies or guilty pleasures. Some people have intolerance and allergies to things that might be really healthy for another person. So what to do? Well there is a consensus on the really bad stuff, as I mentioned before. The biggest thing is to listen to your body. If you feel sick after eating a food, it’s probably not that good for you.

superfood

A super food is a food that contains extremely high levels of nutrients. Elvidge 2008, warns that we need to be careful of the big red flashing signs that say ‘Super Food – cures all diseases and yours for only $199.95’. The new age health food movement has jumped onto the fact that we are getting lazier and want that quick fix of some exotic apple that comes with its own red cape and can give us the nutrients of 200 normal apples. Although we need to be careful not to be fooled, there is still a massive benefit to eating these super foods.

Seliger 2013 recommends a few of the must eat super foods including:

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

This list was surprising to me, as I though of these foods as normally very healthy, but not a super food.

To conclude my blogs, I would like to finish by recommending that you find out more information for yourselves. Eating is something that we all need to do for a lifetime. We can either look at food as our enemy or treat it as a friend that supports us and sustains our functioning. There are many cultures that have used food as a healing power for centuries,: the knowledge is already there.

Hopefully these blogs have helped you in beginning your quest for a healthier life through the magic of food glorious food…

References

BBC, 2013, ‘Why is sugar so addictive?’, retrieved 22 May 2013, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/21835302&gt;.

Elvidge, S, 2008, ‘Debunking miracle foods:Are exotic superfoods better than ordinary produce?’, retrieved 22 May 2013, <http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/805505/debunking-miracle-foods-are-exotic-superfoods-better-than-ordinary-produce&gt;.

Seliger, S, 2013, ‘Superfoods Everone Needs’, retrieved 23 May 2013, <http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs&gt;.

The Fast Food Epidemic

Supersize me was a documentary that was released in 2004. Morgan Spurlock’s journey of eating only McDonald’s food for 30 days outlines the impacts that this food has on his health. He was guided by medical professionals and is advised to stop the experiment a couple of weeks in. The effects that this diet had on Spurlock were shocking.

Even though we don’t eat a diet of McDonald’s alone, the amount of take away we eat per week is increasing. This drastic change seen in Spurlock’s health could be happening at a slower and more insidious pace in us.

On my previous blog topic I talked about the changes in the way we eat food and the governmental and agricultural industries influence on nutritional guidelines.

So why have these changes happened? Why are we eating so differently to our grandparents? Most of all, what impacts is this fast food trend having on our population?

mid section view of a man sitting on a bench in a park

Last time I briefly touched on the rise in incidence of obesity in teens and children, although, this trend is occurring in general populations of developed countries. We are seeing a rise in caloric consumption that is linked with increased income and a rise in fast food and takeout consumption (Meniado 2010). But why are these trends occurring?

Is it because we have?

  • less less time to prepare foods due to our busy lifestyles.
  • Most families have two parents working and the dynamics of the roles of housewives have changed
  • Availability of convenience foods has risen
  • Caloric content in foods has increased due to trans-fats, salts, sugars and other additives in packaged foods

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The graph and pie charts above show an increase in the times per year we eat at restaurants, take out chains and the food budget that is spent on restaurant meals compared to home cooked meals.

From these figures we can see that we eat at fast food restaurants more than we do sit down to eat restaurants, and that home cooked meals are becoming less frequent. This is an alarming trend that has lead to an increase in the rates of obesity.

From the beginnings of McDonald’s life as a barbeque stall in the 1940’s it has risen in numbers obscenely to over 34,000 restaurants worldwide (McDonald’s 2013).

Sarah Clark (2012) talks about some of the reasons that we love to eat fast food on her website ‘Fast Food Nation’. Some of these reasons include:

  • Quick and convenience
  • Cheap and accessible for busy people and families
  • It tastes GOOD?

Some people might think that is tastes better than others, but did you know that we are biologically programed to like it. Why? Well, according to Clark (2012), the fat and sugar content released feel good chemicals in our brains and this causes pleasure seeking behaviors. This means that we go back and back to that chocolate or hamburger because we are addicted to the high, not to mention the sugar and fat that it contains.

So if we are addicted to this way of eating and it is making us unhealthy and causing our waist lines to expand, what are we to do about it?

In my next blog, I will provide some information on the ways that we can overcome these sneaky addictions and make healthier choices.

References

Clark, S 2012, ‘Fast food nation’, retrieved 26 April 2013, <http://www.fastfoodnation.co.uk/development-fast-food.html&gt;.

Gupta, A 2011, ‘Ielts writing’, retrieved 27 April 2013, <http://ieltswritingbyabijah.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/task-1-graph-solved-pie-chart-line.html&gt;.

Lee,C 2004, ‘Sipersie me’, retrieved 26 April 2013, <http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue9/supersizeme.html&gt;.

Meniado, K.B 2010, ‘Obesity lies in the wealthy of poor countries’, Health, 22 November, retrieved 25 April 2013, <http://thenewschronicle.com/obesity-lies-wealthy-poor-countries/112209629/&gt;.

McDonald’s 2013, ‘Our company – McDonald’s mission’, retrieved 26 April 2013, <http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/our_company.html&gt;.